Wouldn’t it be nice if at our conversion to Christ we ceased to sin? If our heavenly Father would just turn off the sin switch and throw away the knob? It doesn’t work that way though. For sure, a day is coming when we will sin no more, but for now in this body and in this life we are given to the hard work of sanctification. It’s like taking care of Continue reading
God’s wonderful grace toward us in Christ Jesus saves us from the penalty of our sins, but that same wonderful grace does not leave us as we are. It sanctifies us. In other words, it is God by His grace conforming us more and more into the image of His Son Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). That same grace of God trains us day after day (Titus 2:11-12) to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions. And that’s not all! It trains us to live self-controlled lives, upright lives, and godly lives because we are on the pathway to the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21) where ungodliness and worldly passions have been done away with forever.
In Colossians 2:18 the apostle Paul warns of false teachers who insist upon the worship of angels. Most of the commentators agree that this was just another way for these people to show their false humility. The thinking goes like this: “We are too unworthy to go directly to God and so we will worship the angels who are in his presence. And they will hopefully mediate on our behalf.” Does that sound familiar? Maybe like people in our own day who worship and pray to dead saints with the hope that a particular dead saint can get them closer to God? This too is false worship because Christ alone is the way to the Father. 1 Tim 2:5 says, For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Praise the Lord that there is only one way to the Father. There is no other mediator between God and man, none but Jesus.
How does God deal with sins? The apostle Paul writes in Colossians 2:13-14, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” Our God is holy and righteous and a devout hater of sin. The terrible truth of how He deals with sin is that He cuts it off and throws it away. He kills it and buries it. And the only way for a sinner (see Romans 3:23) to escape his holy wrath on judgment day is to be found in Christ. Because in Christ is the only place that you will find forgiveness of your sins. God’s Word says that there is a record of debt and I promise you that you don’t want to still be carrying your record of debt when you are summoned before God’s throne to give an account for your life (see Romans 14:12; Hebrews 4:13). You want to make sure that Christ took your record of debt to the cross. You want to make sure that it was nailed to that cross with Him.
The Apostle Paul’s desire for the church in Colossae was for them to be knit together in love (Col 2:2). The love of God at work in His people is what makes us strong and gives us credibility in the world. Jesus said so himself after he had humbly washed his disciples’ feet in the upper room. He set for them an example of humble and loving service to one another. Continue reading
The Scripture speaks of this mystery of Christ in you. Well, how do you know that Christ is in you? Do you have a new heart? Can you say, “yes there was a time when I was a stranger to God. I was going my own way and doing my own things, but now I want to please Him. I’m different now, I’m a new creation. I want to know Christ and I want to know His will for my life. I want to submit to Him and live for Him because He is my Savior. He saved me from my sins. And I love Him.” If you talk and think like that then I think Christ is in you. Continue reading
Jesus once told a man, “go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Does that make you squirm a little bit? It should! Jesus was aiming at the idol of this man’s heart. He was rich like you and me. And he loved his stuff like you and me. It’s very important that you and I realize that God is the owner of all things. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it.” Continue reading
We must admit that connecting the dots between the sovereignty of God and the fall of man gives us a headache. It is ultimately a mystery to us. We are quickly reminded that God’s ways are not our ways (see Isaiah 55:8-9). On the other hand, when we take our minds from the ‘how’ of what happened to the ‘what’ of what happened we quickly realize that we are witnesses to the mercy and grace of our Creator God. We see the depth of His mercy and grace in ways that we may have never known without the fall of man. For, we know Him now through Christ who is Head of the Church. We know now that God loved us so much that He was willing to send forth His eternal Son into fallen creation to die a sacrificial death in our place so that we might be saved from the curse of sin. And that shows forth the glory and the mercy and the grace of our God in Jesus Christ.
God’s power enables us to be patient. Paul prayed for the Colossian Christians to “be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.” Do you need more patience with people? We all do! Is it your neighbor? Your co-worker? Your school-mate? Is it someone at church or even someone in your own home? What will you do? Maybe sell your house and move to a different city? Quit your job? Quit your church? Quit your marriage? Should you not pray and ask for God’s power in your life so that you might be patient and trust God to help you deal with so and so? Can you not trust your God who is the Master of reconciliation? He is the God of grace and power who reconciles even the most difficult of relationships. Trust Him and be patient!
God graciously allows us to get a foretaste of heaven here on earth. It is only just a little nibble, but quite delightful. It takes place in the worship and the love and the service of God’s people together here on earth. And that’s why the body of Christ, the Church, is so important for anybody and everybody who calls themselves a Christian or a follower of Jesus Christ. Because it is among God’s people where we are to be reminded of the hope that we have for eternity. And what is that hope? It’s the sure hope of a place where there will be no more sin, no more pain, no more divorce, nor adultery, nor fighting, nor cancer, nor poverty, nor pride, nor death! And the list goes on. But it’s a place where we will dwell in the light of Christ forever. It’s a place where the former things of this life will have passed away and sin will be no more. That is what we hope for and it is laid up in heaven where Christ is.