Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. – Colossians 1:21-23
Have you ever wanted to go back to the way it was? You and your dear friend were so close and you did everything together. In fact, people thought you were inseparable. Then one day it all changed. Some harsh words were spoken and things escalated; feelings were hurt and suddenly a once tight relationship was now hanging by a thread. You desperately wanted to take things back so you could go back to the way it was.
Ever since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, sinful mankind has been trying to get things back to the way it was. We bargain with God. We offer our good works still tainted with sin. We try to pile up enough good to offset all the bad. Even as we try to make it right, we keep on sinning at the same time. God’s relationship with his people used to be perfect. He and Adam were inseparable. Sin changed all of that for every one. Paul says, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.” Try as we might, we can’t get it back to the way it was.
That’s where God stepped in. His word tells us, “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” God has reconciled us to himself through the death of Jesus on the cross. By his death in our place, Jesus has erased our sins, and in God’s sight we are holy. Our close relationship with God has been restored: He is there for us. He is with us always. He loves us and cares for us. He makes everything work out for our good.
Through faith in Christ, we will experience the “hope held out in the gospel” that in heaven we will live in perfect harmony with God, forever. Praise and thanks to our God who has reconciled us to himself through Jesus!
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, help me to appreciate this new relationship that I have with you through Christ. Lead me to live in thanks for the harmony I have with you. Amen.
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John, the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. – Matthew 17:1-2
Jesus knew the dangers the disciples would have to endure. There would be the distraction of his capture and crucifixion. There would be the despair at his death and burial. There would be the deception which challenged the report of his resurrection. In order to sustain his disciples through these difficult times, Jesus offered them a blessed assurance. He allowed them to witness his glory as true God at his transfiguration.
Initially the disciples couldn’t comprehend the significance of that glorious display, but later they would come to cherish it. It was that picture of Jesus’ glory as God which encouraged them in their times of doubt. It strengthened them in their times of weakness. It even emboldened them to speak when they were challenged to remain silent. Jesus’ transfiguration provided the blessed assurance the disciples needed.
Like the disciples I will have to endure daily distractions, doubts and deceptions. The devil and the world are relentless in their attacks to overcome my sin-weakened and battle-wearied flesh. I need the same blessed assurance Jesus provided the disciples.
I need to know Jesus is the all-powerful Son of God who controls all things and works all things for my good. I need to know he is my faithful Savior who daily and richly forgives all my sins. I need to know he is my ever-present refuge and strength in every time of trouble. With this blessed assurance I can endure every challenge and conflict. With this blessed assurance I can overcome every fear and temptation. With this blessed assurance I can live with complete confidence I will see Jesus face to face in all his heavenly glory.
Prayer: O blessed Savior, you are strong while I am weak. You are faithful while I struggle. You are righteous while I am sinful. Daily remind me of your great power as the Son of God, and your great love as my Savior. Daily give me the assurance I need so I can live for you in this life, and live with you in the life to come. Amen.