Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.”
Colossians 3:10 NLT
Paul uses the idea of putting on the likeness of Christ as we would our clothes. We must dress ourselves in Christ's holy character. The only way to correctly do this is to know Him personally and grow in our understanding of Him. We must understand who He is, how He acts, and how He "clothes" Himself in order to properly represent His likeness. The better we understand His nature and character the more we can mimic his conduct. We can't act like someone we don't know. Believing in Jesus and knowing Jesus aren't the exact same thing. I believe in many people that I have never met and do not know. One major problem in Christianity is the association factor. Many who attend church espouse themselves as "Christians". The proof, however, lies in the character they display. Many sit in churches and proclaim their Christianity by associating with the "right" group, singing the "right" songs, speaking the "right" lingo, using the right theological terms. However, once they leave the premises they revert back to the culture and bury themselves in the pursuit of selfish ambitions and trivial, temporary, perishable things. Rather than living for the One they sing about at church, they place other things in a higher priority and seem to forget who they say they belong to. How would you like to be married to someone who visits you on Sunday (or perhaps once a month or less), sings songs about you that have no genuineness, claims to love you, only gives you a few dollars of "their" money, flirts with others, and even lies in bed with someone else while they aren't at home? This sounds eerily like many "Christian" people today. We cannot say we know Jesus and love Him when we don't live like we belong to Him. Truly knowing Jesus will transform our way of life. When we truly fall in love with Him we will want no less than to please Him. We will find ourselves spending time with Him, growing in our understanding of Him, and deepening our relationship with Him. As we begin to grasp the holiness, brilliance, beauty, splendor, majesty, and all the other indescribable attributes of our Lord, we will respond with adoration, attention, affection, and application of His likeness.
How well are you acquainted with the One you call Lord?
You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.” Colossians 3:7-9 NLT
When Jesus Christ is invited into someone's life, He moves in and does a complete home makeover. The old is gone, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" NLT We must understand the stark reality here: when someone asks Jesus to come into their life, they become different. No longer do they behave like they used to. Think about it. How can the very God of Creation come into our lives and not transform them? His presence drives out darkness and radiates His holy light into every crevice of our lives. Our thinking changes. Our speech changes. Our conduct changes. A real encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ will transform us. To claim that we belong to Him and walk in darkness is an outright contradiction. “This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:5-7 NLT Too many today want what Jesus can give them as Savior (eternal life) without His Lordship. I submit to you that, when we understand who He is, we have only one thing to do - honor and obey Him. Jesus is so much more than an eternal fire insurance policy. He is Lord!!! He deserves our submission and service. He deserves to be represented well. Let's act like we belong to Him. If He is our Father, shouldn't we have a family resemblance?
So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming.” Colossians 3:5-6 NLT
When Christ comes, those who are living in wickedness are going to be utterly ashamed and eternally condemned. “Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him— even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen!” Revelation 1:7 NLT No one can read the book of Revelation and come away with a misunderstanding of the wrath of God that will come at Christ's return. God will not hold His anger toward sin forever. There are some "preachers" today that teach that God isn't angry. This statement isn't true at all. God is holy and just. Therefore, He must have anger toward sin. “Then everyone—the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person—all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?” Revelation 6:15-17 NLT “But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” Romans 1:18 NLT I do agree that God doesn't find pleasure in the outpouring of His wrath, but His righteousness cannot accept sin. “As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?” Ezekiel 33:11 NLT The only way that God's anger toward sin is appeased is through His Son Jesus Christ. “And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”” John 3:36 NLT Are you washed in the blood of Jesus? Is your life hid with Christ in God? God has made a way for you to be free from His coming wrath. Jesus is the answer. “For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 NLT Just like Exodus 12, when God commanded the blood of a lamb to be on the door posts of the house of every family in Israel to escape the death angel that passed through, we, too must have the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, on the door of our lives in order the escape the eternal death that is coming. Are you under His wrath or under His blood?
And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.”
Colossians 3:4 NLT
Can you imagine what it is going to be like when Christ comes again? The return of Jesus to this world will be the greatest event in the history of mankind. I sometimes say that the greatest events in the history of the world can be summed up in this brief, ascending list:
