For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:19-20)
The dominant version of “the gospel” preached today goes something like this: Jesus came to save us from our sins.
Every word of this “abridged gospel” is gloriously true. But it is tragically incomplete. Because while Christ certainly came to “seek and save the lost” (see Luke 19:10), he didn’t just come to seek and save lost souls. As today’s passage reminds us, he came to redeem “all things,” spiritual and material in Act 3 of The Unabridged Gospel.
But somehow this lie has entered modern Christian thinking that, as the popular saying goes, “The only two things that last for eternity are God’s Word and people.”
Can I be real a second? This phrase boils my blood for two reasons.
First, it heretically diminishes the power of Christ’s death and resurrection. Because, as we’ve seen throughout The Unabridged Gospel, God deemed all things—spiritual and material—to be “very good” in Act 1 of the biblical narrative (see Genesis 1:31). Satan and sin broke all things—spiritual and material—in Act 2 (see Genesis 3:1-19). And God promised that a Redeemer would one day “crush” Satan’s head and win back every square inch of God’s good world (see Genesis 3:15). And so, as theologian Dr. Steven Lawson so pointedly says, “If redemption does not go as far as the curse of sin,” in Act 3, “then God has failed.”
Do you see how dangerous it is to say “the only two things that last for eternity are God’s Word and people”? To say that is to inadvertently accuse Jesus of being a loser rather than Lord. But Christ is not the loser—Satan is! Because at the Resurrection, Christ rose from the grave as the indisputable Victor, Redeemer, and Lord over every square inch of creation.
Here’s the second reason why this popular phrase makes me so angry: it blocks our ability to see the full extent of how our work matters for eternity. If “God’s Word and people” are the only things that aren’t going to “burn up” in the end, then your work only has value when you leverage it to some instrumental and “spiritual” end like sharing the gospel or donating money to your church.
But because Christ’s death and resurrection was sufficient to redeem all of creation—spiritual and material—you can be confident that your work with the material world—typing on aluminum MacBooks, architecting parks, and growing businesses—must have intrinsic value to God. Because Christ’s blood paid to redeem it all!
With that in mind, submit all of your tasks—spiritual and material—to Christ’s lordship today!
P.S. Today’s devotional barely scratches the surface of what Christ’s victory means for your work today. I go much deeper in my new book, The Sacredness of Secular Work, where you’ll learn:
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