You that were sometime alienated and enemies in your minds by wicked works … reconciled in the body of His flesh through death” Colossians 1:21 KJV
And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds … reconciled you in His fleshly body through death… Colossians 1:21-22 NASB
The great panorama of truth of Colossians 1:21 needs time to penetrate our minds. With an economy of words, the Spirit of God takes us from the depths of our depravity to the embrace of God.
We are described here as having been once aliens to God. That in itself, while tragic, is something which was conferred upon us by birth into the family of Adam. But then, it adds that we were also enemies in our minds. Now we have something for which we are responsible. We were determined to oppose God and have our own way. Self-will and self-centeredness marked us in our resistance to God. We were not guerilla fighters concealed by dense forest growth and only appearing briefly to express our opposition. No, we were open and avowed enemies of God, expressing it by our wicked works.
How do men and governments deal with enemies? At best, they make truces with them and live with some form of a détente. More commonly, extermination is the accepted way of dealing with enemies. Yet, we are told that God has done the incredible. He has not only forgiven us those wicked works, He has disarmed us and made us fit for His heaven. We are told that we have been reconciled, that He wants us as friends! Reconciliation means to be brought near, and that all obstacles to friendship have been removed. “Yet now” marks a momentous change, and incredible grace on the part of God to us, His former enemies.
We are now constituted the friends of God. We have been reconciled to Him and, being recipients of His favor, can enjoy His company. Ultimately, we shall be presented holy, unblameable and unreproveable before the searching eye of the Throne Sitter.
How was this possible? This transaction – this act of reconciling us, was very costly to God. It was only possible because of His Son: “in the body of His flesh through death.” In verse 20, the emphasis is on the blood of Christ as the basis for propitiation and the eventual reconciling of all things to God. In verse 21, the emphasis is on His body of flesh which was given in death. This perhaps goes beyond dealing with our sins, to dealing with the sinner himself. As my substitute, He not only died for what I did – my wicked works, but for what I am – alienated and an enemy. God is satisfied with the work of His Son on both accounts. My life as an alien and enemy is gone – as well as my sins!
“In the body of His flesh through death,” also speaks of the reality of all He suffered. It was in a real body, a body of flesh (sin apart), which could feel and experience suffering and death.
Gather up all the pictures and references to the death of the Lord Jesus in the first two chapters of Colossians.