“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 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, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard,. . . (Colossians 1:21-23a)
Paul wrote to the church in Colossi, one he had not personally visited and had no hand in founding. He praised the believers for their faith and zeal in Christ, words that form the prelude to an issue that is troubling the church and Paul as well: syncretism, the watering down of the Christian message through the adoption of human philosophic and scientific principles to explain reality. The Colossians needed to be reminded that the truth of the gospel cannot be watered down or compromised. Apparently someone was telling them that Jesus was not sovereign God but a lesser deity who had not really come in the flesh, but only appeared to.,
For the death of Christ to be efficacious He had to be both fully God and man. Denial of either or both of these principles destroys the whole faith as it contradicts the truth of the atonement. In addition, this work of atonement is all of Christ. We add nothing to it by following the Law or by good works.
Paul’s words also remind us that all men are sinners, even those most altruistic, or those whom we praise for their talents and fame. All men are alienated or separated from God. The only way to resolve this situation is for all to accept the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Those who do so are declared righteous, blameless and above reproach by God as was Abraham, even despite the sins who still committed. All those who have faith in Christ and His atoning sacrifice are clothed in His righteousness. Thus when the Lord sees the repentant believer He sees Jesus.