I think the Bible shows me how I will never be perfect, that I need saving continually.
I think the Bible shows me that imperfect people can still connect with God.
I think the Bible shows me that how I treat other people is hugely important to Him.
I think the Bible is true in so much as it doesn’t cover over the failures of its heroes.
I think the Bible is a mystery which I don’t understand but it lures me into studying it which takes me away from my own circumstances.
I think the Bible is loving despite its characters at times believing God is anything but love.
I think the central figure in the Bible is God who reveals Himself in the image of Christ.
Why do I say all that?
I have obviously known that as Colossians was written as a prison letter along with Ephesians that we would once again come round to his list of rules.
I wrote about these rules in the Ephesians blogs.
This morning I have been thinking and praying in a different way than I did before.
It makes sense that Paul having told us we had died, were hidden and raised with Christ that he then goes further in effect to say ‘stay dead’. He says, “(1) Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. (2) You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (3) Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (4) Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” (Colossians 3 v 5-11)
The Message says of v11, “Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.”
The Message helps.
Everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ. Isn’t that amazing?! Isn’t that the most important thing to centre our thoughts on?!
Paul’s lists, how can they be understood 2,000 years ago? What meaning do they now hold for us? Who can definitely say ‘oh this is exactly what he meant when he said don’t be greedy’?
Maybe this helps, note the numbers in the text above and underlined:
- As you have died with Christ, hidden and raised with Him, you are not where you think you are at times. You are above your circumstances. Stay there.
- There is a way of life you used to live, don’t be tempted to go back there.
- Don’t pretend to be someone you are not anymore.
- Everything now is about Christ, let your life remain so.
You might disagree because you may have been brought up on rules and been taught a God of rules and maybe you are right. But I am finding that my life with Christ calls me not to focus on other people’s interpretation of rules for living but to simply come away from the life I lived. My life with Christ calls me not to focus on being what others want me to be, holy, blameless and a good man but to be who He has made and continues to make me.
I have found my life with Christ is about Him and not me. I feel free in that.