To proclaim salvation by any other means than through faith in the vicarious death of Christ is to ignore the plan of God, to discount the holiness of God, to minimize man’s sin, and to deny many specific declarations of Scripture, among them this text: “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself” (Col. 1:19, 20a).
“For it pleased the Father.” With these words, Paul introduces a mystery so profound, so full of love, and so exemplary of grace that we must surely remove our shoes in order to tread on this holy ground. Paul tells us that the Father has been pleased with two circumstances. First, it pleased the Father that all the fullness of the Godhead belong to Christ. Christ was not an emanation from God nor a lowly emissary. He was not God’s representative. Nor was He fractionally God. Paul announces that, according to God’s pleasure, Jesus Christ was fully God. Second, it pleased the Father to reconcile all things to Himself by Christ, His eternal Son, who was fully God, and in whom the Father was well pleased. That reconciling work that it pleased the Father that His Son perform, was not an effortless work like creation, requiring merely that Christ speak something into being at no cost to Himself whatsoever. (For creation of the universe cost God nothing.)
“Having made peace through the blood of his cross.” No, this work, which the Father was pleased to require of the Son in whom He delighted, cost Christ everything. He laid aside His glory, His honor, His power, His authority, and His privileges as God. And “he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8). Christ gave His all, and when He had suffered, had given His all, and had paid the full price for sin, He gave up the ghost.
In so doing, Christ “made peace [with God] through the blood of his cross.” As helpless sinners, we were “alienated and enemies” of God (Col. 1:21). It was God’s holiness that needed to be upheld; it was God’s justice that needed to be satisfied. But as sinners, we did not have the means to do either one. And so “it pleased the Lord to bruise him [Christ]; he [God] hath put him [the Son] to grief . . . . He [God] shall see of the travail of his [Christ’s] soul, and shall be satisfied” (Isa. 53:10,11). Yes, here we are treading on holy ground, but we are also treading on shouting ground!
Christ made peace with God once for all through the blood of His cross. By the shed blood of Christ God was propitiated, and by His shed blood man can be reconciled to God so that we may be presented “holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (Col. 1:22). Such is the quality of the peace provided by the shed blood that God can look upon a believing sinner and find no cause for blame or occasion to reprove him. In fact, such is the nature of that peace that the sinner is holy in the sight of God—holy with the very holiness of Christ Himself. Once we feared God’s wrath and awaited His judgment, but in Christ we feel the warmth of God’s smile and the joy of His approbation.
Peace was purchased when Satan, sin, and eternal death were defeated by Christ as He poured out His blood on behalf of lost sinners. What man would dare bring his paltry works to God as a valid substitute for the spilled blood? Who would dare to think that a certificate of membership or the performance of an ordinance could provide peace with God? Here is grace: “peace through the blood of his cross.”
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