Our Condition without Christ

He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already.

–John 3:18

What does humanity look like apart from Jesus Christ? In Colossians 1:21, Paul painted a picture of our desperate condition without Christ: “You were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds.”

Notice the phrases Paul used to describe an unbeliever’s relationship with God. First of all, we were “alienated” from God. That word means “cut off” or “estranged.” You and I were born into this world cut off from God. Many people believe we are born spiritually neutral, but that’s not what the Bible teaches. Jesus said in John 3:18, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Everybody is born into the world already condemned. We have received a guilty verdict, and the sentence is eternal death. Paul explained in Romans 5:12, “Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” When Adam sinned, we were all credited with Adam’s sin—and every time we disobey God, we confirm that Adam’s choice was our choice. Then Paul went on, “As through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous” (v. 19). Through Jesus’s act of obedience on the cross, all those who accept God’s gift of salvation are declared righteous. But without Christ, we are alienated from God.

Second, without Christ, we were “hostile in mind” toward the things of God (Colossians 1:21). Some unbelievers are openly defiant toward God. But for many unbelievers, their hostility toward God is more subversive. That leads to the third phrase Paul used: without Christ, we were “engaged in evil deeds.” Every time an unbeliever disobeys God’s commands, they are showing defiance toward their Creator. (By the way—every time you and I, as children of God, disobey Him, we are showing hostility toward Him as well.)

What is the punishment for being alienated, hostile, and engaged in evil deeds? Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death.” The Greek word translated as “death,” thanatos, means “separation.” It refers not just to physical death but also to eternal death, the separation of our spirit from God. Because we have rebelled against God, we deserve to be eternally separated from Him. That is our condition without Christ.

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Today’s devotion is adapted from “Saved and Secured” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

 

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