“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.” – Colossians 1:21-22a
Over the years, there have been lots of movies about aliens coming to earth. We’ve had “Signs,” “Independence Day,” “Lilo & Stitch,” “E.T.” … the list goes on and on. Now, I’d like you to chew on this: In all of these movies, whether the aliens are good or evil, the basic premise is the same: Earth is humans’ home planet, and anyone who comes here from somewhere else is an alien.
Interestingly, the Bible disagrees. According to Scripture, WE are the aliens, and heaven is our true home. But on our own, we’re not the nice, cuddly, “E.T.”-type aliens. Nope—left to our own devices, we’re more like those mean, ugly dudes in “Independence Day.” That’s you and me … at least, until we reconcile to God through Jesus Christ.
In Colossians 1:21, Paul points out a stark reality, which many people don’t want to accept: “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.” That wasn’t a popular message in Paul’s day, and it’s not a very popular message today. Many people take pride in being very “spiritual” and feel very “connected” to God. So they are taken aback by Paul’s blunt words here. But without Jesus Christ, you’re alienated from God. In fact, you’re an enemy of God. Now, how do you like them apples?
The word “alienated,” as it’s used by Paul, is a translation of a Greek word that means “to be utterly estranged” and “to be utterly the property of another.” So, Paul is saying that before we become believers and followers of Jesus, we are utterly estranged from God; we are completely sold out to someone or something other than God. You see, ever since Adam and Eve first sinned, sin has corrupted everything on this planet: the land, the animal kingdom and human beings. Sin turned this perfect paradise into an alien planet, and sin turned us into aliens.
When Paul speaks about us being enemies of God “in our minds,” he is addressing something much more severe than just a pattern of sinful behavior. As Bible commentator N.T. Wright explains: “It is not simply that habitual wrongdoing has turned the mind away from God…. Thought and act are both tainted, each pushing the other into further corruption…. Wrong thinking leads to vice, vice to further mental corruption, so that the mind, still not totally ignorant of God’s standards, finds itself applauding evil.”
This doesn’t happen today, does it? Our culture doesn’t applaud evil, does it? Unfortunately, it does … all the time. Millions of our fellow Americans not only support abortion but applaud “a woman’s right to choose.” Millions of Americans applauded sexual perversion a couple of weekends ago by plunking down $46 million on the opening weekend of the latest “50 Shades of Grey” movie. Whether we’re talking about premarital sex, homosexuality, greed, profanity or no-fault divorce, there are any number of lifestyle choices that the world celebrates, even though the Bible condemns them.
So, when we turn to Christ, he doesn’t simply have to transform our moral behavior. He also has to transform our thinking, because in this alien world we live in, both our morals and our thinking have been tainted by sin. This led Paul to write in Romans 12:2: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
In this alien world we live in, both our actions and our thinking alienate us from God and make us enemies of God. That’s the bad news. But thankfully, there’s good news. Take a look at verses 22 and 23: “But now He [God] has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.”
The bad news: You’re a stinkin’ alien. The good news: Jesus can wash you up and bring you home. In the movie “E.T.,” Elliot and his friends work together to send E.T. home. In real life, God the Father works together with Jesus and the Holy Spirit to bring us home. And what is home? From God’s perspective, home is His Kingdom. Home is a restored, unbroken relationship with Him. Home is forgiveness. Home is mercy and grace. Home is holiness. Home is faith in Him. Home is freedom from accusation. Home is love and peace and hope. And Jesus is the only One who can get us there.
Doesn’t home sound wonderful?
Dane Davis is the Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information, visit www.YourVictorvilleChurch.com and join us for worship Sundays at 10 am.