The Gospel Upside Down

Colossians 2:1-3 NASB

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

A Great Struggle

I identify with Paul in these words here. As one of God’s many servants and witnesses, I, too, am burdened for his church, that we might all be encouraged to walk with Christ in holiness and righteousness.

I am burdened over the many who I see walking away from the truth of the gospel to follow after a false grace gospel, which pacifies sin rather than puts it to death. I am saddened, too, over the many who are living in spiritual complacency, neither on fire for the Lord nor completely cold towards him. And, I am concerned, as well, over those who are walking uprightly who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ, that they may be strengthened in their faith and have courage to persevere.

Colossians 2:4-8 NASB

I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument. For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Don’t Be Taken Captive

Perhaps as much as a third of the world-wide church has adopted this false grace gospel in place of the true gospel taught by Jesus and his NT apostles. They have turned the gospel upside down, with the wrong side up and the right side down. They have skipped right past the Holy Spirit and being born anew of the Spirit, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. They have bypassed death to sin and living to righteousness, and they have reduced the gospel to forgiveness of sins and the promise of heaven when we die, but with no requirement to leave their lives of sin behind them.

I believe the vast majority of this section of the church exists in the USA, or in the West, in general. And, it has led its adherents to believe that they can be forgiven their sins, have heaven when they die, yet still live in sin, barely acknowledging Jesus Christ who died to rescue them from their addictions to sin. For, they either leave repentance and obedience to Christ out of the gospel, or else they explicitly teach that God does not require anything of his followers – no repentance, obedience or submission to Christ and his cross.

But, the Bible is real clear that our salvation means death to sin and living to righteousness, leaving our old lives of sin behind us, being renewed in our minds of the Spirit of God, and turning to follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his teachings and in surrender to his will for our lives. For, if we continue in willful sinful practices, and we walk according to the flesh, and not according to the Spirit, we will die in our sins, not have the hope of eternal life with God when we leave this earth (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; Acts 26:16-18; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 6:7-8).

Colossians 2:9-12 NASB

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

The Gift of God

It is true that it is by grace, through faith, that we are saved from our sins, and that this is a gift of God, not of works lest any of us should boast. But, we were saved to do good works via the Holy Spirit of God (Eph. 2:8-10).

God’s gift to us is not free license to continue in willful sin against him without guilt or remorse. His gift to us is the power and the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives to change us, to turn us from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those made holy by faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 26:18).

This is not works-based salvation. This is God’s salvation working in our hearts and lives as we yield to the Lordship of Christ in our lives and we cooperate with his work of grace and his heart transformation he works in us. When we choose to replace his gospel with a half-truth gospel which requires no death to sin or living to righteousness, then we are following the gospel of humans, not the gospel as taught by Jesus Christ.

Just as, in his death, Jesus Christ put our sins to death, and just as, in his resurrection, he rose victorious over sin and Satan, we, too, when we truly believe in Jesus Christ, die with him to sin so that we might live with him to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24). For, this is why he died, that we might no longer walk in sin, but that we might, by his power, walk according to the Spirit in godliness, uprightness and holiness.

Colossians 2:13-15 NASB

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

He Made Us Alive with Him

Again, we don’t do anything to work our way into heaven. We can never be good enough. Our good works will never outweigh our bad. We can’t save ourselves. Only through faith in Jesus Christ can we be forgiven our sins, be set free from slavery to sin, delivered from the pit of hell, and transformed into God’s eternal kingdom.

But, the works of the Spirit of God, which he works in our hearts and lives, as we cooperate with him, and as we yield to the Lordship of Christ, and we do what he says, are what give evidence that we truly are in Christ by faith in him. It doesn’t mean if we should sin that we have lost our salvation, for those who are genuinely saved have Jesus as their advocate to the Father (1 Jn. 2:1-2). But, if we walk in sin, and it is our lifestyle, then we don’t have salvation from sin, for we are still living in bondage to sin.

Genuine faith in Jesus Christ, which provides forgiveness of our sins, and which promises us heaven when we leave this earth, is divinely persuaded by God as to his righteousness and holiness, and thus it submits to Jesus Christ and to his will for our lives. His grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives. So, make sure today, that your salvation is the real deal, and it is not based on a lie which leaves you still wandering in sin.

Only in Him
An Original Work / February 19, 2014

Based off Isaiah 30

Woe to those who look to man’s help;
Who turn away from Jesus Christ;
Forming an alliance not in step with God;
Making their own plans, and praying not.

Willing not to listen to truth,
They close their ears to what is right.
Pleasing words are all that they’ll hear;
Feel good messages that bring cheer.

Trust in your Lord; turn from your sin.
Put your faith now ONLY IN HIM.
Do not turn to idols. They’ll not satisfy.
Jesus will save you. That’s why He died.

Your Lord will be gracious to you.
He cares all about you, ‘tis true.
He forgives you all of your sin
When you give your life up to Him.

Oh, how truly gracious He’ll be
When you bow to Him on your knees;
Turning now from your sin; walking in his ways.
He’ll lead and guide you all of your days.

Now you will sing praises to Him.
He delivered you from your sin.
You’ll tell others now of His grace,
So they may see Christ face-to-face.

Monday, July 16, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for these encouraging words. Bring them home to our hearts, I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

 

2 thoughts on “The Gospel Upside Down

  1. Amen!!! We work with the Gardener in His field, but He was the One who placed us there, not through our own works. Recently, I’ve been admiring how Christ used gardening to symbolize so many things, and I’m thankful for it.

    Liked by 1 person

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