Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.Colossians 1:21-23
The gospel of Jesus Christ is not that we are basically good people who just need a little help to become better people, and if we would follow some principles of Jesus, we would be better. Many churches are proclaiming this message, but this is not the gospel.
No, the gospel is that we were once enemies of God. Our thoughts and our behavior revealed the fact that we were alienated from God. But God, in His great love and grace, sent Jesus, the image of the invisible God, to die for us. We were dead in our sin and so Jesus came to rescue us by dying for us.
When Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, He brought us with Him. We have now been transformed from death to life. The message is not that good people get a little better but–by faith in Jesus because of the grace of God–dead people come to life!
The result is not that we are a little better. The result is that Jesus now presents us to the Father as perfectly holy, without blemish and free from accusation. We are clothed with Christ, not the filthy rags of our old life. Paul said it this way to the Christians in Corinth:
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. Some of you once lived this way. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (New English Translation)
We stand before the Father blameless because of what Jesus did for us. “…count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus”(Romans 6:11)
Living a holy life simply means we stop doing CPR on our old, dead life. Our old self has been crucified with Christ and buried with Christ. If we sense it coming out of the grave, it does so as a zombie that needs to be put down. It is not who we are anymore. Holiness is simply being who we now are in Christ. Holiness is living out our true identity as new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Paul says it this way to the Romans:
Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.Romans 6:13-14