“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death.” Colossians 1:21-22
We change our minds every day, mostly about insignificant things like what to eat and what clothes to wear. Over time, we can change our minds about bigger issues like culture and politics. There is one kind of mind-change that we cannot do on our own. This change of mind is a work of grace and the reason we worship.
In Colossians 1:21-22 we read that we were once alienated from God and hostile in mind toward him. “Evil deeds” are the natural expression of hostile minds. We can add to the “hostile mind” a “darkened heart,” because in the Bible the mind and heart (thinking and loving) are connected. The point is that we don’t naturally befriend God. Our minds and hearts do not naturally embrace God in faith and love. We can’t, and don’t, change our minds about God on our own.
When Paul wrote to the Colossian Christians, he did not say that they once were hostile in mind but that they changed their mind. He said they once were hostile in mind and that now they have been reconciled. Their reconciliation was by the death of Jesus. Something happened to change their relationship with God from hostility to reconciliation. That was the death of Christ for them.
To be reconciled is to have a change of status (from enemy to ally) and to have a change of mind (from hostility to love). Jesus died to change our standing before God by forgiving us of sin, and to change our thinking about God by giving us new a new heart for him.
The great change granted to us by grace is objective. We really are at peace with God because Christ died for us to forgive us of sin. The change also includes our sense of God. We really do think differently – lovingly and longingly – about him. Christ changes our minds about God.
Evil deeds flow from a hostile mind, but worship flows from a reconciled mind. The reason we worship God is because in Christ he has reconciled us to himself. The old hostile mind has passed away, the new responsive mind is ours in Christ. We have been changed, and are changing, by grace. Rebels we once were; worshippers we are now.
This weekend, read Colossians 1:13-23 with someone and pray for our time of worship together on Sunday.