Colossians 1:21-13 Bible Study by Bridget Willard

Once Alienated: Colossians 1:21-23


And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Colossians 1:21-23

Alienated.  What kind of images does that word conjure up in your mind? I think of total isolation, the kind of loneliness you feel even in a crowd or a party.

Enemies. Who are enemies? Who are your enemies? Who are God’s enemies?  Have you ever realized that you were God’s enemy? We were enemies in our minds.

Holy. To be holy is to be set apart; unlike alienation, holiness sets us apart from the world but puts us in His family in which we are never truly lonely.

Blameless. Again, this is in contrast to the word “enemies.” Since we were reconciled to God through the death of Christ, we are able to be presented by Him as blameless. All of the wrongs we have done disappeared from His sight; there is nothing we can be accused of or blamed for.

One of my favorite aspects of studying the Bible inductively is to notice the tense of the verbs:

  • 21) who once were alienated [implied, but are not now]
  • 21) He has reconciled [this reconciliation has already taken place]
  • 22) to present you [has not been done yet]
  • 23) if indeed you continue [implied (by the if), you may not continue, action is ongoing]
  • 23) are not moved away [could happen but has not]
  • 23) hope which you heard [you heard the gospel already; implied, you are responsible for that]
  • 24) was preached to every creature [was preached instead of “has been and is being preachedindicates an event which both occurred and finished in the past]

When we consider, really stop to consider, the reality of our deprived state and realize all that God has already done to secure our salvation, it entirely changes how we consider ourselves. Yes, we were enemies. Yes we were sinners. But we are Beloved of God as demonstrated by the extent of His works and offering.  Our self-worth comes from His behavior toward us.

Questions for Further Thought:


All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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