“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.”
Thoughts… My arch-enemy in the second grade was a kid named Delmer. He was the biggest, meanest, scariest guy in our class…a real bully. And I had the brains to get into a fight with him one day at recess. No damage was done, really, we were only eight-years-old.
After school that day Delmer and two of his no-good lackeys, Stephen and Jay, confronted me as I walked toward home. Words were exchanged, and we went our separate ways. Then I made the critical error of picking up and heaving a rock, along with some choice words, at Delmer and his buddies as they were walking away. That caused a barrage of rocks to come back my way. One of those rocks, about the size of a baseball, caught me right on the chin. It caused a great deal of pain and discomfort, along with a fair amount of blood. I ran home, bloodied and bawling, and told my mom the whole story (from my point of view of course). My mom then took me right back to school and into the headmaster’s office where I again gave my account of the story. The next day at school, Delmer and his buddies were summarily marched into the office, and the “board of education” was swiftly and forcefully applied to their “seat of knowledge”, if you know what I mean..
That encounter way back in the second grade left me with a scar that is still visible to me today. I see it every time I look into the mirror. It is a constant reminder of the fact that I offended someone, that I didn’t handle a conflict very well, and that this failure led to severe pain in my life.
Each of us has scars—unpleasant reminders of painful times. But the worst scar in our lives, whether visible or not, is the scar that sin has left. Sin always leaves scars. Sometimes those scars are physical, sometimes they’re emotional, but always they’re spiritual—ugly scars that remind us of our past failures.
I want to suggest a new way of looking at your scars. Use them as an ever-present reminder of Christ’s triumph over your failed and sinful past. Every time you look at that scar or you feel remorse or you cry over what has been or what might have been, remember that God has brought victory out of sin through the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ. That is what Paul is reminding us of here in Colossians 1:20-23 as he explains what we call the doctrine of reconciliation:
“…And God, through Jesus, reconciled all things to himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. 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 and without blemish and free from accusation–if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope of the gospel.”
In my opening story I told you about Delmer and his partners in crime, Stephen and Jay. Jay received the principal’s paddle along with Delmer for hitting me with the rock. Actually, Jay was the guy who threw the rock that did the damage. But somehow, for some reason, Jay and I were reconciled through that encounter. And Jay and I were not just reconciled, we became closest friends throughout our growing up years. We were inseparable all the way through childhood. We who were once enemies now stood as friends.
That’s a picture of reconciliation. That’s what happened when Jesus died for you. He has the scars to prove it. And so do you. His scars were for your sins. Your scars are a reminder that he became a sin offering for you.
The next time you look at your scar, or see it in your mind’s eye, don’t die again for that which Christ has already died! Rather than remembering the pain and disappointment of your sin, think of the reconciliation that Christ’s death produced between God and you.
You were once an enemy—now you are God’s friend!
Prayer… Lord Jesus, thank you for bearing my sin in your body on the tree. I sometimes fall back into feelings of guilt for things I have done, but today, I choose to look at those things as a reminder that I have been reconciled to God and have been brought near to him. All that is due to you, and I gratefully praise you for that.
One More Thing… “Most Christians are being crucified on a cross between two thieves: Yesterday’s regret and tomorrow’s worries.” —Warren Wiersbe