July 15

Colossians 1:21-28

“And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him—” vss. 21-22

There are many people today who would just as soon eliminate the cross from the Christian faith. For them it’s bloody and gruesome, and reeks of a sacrificial theory of the atonement that they think we’d be better off without. They seem content with a teaching and healing Jesus and a message of unconditional love that is uncluttered by primitive notions of sacrifice. Paul, or whoever it was that wrote Colossians, would be appalled by their crossless faith. For him it was the center of everything, and there would have been no reconciliation of anything if it were not for Christ’s death. It’s doubtful that he worried much about consistency in atonement theory, but he whole-heartedly believed that in Christ’s death the estranged and the hostile in every time and place had been made holy and blameless before God. He even says that his own suffering had been absorbed into the cross, and he would likely say the same for us.  In other words, it’s out of suffering that wholeness comes! That is an important truth for everyone of us–it helps us make sense of all the horrible stuff that keeps on happening in the world. All those things are a part of the cross of Christ and they reconcile us to God–and for Paul, and a lot of folks, that’s the best news ever.

Thought for the Day: What would a crossless faith be like?

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