The new self.

February 15, 2014.

“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.”
(Colossians 3:1-4)

I have recently become a fan of Paul’s letter to Colossae. I think that this is one of the more obscure letters that get masked by books such as Romans or Hebrews or even the three letters of John. However, there is so much truth that comes from Colossians. Over the past couple of weeks I have found gems and I would like to share the message with you.

The overarching theme in Colossians, in my opinion at least, is that since we as Christians have died to sin and raised with him through baptism to a new walk of life, being new creatures, we are to remember of what our new life is to consist. We have died to self, died to worldly pleasures and to the filth of sin that once separated us from our God. We now live according to our new calling.

The first few verses of chapter three is what I would call Paul’s thesis. He starts out by establishing Christ in the first chapter, what he has done for us and his glory, then he talks about our uniting with him, in a death and resurrection like his through baptism in chapter two and then spends the end of the second and beginning of the third instructing about living the new life as a holy people. His final chapter is a conclusion and benediction to the saints in Colossae.

I find his structure in this letter beautiful, mainly because I believe the concept of dying to self and raising with Christ as a new creature, our pathway to the blood of Christ, to be a beautiful depiction and embodiment of Christ’s sacrifice for us. I think this is how we should structure our lives. Christ came to bring salvation to the world, he died in our place, we are united with him in his death, we then are to live according to the spirit and not to the flesh. We have been made holy. Let us not tarnish our garment for the sake of temporary pleasure.

“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.”
(Colossians 3:12-14)

Paul reminds the brethren that they are not alone. One of the major benefits of being part of the family of God is just that– we are a family. We are to be there for one another, bearing each other’s burdens. Look at the promise Paul writes here, sent from God: love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Beautiful.

Even in benediction, Paul leaves us with an instruction that, if truly applied to our lives, I believe would bring about winning souls:

“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
(Colossians 4:5-6)

So often are we as Christians quick to jump on the case of outsiders because we feel “persecuted.” In reality, if we responded in love (not saying we in anyway portray the acceptance of sin), that’s what would set us apart from the world. That’s what would make people stop and think, “hmm, maybe there is something to this whole Christianity thing.” Isn’t that what is written? “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) These are the words of our Lord. Think on these things.

Suggested Daily Reading: Colossians 1-4

The Lord grant you wisdom.

-Walter

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