Colossians 1:21-23 (Week 5 – Jesus Plus Nothing Series)
Jason White



Reconciled and made holy, without blemish, and free from accusation.

Colossians 1:21-23… 21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.




Sermon Audio Transcript
So I was flipping through the channels the other day, and I saw that one of the Star Wars movies was on and I paused right there. And I started watching, I can't even remember whichever one it was. But as I was watching it, it made me think about a moment that I really don't think I'll ever forget. And that was the time that my dad took me to see the original Star Wars movie. In the drive in movie theater, I was only about three or four years old, I guess. And of course, we're in the drive in and we're in the front seat of the car. And I remember just being enthralled with the movie, we had a big tub of popcorn in between us, and we had sodas sitting down there. And one of the things that stands out to me in this memory of watching the movie is that I was against so kind of enthralled with the movie that are reached over for the popcorn, but I missed and I accidentally stuck my hand all the way down into my orange soda that was there. And, you know, it, of course came out with and sugary and sticky and all the above, but I just transitioned into the popcorn and just kept going, you know, I mean, I was a kid. I didn't care. And I mean, Star Wars was on right. I mean, it was such a one of those moments I was just so engrossed in I mean, again, it was, it was Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader. And he couldn't get any better than that, right? I mean, good versus evil, then you've got these awesome lightsabers that they're using. And it was just fascinating to be able to watch. So again, good versus evil. And I'm, I'm cheering for good, right? I mean, Darth Vader is the bad guy. And I hated everything about him and wanted to see him go down. As I thought about that moment, and just thinking about Star Wars in general, that also made me think of another moment that had to do with Star Wars that I don't think I'll ever forget. And that happened in the second movie, The Empire Strikes Back when we find out that Darth Vader is actually Luke's father. Sorry, to you know, ruin that if anybody but come on, I mean, this was 1970s. Surely you've had plenty of opportunities to see this by now. Right? I mean, I couldn't believe it, though, right? I mean, Darth Vader at one time was a good guy. So it's crazy. I mean, one time he was part of Luke's family, or he is, they were connected right in relationship with each other. They were on the same team. They were, they were family. But now this moment, they're alienated from each other, that relationship had been broken. Now. One is on the side of good and one is on the side of evil. Of course, that's a Star Wars was an epic battle of good versus evil. And honestly, that's really true of life as well. It's good versus evil. The thing is, when we think about good and evil in the world, or especially in our own lives, I think most of us would tend to put ourselves on the side of good. We just tend to think of ourselves as good people. I mean, we know that we may not be perfect, but we certainly aren't evil, right? I mean, Darth Vader is evil. I'm not him. Right? I'm not that I'm if there really are teams, if there's a good team and an evil team, surely I'm on the side of the good team, right? I'm not on the enemy's team. That's what I think most of us would say or think about ourselves. But what I want you to see right off the bat is that is not the picture that the apostle Paul paints for us, even in the very opening verse that we're going to look at today. The apostle Paul here says Once you were alienated from God, and we're enemies in your mind, because of your evil behavior. Oh, I mean, that doesn't sound like we're on the good team necessarily, right there. Some of us, that's kind of hard to hear, we may even wonder, I mean, is that really even true? It is true. It's what the Apostle Paul says here, it's what he wants us to know, is reality about our selves. There's several things to highlight and point out to help us understand even more fully what Paul is talking about here. And so we're going to talk about several of the words that are listed in here. The very first one we're going to talk about is minds. This word that was originally written in Greek that Paul was using to give a little bit of a better idea of what he's talking about here doesn't mean just thinking it's much more than that. It's a matter of fact, when this particular Greek word was used when they were translating the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek, so in the Septuagint, most of the time it's translated heart and not mind, and it's used to read refer to someone's disposition. In other words, Paul is referring to what he's saying here is this is the state of our sinfulness that we have a sin, nature. One of the places that the apostle Paul talks about this, and it comes out much more clearly, I think here is Ephesians chapter two, where he says, As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you used to live when you follow the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in the sons and those who are disobedient. And then he goes on and finishes up and says, all of us lived among them at one time gratifying the cravings of our flesh, and following its desires and thoughts like the rest, we were by nature, deserving of wrath. Nature means this is who you are, you are a sinner, because you have a sin. Nature. The reality is that all of us are born with a sin, nature. And of course, with a sin nature, sins get produced from that sin nature. And so if we go back to the verse that we