Friday, October 19, 2012

Dead, Raised, Hidden

"1If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, your life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory."Colossians 3:1-4 NHEB
In our last post, we worked with looking at our lives and events through the position of being seated with Christ in the heavenlies. Let's look primarily at verse 3-4 this time. "For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory." Paul here is recalling for them a truth that was a part of his revelation. In 2 Corinthians 5:14 - 17 reads: 
"For the love of Christ constrains us; because we judge this, that one died for all, therefore all died.He died for all, that those who live should not longer live to themselves, but to him who for their sakes died and rose again. Therefore we know no one after the flesh from now own. Even though we have know Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more. Therefore if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, new things have come."
The New Covenant teaches that we died when Christ died. We were raised with Him because we died with Him. The cross then becomes not only substitutionary but also participatory. We have a very vested interest in this Kingdom of God. We are considered already resurrected even though we still live in this body of flesh. Our identity has been totally changed into a resurrected being filled with the Spirit of God - even in flesh. 

This passage in Colossians works from that understanding and tells us we have been hidden with Christ in God. Our lives have been taken and hidden. We do not live for ourselves, but for Him. Every purpose, every energy, every --- every is included. This does not eliminate us, but it is to "hide" us in Him. So He becomes seen through our being. Then verse 4 states: "When Christ, your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory." This clearly lets us know that this is not our time to make sure everyone knows who I am in my flesh. When Christ appears, then I will be revealed in Him. Now He is revealed in me, then I will be revealed in Him. It is an exchange of life that happens in covenant relationship. 

These matters are huge and important for us to receive in concept and thinking. However, do not stress at totally "getting it." For while still in flesh, there is much in Scripture that will remain "seen through a glass darkly," but that should not deter us from looking, then beholding and receiving it not only as truth, but as truth that has the ability to change and renew our minds. Such is the wonder of our Lord and His word. He is awesome!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Much to See


"1If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, your life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory."Colossians 3:1-4 NHEB
In Ephesians 2:6 we are told that we were raised with Christ and are seated with Him in the Heavenlies.  So the Holy Spirit (writing through Paul) recalls that truth as He continues to instruct us about living in Christ. "If then,..." is rather rhetorical and could read "Since then,...". Since we have been raised together with Christ then we are instructed to seek, search out, have our life emphasis as, hold our focus on, etc.... things that are above, where Christ is seated on the right hand of God.

Before we go further, I find these truths to be almost more than my heart and mind can grasp. Oh I understand the words, but to begin to live from the Throne is a different matter. We are so earth bound in our approach to God, and normally "covenantally confused." (That is a term used by Kevin Connor of Australia in trying to help us see we are not under law but enveloped in grace. If you wish to know more about him, just google his name. He has written many books and many are available in the USA). We are New Covenant Believers caught in an Old Covenant understanding of winning the favor of God through our behavior. So much of what we teach and think about is Old, not New at all. When we begin to receive the truth in these few verses, it will revolutionize our way of thinking and our lives.

Then He addresses the mind. "Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth." Well, the statement could not be clearer, but the doing is something we do not even contemplate much. Most of our prayers (if not all) are about here, on the earth. We are afraid of becoming so heavenly minded that we are of no use here, which by the way, is impossible. The only way we are really helpful here is with the heavenly mind-set being advocated in this passage.

Think about it, what can we see from the Throne? Now add to that the fact that we are His body, what can "we" see and know from the Throne's point of view? How we view everything changes when our point of view changes. Let's work with Him through out the day and let Him begin to show us things He desires us to see and know. Once we begin to see, then we discover the Scriptures tell us much about what is seen, but we do not know that until we begin to hear and obey in His strength. He has much to show us. Awesome!

Monday, October 08, 2012

The Body is Christ's

16Let no man therefore judge you in eating, or in drinking, or with respect to a feast day or a new moon or a Sabbath day, 17which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ’s." Colossians 2:16-17 NHEB
Before we go further in this marvelous passage of freedom, let's look at the last verse printed here. "...which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ's." The rules governing the Old Testament people regarding their food and their drink, what day they kept or not, were what the Spirit calls here, "shadows." We all know what a shadow is. It is the mere reflection of the real. It changes when the real moves. It will lengthen, or shorten, or disappear all together when the reality of it moves.

Then we are told "...but the body is Christ's." This means the body of Christ in all her aspects; the corporate body of Christ, as well as the individual that belongs to Christ. My body is His and our body is His. So what we eat or drink has no spiritual value in light of the truth of Him. He is the reality of our lives. The passage continues,
"18Let no one rob you of your prize by a voluntary humility and worshipping of the angels, dwelling in the things which he has seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19and not holding firmly to the Head, from whom all the body, being supplied and knit together through the joints and ligaments, grows with God’s growth. 20If you died with Christ from the elements of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to ordinances, 21“Do not handle, nor taste, nor touch” 22(all of which perish with use), according to the precepts and doctrines of men? 23Which things indeed appear like wisdom in self-imposed worship, and humility, and severity to the body; but are not of any value against the indulgence of the flesh."
There are so many "religious" practices to tell us how to get close or closer to the Lord and how to be more spiritual in our lives. These verses tell us they are but shadows. How can one get closer to the Lord? If it is true (and it is) that Christ lives in me, then how, in heaven's name can I get any closer? He has erased every definition of distance by choosing to live in us. How can what we eat, drink, observe, engage in make us closer.

You see, He has literally done all the work. This passage tells us all those "how-to's" in Him are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. They are intended to help us walk in a holy way. In reality grace, the very love and favor of our Lord, teaches us to live holy lives. Our efforts to make our flesh be or do, really only solidify that action in our minds. I refer you to Titus 2: 11-12, and then this one in Galatians 5:16, "So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh."

Do our actions matter?  Oh yes very much so! But the governing of those actions is to be accomplished by the Holy Spirit through the gift of Christ in us the hope (or expectation) of glory, not from our own efforts to make us do the work of God. Re-read the entire passage, see the reality that He wants to empower and enable. It is His intimate work in us. He uses the Word, His Spirit, Presence, Worship, Fellowship and a hunger in us for more of Him released in and through us. But it is not our work. It is His very personal work in us with us. So we see the point of all is Him. The body is Christ's.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Let No One Judge You


16Let no man therefore judge you in eating, or in drinking, or with respect to a feast day or a new moon or a Sabbath day, 17which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ’s." Colossians 2:16-17 NHEB
 In light of the great victory that our Lord Jesus Christ has accomplished on our behalf, in light of all that has been gifted to us in grace, then the admonition here is to let that become freedom for us. The encouragement is to not allow anyone to judge us as to our "religious practices."

There are those who would condemn others as not being pleasing to our Lord based on what they eat or do not eat; based on what they drink or do not drink, and based on when they worship, or what days they hold as special days (such were the "feast days" mentioned). Such things are only shadows. The reality is that the entire body belongs to Jesus Christ, with all her celebrations or lack thereof.

We please our God because of and in Christ and for no other reason. As we (in the words of Ephesians, "Learn what pleases the Lord" - Eph. 5:10 NIV) we interact with Him in ways that will cause great joy to His heart as well as to our own. But never are we to take our righteousness from our own works, regardless of what those works are.

This means that there is not "one" understanding of the Word that makes us right, nor one set of actions that makes us pleasing. That type of thinking and feeling runs contrary to our Lord's revelation in the Scripture. Our right standing with the Lord must remain an imparted placement, based in our acceptance of the work of our Lord on our behalf. I am so grateful!