“and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on the earth or things in Heaven.”
All things in the universe, both sinful man and all of creation, need to be reconciled to God. When sin entered the universe, first through the rebellion of the angels (who became Satan and demons), then through Adam and Eve, the whole universe became contaminated. Now all things need to be restored and reconciled to God.
This has been done through the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. Through Him man is forgiven and restored to a right relationship with God. While this has been wonderfully provided for, it’s not applied automatically. Each individual must personally receive the offer of salvation and reconciliation by trusting Christ to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. We have “peace” with God through faith in His Son.
The offer of salvation and reconciliation is made to all, excluding the devil and his evil host of fallen angels. The outcome of their sins has already been determined (Matt 25:41; Jude 6-7). They once served in the presence of God. They personally beheld His glory and majesty and power, and still rebelled against Him. They knew the true God of the universe, and still rejected Him. Thus there is no second chance for them. They have already been judged and will suffer eternal punishment away from the presence of God, whom they once knew.
The fact that Satan and the angels who followed him into rebellion against God, have no second chance, provides a strong argument that Christians who fall away, who make a deliberate and final decision to turn away from Christ, have passed the point of no return. This is called total apostasy. I don’t believe there is opportunity for repentance for those who know Christ, but who ultimately reject Him. I don’t see how that would be any different than the situation with the devil and his angels.
Indeed, I believe that those who know Christ, who behold His glory, but who eventually turn away from Him, will die spiritually and will no longer want Him in their lives. I believe they will spend the rest of their lives seeking for something to replace Him, but of course, never finding it.
For those who believe that true born-again Christians are unable to completely turn away from Christ, how do they explain what happened to Satan and his angels, who actually lived in the presence of God (for who knows how long)?
As I already mentioned, reconciliation of all creation needs to be reconciled to God, as Romans 8:18-23 reveals. The whole of creation has been affected, or more accurately, infected, by sin, and needs to be purified. Once God’s plan for this world and for the whole universe has been accomplished, He will create a new Heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells (2 Pet 3:13). That is, He will create a whole new universe that will be totally pure, without sin.
Note: This verse is much the same as Eph 1:9-10. For further reading, please see my commentary on that passage.
“things in Heaven”
I believe this refers to those in Heaven who have already been reconciled to God through faith in His Son: “having made peace by the blood of His cross.”
“21 And you, being in time past alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works,
22 yet now has He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and unreproveable before Him.”
“enemies in your mind”
Hostile in your mind, or enemies in your attitude.
Apart from Christ, we are all separated from God by sin, and if we die in our sins, we will be forever separated. This separation from God is characterized by an “attitude of hostility” toward God. We are all enemies of God because of sin, and because of sin and separation, our heart and mind and life are all out of harmony with God. A heart and mind that is in its unregenerate state, cannot be at peace with God. The sin that separates us from God puts us at enmity with God. A heart and mind that is out of harmony with God cannot understand truth and cannot know God. The Holy Spirit needs to open our eyes of understanding. He needs to convict us of our sins and cause us to see our need for Christ. Only through faith in Him are we brought into a right relationship with God, where the wall of enmity between us is torn down, and we are thus reconciled to God.
“in your evil works”
The outworking of an unregenerate, hostile mind toward God, are evil works. Apart from Christ, our lives can only be characterized by sin. It’s not that the unregenerate cannot do good things, because they do, it’s just that they are always prone to sin. They know nothing about the will of God or about holiness. The thoughts of their mind and the philosophies they live by, are all fashioned according to the ways of this evil, Christ-rejecting world.
“He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death”
Jesus gave His body as a sacrifice for our sins. He willingly subjected His body to beatings and lashings, and ultimately, to death upon a sinner’s cross. He who was without sin, died a criminal’s death, so that we could be forgiven of our sins and brought into a right relationship with God. The cross He died on is the bridge between God and man.
“to present you holy and without blemish and unreproveable before Him.”
Separated from sin and set apart unto God.
“without blemish” (Gr. amomos – 299)
This word “was used literally of the absence of defects in sacrificial animals and figuratively of the Lamb of God as unblemished. Faultless (holy and pure). Morally blameless.”
“unreproveable” (Gr. anegkletos – 410)
“Means unaccused and goes beyond “blameless” to convey even more the idea of being “unaccusable”! It means not only that we are without blemish, but also that no one can bring a charge against us.”
These three words can only refer to our regenerate state before God. In Christ we are washed white as snow. We are given a new nature, a new heart for God, a new capacity to know God and understand the things of God. However, we’re always to be growing into our position in Christ. Just as sin and the philosophies and ways of this world characterize the unregenerate, so do these things characterize those who have been born-again as true children of God.