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Colossians 1:21-23
The Peace Offering
Paul has shown the Colossians the position of the Son, from the Father’s perspective, as the One through
whom all of the Father’s purposes are being realized, for His creation; and particularly for mankind. As the
One through whom God brought forth His creation, and the new creation, the sons of God, the Son has
preeminence in all things.
The Son came to the earth in human form, in all the fullness of God – in all of His righteousness. That
righteousness was availed to men through the Son’s work on the cross, so that men could have peace with
God, and receive His life – Eternal Life. And for each one who makes the choice to receive the work of the
Son, on their behalf – by believing into Him – that one is reconciled to God, for he has accepted God’s
peace terms – the cross.
As Paul continues, he will now write of the ones in Colosse, who have done exactly that.
[Read Colossians 1:21-23]
Paul is speaking of those in the Colossian assemblies who have genuinely believed into Christ. He shows
their past and their present standing with God, in stark contrast to each other.
And Paul indicates what has wrought this great change, for them; the fact that God has reconciled them
each personally to Himself through the death of His Son – a reconciliation that came to them, through their
faith.
Paul then completes this statement by indicating that their current faith is evidence of this new standing that
they have, with God.
Let’s go back now and look a little more closely at what Paul is saying.
v. 21-22 “And you”. Paul now brings the reconciliation that God has wrought through His Son on the
cross to bear upon the Colossian believers, personally.
There are some things about the past that we should not revisit, such as our sins. After all, they have been
taken away; why would we revisit them?
But this is the kind of thing that cannot be revisited often enough; to consider just what God has done for
us, personally, in Christ. It causes us to recognize His presence and His sovereignty over our lives; to
acknowledge His powerful influence, in our lives; and to realize just how much He loves us; each one of
us, particularly. Here we find the motivation, for our walk to be worthy of the Lord; in the love of God, for
us.
There was a time when you were alienated from God. God was a stranger to you. And you were born that
way; estranged from God, since the moment you entered this world.
How much do you think about a stranger? Just about not at all, right? And how much do you know about a
stranger? Really, nothing. You don’t know them personally; you don’t know what they do; and you
certainly don’t know why they do what they do. And further, you don’t care. Who cares about a stranger?
It’s as if they don’t exist.

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And that’s how you were with God. You didn’t give Him much thought, and didn’t know a thing about
Him. In fact, you had a lot of incorrect notions about Him; in your imagination, and often through religion,
you made Him what He isn’t.
And as far as His influence in your life, you didn’t recognize Him, either. You seemingly lived your own
life, independent of Him. God had no part in what you thought, decisions you made, and actions you took.
For you, it was as if God did not exist.
But He does exist, doesn’t He? And you were no stranger to Him; He knew you – through and through. It’s
just that you didn’t know Him.
Not only did you not know God, you were at enmity with Him; an enemy of God, where? In your mind.
The mind, in verse 21, is meant to be taken here as the entire inner man; the heart of man. Yours was at
enmity with God.
But you would never have described yourself as an enemy of God, would you? Perhaps indifferent to Him;
as one is indifferent to a stranger; but surely not an enemy. An enemy is one who is in conflict with
another. That would mean that they have opposing wills, wouldn’t it?
You have always had your own motives and will; you didn’t know the will of God, because you were a
stranger to God; and you wouldn’t have done His will, even if you did know it. Why not? Because of
lawlessness; it was bound up in your heart. You were always motivated by self-love, which is diametrically
opposed to the love of God. So you were indeed at enmity with Him.
Your wicked works bore this out. Everything you did was for yourself; to fulfill your own selfish desires,
out of love for yourself. Nothing was done in obedience to God, to be pleasing to Him. And nothing was
ever really done for others, either, purely out of love for them, and for their good. It always came back to
you – to your love of yourself.
There you were, a creation of God, who deliberately refused to do His will, choosing to do your own will,
instead. The creation, in rebellion against its Creator, manifesting the lawlessness in your heart, through
your wicked works. That made you an enemy of God, and subject to His condemnation.
Where is the hope in this? It is not to be found within the creation. That creation has no hope, in being
without God, in the world (Eph 2:12).
