Colossians 1:19-20 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (NIV)
Paul simply states in the above verses what I have always believed and experienced as a Christian. Without the Cross, I could not be forgiven. Without Christ’s blood, I could never be reconciled to God.
This candid sentence in Paul’s Letter to the Colossians makes it perfectly clear: the Cross was not an accident; it was fully intended to be used by God to reconcile us to Him. It was not a mistake; it was a divine instrument of God’s mercy and grace. We look at the Cross and experience the horror that Jesus endured. We know that we put Him there, so it makes us feel uncomfortable, self-loathing, and ashamed.
We would rather it was a mistake because we wouldn’t feel that our sins had wounded Him. We would happily accept it as an accident because we would be able to cast the Cross aside and simply approach God without any boundaries or barriers. But the Cross is there to remind us that we are sinful creatures, forbidden to enter God’s Holy Kingdom without the shameful Cross of Christ and the sacrificial blood of Jesus.
As post-modern people and 21st century idealists we want things to go our way, be what we wish, and embrace our own understanding. However, as Paul writes elsewhere, the Cross becomes a stumbling block in the way of our wisdom, and the foolishness of God is infinitely above the cleverness of people. If we want to be with God after we die, we need to come to the Cross before we die. If we wish to enter into the glorious Kingdom of God at the last, we need to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus first. There is simply no other way, nor can we ever find another truth to gain us everlasting life.
Questions for personal reflection
What does Christ’s Cross mean to me? How has Christ’s blood reconciled me to God?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, being a Christian is never easy or comfortable. We have to make hard decisions and a personal commitment to You. We want eternal life and to go to Heaven after we die. Help us to both understand and embrace the divine fact that we cannot do this on our own. We need Your Cross to convict us; we require Your blood to cleanse us. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to send him an email, feel free to do so at Traqair@aol.com.
Toda’s image is one of John’s Good Friday drawings called “Outside.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click this link: Outside.