Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Reconciled and Steadfast in Christ

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, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.  (Col 1:21-22)

Again he lays down also the manner of the reconciliation, that it was "in the body," not by being merely beaten, nor scourged, nor sold, but even by dying the most shameful death.  Again he makes mention of the Cross, and again lays down another benefit.  For He did not only "deliver," but, as he says above, "Who made us qualified" (ver. 12), to the same he alludes here also.  "Through" His "death," he says, “to present you holy and without blemish and above reproach before Him."  For truly, He has not only delivered from sins, but has also placed amongst the approved.  For, not that He might deliver us from evils only, did He suffer so great things, but that also we might obtain the first rewards; as if one should not only free a condemned criminal from his punishment, but also advance him to honor. And he hath ranked you with those who have not sinned, yea rather not with those who have done no sin only, but even with those who have wrought the greatest righteousness; and, what is truly a great thing, has given holiness which is before Him and being above reproach.  Now an advance upon blameless is above reproach, when we have done nothing either to be condemned for, or charged with.  But, since he ascribed the whole to Him, because through His death He achieved these things.  "What then," says one, "is it to us?  We need nothing."  Therefore he added,
if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.  (Col 1:23)
Here he strikes a blow at their listlessness.  And he said not simply "continue," for it is possible to continue wavering and vacillating; it is possible to stand, and continue, though turned this way and that.  "If indeed you continue," he says, "stable and steadfast, and not shifting."  Wonderful!  What a forcible metaphor he uses!  He says not only not tossed to and fro, but not even moved.  And observe, he lays down so far nothing burdensome, nor toilsome, but faith and hope—that is, if you continue believing, that the hope of the things to come is true.  For this indeed is possible.  But as regards virtuous living, it is not possible to avoid being shaken about, though it be but a little; so what he prescribes is not grievous.

John Chrysostom, Homily on Colossians, IV

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