Without A Single Fault
“Now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.” – Colossians 1:22 (NLT)
“Me? I’m standing before God without a single fault?” I’m thinking to myself. “Who’s Paul kidding?” But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I’ve been studying the book of Colossians for a few weeks now. I try to read the book in one sitting a couple of times a week from different translations, and I’ve enjoyed getting familiar with its theme of Christ’s superiority. However, it seems that no matter how many times I’ve read a passage of Scripture, there comes a time when something will appear fresh, new and unexpected. Sometimes those unexpected encounters are a joy, like when you see a good friend after a long absence. Other times, the unexpected takes a more painful turn, like when I read this passage in Colossians.
On about my tenth reading of Colossians, I didn’t even get through chapter one when I had trouble getting wrapping my mind around this idea: I stand before God without a single fault.
I thought to myself, “Not me, baby.” I have so many faults I sometimes wonder why my wife doesn’t change the locks on the door while I’m at work. Besides, if I have no faults, then why am I a forty-seven year old ordained minister with a Master’s degree working in a lumberyard selling plumbing and electrical parts? Why isn’t there a church somewhere that wants my God-given talents and abilities? Why am I still opening my mouth and saying inappropriate things? Why do I still struggle with selfishness, pride, impatience, joy, love and self-control? How on earth or in heaven can Paul tell me I stand before God without a single fault?
After wrestling with this idea for a few days, I finally began to understand that we must all know the difference between our position in Christ and our experience with Christ.
Because God sees me “reconciled…through the death of Christ,” my position in Christ is without fault. By faith, Christ’s blood has cleansed me from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). However, my experience in life is far from righteous. But this, too, is part of God’s way.
If you’ll recall, the experience of the Israelites in Egypt was one of imprisonment, slavery, and separation from God. Nevertheless, on the evening of the first Passover, even though God knew of their experience, their position under the blood allowed death to pass over. God said, “The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood I will pass over you” (Exodus 12:13). God did not judge them on their experience of slavery and sin, but upon their position under the blood. And so it is with all who position themselves under the sin-cleansing blood of Christ.
It is still hard to wrap my brain around it. My experience in life is one of triumph and defeat, success and failures, living up to God’s standards and failing miserably. But since I do not stand before God based on my own merits, but upon the gift of God through Christ Jesus, I find myself breathing a little easier. God, in His infinite mercy, has decided to see me – and you if you choose – through rose-colored glasses tinted red by the blood of Christ, declaring that what He sees is good and without fault.
This passage continued to be a mystery to me until I read Colossians 1:27, that is, the mystery of Christ living in me. (Colossians 1:27). Perhaps if I just kept reading I wouldn’t have been so bothered! It goes like this: God approves of Christ; Christ lives in me; therefore, God approves of me.
And who am I to argue with God?