And in yourself, there was no hope. No hope of improving yourself, so that God would accept you; for you
couldn’t change your lawless heart. No prospect of resolving your enmity against God, and making peace
with Him; because you couldn’t lay down your will. And so, no possibility, in yourself, of evading that
condemnation you were under, due to sin. In yourself, it was hopeless.
But still for you, there was hope. Where was the hope? The hope was in God, and in God alone. Men
could not help themselves; but God had provided all the help they need.
God had to give men a hope; the hope of eternal Life (Titus 1:2). God had to be the One to initiate, offering
men the hope they need, which means it was His desire to give them this hope – out of love for them. And
God also had to be the One to realize the hope; to do what was necessary, so that the hope was secured, for
men; for you.

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How did God give men a hope? By reconciling men to Himself. This is the same word which we have
seen in verse 20, meaning to establish a relationship of peace with one who is hostile; an enemy. You were
the hostile one; the stranger, from God; the enemy. God reconciled you to Himself; He made peace for
you, with Himself.
In this, we see that whereas we are the ones who are at enmity with God, He and He alone can reconcile us,
bringing us into fellowship with Himself, as friends, into a relationship of peace with Him.
And how did God do this? Paul had said before, through the blood of the cross – the cross of His Son
(v. 20). But now, Paul words it somewhat differently. He indicates the God has reconciled men in the body
of His flesh – speaking of the human body of His Son – through death.
The fact that Paul had just previously said this was God’s means of reconciling men, and that he is saying it
again here, particularly in regard to the Colossian believers, shows that Paul is giving this emphasis, as the
means of reconciliation – their reconciliation.
What we see is that Paul is stressing how the peace was made – through physical death – through the blood
of the flesh body in which the Son dwelt on earth, being shed.
How did the death of the Son create peace? The death of the utterly righteous Son of God, as a sacrifice
offered in the stead of sinful men, satisfied God’s justice, concerning sin.
United to Christ by faith, the believer was washed from his sins in the blood of Jesus Christ, removing his
offense against God, which formerly stood as an insurmountable obstacle between him and God.
The cause of the enmity was completely dealt with, at the cross; sin in the flesh was judicially condemned
(Rm 8:3), so that those who had been under condemnation could be free – free to be at peace with God.
You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit
of our God (1 Cor 6:11).
Clearly, Paul intends to enlighten the Colossians here that the fact that the Son came in bodily form did not
in any way diminish Him as God – as some of them were inclined to believe. Nor was His death at the
hands of wicked men outside of the determined purposes of God (Acts 2:23).
In fact, nothing less than this was required in order for God to accomplish His purpose of reconciliation, for
men. And nothing more than this was needed. There is one God and one Mediator between God and men –
the Man Christ Jesus (1 Tim 2:5). His was a complete work.
How complete was it? Paul went on to show what the reconciliation accomplished for men – for the
Colossian believers – and for you. God reconciled men in order to present them holy, blameless and above
reproach.
Both the word “reconciled” and the word “present” are one-time actions, in the Greek, and they are joined
together, by Paul’s language, here. Speaking in terms of time, we were reconciled at one point of time in the
past, in order to be presented to God - also at one point in time, but future.
Notice how Paul ends his thought – to present you holy, and blameless, an above reproach in His sight.
This is God’s perspective, on the work at the cross. From the eternal perspective, it was all finished, in that
moment. He sees those who have believed into Christ as standing before Him, perfect and complete.

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They are holy; completely set apart to God, for His purposes. They are blameless; without any spot or
blemish of sin. And they are above reproach; there is not one accusation against them. And that is our
standing, in Christ.
That standing gives us security, with God – which is what Paul writes of next.
v. 23 This verse begins with the little word “if”. There are two words regularly translated “if” in the
Greek. One denotes uncertainty, but the other does not communicate any doubt. This word is the latter,
translated fully here “if indeed”, and it means “since”.
Based on this we need to clear up what Paul is NOT saying. He is NOT saying that if you continue in the
faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you have heard,
you will continue to be reconciled with God. That would make reconciliation dependent on you – which it
is not; and it would make reconciliation conditional – which it is not.
