Lesson 21


Paul's Letter to the Colossians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

3:1 If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. 3:2 Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. 3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 3:4 When Christ, our life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory.


Today's Lesson 

In chapter 2 of the Letter to the Colossians Paul had turned to the immediate problems of the church at Colossae. He reminded them that they were part of a greater whole. He told them not to follow the philosophies of men but to center their lives on the Lord Jesus Christ. He instructed them on the sufficiency of the cross and the resurrection. In yesterday's lesson, we talked about some of the things that Paul instructed them not to do. He wrote to them and told them not to let others judge them in ways that fall short of the redemption of Christ. He told them not to let rituals and rules become more important than a personal relationship with Christ who lives in them.

 

If Yesterday's Scriptures were the negative side of what the Colossians were not suppose to do, Today's Scriptures are the positive side. This is the place that they are to place the focus of their Christian lives. "Seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God." We are always to be thinking about what God is doing, not about what we are doing. Most of our problems come because we are preoccupied with our own lives and our own problems. Whenever we become too self-centered, our problems only get bigger.

 

Parents learn this when raising a child. A toddler that cannot see other people or feel empathy for others will never learn to share and to get along with other people. We all begin life completely self-centered, but we are supposed to outgrow it eventually. The problem is, we always  have a core of ego-centrism in our nature. We carry that mindset even into our Christian lives. We think our Christian lives are all about what we can do for God.

 

Paul's instructions to the Colossians is to not think about the things of this earth so much, be more concerned with the things above. We are to concentrate on God's will and God's desires, not on our own. The Lord's prayer says, "Thy will be done." Even in the Christian life, our emphasis should not be on what we are doing for God, but on what God has done, and is continuing to do, for us.

 

There are many legitimate differences in doctrine and worship, but far too many of the differences in groups and denominations boil down to differences in what we do and not differences over issues about what God has done. I do believe that God uses our differences to spread His word. It is far better that we seek to do His will because we all are concentrating on Him and not on our own self-interest and our own rituals and philosophies.

 

For Paul, all of this comes down to a proper understanding of our salvation. "For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." Our old self and our old lives are ended. I should not have any rights or claims on my life other than the right and claim of Christ. He paid my debt and bought me out of slavery. He has earned the right to be my Lord and to tell me when to go and when to stay. If I accept the gift of salvation, I cannot deny Him the rights that come from that transaction.

 

At times, we all seek to cheat God. We accept the free gift of salvation and then we try to say that between now and judgment, I will continue to do as I will. But this thinking is a sham. Salvation means that I have died. My life is no longer my own to choose or to will. My life belongs to Christ. To give Him less than all is to demean what He has done. To give Him less than all my life is to cheat God.

 

Is your life hidden with Christ in God? And, do you walk each day in the reality of that fact?

 

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