“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, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” Col 1:21-22.
Christ’s death, through His blood shed on the cross, reconciles us to God. Despite the fact that beforehand we were alienated from God and even actively hostile to Him, through faith we are saved (Ephesians 2:8) and our sins forgiven and a relationship restored with God. It has nothing to do with our own righteousness, which is nonexistent, but the fact that Christ’s reconciliation is imparted to us (II Peter 1:4). This allows us, as Christians, to be presented holy, blameless and beyond reproach before God. “Holy” means set apart from sin. “Blameless” means without blemish or defect. “Beyond reproach” means totally without occasion for criticism. Paul was not speaking about our current conduct but about our position in Christ – how we are seen by God to be. We will continue to sin until death, as we have the temptations of our fallen nature that remains, but we have been “clothed with Christ” (Galatians 3:27) and no longer face eternal condemnation (Romans 8:1). All of this Christ does for us – a free gift if we only believe. Those that do not believe in Christ will remain hostile to Him as we see so often in our country and around the world today.
The word “if”indeed you continue in the faith could better be translated “since”. In the original it has the connotation that the writer assumes the condition to be true. When Paul says that God “reconciled” us to Him it is past tense – an established fact that cannot be changed. If someone truly believes, the past reconciliation produces a present faith – true faith always has the quality of permanence. The result of this faith is that Christ presents Believers holy and blameless and above reproach before Him. It is not dependent on our righteous but Christ’s righteousness. Of course, if we are truly Believers we will not desire to sin and when we do will be grieved and confess and repent of our sins and be cleansed from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).
How wonderful is the good news of the Gospel! We, whose best outside of God is filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), through faith in Christ have been reconciled to God. What we could not do for ourselves Christ did for us on the cross.