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The Reconciliation of All Things.
#4. Col. 1: 15-22.
A study of the context.
pp. 3 - 13
Truth out of its context, like teaching outside of its dispensation, may become untruth.
One has only to think of such subjects as the sabbath, the offerings, the priesthood, the
miraculous gifts, to realize that this is so.
The study of the reconciliation, as taught in Col. 1: 15-22, must be conducted with
due regard to the limits of the epistle. If the epistle be written to an elect company of
believers by a specially appointed Apostle who claims an exclusive ministry, and if that
ministry be defined as pertaining to the church of the body, and to the dispensation of the
mystery, a ministry that fills up the Word of God, and bridges the gulf which commenced
at Acts 28:, then we must accept these restrictions, and so interpret any detail of the
epistle that it shall not transgress the spirit or the letter of these terms.
We therefore feel sure that the reader will desire a consideration of the context before
dealing with the actual verses which contain the last reference to the reconciliation.
We have seen by our study of Eph. 2: that the reconciliation, the apokatalasső, the
new word of the mystery epistles, is a step beyond the katalasső of the earlier epistles,
but must not be considered merely as a continuation, or fruition; it is quite distinct. The
reconciliation of Eph. 2: was effected between "the both," making "the both one,"
"creating of the two, one new man," "Reconciling the both in one body to God." The
setting aside of the unbelieving majority of Israel (blindness in part) had been overruled
to the blessing of the Gentiles, "the reconciling of a world"; the argument of the context
would make us see that, possibly, the complete setting aside of that people would be used
to produce a still greater blessing. This is what actually took place. The world, though
reconciled to God by the death of His Son, as a whole did not receive the reconciliation.
The distance which had been maintained ever since the threefold "giving up" and the
threefold "change" of Rom. 1: 18-32 ("change" being cognate with "reconcile") was no
longer perpetuated. God had "opened a door of faith to the Gentiles" (Acts 14: 27) by
the reconciliation (katalasső), but comparatively few "received" it.
Eph. 2: presents a deeper and fuller truth. Full and complete reconciliation has been
effected with regard to the Church of the One Body. The two opposing elements--the
Circumcision and the Uncircumcision, the Jew and the Gentile, aggravated by the
distinctions in the flesh and the ordinances of revealed religion--these opposing elements
have been completely obliterated by a new creation; the two are made one, one new man,
one body, and as such are fully reconciled to God.
Col. 1: takes us a step further, and gives the final word. Not only is it essential to the
purpose of God that the unity of the one body should be for ever secured, not only is it