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You Are a Trespasser

No Trespassing Sign

And you, who were dead in your trespasses... (Col 2:13)

Sometimes words have a way of leaping off the page at you, even when you've read them multiple times before. My latest experience with such a leaping word was "trespasses" in the above verse of Paul's letter to the Colossians. To trespass is to encroach on the domain of another. The infringement can be on someone else's property, privacy, or time, but the underlying principle is this--you have entered a space into which you were not invited and in which you do not belong.

Perhaps you've never thought of yourself as a trespasser before, but meditate for a moment on the nature of sin.

  • Idolatry is trespassing against the One who alone is God
  • Lust is trespassing the perimeter of purity
  • Jealousy is trespassing the confines of contentment
  • Adultery is trespassing the bounds of the marriage covenant
  • Lying is trespassing the horizon of honesty
  • Drunkenness is trespassing the borders of sober-mindedness
  • Stealing is trespassing the barrier of the "Golden Rule"
  • Strife is trespassing the outposts of unity
  • Debauchery is trespassing the lines of self-control
  • Rivalry is trespassing the periphery of peace
  • Hatred is trespassing the landmarks of love

We are trespassers. The just penalty for our trespassing? DEATH.

The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:23)

Though we have entered spaces into which we were not invited and in which we do not belong, forgiveness has graciously been made available.

In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Col 2:11-15)

Your guilt is not in question. My guilt is not a matter of dispute. We are trespassers. All of us (Rom 3:23). The only question is, who will pay the penalty for my trespassing?

In Christ, all sins can be forgiven.

In Christ, all guilt can be absolved.

In Christ, all trespasses can be pardoned.