Overwhelmed by Grace
Looking back to Colossians and specifically verse 1:21, we see that Paul starts out here in verse 21 by painting an accurate picture of the condition of sinners apart from Christ. Loo k at the verbs Paul uses: alienated, hostile, engaged in evil deeds. What Paul shows here is that the entire person of a sinner is alienated from God, top to bottom. This is our predicament apart from the work of God. Look at Eph. 4:18-19 to see this put another way. That is who God crucified His Son to save, utter sinners, not good people or moral people. Wretched sinners. Enemies. People in need of rescue. Can’t save themselves.
If you look carefully, you will see that there's an order here in verse 21. It wasn't that we did evil deeds so now we're alienated. It's that out of our alienation, out of our hostility toward God, comes this life of evil deeds. Our actions are sinful because our nature is sinful apart from Christ. You sin because you are a sinner. Broken things come out of you because you are fundamentally broken apart from Christ.
If there is to be reconciliation to God, it must come from God Himself. The gospel is God making a way for man to be brought back to God. This is God reconciling man to Himself. And Paul paints a clear picture of the completeness of the work of Christ on our behalf to render us savable, able to be reconciled to God, as we see in verse 22.
What we see here is that the gospel perfectly meets our needs of salvation and reconciliation to God. Paul tells us who we once were. Then Paul tell us who we are because of Christ. 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.
We're born as strangers, separated from God, hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, but Christ has been sent to make reconciliation available. To offer His perfect righteousness in place of our sinfulness. He comes as this great reconciler and brings us home as children and presents us before the Father as holy and blameless. Declares us to be righteous. Believers, though once hostile to God, have been reconciled and have been declared to be spotless, holy and blameless thru the work of Christ.
Everything that Paul writes here, has written here, and will write here goes back to a full and accurate understanding of the gospel. The heart of the gospel is the reconciliation of hostile sinners to their creator, a holy God, thru faith in the work of Christ. And this necessitates an urgent and right response by those who have been reconciled. Our status prior to faith in Christ and forgiveness was bleak, we were dead in our trespasses, unable to render ourselves saved or savable, in need of rescue as vv. 13-14 stated. Drowning in our sin.
It is against the backdrop of the gravity of our sinful condition that the majesty and wonder and mercy of God are most clearly seen and presented. This is our state when God stepped in thru Christ. The goal of the atoning death of Jesus Christ is that hostile and alienated sinners could be made acceptable in God’s sight, they would be re-created, brought back, reconciled to God’s presence. Presented holy and blameless. And what Paul begins to put forth here is that our present behavior is to flow, even our security, from our status before God granted thru the gospel.
We began a study of Matthew 5-7 last night with our family, and we looked at Matthew 5:3, which states “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” What this speaks to is an attitude of humility in response to the grace of God offered thru the gospel. Overwhelmed by the grace of God in salvation and this flows into all of life. Seeing how undeserving we were and being amazed by grace, as seen in Luke 18:9-14 and the Publican and the Pharisee.
The Pharisee, thinking he was righteous, prayed and was thankful he was not like others, sinners. The Publican on the other hand can’t even lift his head because he knows he is not righteous. And this was how they approached God as well. And as such the Publican went away “justified rather than the other.”
Here is my point and what it means to be poor in spirit – to be so overwhelmed at the grace of God and His salvation. No spiritual arrogance at all. No boasting. No feeling of superiority because we know our salvation and standing before God is all of grace. This is how we should live. Overwhelmed by grace. And this affects everything. Even how we face things today. Humility before God flows to humility before and towards other men.
Are you overwhelmed by grace? Are you amazed by grace? Do you live in light of this great grace? Do you see yourself in light of your new position in Christ by God’s grace? May this be us.