You were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it. (Colossians 1:21-23; New Living Translation)
“You are holy and blameless as you stand before God without a single fault.”
Apparently, Paul does not know me very well. I could create a list as long as my arm of blame, shame, and fault. There’s no shortage of material. I’ve said and done things to hurt other people; sometimes with intention and a mean spirit. Gossip, criticism, anger, impatience. We all have our lists, and they’re all too fresh.
At one level (in our heads) we can accept that God has reconciled us to Himself, but at the deeper level (in our hearts) it seems impossible. How could He possibly overlook our poor track-record? How could He ever ignore our hurt-filled history?
It may even make us suspicious of His holiness or justice. If it’s this easy to “get right with God” (be justified), then perhaps He’s more desperate or less discerning than we imagined.
But there’s nothing easy about it.
In a violent world that delivers news every day of fresh deaths (Portland men defending young girls on a train, military deaths in Afghanistan fighting terrorism, a young woman shielding a child from a suicide bomb blast in Manchester) we become steadily desensitized to sacrifice. But ask the parents and families whose sons and daughters died, if this was “easy.”
Arlington National Cemetery is filled with row after row of uniform gravestones; small white markers equidistant, row after endless row. Nothing ornate. A sea of nondescript markers. They blend into an endless wave of virtual anonymity, except to the families.
Nothing easy about this. Nothing cheap. If freedom is not free, then neither is divine forgiveness.
“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever trusts Him would not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
He places our past behind us. He scrubs our record clean. He dismisses all charges against us.
We all know the shame of yesterday. But Christ offers us renewal today and hope for tomorrow as we turn from sin and turn to Him. Because of Jesus, and Jesus alone, “we are holy and blameless as we stand before God without a single fault.” It’s a new day!