Reconciliation is what God has done for the believer, in the past; it is a completed work. Continuing in the
faith is what believers are doing, in the present; it is their ongoing work. Which came first? First a person
believes, and is reconciled by God; and then as a believer, he continues in the faith – the faith of Jesus
Christ.
So what Paul is saying here pertains to those who have truly believed. The fact that they are continuing in
the faith demonstrates that they have been reconciled to God; it demonstrates that they truly believed into
Christ, in the first place.
Since that is true, they are grounded; meaning they have been established upon a foundation. What is the
foundation? Jesus Christ (1 Cor 3:11).
And they are steadfast; this means they are fixed in place. And of course, that is true of each believer; as a
living stone, they are built up on that sure foundation stone, Christ (1 Pet 2:4-5).
This means they cannot be moved. Moved from what? From the hope of the gospel which they heard. In
believing the truth, they have taken it in; and the truth has become part of them. The truth is inseparable
from them, as believers. They are in Christ, and so their hope – of Eternal Life – is secure.
Paul is laying this out as a standard by which the Colossians can measure themselves. Is this true for them?
If they have genuinely believed into Jesus Christ, they would not be moved away from the hope of the
gospel, which was preached to them by Epaphras – and now by Paul.
The Holy Spirit within them would be leading them into all truth (Jn 16:13). They would not be tossed to
and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine (Eph 4:14), as some had been, with this false
teaching in Colosse. They needed to examine themselves; whether they truly are in the faith (2 Cor 13:5).
For those who have truly believed, the firmness of their standing is based on what God has done, in Christ,
and it is therefore completely and absolutely secure. But the believer’s understanding of Christ’s work
determines how secure he perceives himself to be. If the believer sees it from God’s perspective, he
understands he is completely secure – and he lives accordingly.
So we are going to take a look at another letter of Paul’s in which he clarifies the certainty of the believer’s
hope. Turn to Romans chapter 5. Here Paul is beginning to discuss the ramifications of the believer having
been justified by faith.

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[Romans 5:1-11]
v. 1-2 Here is heaven’s view of us. United to Christ by faith, our sin was imputed to Jesus as our
substitute, and His righteousness was imputed to us. In this way, all of the charges of sin that were against
us have been dropped, and we were justified. With the obstacle of sin removed, we now have peace with
God – we are reconciled to Him.
And it is by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ that we now have our standing in grace – we stand before God
holy, blameless, above reproach.
The idea of standing denotes security and permanence – we have been conveyed into the Kingdom of the
Son of God’s love, where Grace reigns – and God having placed us there, we cannot be removed from His
Kingdom.
No one can snatch us from His hand (Jn 10:28-29); nothing can separate us, from the love of God, which is
in Christ Jesus, our Lord (Rm 8:39). And in that place, we have the absolutely certain hope of being
glorified – it is as good as done. We rejoice in the finished work of Christ.
v. 3-4 This gives us the ability to rejoice, even through the trials of our earthly course. With our eyes fixed
on our certain hope, we have the ability to stay under the load, which in turn works the pure character of
our Lord into us – fitting us on the inside, within our inner man, for that body of glory that is reserved in
heaven for us (1 Pet 1:4).
Paul is bringing out that from both the heavenly and earthly view of our salvation, we arrive at the same
place – at that know-so hope, as a glorified, ever-living son of God. Paul continues to speak of this hope.
v. 5-8 Paul is showing two reasons why we can be absolutely sure of this hope of glory. One reason is
because we are continually being reassured by the Holy Spirit within us that the Father really, truly does
love us. He shows us the Father’s love for us, through all the circumstances, of our lives – if we will look
to see it.
And the other reason we can be certain of our future hope is because of the immeasurable demonstration of
the Father’s love for us – He sent His precious Son to die for us – while we were still sinners – completely
undeserving of it.
His love for us is not in any way conditioned on what we do, or what we have done. So this is love, that
will not ever, ever disappoint; God will see us through to the end; because He is Love.
v. 9-10 These two verses look to the future, for the believer. God’s great love, which He demonstrated in
Christ, has eternal ramifications, for the believer. Because the believer is completely and forever freed
from sin, he will not experience the final judgment of men in the flesh, at the Great White Throne.
