This is the third post in a series looking at Colossians 3:11 and the benefits of God’s grace in reconciliation. You can read the first here and the second here. In this post we want to consider the beauty of redemption as a gift of God’s reconciliation.
God’s grace in reconciliation: the beauty of redemption
Paul holds up Colossians 3:11 to show that this new community existing outside racial, cultural and social barriers exists because of Christ: “Christ is all, and in all.” The genius of God’s grace in reconciliation is ultimately displayed in making Christ the mediator between God and humanity, and humanity with humanity through His redemptive work on the cross.
Here’s where it starts: God has created people of diverse ethnicities for His own good pleasure. According to the Bible, the purpose of God for doing this is to gather for Himself a people from every ethnicity through faith in Christ to form them into one, eternal, multi-ethnic, worshipping community (See Rev. 5).
What’s important for us to understand is that the process of uniting believers of different ethnicities is one of the top priorities of Christ for His church, and a key part of our witness to the world. Our hearts must be raptured in joyous celebration as we consider how Christ goes about uniting believers of different ethnicities.
The process of uniting believers of different ethnicities is one of the top priorities of Christ for His church, and a key part of our witness to the world.Tweet
The Great Commission & Reconciliation
The Great Commission gives us an idea of what is the mind of Christ with regards to who is to identify with Him, those to whom His work of redemption had been accomplished: it is for all nations.
All ethnic groups stand before God as guilty whether you are in the jungle in the middle of nowhere, or in an air-conditioned New York City penthouse. To bring it closer to home, black people and white, and every other colour, people have one thing in common: sin. Historically in our country this sin has been manifested in hostility towards one another. The solution for this hostility is not political. To water our problems down to the political is akin to giving painkillers to someone with a broken arm. Pain might be numbed for a moment, though without really giving a solution.
So although the laws of Apartheid have been done away with, laws which saw people divided by colour: not being able to sit on the same bench, swim in the same pool, eat in the same restaurant, or intermarry. All those laws have been done away with, yes, but racism continues in the hearts of many individuals, even in the church.
The solution of God goes to the heart of the matter.
God deals with this by presenting Christ as the solution in two ways: first, by first dealing with our hostility with Him, which in turns deals with secondly, our hostility towards one another.
Consider Revelation 5:9-10. The new song that the four living creatures and the twenty four elders sang celebrating Christ’s work of redemption goes like this:
Worthy are you to take up the scroll and to open its seal, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.
And in Revelation 7:10 we see a great multitude that could not be numbered from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages standing before the Lord crying with a loud voice of celebration, “salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
The beauty of redemption lies in the fact that this one act of Christ has drawn all nations in the same way. There was no tailor-made-redemption for one nation and another for the other nation. Only through Christ were we all able to be made children of God.
So as a church we are to reflect this multi-ethnic vision of Christ in the present because we have been redeemed by one Lord.
Let me conclude by quoting D.A Horton:
Imagine how our culture would react if they saw believers—believers from a diversity of cultures, ethnicities, genders, generations, and socioeconomic backgrounds—serving (Gal. 5:13), receiving (Rom. 15:7), being kind (Eph. 4:32), not judging (Rom. 14:13), and caring for and suffering with one another (1 Cor. 12:25–26). Our lifestyle would match the profession of our lips as it relates to racial reconciliation. We would render our culture with no excuse for not pursuing the God who reconciled us to Him and each other.