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. (Colossians 1:21-22)
The best news in all the world is that our alienation from God is ended and we are reconciled to the Judge of the universe. God is no longer against us but for us. Having omnipotent Love on our side mightily steels the soul. Life becomes utterly free and daring when the strongest Being is for you.
But Paul’s whole message of salvation is not good news to those who reject the diagnosis in Colossians 1:21. He says, “You were formerly alienated and hostile in mind.”
How many people do you know who say, “I am hostile to God in my mind”? People seldom say, “I hate God.” So what does Paul mean that people were “hostile in mind” to God before they were reconciled by the blood of Christ?
John Piper thinks he means that the hostility is really there toward the true God, but people do not allow themselves to think about the true God. They imagine God to be the way they would like him to be, which seldom includes any possibility that they might be in really serious trouble with him.
But concerning the God who really is — a God who is sovereign over all things, including sickness and calamity — we were all hostile to him, Paul says. Deep down, we hated his absolute power and authority.
That any of us is saved is owing to the wonderful truth that the death of Christ obtained the grace by which God conquered our hearts and caused us to love the One we once hated.
Many are still learning not to be hostile to God. It is a good thing that he is gloriously patient.