And because the believer has been reconciled to God, and is at peace with Him, he is assured that he will be
saved in the Life of the Son.
What does this mean? The believer has received the Life of the Incorruptible Seed, Christ, which will one
day bear the fruit of an ever-living body, like unto His Lord’s; a body in which He will be enabled to dwell
in God’s presence, forever. His reconciliation will then be fully experienced as oneness with God; perfect
unity and intimacy; for he will be of the same kind, as His Lord; conformed to His glorious image.

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v. 11 Paul is bringing out that even though we are not yet in our bodies of glory, in the presence of the Lord,
we experience that unity and peace with God even here and now, on earth, through the Holy Spirit.
Through Christ, we can come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to
help in time of need (Heb 4:16).
[Return to Colossians 1]
As Paul described the Son’s work of reconciliation, he may have had in his mind a particular offering,
which was given to the children of Israel.
In verse 22, we find some language which is used for offerings: there is the sacrifice of the Son, described;
then, the word “holy”, which is used to indicate an offering that is consecrated – dedicated to God. Also,
“blameless” is a technical word used to designate the absence of anything which would render a sacrifice
unworthy to be offered. And of course, an offering is “presented” to God, as an act of worship.
If Paul did have an offering in mind, it would most certainly have been the peace offering. This was one of
the primary offerings described in the book of Leviticus for the children of Israel, which were to serve as an
expression of their worship to the LORD.
Each of these offerings picture a unique facet of the person and the work of the Coming One. There were
five primary offerings. The first three – the burnt offering, the meal offering, and the peace offering – were
considered sweet savor offerings, by which the offerer came before God for acceptance as a worshiper.
The last two offerings – the sin offering and the trespass offering –were considered non-sweet savor
offerings. These pictured some aspect of sin, and sin is an offense against God – sin is not a sweet
fragrance to Him. Through the non-sweet savor offerings, the offerer came before God with the offering
bearing the penalty for his sins.
In each of these offerings, there is the worshiper – the one who is bringing the offering; there is the offering
itself, the prescribed animal or grain offering; and there is the one who presents the offering before the
LORD – the priest, a son of Aaron.
In the ceremony of worship, these were, of course, three separate entities; but in the fulfillment of what
they pictured, all three represent Christ. Christ brought Himself to the earth, to be offered to the LORD; He
became the offering, in the stead of men; and as High Priest He presented the offering to the LORD –
Himself – for the LORD’s acceptance.
So as a sweet-savor offering, the children of Israel brought the peace offering, seeking the LORD’s
acceptance of them as worshipers of Him. Let’s look at this in more detail, back in Leviticus chapter 3.
We’ll be looking at just the offering from the herd, which gives us the main ideas.
[Leviticus 3:1-5]
v. 1 The worshiper was to bring his offering of the herd –a bull or a cow – which are animals that labor for
man. The offering from the herd had to be without blemish – an offering without any defect – in order to
be acceptable to the LORD.
In like manner, the Sinless Son of God took the form of a bondservant, coming in the likeness of men (Phil
2:7), in order to labor on the cross to obtain peace with God, for men.

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v. 2 The worshiper laid his hand on the head of the animal to be sacrificed, to picture the animal being
offered in his stead. In this case, the worshiper was the one who slew the animal. Then the priests
sprinkled all the blood on the altar – the altar of burnt offering.
This altar pictures the cross. The author to the Hebrews wrote of Christ, “But this Man, after He had offered
one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God” – His work finished – “For by one
offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Heb 10:12-13).
As the worshiper, the Man Jesus willingly gave Himself in order for men to be reconciled to God. As the
priest, He sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice, on the cross, as the Mediator for men. And as the offering,
the blood that He sprinkled was His own.
v. 3-4 The worshiper offered the kidneys of the animal to the LORD. The kidneys are deeply seated organs,
in the body, and so represent the innermost thoughts and motives.