were just in, again, we saw the word minds and referring more to our disposition in our sin, nature. But he also uses the word evil behavior here. Now, the thing is, is that evil behavior comes from here, I don't know if that comes out quite in the translation in the way it's written here in the NIV. But what Paul is really trying to get out here is that there is evil behavior, that is good that gets evidenced in our lives that comes out, but it comes from that place of our sin nature. Again, even though referenced earlier, most of us tend to think of ourselves as good, we're usually pretty quick to say, but um, and I know I'm not perfect, right? I mean, I'm a good person, but I know I'm not perfect. We acknowledge that we do lie sometimes, or that we gossip or that we've cheated. We've stolen, We've disobeyed our parents at some point in time. The problem is that we just tend to either ignore those things as well. It's not really that big of a deal, right? They kill anyone, or we compare ourselves to other people. I mean, yeah, I've done some bad things. But I'm not as bad as that guy. I'm not as bad as her right? I'm not evil, right? I mean, again, there's Darth Vader, and he's evil. I'm not him. No, I'm not perfect. But we're we acknowledge those kinds of things. But the thing we have to remember, as we've already said, is that Paul's teaching us and showing us the truth about our sin nature, which produces sins in our lives. And he goes on in the verse to show us that that has consequences. He uses the word alienated here, that you were alienated from who, from God, this means to be severed from cut off completely from God says you were alienated from him. Because of your sin nature, which produces sins in your lives, evil behavior, you are completely cut off from God alienated from him. And he says that makes you enemies. If there is a good team and an evil team, then you and I are ultimately on the side of evil. We don't think of ourselves that way. We know we're not perfect, we were probably at least on the good team. But the reality of scripture says that we could not be further apart from God, he is on the side of good, and you are on the side of evil. Well, that concludes our sermon for today. And so I'm going to pray and you'll be why don't you glad there's more to the story? I mean, the one thing and most of you probably even already noticed it here that I haven't referenced yet is is this term, right here. What's one once this was all true of you, but evidently, he's saying it is no longer true of them. Now, they used to be people with a sinful nature who were alienated from God and used to be considered enemies of his butt. Now, that is no longer true, evidently. So what was it that happened? Well, Paul tells us in the next verse,He says now, but now he has reconciled you by Christ physical death through the body. Let's focus on this part right here first. All right, but now he has, let's focus in on this word even more reconciled, you to be reconciled means to be brought back together, right? If you had a fight with your best friend, and you were then alienated from each other, cut off from each other from that fight, maybe even considered enemies, you weren't talking to each other, you would no longer be in a relationship with each other. But if you were reconciled with them, then that means you've been brought back together, you're now friends, again, you are now back into a relationship with each other. Paul saying that you were enemies with God, you were on the side of evil, God was on the side of good, but now you've been brought to his side, you are no longer considered enemies, but you are friends, you are reconciled, you're brought back into a relationship with him. First question is How How did that happen? And that's the second part of the verse. But now he has reconciled us by so here's how it happened. Christ physical body through death. This is how you've been reconciled how you're no longer considered an enemy, how you've been brought back together with him, you may even remember we've been using the Star Wars reference, let's just stick with it the whole way through. And so you may remember that Darth Vader at one point even had a change of heart and he sacrificed himself for Luke Skywalker, he sacrificed himself for his son, he died in his place so that Luke would live this, of course is similar to what Jesus did for us to accept It's way bigger than that. See, Jesus was never bad in the first place. Right? I mean, he was never Darth Vader. He is good. He is perfect. He is holy. He had no sin in him. But we're told in another letter that Paul wrote this, it helps us see what was really going on. Let's see, did I not remember to put it in here? I think I forgot to put this slide in here. So we'll go back. And I'll just read it to you. In Second Corinthians 521, Paul says, God made Him who had no sin, to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. In other words, Jesus wasn't evil, he was good. But he took on all of our evil God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, he placed all of our sins upon himself, he paid the penalty for them, which was death. And then of course, after dying, we know that he was raised from the dead three days later in his defeated the power of sin and death forever. And now Jesus offers us that forgiveness that He purchased for us on the cross his work, if we'll just receive it by faith, and of course, in that moment, in that very moment, is when men were brought from being enemies onto his team were brought into his family were reconciled, and we are now friends of God. And here's why, because we aren't just forgiven in that moment. But something else happened, which Paul goes on to say in the rest of the