Thursday, October 14, 2021

2021.10.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 1:21–23

Read Colossians 1:21–23

Questions from the Scripture text: About whom does the apostle now speak (Colossians 1:21)? What was their previous status toward God? In the mind? How did they come to be alienated and enemies in the mind? What has God now done to them? In what have they been reconciled (Colossians 1:22)? What three conditions result from this reconciliation? Whose sight assesses this holiness, blamelessness, and being above reproach? In what must they continue, in order to be thus sanctified (Colossians 1:23)? What two conditions does this faith produce? From what does this faith keep believers from moving away? To whom does the apostle say this gospel has preached? Who is a minister (servant) of this gospel?

The apostle has been proclaiming Christ as the everlasting God in both creation (Colossians 1:15-17) and redemption (Colossians 1:18-20). Now he returns to the point that triggered this glorious excursus: that in Christ, God has given us redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. As he comes back to this point, he reminds us that since there is one Creator and Redeemer, the one and same gospel of His redemption is preached throughout all of the creation under heaven (Colossians 1:23). This is the gospel of which Paul is a minister. Now, he summarizes for them the past, present, and future of that redemption.

The past of believers’ redemption. We begin life as foreigners (alienated) toward Christ in our hearts/minds (Colossians 1:21). This is a very serious condition, because He has an everlasting kingdom, and only His citizens are blessed forever. But even worse than being foreigners is the fact that in our minds, and the wicked works that proceeded from them, we were enemies of this King. But how has the eternal Son dealt with His enemies whom He was determined to have as subjects? By taking to Himself a flesh and blood body in which to die for them (Colossians 1:22). When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son (cf. Romans 5:10a)!

The present of believers’ redemption. There is an emphasis at the end of Colossians 1:21 on how it is “now” that the Colossians have been reconciled. This is familiar to the glorious “now” in Romans 8:1, which emphasizes how now, already, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Here the point is the status and the experience of believers. 

Now, already, we have peace with God through the blood of His cross (Colossians 1:20). Now, already, we enjoy the fact that the enmity is killed, and we are sure that God is for us. And by the change of heart/mind He has given us, we are for that God Who is for us. We define holiness, blamelessness, and reproach according to what He sees them to be (Colossians 1:22). And we are trusting in Him to be the One who works to make us holy, blameless, and above reproach in His own sight. This is the glorious present of our redemption: God is for us, and by His grace, we are for God.

The future of believers’ redemption. Believers are sure to come to this state of blessedness. Why is this so sure? It comes in the same way that they came to Christ, and the same way they have proceeded with Christ: by faith and hope in Christ. There is not some next level of Christianity in which we must begin to produce our own life or goodness. From initial conversion to standing blameless before Him on the last day, it is all by believing in Him (Colossians 1:23a), by hoping in Him (verse 23b), by being steadfastly grounded upon Him as our foundation. Just as there is no other gospel for any creature anywhere (verse 23c), so also there is no other mechanism for the Christian life but faith in Christ Jesus.

Christ’s death the past of our redemption. Reconciliation in Christ the present of our redemption. And faith in Christ the guarantee of standing blameless before Christ as the future of our redemption. What a glorious redemption we have in our God and Savior, Jesus Christ!

How have the past, present, and future of your redemption glorified Christ? Knowing that this is the point of where you are in your experience of His redemption, how ought you to pursue living and growing as a Christian?

Sample prayer: Our God, we praise You for bringing us into the kingdom of the Son of Your love! We were foreigners and enemies, but You have demonstrated Your love by His dying for us, His enemies. Forgive us for when our own love grows cold, or our faith wanes, and stir us back up unto Yourself in Christ, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH340 “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood”

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