and through him (Christ) God reconciled everything to himself. -Colossians 1:20
Last week when we looked at the verse above we focused on the word everything. I wanted to make sure you were firmly grounded in the truth that YOU are included in the word everything. Every single thing on earth has been reconciled to God through Jesus’ death on the cross. This includes you!
Now that we know we are all included, lets take a look at what it is we are actually included in.
Reconcile: to re-consecrate: (to once again make or declare sacred; set apart, or dedicated for a purpose to the service of a deity)
to restore: (to bring back to an original condition, to put back to a former place, position, or rank)
In reading the definition for the word reconcile we discover that we have been set-apart, dedicated for a purpose, and brought back to our original condition.
God has set apart many things for Himself. In a quick study of scripture, you will see, among other things, He has:
- Set apart the Jews as his own special possession
- Set apart the Levites as his royal priesthood
- Set apart cities of refuge
- Set apart the temple for worship and offering sacrifices
- Set apart the Sabbath and feast days
- Set apart Jesus for us
- Set apart US!
In Acts 26:18 Paul (still Saul at the time) has a life changing encounter with Jesus. Jesus tells him “I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.”
To be set apart means to be sanctified, or made holy. It has taken me years to comprehend (and perhaps I am still learning) that we are made holy simply by believing Jesus has made us holy. I often find myself striving and struggling to “be good”. I understand that the blood of Jesus washed my sins white as snow, but somehow after that initial cleansing it is up to me to stay white as snow.
Anyone who has found themselves trapped in this lie knows it is impossible to keep yourself white as snow. We are imperfect people living in a corrupted world. We will fall short. Daily. Trying to keep yourself holy will either lead you to a sense of failure and defeat, or even worse, a sense of self-righteousness.
We all know brothers and sisters in the Lord that have fallen into either of these traps. I myself have fallen into both. For a few years it seemed as though I vacillated between either not feeling good enough to feeling superior. Either trap is a dangerous place to live. It will make you judgmental towards yourself and others. It will rob you of peace and joy. It will take your eyes off of Jesus and place them on to yourself.
As you go about your day today I encourage you to keep your eyes on and your faith in Jesus. Trust that He has set you apart and made you holy. We do not become more like Jesus through striving in our own self efforts. We become more like Him when we spend time with Him through prayer, praise, and studying his Word. As Saul experienced, you cannot encounter the Lord and remain the same.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me. Thank you for sending your Son to sanctify me. Thank you for setting me apart and making me holy. Help me to understand that it is not up to me to be perfect, but to rest in your perfect love for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Grace, Love, and a Revelation of our Set Apart Status,