verse here. So again, he says, But now he has reconciled you by how through Christ, physical body through death, to present you holy in his sight, without blemish, and free from accusation. Let's talk about what has happened in this moment, several terms here, you see this one stand out first, the very first thing is that he says, You are holy. The moment you put your faith and trust in Jesus, you are joined into a spiritual union with Jesus who is holy, and therefore in him, you two are made holy. That picture behind this word in Scripture is to take something filthy to wash it, and then set it apart as something brand new and useful for a different purpose. Now, we're going to go enjoy the car show in just a little bit and some of the cars that you are going See, were old, they had blemishes on them, the paint had been chipped, or maybe they had dents in them. But these guys have taken those old cars with all of those knots and things on them. And they've restored them. They've done the work of painting and smoothing them out and making sure that they are, are clean. And now they've been set apart as something brand new, and being used for a different purpose. This is the same for you, you were filthy because of sin in your life, but you have been washed, clean. And now you've been set apart from the enemies team that you were on. And now you're made into this brand new person who will be used for a different purpose now you'll be used for God's purposes. So this is the first thing that he says, been reconciled through His death, to present you as holy, but to also present you as without blemish again, blemishes a mark or something, a flaw on something that makes it no longer perfect, right. It spoils whatever that thing is. We just referenced that on the cars, many of them will have had blemishes, but they've been restored into something new and they are without blemish. Now that's you, you were blemished, because of sin. But because you've been washed clean, because you've been made new because you've been restored as well. You are with out blemish. The third thing that he says here about you if you put your faith and trust in Jesus is that you are free from accusation. accusation, of course means to be accused of something, that means that someone else is blames you for doing something wrong. And if I saw you steal something, then I would accuse you of breaking the law, you stole that thing, you did something wrong, and you could be charged by the police for stealing for breaking the law. That of course is exactly what's true of you before God, if you've never received His free gift of salvation, you've been accused of breaking God's law, you have sinned against him. And as you stand before a holy in a perfect God, the perfect judge accused of this crime, you would be found guilty, you would have to suffer the consequences, which of course is death and eternal separation from Him. But because Jesus took all of your crimes to the cross and already paid the penalty for them, when you receive His forgiveness, you are declared not guilty before him. Satan can try. He can try to come before God and say but but God, I saw him lie. I saw her gossip. I saw that kid disobey their parents. But Jesus would step in and say but I've taken those crimes to the cross and I've already paid for them already. And God would say that's right. They're not guilty. You are free from accusation you are wholly without blemish, completely free from accusation. This is what Paul is saying is true. Now, didn't used to be true of the people in class they but it's true of them. Now they were sinners. They were alienated from God. They were on the enemies team on the side of evil, but because they put their faith and trust in Jesus, they've received His free gift of salvation. Now they've been reconciled to God. Now they've been made holy. Now they're without blemish. Now they're free from accusation they're clean, perfect and no longer guilty before God. It's true of you too. If you've put your faith and trust in Jesus, you have been reconciled to God you had been made holy, you are without blemish and free from accusation. This is the good news since the gospel. last verse we're going to look at is Colossians 123. If you continue in your faith and established in firm and do not move from the hope held out in the Gospel ohif implies conditions, which read all of those Things are true and declared them as if they were true. And now we get to this part that says, if Oh, you mean if if I do my part, then nice things are actually true. It sounds conditional, it sounds like okay, you're only reconciled to God, you're only holy, you're only without blemish. And you're only free of accusation if you continue to do your part. Otherwise, you will become enemies of God again, and no longer be holy, you will be blemished, and you will be guilty again as charged. But here's the thing that would fly in the face of everything that Paul has said. So far, in this letter, we just looked at a different verse a few weeks ago, where Paul said, This Colossians one, verses 12 through 14, and giving joyful thanks to the father, who had past tense who has qualified you, you've already met the requirements to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light, for he has passed tents rescued you, it's already been done. You've been rescued from the dominion of darkness, and you are presently now already been brought into the Kingdom of the Sun that he loves, in whom we have present tense, have redemption, we have the forgiveness of sins, there's no ifs here, there's no conditions here, if there are conditions upon it, why does that Paul, place them everywhere. No conditions just said, This is what Jesus has done. This is what's