Colossians 1:21-23 “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, . . . “
Jesus presents me holy and blameless! Don’t I need to give up all sorts of worldly pleasures through continual self-denial? Don’t I need to practice all sorts of ‘spiritual’ rituals in order to open myself up to His grace? Don’t I need to follow all sorts of rules and not misbehave in any way? All you have to do is believe the Gospel and live it on a daily basis.
How is that fair? Shouldn’t you have to work for your reward? Paul says – NO; “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.” (Colossians 2:16-19)
Does this scripture tell me that Jesus did all the work? Jesus made the sacrifice and I get the benefit! Paul says – YES; “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4) And; “Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations — ‘Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,’ which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.” (Colossians 2:20-23)
People say; ‘This is crazy’ – it makes no earthly sense to many in the world. Paul agrees; ” For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18) And; “It is because of Him [God] that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30)
There is no ‘catch’, no hidden clause or fine print to small to read in this ‘new deal’ from God. You just have to trust and believe that God is as good as His Word. That is the ‘if’ part that Paul mentions; “if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard . . . ” (Colossians 1:23) Belief and faith is in the ‘living it out.’ Do you say you are a Christian but live like a pagan? Do you say you ‘trust God’ in all things but curse when things don’t go your way? Do you say you always love your neighbour but only until he carelessly drops garbage on your lawn?
Faith is not a big word but the lack of it has huge implications for our lives. Do we have faith enough in the Gospel to remain steadfast in it on a daily basis. This means do we obey Jesus’ commands for living life every day. There aren’t many – love God first and foremost (Matthew 22:37), love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:38), love your enemies (Matthew 5:44) and love each other as He loved us (John 13:34). If you’re like me, it’s not easy to love, I need Jesus’ strength and presence in my life daily, even moment by moment to do it (Philippians 4:13).
Holiness is walking this difficult ‘foreign’ road of love with Jesus. Paul is absolutely right – Jesus made me holy and makes me holy on a daily basis. Jesus is my only righteousness. The Bible tells us; “Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:4-6)
If you want to be holy, if you want to be righteous – love Jesus on a daily basis. Jesus makes it plain; “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)
Praise the Lord!