From the Domain of Darkness
Colossians 1:13-14 ESV
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
The modern gospel being taught today does not teach this. It teaches that Jesus died on the cross to take away the guilt and punishment of our sin and to give us eternal life with God guaranteed, and all that we have to do is just receive his free gift of salvation. Then we are told that we are now a Christian, saved from our sins, our sins are forgiven, and heaven is guaranteed us when we die, and we do nothing. Jesus does it all.
There is no coming to the cross and dying with Christ to sin in humility and in grief and in sorrow and in true repentance over our sin, and submitting to Jesus as Lord, and us walking in obedience to his commands. The fear of God is no longer being taught, well rarely, for we are not being taught that our lives are to now honor God and that the Christian life means daily dying with Christ to sin and living to Christ and to his righteousness.
Instead, we are hearing such things as God pursues us, which he does, but some people are saying that it is because he is enraptured with us, and so all we have to do is just accept his affection for us. They see God’s grace to us as a one-time gift of forgiveness of sins and God promising us that he will be with us forever. And they see the relationship between God and us as God not only being enthralled with us, but that He is devoted to us.
And they see repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as Lord (owner-master) as “works-based salvation” or as “Lordship salvation” or as legalism, all of which are to be avoided. For they see that Jesus does everything for us and that nothing is required of us other than to just accept his grace and forgiveness and his generosity to us. So they see no biblical mandates and no biblical conditions for us to have eternal life with God.
They may teach that God changes us, and they may teach that God’s grace teaches us to do right, but they do not teach that God requires that we forsake our former lives of living for sin and self and that we follow him in obedience to his commands in order to be forgiven our sins and to have the hope of eternal life with God. Therefore, they give their adherents free license to continue living in sin while still guaranteeing them heaven.
Yes, it is true that we can do nothing in ourselves to earn or to deserve our own salvation. We can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father draws us to Christ and he persuades us with regard to our sinfulness and of our need to repent of our sin and to turn to God to follow him in obedience. For, even our faith to believe in Jesus comes from God and is gifted to us by God, and it is not of ourselves, lest we should boast.
But since this faith comes from God, it is authored by Jesus, and it is perfected by Jesus, and it means to be persuaded of God, this faith is going to submit to the will and purposes of God, for it doesn’t come from us. So, we will be convinced of the horribleness of our sins and of our need to be delivered from the domain (power, control, authority) of darkness (evil, sin, wickedness) and to be transferred into the kingdom of God.
And to be transferred means we are no longer where we were before. We have been moved to a different place. We have been relocated, removed from where we were and placed somewhere else. So, that means we are no longer living under the control and power of sin over our lives but we are now living under the control and power of God over our lives. For “Lord” isn’t just a title. It means he is owner-master of our lives (Rom 6:1-23).
Jesus doesn’t just hand out forgiveness of sins to everyone on a silver platter and all they have to do is receive his forgiveness and now they are “saved” and heaven is now their eternal home. Jesus hands out a cross for us to die with him to sin and then to live to him and to his righteousness. He said if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and self) and follow (obey) him (Lu 9:23-26).
Through Him and For Him
Colossians 1:15-20 ESV
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
Today’s modern gospel, which is now permeating the church and many people’s lives, is being spread like wildfire and is largely being accepted by the masses who profess faith in Jesus Christ. For, it appeals to their flesh and to their lustful desires. It makes no requirements of them other than to receive God’s forgiveness or his grace or his affection. So, they do not have to give up their lives of sin. They just have to stop feeling guilty about sin.
It is all about self and not about God. It is all about what he can do for us, but nothing about what he requires or desires of us. It honors self, not God. It gratifies self, and it does not feel the necessity to do what pleases God. It is all about how God loves us or how he is enraptured with us or how he is devoted to us, but it is not about us loving him, and being enthralled with him, and it is definitely not about us being devoted to him.
They totally and willfully ignore the teachings in Scripture which teach that we must fear God, and honor him, and obey him, and that our salvation is for the glory of God, not for our own glory. All things were created by Jesus, in heaven and on the earth, and not only through him but FOR HIM. As his followers we are to be his possession and he is to be our master, and we are to serve him with our lives and obey what he says to do.
He is the head of the body of Christ, not us, and not other humans. In everything He is to be preeminent, not us. He is to get “top billing,” not us. He didn’t give his life up for us on that cross because of our greatness, or because he was so enraptured with us, for it was while we were yet sinners that Jesus Christ died on that cross. He died for us because we were lost in our sins and we needed someone to rescue us from our bondage to sin.
But it wasn’t just for us that he died on that cross. It isn’t all about us! He is to be King over all, and he is to be revered, honored, worshiped and obeyed as though he is Supreme over all. And we should be humbled by his sacrifice for our sins because we did not deserve his love and grace at all. And He gave his life up for us that we might glorify him with our lives, that we might be for his praise and glory, not for our own praise and glory.
So, don’t accept those lies which teach that it is all about us and what God can do for us and that he requires nothing of us. Don’t believe the lies that say we can be saved from our sins and have eternal life with God while we refuse to humble ourselves before God and die with Jesus to sin and to self and to follow him in obedience. Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. That is the gospel!
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]
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.
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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