Friday, August 5, 2016

I've been raised!

Colossians 3:1-4
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.

These verses depict a paradox of the life of the Christian.  While he is living in this world and carrying out the responsibility of "going into all the world to preach the gospel," the apostle Paul is telling us here that our hearts and minds are to be focused on heavenly things.  Jesus, in the sermon on the mount was expressing similar sentiments when he said we should not store up treasures on the earth. Moths and rust can eat away at our treasure, and robbers can even steal them from us.  Instead, Jesus urges us to store up treasures in heaven, and goes so far as to say, "Where your treasure is, there will be your heart also."

The paradox is this. We are in the world, and have responsibilities to ourselves and our fellow man in addition to those we have to God. Evangelizing the world is no small task.  Loving our neighbor as we love ourselves isn't always easy.  Gathering for worship and praise doesn't always find us in the right mood.  Now consider the words of Jesus and Paul encouraging us to place our priorities on heaven, and not on the things of this world. 

I like how John MacArthur solves this paradox, and in his words, we already know the answer.  We know that physically we are in the sphere of earthly living. However, if we have been raised with Christ, as in dying to self and receiving the newness of life Christ brings, then we can set our hearts on things above. What a revelation!  We are in this world, yet experiencing heavenly blessings all because we have been raised with Christ. 

Notice again in the verses printed above, this involves setting our hearts on things above, in the very place where Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God. Not only are our hearts to be set on heaven, but our minds as well.  

While living in this life, in this world, we belong to Jesus because we have committed ourselves to following him and given ourselves to him. The blessing is this:  even while we are living here, we have a foretaste of our eternal destination.  That's the plan of a God who loves you. 


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