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Colossians 1:21-23 ASV And you, being in time past alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works, (22) yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and unreproveable before him: (23) if so be that ye continue in the faith, grounded and stedfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel which ye heard, which was preached in all creation under heaven; whereof I Paul was made a minister.
These three verses we see our past "alienated and enemies", our time at the cross "reconciled in the body of his flesh", our future "holy and without blemish and unreproveable", and our part in the process " if so be that ye continue in the faith, grounded and stedfast".
Firstly we were away from God ("alienated") , in utter opposition to God in our deepest thoughts ("enemies in your mind") and in our practice ( "in your evil works"). This does not mean that were monsters, or unsociable, but it does mean that we lived as if what God wanted did not matter, and when it did matter, we opposed it. An enemy is simply someone who puts their interests far, far ahead of your interests. Someone who will run you over if you get in their way. And when God gets in the way of an unbeliever - they crucify Him! The cross (and the fate of the prophets) is the very clearest expression of how people react when God becomes inconvenient.
And where God's will and their will come into opposition there is no thought of giving in to God's will. If someone fully intended to cheat on an exam and I said "Don't do that it will offend God." It would have no impact. But should I invoke their own interest and say "Don't do that or you will be expelled." Then, and then alone they will listen. God's interests just don't matter, (they are alienated) their interests are all important (they are enemies).
Then, when we repent and believe and trust in the gospel, we are reconciled. We stop fighting with God, and He turns away His wrath from us. There is peace. We have moved from being enemies to being sons, we are taken into the divine family. But that is not all there is. We are made holy. We are expected to learn the good and high ways of the sons of God. We cannot run around being criminals in Paradise. Our filthy and wicked ways, our grasping lusts and degrading practices are not fitting for being the sons of light. We must get rid of them, we must clean up our act. So God gently takes us in hand to teach us His ways and make us holy and without blemish and unreproveable before Him. He makes us able to behave rightly in Heaven and lovingly upon Earth.
Now it is immediately obvious that this work of becoming holy takes some time and involves a dogged persistence on our part. We have to fight all our unholy impulses and put them to death. If we do not out them to death they will grow and take us over again and sweep us away from the faith and our last fate would be worse than our first. We would be enemies all over gain, living for our own interests and with no way back (see Hebrews 6).
We have to stick at the work of holiness, and this means sticking to Christ and the gospel. As we stay fixed on God, with our mind set on the things of the Spirit, God transforms us from glory to glory and fills us with life and peace (2 Corinthians 3:17,18, Romans 8:5,6). In fact if we walk in the Spirit there is no way we can fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:16-18) or be condemned (Romans 8:1,2) or do the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) but rather we will become full of love, joy, peace and patience and all virtue (Galatians 5:22,23). The way forward is simple - stay fixed on God, abide in the vine, keep the connection, be unmoved in the faith, be steadfast in Christ. God will do the changing - but you must do the sticking.
Blessings In Him!
Asian Internet Bible Institute