“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….” (Colossians 1:21-23)
We all start out the same way. All human beings are born alienated and hostile to God. We have inherited from Adam and Eve a fallen and corrupted nature. But Jesus Christ has reconciled sinners to the Father. He did this by living a perfect life in our place, doing all the works of the law which we fail to do. Then he laid down his life on the cross as the payment for our sins.
You were joined to the death and resurrection of Jesus in your baptism (cf. Romans 6). God crucified your sinful nature with Jesus and you died there. You were also raised up with Him on Easter. You were born again. Baptism makes this reality apply to you.
Now, because of His accomplished work, Jesus presents you to the Father as holy and blameless. Our holiness is not something that can be seen with the eyes of the flesh, only with the eyes of faith. It is hidden, you might say. This does not mean that you can now just go and do whatever you want. Jesus did not set us free so that we can continue doing evil deeds. It does mean, however, that you don’t look at your track record to know whether you are reconciled to God. You are reconciled entirely because of what Jesus has done for you. If I look at your life, or if you look at mine, we will still see the sins that we commit daily. This confuses some people. Jesus presents me as holy but yet I can still see my sins. Being a Christian is a paradox. We are simultaneously sinners and saints. Sinful in myself, but saintly in Christ. The good news is that God only looks at you through Christ.
The world is full of challenges. Sometimes these challenges can destabilize our faith in Christ. St. Paul calls on his to remain stable and steadfast, not shifting form the hope of the gospel. How do you remain stable and steadfast?
What would happen to your pet dog if you stopped feeding it? It wouldn’t die right away. Nothing too serious. First, it would just be uncomfortable with pangs of hunger. It would start to get physically smaller. As it weakened, it would become more vulnerable to predators and diseases. After time, it would slip into a coma and its organs would begin to shut down. Eventually, it would die a painful and miserable death. You must feed your dog.
Similarly, you have to feed your faith. If you don’t, it will become puny and eventually could even die from starvation. Why would you allow this to happen? Find a congregation where you will hear the Word of God taught in its fullness. Go where good news of Jesus Christ is proclaimed. Participate frequently in the Lord’s Supper. Jesus said that He is the Bread of Life. He will nourish and nurture your faith, by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament. You have been reconciled to God.