true of you, if you've already said yes to you, and will be true of you forever. So what's Paul talking about here, when he gets a little bit later into this, we'll go back to what he says right here and says again, if you continue in your faith, so he says this, and then he kind of paints a picture of what it looks like to continue in your faith, and he says, established and firm. And to not move from the hope held out in the Gospel. Now if we dive into this a little bit deeper, I think we'll start to kind of understand what Paul is saying here, especially when once again, we view this in context and with the other things that Paul has already said in this past tense language, where there were no conditions upon it in the first place. So the word established here is written in the perfect tense, and the passive voice, we've talked about the passive voice in Greek a few weeks ago, but this one is in the perfect tense. And the passive voice, here's why it's so important to kind of know about that. The perfect tense is the verb tense that is used by the rider to describe a completed action that occurred in the past, but which produced a state of being or a result that exists in the present. In other words, if you imagine this dot, that is saying something occurs right here, at a certain point in time, and because that event occurred right there, there on going results that just keep on going from that event, and it never stops. This is what he's talking about. Here. He's saying that you have been established, you already are established at this point in time, when you put your faith and trust in Jesus, when you received His free gift of salvation, you were established right there in that moment, and you keep on being established all the time, it never stops. So he places this word, if and condition. And then he says this is what it looks like to be established and continuing to be established. Well, this means that that's going to keep on happening. And we just said a second ago that it was written in the passive voice. We'll get there. So again, perfect tense happened, keeps on going. And it's passive. You did not do the establishing, you will not continue to do the establishing it was something that happened to you and something that someone will hold on to for you. We've already referenced last week where Jesus is the One who holds all things together. He is the one who secured our salvation. He's The one who saves us, and he's the one who will continue to keep us saved and established. So the way that this is written in the original Greek makes it seem more like Paul is certain that this is going to happen to them. He's not doubting whether it will or not. In other words, he's saying something like if you continue in your faith, and by the way, I'm fully expecting for that to happen, because you've been reconciled to God, you've been made holy, you are without blemish, and you are free from accusation, this is who you are. And this is what will continue to be true of you. I think in a lot of ways, he's trying to say to them, you aren't like the false teachers, they those false teachers are showing their true colors, those false teachers among your midst were never established. And then, of course, continuing to be established because they were preaching a Jesus plus gospel, which is no gospel at all. Remember, this is what the Apostle Paul was writing this letter for, to combat these false teachers who were trying to distract the true Church from the true gospel of being a Jesus plus nothing equals everything kind of gospel in here in verses 21 through 23. Paul showing them how Jesus accomplished everything in their lives, through His death on the cross through Christ, physical body, that we just reference His finished work, to reconcile them, to make them holy, to be without blemish, to be free from accusation. So he's saying you have been established, you will continue in Him, you will continue receiving from him, and in Him alone, and drawing from him as your source, not from these other things that these false teachers are trying to say are true, and are the real gospel. And think the reason that we see that he's trying to get at that, and that's part of what it is that he's saying is because this is verse 23. A, this is just the first part of that what he goes on to say right after this is, this is the gospel. This is in other words, the true gospel, as opposed to the gospel that those people were trying to share with you. This is the gospel that you heard. And that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul have been come a servant. This is the true gospel, the one that you heard that Jesus plus nothing equals everything kind of gospel. It's who I just talked about in the verses Previous to this, and 15 through 20, Jesus plus nothing equals everything. Let me show you how Jesus does everything. Remember how much we talked about, he's supreme, and he's the one who is before all things and holds all things together, and how you have everything in Him because He is everything right? And then he goes on to show us how we have that everything through the reconciliation and being made holy, and all of these things. And now this is the true gospel. None of this is being written to go, you know, I'm not really sure if you guys are Christians or not, to make them doubt their salvation in some way. He's reminding them what's happened to them, the true gospel that they've heard over and above the false gospel that is being presented, who they've become in Christ, and who will, they will continue to be in him. So don't fall. He's saying for that false gospel that these guys are teaching, know that you are qualified, you have been qualified by Jesus alone, not through Jesus, plus