For if, while we were enemies we were reconciled to God. There are two words for reconciliation in Greek. One word “diallasso” means to reconcile two parties who are mutually hostile toward one another. The second word “katallasso” means to reconcile two parties where only one party is hostile toward the other. “Katallasso” is the word used for reconciliation to God. This means that it is man who is “hostile” towards God and has become rebellious by means of his inherent sin nature. It means that mankind is the enemy of God and it is man who needs to be reconciled to God.
Literally, “katallasso” means to change or to exchange (originally referring to money). It came to mean a change from being one’s enemy to being one’s friend. This is the meaning throughout the New Testament. At salvation, the believer is reconciled to God. This means that the believer is no longer God’s enemy but that peace has been made as a result of the person’s change of mind towards Christ (the true meaning of repentance). (Romans 5:10)
Reconciliation is accomplished by the removal of a barrier that exists between God and man. Once this barrier is removed, the possibility exists for peace between God and man. The barrier that separates God from man is sin. Every person is born with a sin nature, which is passed down genetically from the father. Man also possesses Adam’s original sin, which is credited to him at birth by God. It is Adam’s original sin that condemns man. Personal sins are committed because man possesses a sin nature. (Ephesians 2:14-18)
Since God can have nothing to do with sin, the “sin barrier” must be removed so that mankind can have a relationship with God. Jesus Christ is the Sin-bearer, which means that He was judged for our sin (Adam’s original sin, inherent sin and our personal sins). The judgment of sin satisfied the righteousness and justice of God. The person who by faith alone accepts Jesus Christ as his “Sin-bearer” is immediately reconciled to God, having been placed in union with Christ. This means that the believer is no longer God’s enemy, but peace now exists between this individual and God. Since God is not a “respecter of persons,” (He is impartial and unprejudiced) anyone (both Jew and Gentile) who believes in Christ as Savior (the Sin-bearer) will be reconciled to God.
What Paul shows us in Ephesians 2:14-18 is that everyone in the Church Age (from the Day of Pentecost to the Rapture) who personally believes in Jesus Christ as Savior becomes part of the body of Christ. Generally speaking, the Jews believed in one God and were very moral. The Gentiles, on the other hand, believed in many gods and were very immoral. Paul shows us that there is no distinction in the body of Christ. There is no racial distinction, no social distinction and no gender distinction. (Galatians 3:28)
Reconciliation takes place instantaneously at salvation. The results cannot be felt or seen; it takes place spiritually. Notice that Colossians 1:21 says we were “aliens and enemies in our minds.” The Greek word for enemy is “echthros” and primarily denotes hatred or hostility. The word also means adversary and is used of Satan. The Greek word for aliens is “apallotrioo” and means to be estranged from. This means that prior to salvation we were estranged from and the enemies of God. Since this hatred is in the mind, it is our thinking that needs to be transformed before and after salvation. When a person responds to the message of the Gospel, they automatically change their mind (the true meaning of repentance) from lack of faith in Christ to faith in Christ. For the believer in Christ, peace now exists between him and God and he is no longer estranged from God.
The context of Colossians 1:23 tells us that this verse is not talking about positional truth, but experiential truth. The “if” clause in verse 23 tells us that it is only potential…“maybe you will be presented blameless and maybe you won’t.” The other result of reconciliation is that the believer is now qualified for a resurrection body. Even though reconciliation takes place while we are in this body, we will be presented to Christ in our resurrection body. The believer now has the potential of being presented blameless, without reproof before Jesus Christ. The word for blameless and unreproveable in Greek is “anenkletos” and means with nothing laid to one’s charge after public investigation. It depends on whether or not you continue in doctrine (the faith), being grounded and settled in the full confidence of the Gospel.
The Greek word for grounded is “themelioo” and would be better translated foundation or founded. The Greek word for settled is “hedraios” and means seated, as in your mind. The word for continue in Greek is “epimeno” and means to remain. In other words, you will be presented with “nothing laid to your account” if you remain on track by building a foundation of accurate doctrinal truth in your mind and not sliding into reversionism.
