Colossians 3:1-4 ESV
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
If we who have believed in Jesus Christ have died with Christ to sin, and we have been raised with Christ to newness of life in him, then we are to seek after (desire, long for, pursue) what is of the kingdom of heaven, not what is of this earth; not what is of the flesh.
“For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” Rom. 6:10-11 ESV
So, we should long to be holy as he is holy, and we should seek after purity, truth, righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, and integrity, too. Our hearts and our passions should not be toward entertaining ourselves incessantly, or mainly geared toward what pleases our flesh. And, we should not be focused on the values, attitudes, thinking and behaviors of this sinful world, either.
Colossians 3:5-11 ESV
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
The reason Jesus died on that cross is that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. This is taught all throughout the New Testament. And, it is taught, too, as necessary components to believing faith in Jesus Christ for eternal life with God. For the faith it takes to believe in Jesus comes from God, it is gifted to us by God, and it is divinely persuaded of God. And, thus it submits to Jesus Christ as Lord, and it surrenders to his will.
Regardless of what many people are teaching today as the gospel of Jesus Christ – as the gospel of his grace – Jesus did not die on that cross merely to forgive us our sins and to promise us heaven when we leave this earth. He died to rescue us from darkness and to bring us into his wonderful light. And, He died to deliver us from our bondage (addiction) to sin, not so that we can continue in sinful practices claiming his grace covers it all.
Therefore, we are to put off the attitudes, thinking, values and behaviors of this sinful world, because faith in Jesus Christ involves putting these to death in our lives, by the Spirit. Every day we have to die to sin and self and put on Christ and his love, and his grace, and his way of righteousness and holiness. For, sexual immorality, lies, pride, gossip, gluttony, selfishness, hate, and idolatry of any kind (putting other things above God) must go.
For, the wrath of God is coming against all who make a practice of such things as this, even against many of those who make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. For, God’s Word says that those who practice such things, who walk in them, do not have eternal life with God, but they will die in their sins (Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Colossians 3:12-15 ESV
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
But, we don’t just put off sin. This is not about behavioral modification. We can’t, in the flesh, just change our habits and think God will be pleased. Jesus didn’t die just to improve our lives. He died to radically alter our lives. He died to transform us and to mold us into his likeness. He called us to be a holy people, separate from the world, and separate unto him and to his service. And, he died that we might become his possession and that he might be Lord (owner-master) of our lives, and us become his servants.
So, now that we have believed on him, we should desire him above all else. We should want to live wholly unto him, and no longer to please ourselves. And, this is a battle, I know, because we still live in flesh bodies and in this sinful world. But, Jesus already won this battle for us on the cross.
But, this is not to say we can’t enjoy what God has given to us or that we have to go around solemn all the time, with frowns on our faces. For, we have been called to be joyful in the Lord, and to sing praises unto him, and to give him thanks. And, we are to let our lights shine before all humans so that they will see Christ in our lives and so they will want to know him, too.
But, Christ must always be central in our lives. We must obey his teachings and do what he says, and not be hearers only of the Word. And, we must live holy lives unto God and not love the world of sin nor to make it our own. Yet, it is possible to be holy unto God and still enjoy life, and still laugh, too, but not about what is sinful. For, he does not intend for us to be miserable. But, he does intend for us to be righteous.
Thus, bearing with one another does not mean tolerating sin and abuse. And, kindness is not telling people only what they want to hear and what makes them feel good about themselves in their sin. For, it is never kind to lie to anyone. Jesus was kind, but he always told the truth, even hard truths which people didn’t want to hear, but what they needed to hear. And, forgiving people their sins against you also does not mean you look the other way if they are continuing to make sin their practice.
As well, the love we are to put on is not some mushy gushy feeling or just going around being “nice” to everyone. For, “nice” means agreeable, pleasant, amusing, polite (even lying to people), charming and appealing. Thus, the cheap grace gospel is “nice” but it is not kind. So, the love we are to put on is the kind that prefers what God prefers, which is what is honest, upright, moral, pure, godly, sincere, and faithful, etc.
And, the peace that is to rule our hearts is also not the kind the world speaks of. They speak of absence of conflict, and everyone agreeing together, and not making waves, and just going around doing good deeds, but never confronting anyone with sin or calling for repentance, for that builds walls, but bridges build peace, they say. But, the only bridge we are to follow is the way of salvation Jesus provided for us with his blood in order that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.
Colossians 3:16-17 ESV
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to be those who partake in the Word of God daily, not just as an afterthought, and not just as a scheduled time each day which we call our “quiet time” with God, or our time of devotions. But, his Word is to live in us and to impact how we live our lives each day, and to affect our attitudes, thinking and behaviors. And, it should be alive in our hearts all the time, speaking to us throughout the day in all our situations.
And, then we should be sharing it with our brothers and sisters in Christ so that we might encourage them in their walks of faith. And, to encourage means not merely to just make someone feel good, but it means to urge, inspire, nurture, help, persuade, and to give courage and hope, too.
And, to share spiritual songs, as well, does not mean we have to have great voices or that our songs need to be professionally performed or recorded. They don’t even have to sound great, for they are not for the purpose to entertain everyone. The whole reason God gives us spiritual songs to share is to uplift and encourage the body of Christ and to strengthen them in their faith walks with the Lord.
But, know this. Not everyone who calls himself or herself a sister or a brother in Christ is going to want to hear what we have to share. And, a lot of that, I believe, has to do with the culture of the institutional church that has trained people to see only those in official positions as those we should listen to about spiritual matters. Or, they have convinced them that songs all need to sound a certain way or be presented a certain way and anything less than that in quality, by their definition, is not worthy of consideration.
But, a lot of it, too, is because the church has become so worldly here in America, and, for the most part, they largely are not interested in talking about spiritual matters outside of organized religion. And, so we should be prepared that even many who profess the name of Jesus may reject us for sharing the truth of God’s Word and for trying to encourage the body of Christ toward faithfulness to God. And, they may even persecute us, too.
An Original Work / June 19, 2013
Based off Acts 20-22, 26; Mt. 28:18-20; Ac. 1:8
Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?
I’m fully ready to suffer for Christ.
If I must die for the sake of His name,
I am convinced it will not be in vain.
Glory to God and to His Son Jesus,
Who has redeemed us; bought with His blood.
May I speak to you? Jesus came to me;
Asked of me, “Why do you persecute me?”
He said, “Now get up and stand on your feet.
Go, and you’ll be told all I have for you.
I have appointed you as a servant,
And as a witness; you have been sent.”
“Go into the world and preach the gospel.
Open the blind eyes. They will receive sight.
Turn them from darkness to the light of Christ;
From power of the evil one to God,
So they may receive forgiveness of sins,
And a place among those who’re in heav’n.”
Saturday, March 16, 2019