Colossians 1:18–23 ‘Once you were alienated from God… But now he has reconciled you…’ (vv21–22)
‘Once you were a murderer. Once a liar. Once a gossiper. But now… now you are no longer accused of wrongdoing; now you are without stain.
Why? Because Christ has made things right for you with God. Once all of that stuff was the reality, but now – if you continue believing and hoping – now He sees you as holy.
This is the good news!’ What did you think when you read this rendering of Paul’s words? Perhaps you sensed of the ‘once you were this’ compared with the ‘but now you are this’.
Paul seeks to emphasise that the new Christians are no longer bound to the old ways of living, for Christ’s sacrifice is enough. God sees them as holy, not as wrongdoers.
We may understand this truth in our head but not feel it in our hearts. We might think that the things we did before – the lies, the complaining, the lack of faith – define us.
But God wants us to shed those old ways of living as we embrace our new life in Christ, enjoying His presence and serving others.
If you feel like the ‘once’ part of life still defines you, here’s an exercise to engage with. First, write down those ‘once’ names or traits or sins prayerfully.
Then take the piece of paper and dispose of it in a way that is meaningful to you – put it in the compost for the worms to eat, or throw it into a bonfire or stick it in the shredder.
As you rid yourself of the paper, ask the Lord to show you how your life looks in the ‘but now’ stage.
Maybe He will lead you to a specific text from the Bible, or you’ll remember a line from a hymn or song that speaks into your life. We’ve been made holy – halleluiah!
A Prayer To Make:
‘Lord Jesus Christ, through Your death I am made new. I want to share this freeing message with others – help me to be ready to do so today. Amen.’
An Action To Take:
Engage with the prayer exercise at the end of today’s reading,
and if you have time, write in a journal about what you experienced.
Scripture To Consider:
Isa. 38:16–17 & 55:8–11; Eph. 2:1–9; 2 Pet. 3:17–18