Colossians 1:21-23 reminds us of several powerful truths, and these truths have tremendous implications to our lives.
21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach– 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.
Truth #1: There was a time when we were God’s enemies (v. 21)
Our present condition was not good. We were estranged from God and enemies against God due to our evil deeds. It can sometimes be hard to think of everyone as an enemy of God.
- The little baby in the crib
- The 4 yr old who functions in the world through selfish motives
- The 15 yr old who tries to be kind and friendly, but whose works really are “filthy rags”
This verse is so universal and so powerful because it draws all of us to the cross and then to the importance of sharing the gospel of Christ. The people who live in your home, who you see at work, who you know from your neighborhood, who do not know Christ–are enemies of God even if they are good people. Being a socially “nice” guy never takes the place of the cross. Who is it in your circle of influence that needs to hear the gospel?
Truth #2: Jesus reconciled us through His death
I love the little words “but now.” It is a reminder that for all those who know Christ things are different. We have been reconciled. To be reconciled means to be put into a right relationship. Our relationship with God used to be described with words like “enemy” and “estranged” but now we are “sons,” “heirs,” “children,” and “friends.” Ponder with me just for a few moments the reality that you are a child of God adopted into his family with full rights.
The truth of reconciliation gets even more amazing when we see what it took to make it possible. Jesus reconciled us through his death. Wouldn’t it be simpler if he just declared us reconciled? After all, he spoke the world into existence. Wouldn’t it be simpler if he could just set a good example by living a perfect life? Simpler maybe … but not sufficient. The wrath of God needed to be appeased, and that only came from the death of Jesus.
Isn’t Christ’s ministry of reconciliation worth sharing? Isn’t it such good news that everyone should hear it?
Truth #3: We were reconciled that we might be holy, blameless, and above reproach
Jesus did not reconcile us so that we might feel valuable, so that we might feel good, so that we could live this life with confidence, or so that we might have purpose. Jesus reconciled us so that we would fulfill the mission God gave mankind from the very beginning: to represent him. He wants us holy, blameless, and above reproach. In other words, God wants us like him!
Here are three simple steps you can take in order to grow to be more holy.
- Get rid of influences in your life that take away from your Christianity. This would include things like TV, internet use, and hours upon hours of hobbies. Scripture makes it clear that where your treasure is there your heart will be also. Either you love Christ for making reconcilation possible and you are taking steps to grow, or you are greatly devaluing the work of Jesus.
- Seek to change one pattern of sinfulness. Maybe you struggle with anger, maybe you struggle with communication, or maybe you are struggling loving others. Whatever your struggle, seek this week to change one pattern of sinfulness.
- Invest in your church. Serving can be a wonderful “perspective giving” exercise. Serving people helps us remember our primary tasks. People who don’t serve long enough will normally find several things to fuss about.
Truth #4: If you are struggling in your growth it is important to ensure you are genuinely saved.
Verse 23 provides a bit of a warning – becoming holy, blameless, and above reproach is not an option. God is in the business of making all of his children like him. Therefore, when one is really struggling, at least one question (not the only one of course) that is helpful to ask is whether he has ever truly come to Christ. If this is you, I want to encourage you to repent of your sin and trust Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.
Colossians 1:21-23 is a wonderful reminder that Christ’s ministry of reconciliation was designed not simply to give me eternal life or to make a personal relationship with God possible, but also to make me like him: holy, blameless, above reproach.