"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 "

// Colossians 1:21-23

When Jesus arose from death and exited the tomb to ascend to the Father, He carried you and I with Him. He stood before the Father, poured out His blood on the mercy seat, and presented “you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him.” So, now, the Father’s experience of you and me is only found in Christ. He is not looking at us outside of Christ, so He cannot find our sins, our stuff-ups, our failures, our transgressions or iniquities.

Not only did He bury those things in Jesus’ tomb, but any memory of them He blotted out with Jesus’ blood. When you blot something out on a piece of paper, you pour ink onto the words you intend to blot, and then you use another piece of paper to press it down so those words become illegible. God blotted out the very record of our sins and they are illegible to Him—He cannot read past the blood of His Son.

So when Paul says that Jesus presented “you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him,” He isn’t kidding or just saying a flowery nicety. He means it. In God’s experience of us, we are already holy and blameless and above reproach — already. Why then does it feel like we aren’t living in such good news, because hey, that is good news if it’s really true! What gives?

The trouble with being born again is, when we experience the new birth, we get raised up with our memories and habits intact. We certainly felt God put a new heart into us, and we feel fresh and clean, but we get raised up in the clothes in which we were buried. If we think of our memories and habits like that, we realize they are just the old clothes tailored for our old man, but they don’t fit the new man we were raised up to be in Christ.

That’s why conviction becomes so important for us to really live out the new life we have in Christ, because the Holy Spirit comes to us and says: “Hey, those pants don’t fit you anymore, they are far too loose! And that shirt, why it’s far, far too tight! How can you even breathe in it? And look at your beat-up shoes! They do not go with these new clothes I brought you. Here, give me those old things and take these brand new clothes, put them on, and enjoy how good you look in them!”

Those clothes — holiness, blamelessness, life lived above reproach—are the new rhythms of grace that fit us, truly. Grace and truth always come to us through Jesus, handed to us by the Holy Spirit who lives within us. He lives in us to update our perspective, aligning our experience of the new birth with that of the Father’s. The Holy Spirit commits Himself to getting our experience of the Gospel to match the Father’s understanding of it, so that we become just like Jesus, “holy and blameless and above reproach” in how we live our lives.