The application of these truths to the Christians of Colossae:
v. 21. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
v. 22. in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreprovable in His sight,
v. 23. if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I, Paul, am made a minister.
All the blessed truths which he has discussed in the previous paragraph the apostle wants to apply to the Colossians, his aim being to make them conscious of the unspeakable glories which are the lot of the believers here and in the world to come: And you that were formerly strangers and enemies as to your mind in wicked works. The Colossian Christians, for the most part Gentiles by birth, had not merely been alienated, estranged, from God, as though they had at one time been in fellowship with Him, but they had been absolute strangers to Him, shut out entirely from His love and mercy; they had been His outspoken and inveterate enemies in their own nature. See Eph_2:1; Eph_2:12; Eph_4:18. They were in a state and condition of estrangement as to their affections, passions, desires, understanding. The sphere in which they were moving was that of wicked works, of deeds which increased the alienation between God and them day after day, Rom_8:7. They were thus under the wrath of God and doomed to the judgment of everlasting damnation.
But now the miracle of God's mercy is brought out: But now has He reconciled (you) in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless and unreprovable before Him. This characterizes the present state of the Colossians, the state into which they entered through faith in conversion. Now they have been reconciled, now they have become partakers of the reconciliation of Christ. By God they were reconciled to Himself, in the body of His flesh. The Son of the God of love, the only-begotten Son, the eternal Word, was made flesh, and earned and effected a full reconciliation between the righteous God and the sinful world, through His vicarious death. He bore the curse of being forsaken by God, of being condemned to the fires of eternal death; He paid the debt, He delivered mankind from sin, death, and the devil. This reconciliation is ours by faith, it is a gift of God's free love, whose purpose was to set us forth, to present us before Himself and His judgment as holy, as people that have been cleansed from sin and consecrated to God, as blameless, free from the faults and stains of sin, as unreprovable, no one being able to fasten an accusation upon us. See 2Co_5:19-21.
How this condition may obtain and continue is shown in the next words: If, indeed, you remain firmly grounded through faith, and firm and not to be moved from the hope of the Gospel which you have heard, which was preached before every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, have become a servant. Faith is a condition of salvation inasmuch as it is the instrument and means by which salvation is accepted. Paul writes in a very delicate way: Assuming that, by which he means to say that there could surely be no doubt as to their remaining in faith. With this faith in their hearts, faith in the redemption through the death of Christ, the Christians of Colossae and of all times are grounded, firmly established, they have the surest foundation, for their trust is grounded in Jesus, the Author and Finisher of their faith. It was not only thus in the past, it is thus in the present. And with the help of the Holy Spirit the Christians will not be moved away from the hope of the Gospel which they have heard. The Gospel holds out the aim and object of the believers' faith, the salvation of their souls, the glory of heaven. No suggestions and persecutions from without, no foolish lusts and desires from within should make us deviate from the directness of our way to heaven. For the promises of the Gospel which have been given us are so sure and certain that no other certainty can compare with their simple assurance. Paul adds that this same Gospel which the Colossians had heard had been preached in the presence of every creature under heaven. Even then the Gospel had been carried forth into every part of the civilized world; it was being spoken of in all the earth, Rom_10:18. All men in search of the truth were being given an opportunity of hearing and learning the way of salvation, of becoming acquainted with the message of redemption, of which Paul had become a minister. The Gospel as preached by Paul is the only way to heaven.