June 24, 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.”
One of my best friends was baptized this morning. Let me tell you, this is one of the best feelings in the world. To have this family is beyond description, knowing that in the end the family will be reunited no matter where life takes us. Christianity is not just something you do to check on a list. It is a way of life and it is a beautiful family. I really don’t even think I am doing it justice by my words. It is something you have to experience to fully understand, and them I’m not even sure I fully grasp that.
Regardless, I have a question for you. If you are a Christian, do you have a new life? If you are not a Christian, have you ever honestly thought about what this new life would be like?
Paul is writing to the church at Colossi in the passage above and he is describing the process of dying to our sins and being buried with Christ in baptism where His blood that he shed cleanses us of our sins and we are raised with him a new creation. This is where chapter three picks up. Paul says, if you have died to your sin, you ought to be living a new life, a life of following Christ. The old things, which we once sought, are not our goal any more. There are two different situations that I believe make this hard.
The first situation are those of us who have been raised in the church, or even just been raised with good values. A few things may change after our submission to God, but in all honesty, our daily lives stay somewhat the same other then the fact that Christ should always be on our mind and the goal of spreading the gospel a high priority. But we don’t have to quit stealing or drinking or having sex because we weren’t doing that in the first place. Though it is very good to be brought up like this, sometimes it can make us feel like we never made that commitment to Christ because nothing feels too different. To this, I would advise we remember how much of a blessing it is to not have to deal with the consequence of a rough backstory and trust in our Lord that he is working through us still and loves us just the same. The heart is not the measuring stick of our salvation. Listen to what the scripture says:
“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.”
(1 John 3:18-22)
Our measuring stick is God and His word. Our heart can be fickle. I for one am glad that my salvation doesn’t depend on whether or not my heart is feeling 100% confident. I don’t think I’m the only one.
The other situation that makes this concept hard is the opposite. Being brought up in a lifestyle of sin and not really knowing the difference. The good side to this is that it is a lot easier to see that stark difference of your old life and your new life, and it really shows to the world the power of God and his salvation. Your testimony is probably stronger to non-believers because there is a tangible difference. This is a great thing and a tool that you can use to spread the good news and effectively reach other souls that are lost. What a blessing, ironically, that is. But the hard part of this situation is that when you know sin so intimately, it is hard to constantly stay away. Even though I was raised in the church, I do know what it is like to know a level of sin and then try to turn my back on it and push away. I fail often, though I keep trying. Is it possible? Are those in this situation alone? Hear what Paul has to say about it:
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
And such were some of you. What we have to realize is that no matter how black our lives are before we meet Christ, His blood can cleanse us from all of it. There is no weakness in His blood. There is nothing that is beyond His power. We can be clean, if we trust in Him. “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified…” Hallelujah. That is the good news. Now we are to live a new life, a life for Him. Does that mean we can never mess up? Certainly not. We are human. We will sin. But we must not let that be an excuse to sin. We must actively be seeking the new life, and when we fall we must get right back up and journey onward. We have the power of Christ behind us, what do we have to fear? Who do we have to fear? The Almighty, Creator of the universe, loves us. If that is not humbling beyond belief, I don’t know what is. He loves all of us, and doesn’t want anyone to perish. It is our job to carry out this will by spreading the good news.
Have you entered the family yet? The invitation is open. All who will, come.
Suggested Daily Reading: Colossians 1-4.
The Lord use us to grow His kingdom.