Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Colossians 3:1-4

Dear Friends:
I apologize for not posting until Wednesday this week. I am up in CT painting and rearranging rooms in my sister's home, getting ready for my grand-niece that is on her way in October. My computer time is limited! I write with paint-stained hands, but am delighted at this chance to get online and share this vibrant passage with you. Thanks for coming by!

Day 14

Therefore, if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Paul continues to address the false teaching that is present in the church at Colossae. Those promoting the heresy taught that keeping the Law, with its dietary restrictions and observances, along with self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, was necessary for salvation. In the previous chapter, Paul addressed the Colossians sternly against this idea. Salvation is through Christ alone. We cannot add to the victory of the cross—it was complete.

But Paul does not leave the Colossians just with what NOT to do—in chapter 3 he now addresses the positive side. Rather than putting our hope in earthly things like what the false teachers were promoting, Paul directs our attention to above the earth, on to the things above. Why? Because we have already died to the earthly means of attempting to win approval from God. We have already found the answer. It is in Jesus alone.

When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he shared the same heavenly vision: “Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13, 14) Do you notice the two directions Paul is directing his gaze? Onward and upward. No looking back at the past and the sins we have committed. It was all covered by the blood of the Lamb. No looking downward at our own two feet and what we can do on our own. Our gaze is to be trained on the Savior who has done it all for us. It is to be forward, ready to go where Jesus sends us.

When Peter walked on the water, he remained on the surface as long as his gaze was trained on the Savior. It was when he began to look at the wind, waves, and his own two feet that he began to falter.

And so it is with us. Our gaze must remain on what has been done for us. We are complete in Christ. No amount of religiosity will make us more acceptable to God. The atoning sacrifice was made for once and for all.

How am I continuing to try to win God’s approval? How does pride have a part in my efforts? Give over your efforts to God and rest once again in the Savior. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.

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