[22] he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,

Colossians 1:22

Thank God that there is something ‘after the ‘before!’

Before Jesus there was only alienation, hostility, and evil deeds (vs 21). Not a very pretty picture. Thank God for verse 22, he has now, or put simply “But now.”

What incredible, wonderful words “But now.” Were there ever more glorious words spoken to otherwise hopeless and helpless sinners? “But now!”

Were it not for the divine and gracious “But now” we would be forever mired and entrenched in the ‘always’ of sin and death and darkness. There would be no purpose in speaking of a ‘before,’ because there would be no hope of an ‘after.’ Every believer is a walking, talking “But now.”

The contrast evoked by the transitional words “But now” with which verse 22 begins is lost in most English translations. There are several places in the New Testament where we find these or similar words. Often following the description of humanity’s falleness in sin are the words, “But God.”

[4] But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,

Ephesians 2:4

In Ephesians 2:11-12 Paul paints a rather ugly, shocking, and disheartening portrait of the plight of the Gentiles before the coming of Jesus. Then says “But now” (vs 13) “in Christ Jesus” it’s as if he shouts it from the rooftops “we have been drawn near and our former alienation has given way to friendship and intimacy and forgiveness.”

Paul uses the same terminology in Colossians 1.

[21] And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, [22] he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,

Colossians 1:21-22

Sometimes in life there are people that say things much better than you ever can. William T Matson

(1833 – 1899) wrote this hymn in 1868,

1 Lord, I was blind: I could not see

in thy marred visage any grace;

but now the beauty of thy face

in radiant vision dawns on me.

2 Lord, I was deaf: I could not hear

the thrilling music of thy voice;

but now I hear thee and rejoice,

and all thine uttered words are dear.

3 Lord, I was dumb: I could not speak

the grace and glory of thy name;

but now, as touched with living flame,

my lips thine eager praises wake.

4 Lord, I was dead: I could not stir

my lifeless soul to come to thee;

but now, since thou hast quickened me,

I rise from sin’s dark sepulchre.

5 Lord, thou hast made the blind to see,

the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak,

the dead to live; and lo, I break

the chains of my captivity!

Dead! Blind! Dumb! Alienated! Hostile! BUT NOW!

John Newton in his very famous hymn:

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,

that saved a wretch like me;

I once was lost BUT NOW I’m found,

was blind, BUT NOW I see!”

These specific words are words that express an indescribably encouraging and hopeful truth. When you feel that you are not as you should be as a Christian, when doubt, unworthiness, failure, sin and lack of faith creep into your heart and mind, there is one simple cry, one simple declaration that pushes away the devil and brings healing and hope, two simple yet profound and powerful words “BUT NOW.”

When ingratitude, complacency and selfishness is ruling your heart and your actions, why not stop and consider your “BUT NOW” by God’s Grace I am a new creation.

This “But now” means that you can be presented before God holy and blameless and above reproach before him, or free from every charge against you.

As Jude 24 says,

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,

To stand in the presence of the holy God who knows every hidden thought and motive we’ve ever had, and yet to be declared holy, blameless, and beyond reproach, sounds impossible! How can this be true?

It’s true because Paul and Jude are looking at the final result of our sanctification.

There are three aspects of sanctification:

First is positional sanctification. When we are reconciled to God through Christ’s death. He sets us apart to Himself. We are clothed with Christ’s perfect righteousness and seated with Him in heavenly places.

Second is progressive sanctification. As we walk with Christ daily, putting to death the deeds of the flesh and growing in obedience, we become increasingly holy, blameless, and above reproach. This is never perfect in this life, but there is progress.

Third, when we die or Christ returns our sinful nature will be completely eradicated. This is perfect sanctification, because we will be like Jesus (1 john 3:2).

That’s God’s ultimate aim in reconciling us to Himself through Christ.

Now shout “BUT NOW” go on, louder….