Colossians 1:20 says, “And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven”.  First of all, thank you so much for the great question!  The quick response is that the reference is to things created—man, the plants and animals, and even the ground or substance of the planet, and the heavenly bodies, such as the sun, moon, and stars. 

But I want to begin by explaining the term “reconcile.”  To reconcile means to restore friendly relations, or to balance an account; it means to restore a right relationship or to make peace. All true Christians, those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are reconciled to God.  This happens only because our Lord Jesus became a sin offering for us (II Corinthians 5:21), by shedding His precious blood for us on the cross. But the reconciliation to God only is made good for those who have believed on the Lord as their Savior, for those who have faith that His precious blood has paid the penalty or price for their sins. We read in Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ….” And, in Colossians 1:21, we read, “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled.” Thus, those who have believed on the Lord Jesus have already been reconciled to God as we see in Colossians 1:20-21. What we do not see in these passages, though, is any thought that the fallen angels, Satan and his lot, are reconciled, nor will they ever be, but the lake of fire has been set for them and for unbelievers as we see in Revelation 20:10 and 15. The only ones who are or will be reconciled to God are those who repent of their sins and turn in faith to Christ as their Savior and Lord.

But now, what about those other “things” in earth and things in heaven?  We know from the account in Genesis that when Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, and sin entered the world, the entire creation was also brought under the curse of sin.  We read in Romans 8:19-22, “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility. … For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now”.   You might look around, and it is easy to see that the animal kingdom has been impacted by sin—sickness, suffering, and death are all around us, and not in man only, but in the animals too. The cruelty and brutality of war and other actions by man, and fires, diseases, and other natural calamities impact animals just like humans. Even the very ground was cursed by the fall of man.  We read in Genesis 3:17-18, “And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field…”. Just think of the great trials of farmers all over the world, fighting pests, weeds, and dry conditions. Thousands of dollars are spent on herbicides and pesticides, fertilizers, and even so there are famines in the world in many places. And, what about the heavenly bodies?  In Job 25:5, we read, “Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in His sight”.

In Colossians 1, though, we read that the things in earth and in heaven are reconciled to Him through the blood of the cross of our Lord Jesus. This reconciliation of the things in earth and in heaven has not happened yet, but when will it take place? We have said that men and women who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior are reconciled already; but what about the animals, the ground, and the heavenly bodies? In Romans 8:19 we read, “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God”.  Those who have believed on Christ Jesus are surely the “sons of God;” but the earth does not recognize us as such.  The animals, the ground, and the stars are personified by Paul in Romans 8 as waiting for these “sons of God” to be revealed, and this will happen when the Lord Jesus returns to the earth as the King of kings, and the Lord of lords to reign in Jerusalem; and we will return with Him—this is when we will be revealed to the world as the sons of God, and this is when the inanimate creations of the world will have that curse of sin removed, and when these “things in earth and things in heaven” will be reconciled to God.

My dear friend, the important thing to know from all of this is that even though the Lord Jesus died for all, and His shed blood at Calvary paid the price for all of our sins for all time, it is not at all true that all men who have ever lived will be saved  from judgment and reconciled to God. As I have mentioned above, the shed blood of Jesus only saves those who will repent and believe on the Lord Jesus as their Savior. In John 3:16, we read, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. God loved the world so much that He gave His son to be a sin offering for all so that “whosoever believeth” in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Have you believed on the Lord Jesus as your Savior?  Are you a “child of God”? We read in John 1:12, “But as many as received Him (the Lord Jesus), to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name…”.  (419.3)  (SF)