Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Victory in Christ - Part 4

Other passages in scripture stress this same truth. For example, in Colossians 3:1-5 we read, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, ....”

Later in verses 9 and 10 we read, “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,” (Emphasis mine)

In Ephesians 4:22-24 Paul writes, “that you put off, ... the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

So in the Colossians passage especially we see that since we died with Christ and since we have been raised with Christ, we are to behave in a certain way. These things are truths to be believed and acted upon. It's not just a rule out of no wher that we're supposed to seek those things that are above. That would be an arbitrary law that the flesh is not able to keep. But since we are resurrected people and our lives are actually on the other side of death and the grave, our sights can be set on heavenly things.

It's also important to note here that when he tells us to look on things above and not on things of the earth, he is not talking about a far off heavenly gaze that is transfixed on angels, streets of gold and the like. And when he tells us to turn our gaze away from things of the earth, he is not talking about the normal aspects of earthly living. He is telling us to turn away from sinful things such as fornication, covetousness and wrath and put our attention on heavenly things such as mercy, kindness and humility.

In the Ephesians passage, he tells us to put off the old man. In our Romans passage Paul had said that the old man had died with Christ. I don't think this is a contradiction. I think he is telling us to put into practice what is true. The old man was crucified with Christ. Therefore, when you feel those rustlings of the former life that have become habits and ways of thinking, we are to consciously, purposefully and regularly set that stuff aside. These things are the vestiges of the old life that need to be removed.

Principle 5: Consciously take your eyes off of earthly, sinful ways and focus them on righteous heavenly things because you died with Christ and have been raised with Him.

Part 5 can be found here.

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