I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of thecalling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, withpatience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit inthe bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to theone hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God andFather of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
The Fight For Life
It was the scariest moment of our new ministry.
My wife and I were invited to go sledding with a group of young adults from the church. The conditions were perfect! Several inches of snow and a light coating of ice made the lantern-lit hillside dangerously fast, and we were loving it! Just before we were preparing to leave, one of the young women, a mother of three beautiful young girls and a faithful part of our congregation, decided to make one last go at the hill. Head first, she raced from farther up on the hill than any of us had begun, and within seconds, she had lost control of her sled, veered off the lit course, and the entire hillside went silent.
When we approached the crash site, she wasn’t with the sled. The impact had catapulted her body nearly 50 yards up the next hill where she laid motionless. By the time we got to her, all of us had already thought the worst. I will never forget the release of the huge ball of tension that had grown in my throat when she finally made a faint groan and opened her eyes. Although she had a long road to recovery, and still deals with some of the physical scars, at the final analysis, we were all just happy to be able to know that she was still part of our lives.
Life has value. We are remembered by the ones we love by what we did while we were alive. Life is freedom. We are able to move, breathe, love, and so many other things because we are physically living. The only alternative to life is death. A dead person has no chance of resurrecting their own body, re-engaging their mind,circulating blood, or breathing. They are chained to their death.
Unfortunately, so many who profess Jesus never step into or “put on” the identity that scripture assigns them. It sounds silly, but at its heart, this is no different than a person who is perfectly alive being told they are alive, and behaving as though they are dead.
Paul’s instructions in Colossians 3:1-4 are very practical. They help us clear the fog that causes us to lose sight of the true excitement, joy, motivation, and sheer devotion that is following Jesus in this life.
I think it’s only appropriate to assert, according to Paul’s implications, that in order to “Put on the New Man” or live according to the scriptural depiction of true Christianity, we must affirm at least these 3 things:
- Be alive: Paul wants us to Assess our Condition
- Secondly, if we are alive in Christ, then we must submit ourselves to the Biblical reality that something miraculous has happened to us by way of God’s grace.
- Finally that we are now free to follow God’s command as spelled out by His word.
1. We Must Be Alive.
The Bible uses the illustration of life and death compare the spiritual state of those who have been made alive in Christ versus those who remain in their natural condition of being “dead in their trespasses”. For those who have been “made alive in Christ”, this new life means being freed from the chains of spiritual “deadness” and the dominion of sin. It also means being released to the freedom of knowing, loving, and being adopted by God himself.
The Bible calls the natural human identity dead, and what’s more, condemned under God’s law. But it calls the Children of God alive, justified, and under his grace. There could not be anything more different.
Romans 6:11 “You must consider yourselves dead to sin, and alive to God.” Ephesians 2:1 and 2:5 tell us that our natural spiritual condition is one that is dead, but the condition the Bible calls the regenerate condition “alive together with Christ”.
2. We must submit ourselves to the Biblical reality that something miraculous has happened to us by way of God’s grace.
There is nothing in this world that is more soul sucking than the moment we forget that our salvation was not a work of our own, but that it was a miracle of God.
Look at Ephesians 2:10
“10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
It would make no sense whatsoever for Paul to spend 9 verses at the beginning of this chapter for him to come to the conclusion that salvation is a humanistic and idea. Everything about who you are, if you have been raised with Christ, is a miracle of God.
We make a serious mistake when we begin to think that there is nothing special about our salvation.
3. We are now free to follow God’s commands as spelled out by His word.
Looking back at Romans 6:11, Paul says we should consider ourselves alive TO God. Brothers because your spirit is alive in Christ, you are now free. You are free to mortify the sin you once walked in. You are free to worship God as he deserves to be worshipped. You are free to tell temptation no, and be obedient to God’s call to do whatever it is you need to do.
So, to those who are alive in Jesus, Paul gives these instructions:
- Seek and set your minds on things that are above.
- Put to Death/Put Away the sins of the flesh.
- Put on the New Self.
We are called to continuously maintain a kingdom mindset, trusting God, while mortifying our sin, striving for holiness, and teaching others to do the same.
What are some practical ways you apply Paul’s instructions to daily living?