For all the fullness was pleased to dwell in him; and through him to reconcile all things to himself, by him, whether things on the earth, or things in the heavens, having made peace through the blood of his cross. You, being in past times alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works, yet now he has reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without defect and blameless before him, if it is so that you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the Good News which you heard, which is being proclaimed in all creation under heaven; of which I, Paul, was made a servant.(Colossians 1:19-23, emphasis added)
Paul is writing to the church he helped found in Colosse near Ephesus. Like the congregation in Galatia the people were being swayed by men to abandon the truth of their faith. Traditions, rites and rituals infiltrated the church there, consequently, false doctrines were rising in prominence. Paul instructs the faithful to recall the “mystery” revealed to them. God is pleased with the work of Christ on the Cross. Everything has been covered in the Savior’s blood and peace abounds.
There are some alive today who have not heard the Gospel. Verse 23 dismisses that assertion because “…the gospel you heard…has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven.” How that may have been fulfilled I cannot say. I can say with absolute certainty that Christ Jesus said, “It is finished.” “All creation” has received the Gospel. It has been proclaimed to “all creation under heaven.” “The Blessed Hope” is somehow passed to all generations. “All creation” receives the gospel and “every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the Glory of the Father.” What good news! What a Gospel!
Notice Paul declares himself to be a minister of the Gospel of Christ. He never alludes to the traditionalist doctrine of eternal conscious torment. Men and traditions manufacture that doctrine from thin assumptions and questionable interpretations. God is Christ Jesus. Scripture records here that “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” in Him. “All” of God was in Christ Jesus “to reconcile to Himself all things.” The Father in Christ Jesus. The Father’s plan is fulfilled in Christ Jesus. “All things” are reconciled to the Father through Christ Jesus. The plain meaning of these scriptures is easily understood.
We sin because of the fallen state of the world. None of us is ever free of sin. We live sin or we feel sin or we think sin. Sin is all around us. These scriptures teach we can say with confidence we are “reconciled in His body of flesh by His death.” The degree of our sin does not change the fact that “by His death” we will be given to the Father “holy and blameless.” We, all of us, “all things” will be “above reproach before” the Father because Christ Jesus reconciles all things. We must also “…continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven….” Who can claim they have been every moment of every day “stable and steadfast?” I dare say, none. Who among us has not fallen away “…from the hope of the gospel that…” we heard? I dare say “all things” fall short.
Universal reconciliation embraces these scriptures as literally true. Other doctrines dispute that conclusion. In order for any of those to be true they alter the plain meaning of scripture. Those doctrines conclude not “all things” will be reconciled to God. Only a few things will be deemed righteous, blameless and holy. Mr. Sprenger asks, “How could Paul state it any more clearly!?”
Universal reconciliation requires that all things are reconciled to Him and that He is able to persuade unrepentant, rebellious people with His overwhelming love. This is Impartial Grace.