Through the death of his Son uses the Greek word “thanatos” for spiritual death, Christ being judged for our sins by the justice of God. Christ is the source of reconciliation. One of the salvation functions of the spiritual death of Christ on the Cross was reconciliation. And God could not find in the human race in thousands of years of history one person who was qualified to go to the Cross. Help had to come from Heaven in the Person of Christ.
Much more, having been reconciled we shall be saved by his life is the second “much more” and continues the A Fortiori principle. If God can do the greater by reconciling us to Himself through the death of His Son, He can surely do the lesser by delivering us. The future tense prophesies ultimate sanctification as occurring in eternity. This could also be translated “in His life,” which would indicate that all believers receive a resurrection body minus a sin nature and human good.
And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ will give us the temporal implication of the “much more” of reconciliation. This has to do with happiness, spiritual prosperity and blessing in time. There is a permanent result of reconciliation (peace with God) and a temporal potential (peace from God). Both were secured for us by the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, there should be rejoicing by the believer for both the eternal and the temporal nature of the doctrine of reconciliation. If God can accomplish the greater permanent result of reconciliation, He can certainly accomplish the lesser temporal result of reconciliation.
Through Whom we have now received the reconciliation. Reconciliation was instantaneous and is permanently received when we believe in Christ. It is God who removes the barrier between God and man, and specifically it is the function of the integrity of God and the work of the Son of God on the Cross.
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin gives us the reason or the necessity of reconciliation. We have the principle of God’s justice imputing to us Adam’s original sin, rather than God’s justice imputing to us our personal sins. When Christ was on the Cross it was the first and only time in all of history that all personal sins in the human race were actually imputed, and they were imputed to the One Who had no sin, the Lord Jesus Christ. This imputation made it possible for God to judge those sins.
The justice of God deals with Adam (the one man) in such a way that the justice of God reserved all personal sins for the Cross. The Greek word for sin is “hamartia” and is used with the definite article. With the definite article it means “the sin” and it does not refer to personal sins nor to the sin nature; it refers to the original sin of Adam. Twice in this verse we see the Greek word “hamartia,” once for the original sin of Adam and once for the principle of personal sin.
Innocent man in the Garden of Eden did not possess the righteousness of God. The love of God was the point of reference in the Garden. Man came from the hand of God as a perfect creature with the potentiality of becoming imperfect because he possessed free will. After Adam and Eve sinned, their point of contact with God changed from His love to His righteousness and justice.
Spiritual death is the death spoken of in this verse and means lack of relationship with God. Spiritual death is divine righteousness rejecting both the principle of the sin nature [the trend] as well as the function (personal sins). Spiritual death is the justice of God judging and condemning the sin nature and its function of personal sin. Spiritual death is a barrier between God and man established by the justice of God at the time of the original sin of Adam and Eve. Spiritual death is a barrier which can be removed only by the justice of God. The removal of the barrier demands both the function of the justice of God in removing our sins when Christ was bearing them on the Cross and the imputation of divine righteousness to anyone in the human race who will believe in Christ.
Spiritual death is perpetuated through physical birth. We are born physically alive and spiritually dead. The barrier is so great that it cannot be removed by man. An act of judgment from the justice of God put the barrier there and an act of judgment from the justice of God must remove the barrier. Such was the judgment of our sins on the Cross. The justice of God judged what the justice of God had condemned. Adam’s sin was a corrupting principle which transmitted itself to the entire human race.
So death spread to all men because all sinned means that Adam is the seminal head of the human race, we were all in Adam when Adam sinned. Adam made one decision and it involved the entire human race. The decision that Adam made would have been our decision, we would not have done it any differently. Adam, when he disobeyed by eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, made a decision for the entire human race. Now each member of the human race must make a decision regarding another tree: the Cross. One man’s decision places all of us under spiritual death, but our own decision of faith in Christ provides us eternal life with God.