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.

Colossians 1: 21, 22

 

This entire idea should be troubling at best for most people, and for many it might even cause anger. You might protest against Paul’s blunt and harsh observation with a response that says that you have never been hostile toward God or, really, toward anyone else, either. Hostility is just not your way of dealing with life. Yet, alienation and hostility toward God is the singular birthright that all people enjoy. We are born into this world with our hearts separated from our Creator and with our minds set on a course for life that is determined by our own wills, and this course will always be one that takes us away form the Lord’s righteous and holy path. We don’t get to choose, for the direction of our journey is in the genetic code that our parents and their parents before them gave to us.

 

That is why death is so much a part of this story. Humanity’s rebellion and departure from God and from His will set us apart from God in ways that took us and all of the rest of creation away from God’s life-granting intent and desire and into a journey downward into the darkness of spiritual and bodily death. So that now we are all born into the graveyard of the soul that is our existence on this earth. However, as this condition is the common one for the entire world from the earliest of times, it is very hard for most people to recognize the state of being that they are dwelling in. This deadness seems normal, and the new life that Christ gives to those who follow Him seems strange, foreign, and even undesirable when viewed from inside the fence of natural life’s darkened and grim terrain.

 

So, there was one singular death that changes everything. As Jesus gave up His life in order to purchase it for everyone else, He broke through the barrier that separated humanity from God, and He granted to all of us the opportunity to enter into the fullness of life that comes only in the presence of our Creator. In and through Christ we are taken out of our old lives which were carried out in a state of separation from God and antagonism toward His righteousness and true love, and we are transformed into people who live within the bounteous joy, deep peace, and unending love of God’s kingdom come. Now, as we enter into Christ’s new life that necessarily followed His sacrificial death, we need to allow the Spirit to put to death our old selves and the walking death in which we were dwelling so that all that was, the decaying flesh of our birth bodies, will be replaced with the glory of Christ and the life that He alone gives to all who follow Him.

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