In the very being of His spirit, through His earthly course and into death, Christ surrendered Himself
entirely to His Father’s will, to become the perfect peace-maker.
All of the fat of the animal was offered up to the LORD. The fat is the source of energy for the animal. As
food, it is also the richest part of the animal, making it the most satisfying, to the body.
What we see in this is all of the efforts of Christ; all of His vigor expended, in order to reconcile man to
God – and that this was utterly satisfying to His Father, in heaven.
v. 5 The peace offering was made by fire to the LORD on the altar. The prophet Malachi tells us that the altar
is the table of the LORD; the sacrifices are His food (Mal 1:12).
The fire of God’s holiness searched the peace offering, and found it to be absolutely perfect. Christ as the
peace offering was a sweet-savor, fully pleasing to God. The prophet Isaiah declared of God concerning
Christ, “He shall see the labor of His soul and be satisfied” (Is 53:11).
Notice that the kidneys and the fat of the peace offering were placed upon the burnt sacrifice, which had
been placed upon the wood.
The burnt offering, in which body of the entire animal was offered up to the LORD, represented the
consecrated life of Christ, which He lived in perfect righteousness.
And as the Son willingly expended the vigor of that life upon the wood of the cross, He was obedient to
death, and thereby made peace for us.
But there is more to be learned about the peace offering. Chapter 7 gives additional details, concerning it.
And there we learn what happened to the rest of the animal, that was not sacrificed by fire to the LORD.
The flesh of the sacrifice of the peace offering was to be eaten by the worshiper (Lev 7:15-17); and also,
Aaron and his sons were to receive a portion from the children of Israel, for their food; the breast, and the
right thigh (Lev 7:30-35). And nothing was to remain; if it was not eaten, it was to be burned with fire (Lev
7:15-17).

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This is the unique quality of the peace offering, apart from all the other offerings; that the LORD, and the
worshiper, and the priest were all fed by it. They all found satisfaction, in the offering; in a sense, they all
partook of it, together.
Now, in that the worshiper and the priest also picture Christ, what is the significance of this? As the
worshiper, it means that Christ was pleased to make the offering of Himself. Jesus said, “My food is to do
the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (Jn 4:34).
And as the priest, Christ was completely satisfied with His work of mediation between God and man; for
having once offered up Himself, He is now able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through
Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Heb 7:25); a completely satisfying result.
So we see both Father and Son, partaking of the peace offering, satisfied in it. But what of us? In what
way are we included in the peace offering – that we may have peace with God?
Christ is all – worshiper, sacrifice, priest. The peace was realized solely between Father and Son – and they
are both satisfied with the result. But that peace was for our sake. And so they extend it to us.
We enter into that peace by faith. United to Christ in His death, Christ Himself becomes our peace (Eph
2:14). And as we partake of what has so satisfied the Father and the Son – we too, at last, find satisfaction
of heart.
[Return to Colossians 1]
As we look once again at the language which Paul uses here, we see the peace offering – the reconciliation
accomplished through the flesh body of Jesus, sacrificed in death.
But what does Paul indicate is presented? “You” – the Colossian believers – and all those who have
believed. We are offered up to the Lord, a consecrated, spotless offering. How can this be? Because by
faith, we are accepted in the Beloved (Eph 1:6). Our reconciliation with God is complete.
Having been reconciled through the death of Christ, we, as the royal priesthood of Christ (1 Pet 2:9), now
partake of the peace offering – as the sons of Aaron had.
Do you remember what part was given to the priests, for food? The breast and the right thigh. In the breast
is the heart, the seat of love; and in the right thigh is the power of a righteous walk.
In the body, food become fuel, doesn’t it? The fuel to live. As we partake of the love and the righteousness
of Christ, in fellowship with the Father and the Son, our hearts are completely satisfied. And this then
becomes the strength upon which we draw to live our righteousness, in love.
As priests, whose ministry is reconciliation, we are now enabled to offer to others the very peace by which
our hearts have been so satisfied. We lay before them God’s peace terms – the cross – so that they too can
lay down their arms, and find rest for their souls.
Reading: Acts 10, 11:1-18, Eph 1:1-5, 2:1-3, 3:1-7