Colossians 1:21 And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him…
Paul is writing about the difference in a person before Jesus Christ and then after. Before Jesus our sinful nature keeps us “estranged (from God) and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds”. Through baptism we are made new. Our old self dies in the water, a new person is born – a person whose sins are forgiven and who is claimed as a child of God forever. We receive the Holy Spirit which “sanctifies” us (make us holy) and empowers to live as God intends, freed from the power of sin and death.
Well, that’s how it’s supposed to work anyway.
Why do I say this? Because the process of sanctification, of being made holy, is on ongoing project that is never fully complete in this life. The power of sin and death has been broken forever through Jesus, but Christians still fall into sin. At least I do. I’m not proud of that, but it’s true. Thankfully as believers we are given grace to confess our sins and to receive forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Our slate is wiped clean.
I spent my grade school years attending Catholic school. In 2nd grade we made our first communion, which was a really big deal. But before we could receive communion we had to go to confession. The things I had to confess as a 7-year-old were fairly minor, but I took confession seriously. At first I was afraid to confess because I thought I might get punished – as in grounded or spanked. However, to my surprise, I found confession to be life-giving. The guilt and shame I carried around for my sins was lifted.
I’m not Catholic anymore, but I still believe in confession. These days my confession isn’t done in a “confessional” (see pic), but in prayer to the Lord Jesus. As I name my sins I can feel their weight being lifted. I’m made new once again and freed to live as a child of God. Let’s take a minute right now to offer confession to our Lord. (pause for reflection)
Lord Jesus, today we thank you once again for taking on the debt of our sins to the cross. It was your blood that was spilled rather than ours. As we name our sins before you we feel their weight being lifted from us. Draw us near to you today, dear Lord. Amen.