(21) And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, (22) he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, (23) if indeed you 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, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
In my last post on Reconciliation, I looked at the negative side of reconciliation. The need for reconciliation implies that there is something wrong in the world. Colossians 1:21 tells us that apart from Christ, all men are “alienated” and “hostile in mind, doing evil deeds.” So the reconciliation set forth in Colossians 1:22-23 must answer how our state of being separated from God may be healed and Paul does just that.
In my last post, I asked the question, “how much of a sinner are ya?” I asked the question because I think that most people will admit that they are not perfect and would even admit, to some degree, to being a sinner. However, I think most people fail to realize just how sinful we are when seen through the eyes of the holy God who created us for His glory. So I set forth two tests to see whether you are a sinner and just how much of a sinner you are. The first was death–if you can conquer death (the curse of sin in Gen 2:17), then maybe you are not a sinner. To give you a statistic–1 out of every 1 person dies! That statistic, however, is not altogether accurate as there is one who has passed this test–Jesus Christ. The second test was a test to see how much of sinner you are. The test I proposed was this: spend one week doing nothing but praising God, living wholly and completely for the God’s maximum glory through Christ.
If you are thinking that these tests are impossible, you are absolutely right. We cannot gain right standing with God, nor do we want to (Rom 3:11), so the result is alienation–separation from the God for whom and through whom we exist! We are “hostile in mind” toward God, we are his enemies and we cannot restore ourselves to God.
The good news of the gospel, however, is that Christ has conquered our two greatest enemies through his death and resurrection! Christ passes these two tests on our behalf!
Unless you have given absolutely everything to God, you are still in sin and are alienated and hostile to God, doing evil deeds. The good news, however is that there is a man who perfectly gave everything to the Father. The good news for you and I is that though we were alienated and hostile in mind, Christ has reconciled us in his body of flesh by his death. Christ gave everything to God-he died on the cross bearing our sin, so that we might be redeemed.
He was obedient, Philippians 2:8 tells us, “to the point of death, even death on a cross.” We have done nothing to deserve God’s redemption. When Paul tells us in verse 22, that Christ has reconciled us in his body of flesh by his death, he is telling us that Christ took on real human flesh and died a real human death. Christ was just like you and I in every way only without sin (Heb 4:15). Christ perfectly obeyed the Father, he lived the life you and I simply cannot live-a life wholly and completely devoted to God. I asked you earlier if you thought you could go a week without sinning-Jesus went his whole life without sinning. And I asked you earlier if you thought you could live every second completely sold out for the glory of God if thought you could do it. Jesus did. He lived every millisecond for the glory of God-something we could never do! But the good news is that both his life and his death can be applied to your account. The good news is the mystery hidden from the ages–Christ in you the hope of glory (Col 1:27). He died for you meaning that if you believe in him, He has faced the death you should have faced. He lived the life you should have lived. He is your substitute, suffering for sin and facing the wrath of God in our place. But if Christ has wrought this regenerating work in you, the Christ is not only your substitute, but he now lives in you.
Paul has a huge view of God and his view of God is rooted deeply in the God-man Jesus Christ who created everything for His own glory and whose death and resurrection has conquered the enemy that you and are helpless to conquer. Christ has conquered sin and death.
And this reconciliation that we have through Christ’s bodily death has a purpose. Look at verse 22, “he has now reconciled [us] in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.” So all who have trusted in the gospel are now reconciled through the death of Christ in order that they might be holy and blameless before God. Hebrews 12:14 tells us that “without holiness no one may see God.” Thus in order to be truly reconciled to God, our sinful estate must be changed. We cannot remain in our hostile mind doing evil deeds and expect to go to heaven, God must intervene and change our estate if we are to stand blameless before God and be accepted into his presence on judgment day.
Thus in Christ’s reconciliation on the cross, he not only takes on our sin upon himself and pays its penalty but he also imputes or credits to us his very righteousness.
Thus Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that God has not only placed all our sin our on Christ but God has credited the very righteousness of Christ to our account. Paul says, “for our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Thus we are holy and blameless before God because Christ has died in our place and Christ is righteous in our place. So we can indeed stand holy and blameless before God because Christ took our sin and God has applied his righteousness to our account such that we are declared to be righteous before God.
Thus the first element of the purpose of our redemption is that we are declared holy before God based on Christ’s perfect life and sacrificial death on the cross. Such that when God looks on us, he does not see our sin but Christ’s righteousness applied to our account such that we can be holy and blameless in his sight.
In this post, I have looked at how Christ savingly reconciles sinner like you and me to himself. In my next post I will look at the cosmic implications of Christ’s reconciliation and how he restores the purpose for which we were created.