A Life-Changing Offer
You, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14
In my drug addiction, I initially pursued the pill because I impulsively wanted it. It felt good and so I desired it. In repeatedly consuming the pill, I reinforced the behavior, reshaping my brain until it wasn’t an impulsive behavior anymore, but rather a compulsive behavior – an addiction. Once addicted, I couldn’t not behave that way. The thing I once desired – because it made me feel good – now ruled and consumed my entire life, making me absolutely miserable. I hated what I was doing, and I hated who I was. It was a living death.
Now, having found recovery, I’ve been brought out of that death into a new life. I don’t live perfectly, and I still have struggles, but by turning to God in faith, he has given me a new existence. Every day when I wake up, my first thought is – Thank you God for a new life!
This is the glorious message of the gospel, and it is the message of today’s passage. In it, Paul reminded his audience that they were once dead in their sins but had been made alive in Christ. God resurrected them and forgave them, nailing their sins to the cross. This was no metaphorical act or a figure of speech. All of our failures were put on Christ and literally nailed to the cross in a sacrificial act that restored us to a right relationship with the father – for all time.
Just like my recovery though, if we want forgiveness and if we want the new life, we must choose to live in it. The idea of recovery does the alcoholic no good while he continues to drink. The new life does us no good as long as we choose to remain in the old one. We don’t save ourselves, but if we desire to experience the lives for which we were made, we must respond to God’s gift by daily nailing the old life to the cross.
God offers forgiveness to all of us. If we want it, it’s there for the taking. There is one cost though. The new life costs us the old life. We aren’t made perfect all at once when we come to God. He will work on us for the rest of our lives. To experience the new life now however, we must daily work on abandoning the old one. That’s more than a fair trade.