whatever these guys are trying to say you need to do. You've been rescued by Jesus alone, you won't be rescued. If you take Jesus in whatever it is that they're telling you to do. You've been reconciled to Jesus, by Him in His finished work alone, not by Jesus, and whatever it is that they're telling you to do. You've been made holy, without blemish and free of accusation by Jesus alone, not by Jesus, and whatever it is that they're adding to the gospel. But in Jesus alone, this is what he has been declaring through this entire chapter here and what he's saying right now as well. So what does this all mean for you? It's all mean for me today. It means that if you've put your faith and trust in Jesus, that all of these things are true about you. We've been saying them all along, you are reconciled to God, your holy, you're without blemish, you, no matter what Satan tries to accuse you of you are not guilty before God because of Jesus's finished work on the cross. So what does that mean you thank him.That's where we should start, right? Because you weren't some good person that just needed to get over over the hump a little bit, right? I mean, we okay, I'm mostly good, not Darth Vader, not evil, right? I mean, Jesus came along. And I mean, I was almost right there. And through all that stuff that he did, it just kind of put me over the hump. I mean, I wasn't like all those other guys. It wasn't no, you could not have been further apart. There is a deep chasm between you and God, and nothing that you could do and to see now that these things are true means Wow, thank you, that you did what it is because now I'm really seeing the ultimate situation that I was in, causes me to be even more thankful for my salvation now. into worship you and you alone, so that you you continue to walk in faith in him, what do you do to secure your salvation? You received it? How do you continue to walk in the faith you continue to receive from him? If he's the vine and you're the branches? What's your job to continue receiving you already abide in him, but now ABIDE IN YOUR abiding? What you do, continue to receive from Jesus being your source. But what does it mean for you? If you're here this morning, and you've never trusted in Jesus as your savior, you're now realizing that you're alienated from God that you're considered his enemy? Well, it means I hope that you see and know that reconciliation is offered to you as a free gift. I mean, if you're here today, and you were kind of thinking that I mean, I'm, I'm okay. Maybe you're even a kid in the room, mommy, and daddy tells you, you're a good person. I'm good. I mean, if there's good and there's Luke Skywalker and his team and there's Darth Vader, I'm I'm on Luke Skywalker, Steen. Not according to reality. We all are born with a sin nature, we couldn't be further apart from God, whether you're a kid or an adult, the only way to be moved from one team to the other team is not based on how good your behavior is, and what it is that anybody else says about you. But on your willingness to receive what Jesus has done for you based on his finished work on the cross. And the moment you say yes to Him, all of those things that we just said today will happen to you, you will go from being considered an enemy, to being reconciled to being friends with God, you will go from being unholy to Holy, you will go from being with blemish to without blemish, you will go from being accused and attacked and guilty before the Lord to no longer guilty before him. So the way this applies to you is to just pray a prayer of simple faith and receive Him and become established in him little dot that we said earlier that today could be your dot moment. And then it will continue on because he'll hold you all the way through, establish you, as friends, maintain your friendship, all the way through eternity. So would you receive this free gift of salvation today? Let's pray. And I'll give you the opportunity to do that right now in this moment. Jesus, we first and foremost, thank you for who it is that you are and what it is that you have done. And we see even more and more every single week. All that you accomplished for us on the cross. You didn't have to leave the glory and riches of heaven but you did. You chose to out of your love for us die for us. We're grateful. Jesus, for those of us who have received your free gift of salvation, may we continue to receive from you as our source, trusting that you have saved us. And that it's only in you and through you that we continue to be in union with you and are used for any good purposes in this world. And so we keep our eyes fixed on you. For those who are here this morning and have never put their faith and trust in Jesus been thinking that they're okay. They're all right. Maybe they come to church, they do good things. Mom and dad say they're okay. But you're seeing this morning the reality of your situation and you want to receive his gift of forgiveness. You want to receive Him into your life and be made friends and be on his team today. If you're ready to receive in this moment, you could just pray a simple prayer of faith like this Dear God, I recognize the sin in my life. And that that separates me from you. That I'm alienated from you that I'm considered your enemy. But Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. And right now in this moment, I put put my faith and trust in you to be my Lord and Savior, not my mom, by my dad's lord and savior, not my brothers or sisters not my spouse's, but my my Lord and Savior. Please forgive me. Reconcile me to you. Make me holy, make me free from blemish free from accusation. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for rescuing me. It's in Jesus name that I pray. Amen.