Colossians 3:1-4 NIV
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
To be raised with Christ, we have to first die with Christ to sin. We must be baptized spiritually into his death to sin in order that in him we may live a new life not like the one we lived before. Our old self must be crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin but slaves to God (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).
When that takes place in our lives, now we are new creations in Christ Jesus, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. We have died with Christ to sin and we now live to Christ and to his righteousness, empowered by God’s Spirit. Whereas we once lived for ourselves, now we live for him who gave his life up for us (Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15, 21).
Thus, since we have now died with Christ to sin and we have been raised with Christ to newness of life in him, which is to be lived for his glory, we are to set our minds and our hearts on the things of God and of his kingdom and not on the things of this earth. So, how do we do that?
First of all, we can’t in our own power and strength. We can’t live for God and for his righteousness in the flesh. They are in conflict with each other. So, this isn’t about just following a set of rules which we can check off our lists as though completed. This is about full surrender of our lives to Christ.
When we surrender our lives to Christ and we submit to his will and purposes for our lives, and we allow his Spirit to make the necessary changes in our hearts, and we do what the Lord says to do, in his power and strength, our thinking changes toward God and away from the flesh.
This is a daily walk of dying to sin and denying self and following our Lord in surrender and in obedience to what he teaches us and to how he directs our lives. It is being sensitive to the voice of God’s Spirit living within us, too, directing our paths in the way the Lord would have us to go each day. And it is choosing each day to set our minds on God and not on worldly things.
Colossians 3:5-10 NIV
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.
“But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
Many people today are teaching that faith in Jesus Christ requires nothing of us – no obedience to Christ, no submission to his Lordship, and no repentance (no leaving our lives of sin behind us). If we do these things, they say it is works-based salvation, which we are not to engage in.
But it is NOT works-based salvation to die with Christ to sin and to follow our Lord in obedience and in submission to his will for our lives. For we are taught all throughout the New Testament that this is required of us as part of our believing faith (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Lu 9:23-26).
For, if we don’t die with Christ to sin, then we can’t be raised with Christ to newness of life in him. We can’t be born again of God if we don’t first die to sin with Christ. And we can’t be born of God and have salvation from sin and eternal life with God if we continue living in sin, instead (Rom 8:1-17).
But we don’t die to sin just once. We die daily to sin. Daily we deny self. And daily we walk in obedience to our Lord in surrender to his will for our lives. So, even though we died with Christ to sin, we must be, by the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the flesh if we want to live for eternity.
In other words, we aren’t “saved,” then we live however we want, and then one day we go to heaven. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Jesus returns and our salvation is complete.
In the meanwhile, we have to be walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. We must walk (in practice) in obedience to our Lord and not in obedience to our flesh. If we claim to have fellowship with God while we continue to walk in the darkness (sin), we are liars (1 Jn 1:5-9).
If we make adultery, sexual immorality, lust, lying, and cheating, etc. our habits, our practices, we will die in our sins. We won’t have eternal life with God. And a practice is something we keep repeating over again without change, because there has been no real change of heart.
But this is not us earning our salvation via good works. This is us, in surrender to our Lord, walking in his power under his control by his grace, through faith, in obedience to his will for our lives, which is why he died on that cross, that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24).
So, if we continue living in (walking in, abiding in) sin, as a matter of practice, and we choose not to surrender our lives to Christ and to walk in obedience to his commands, by his Spirit, then we must know that we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God, so please believe this!
[Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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