Archive for December 2009

The Reconciliation of All Things

December 31, 2009

And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven (Colossians 1:20).

Even though the Bible is a book specifically about the details of human redemption, Paul’s unequivocal testimony is to the reconciliation of “all things” that have been alienated from God – not just man. To this Peter is called, by Divine Revelation, to confirm “the restitution of all things” (Acts 13:21).

According to Paul, “all things” will be reconciled to God – “all things … in earth” and “all things … in heaven.” We know what is alienated in the earth that needs to be reconciled to God; but what about “in heaven”? What is alienated there that is in need of reconciliation? Why, Satan and the fallen celestial powers, of course!

Satan[1] and the fallen celestial powers are exactly what the backdrop of Colossians 1:20 includes. Listen to Paul, just a few verses earlier –

all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers (:16).

Again, it is clear revelation given to Paul that there will be a reconciliation of “all things” – all things that have been alienated. The context is abundantly clear – the “all things created” ARE the “all things” RECONCILED.

Specifically included here in the “all things” are the exact same adversaries – the “principalities” and “powers” – against which we currently wrestle according to Ephesians 6:11-12. God says that they, too, will be reconciled. God will leave no corner of His vast and wonderful universe outside of His unfailing love.

Therefore, the context of the reconciliation of Colossians chapter one plainly includes Satan and the fallen celestial powers. Oh, the great grace, love and mercy of God that are abundantly demonstrated and magnified in the full extent of their reach – even to the reconciliation of Satan and fallen celestial powers.

Paul repeats these gloriously triumphant truths in Ephesians 1:10:

That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him.

Again you will notice the context of “heaven” and “earth.” This dual sphere is also repeated in Philippians 2:10-11:

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

This reconciliation is truly universal! No creature will be left out. Nothing will be left alienated or unreconciled to God. There will be an entire, universal “restoration of all things.”

For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things … (Romans 11:36).

And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him Who put all things under Him, that God may be All in all (I Corinthians 15:21-28).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2008, 2009

[1]i.e., “the Adversary.” The Hebrew word “Satan,” Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon #7854, means “an opponent” and is also translated “adversary” in the Hebrew Scriptures. The Greek Satanas is of Chaldee origin, Strong’s Greek Lexicon #4567, meaning “the accuser.”

Nothing Will Be Lost

December 30, 2009

When they were filled, He said unto His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost (John 6:12).

After our Lord Jesus Christ miraculously had fed the “five thousand,”[1] there was still food remaining. He had made provision beyond the present time; and instructed His disciples to collect the leftovers so “that nothing be lost.”

Albert Barnes (1798–1870), in his commentary of Scripture, wrote regarding this account:

It shows the care of Jesus that there should be no waste. Though He had power to provide any quantity of God, yet He has here taught us that the bounties of Providence are not to be squandered. In all things the Savior set us an example … If He was thus saving, it becomes us dependent creatures not to waste the bounties of a beneficent Providence … The loaves and fishes created by the Savior were His gift … not given them to waste … Everything should be applied to its appropriate end, and nothing should be squandered or lost.[2]

What rich lessons we learn from the earthly life and ministry of our precious Savior. He was here revealing the true nature and character of our Father; and what a simple and yet far-reaching principle we learn here: the heart of the Father is “that nothing be lost.”

Indeed, this “that nothing be lost” truth was the very theme of the parables of lost things in Luke chapter 15: the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son (the “Prodigal”).

Notice the result of Jesus’s instruction to His disciples to gather the remains:

Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them who had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, “This is of a truth that Prophet Who should come into the world” (John 6:13-14).

It is amazing just what remained – “twelve baskets” full – “over and above.” This “remainder” was a vital part of the miracle! For the Scripture states that after they had gathered up the remains, “Then … when they had seen the miracle.”

The darkened human mind, wayward society and culture, and the influence of religious systems of this world have kept the genuine character and nature of the Father from us. The Lord Jesus Christ came to correct this by revealing the Father Himself to us. Everything about the Son of God was an unveiling of the true God. For indeed, “… God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself …” (II Corinthians 5:19).

The Lord Jesus Christ’s very words, life, death, resurrection and ascension were but a manifestation of the Father. The “Feeding of the Five Thousand” was no exception.

The greatest miracle of the universe is not that God has only made provision to meet the currently perceived need of salvation of mankind now, but that all that “remains” at the end will be “gathered up” unto God for His glory, so “that nothing be lost.”

The salvation that we presently experience and enjoy is just the first part of God’s great plan of redemption. We are but the “first-trusters;”[3] the “first-fruit”[4] of His full harvest. There will be no waste of any of God’s creation. He created nothing in vain, thus ultimately none of His bounty will be squandered or lost. The “remainder will be “gathered up” unto the Father, in His culmination of “all things”!

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2008, 2009

[1]5,000 men, not counting the women and children (Matthew 14:21).
[2]Barnes’ Notes on the Old and New Testaments (Gospel of John).
[3]“That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ” (Ephesians 1:12).
[4]In every harvest there is that small portion of the crop that matures early, before the vast majority of the rest. The firstfruits are a token of that which is to come – the full harvest. Under the Old Testament economy the firstfruits belonged to God, and were holy unto Him. In every generation, and in every place, God has had His firstfruits; those that come to harvest earlier than the rest. What a blessed privilege to be the firstfruits of the Lord. Thus just as God has brought us to faith, so He too will bring all the rest of His creation. “… My wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ” (Romans 16:5). “Of His own will begat He us with the Word of Truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures” (James 1:18).

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