Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Heavenly Calling

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."  Colossians 3:1-4

Paul is writing to the Colossian church, instructing them about the new direction of their lives. There are things all of us can learn from the first half of this chapter, and most of it is given to remind us when we become followers of Jesus, there should be a remarkable change in the way we live. 

Contrasts are given in numerous Bible passages showing this truth, but the one here happens to contrast our hearts and minds, no longer being motivated by earthly things, but rather by things above.  In your conversion experience, you identified with Jesus in his death, burial and resurrection, and as Paul describes it to the Romans, the old you died, and you became a new person. We need to be thinking, planning, and preparing for massive changes which will involve our glorious appearance with Jesus when he returns. 

Paul continues to remind us of contrasts and more changes in the verses which follow those printed above.  We will do well to read and study those, taking heed to keep focused on things above, on the heavenly home that awaits. 

An important change in the Christian's life involves "putting to death" everything that belongs to your earthly nature.  Paul runs the list by us, including immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed. He says simply, "Get rid of it."  It has no place in your life now, and certainly has no place in the life anticipating heavenly citizenship. 

That list includes some mighty severe sins. It's easy for us to see why Paul would stress the need for us to keep our lives free from those.  But he then hits us with another list, most of which we have a tendency to classify as less severs sins. Check this list: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
Remember we are contrasting earthly things with heavenly things, and have been encouraged by Paul to put to death those things that are not heavenly. He reminds the Colossians they are not the same persons they were before coming to Jesus. Their old self is gone, and the new self needs to manifest itself "in knowledge in the image of its Creator."  We are being changed into his likeness and as we become more and more like Jesus, we no longer allow earthly things to control us. That's when we start taking on the very image of the Son of God.

The next verses add the icing....... " 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.


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