1. The birth of Jesus.
2. The beating, crucifixion, and death of Jesus.
3. The resurrection of Jesus.
4. The second coming of Jesus.
His revelation to the world will be the consolation of the saints and the condemnation of the sinner. Once, and for all, He will reveal Himself to all of mankind. He came the first time by being born in a borrowed stable (see Luke 2:6-7 - a manger was a feeding trough). He rode a borrowed donkey at His Triumphal Entry to Jerusalem as the crowd cried "Hosanna" (meaning "Lord save us" - see Matthew 21:1-11). Riding a donkey was a symbol of peace. He was buried in a borrowed tomb (see Matthew 27:57-60). The very God of heaven, and all of creation, had come to the lowly estate of humanity to reveal Himself to the world and to save us from the curse of sin (death - both spiritual and physical). He came the first time in meekness and humility. He was despised and rejected by those whom He came to save. "He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.” John 1:10-11 NLT The next time He comes, He will be riding a White Horse (which is a symbol of war - see Revelation 19:11-16). He will return to reveal His Lordship to all of humanity. This time He will come to reveal Himself to everyone (children of God and conquered foe). “Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him - even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen!” Revelation 1:7 NLT Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess His Lordship. "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11 NLT On that day we will be vindicated as believers in Jesus Christ the Lord! Let us live, every day, for the One who is Life itself. The life we now live is only a prelude and preview of the coming attraction - JESUS CHRIST THE LORD!!!!!!!
“Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:2-3 NLT
Our thoughts should be focused upon eternal matters, not the temporary. Focusing on the matters of the natural life only leads to an end - we all die. No matter who we are, what educational achievements, financial status, church affiliation, position, popularity, etc., we are all mortals. We are here for a moment, then gone. What meaning is there to life if we live 70-100 years and reject the One who gave us life? Life doesn't have meaning and purpose apart from Christ. It is vital that we understand who the Creator is and the purpose of His creation. Only when we surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ can we begin to understand the life we are supposed to be living. Only when we live in Him can we unlock the treasure chest of eternal life. We were created for so much more than barely getting by, surviving divorce, health complications, struggling to make it through the day, and dealing with disease and war. Only Christ brings peace in the midst of trouble, joy in the midst of sorrow, comfort in the midst of distress, and certainty in the midst of uncertainty. Jesus brings light into darkness and hope in the midst of hopelessness. In Him we find the Creator of life, the meaning of life, and eternal life to come. When we live in Him, for Him, we really live. Are you living or are you simply surviving?
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand." Colossians 3:1
The "right hand of God" is used in multiple scriptural passages (Psalm 110:1; Psalm 118:16; Matthew 22:44; Mark 16:19; Acts 2:33; 7:55-56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20-22; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 10:12-13; I Peter 3:21-22) This should be understood in its proper light. We must understand it in light of a monarchy (one who reigns over a kingdom - a king). A king has a royal family. In fact, the one who succeeds a king at his death is the firstborn son. The succeeding king takes the throne of his father and now has the same authority. We must be careful here to clearly understand that God had no predecessor and will have no successor. God is eternal. He has eternally existed from time immemorial (from the distant past). Daniel the prophet called Him the "Ancient Of Days" - Daniel 7:9,13, and 22). When you compare the description of God as the "Ancient Of Days" in Daniel 7:9-14 to the description of Jesus in Revelation 1:13-15 you will see clearly that Jesus was, and is, the "Ancient Of Days". Since God doesn't die and no one replaces Him on the throne, then we must understand the meaning of the "right hand" as figurative. An earthly king would have a "right hand man". This "right hand man" was an indispensable helper. A "right hand man" would do as the king would dictate and he would have authority granted by the king. A few things have to be understood at this point.
1. God doesn't have a physical wife, has never had one, and never will (the church is the bride of Christ - we are His spiritual wife). He is eternally self existent. The Hebrew name is YHWH-pronounced Yahweh (means "Eternal, Self-Existent One").
2. God is Spirit - John 4:24 “For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” NLT
3. When the term "Son of God" is used it DOES NOT imply that God had relations with a heavenly mother and they had a son who would become His successor.
4. God, Himself (Spirit) became a human being in the womb of a woman by divine conception. Just as the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters in Genesis 1:3 in creation, so did His Spirit move upon the womb of Mary, the virgin, and He stepped into the realm of time and space by becoming a baby - Jesus, God's "Son". "Son" here means that God was His Father. As the "Son of God" Jesus was, and is the "right hand" (figuratively since God the Father, is Spirit and has no physical body). Jesus is the manifested, physical, Almighty God to humanity (see Colossians 2:9). He has all authority delegated by God, His Father (see Matthew 28:18). In the Hebrew culture, to call oneself the "Son of God" was to equate oneself with God. “So the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to find a way to kill him. For he not only broke the Sabbath, he called God his Father, thereby making himself equal with God.” John 5:18 NLT Jesus said in John 10:30 “The Father and I are one.” NLT “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.” John 14:6-11 NLT An exhaustive study of the matter will biblicaly conclude that Jesus was God who became a man. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three in One. There is only One God, manifested in the person of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus is the physical, visible, tangible, representation of the invisible God (see Colossians 1:15-16). Deuteronomy 6:4 declares “"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” NASB We do not worship and serve three separate gods. We worship and serve One God! This subject is so significant and vital that we must not diminish its value whatsoever. Who Jesus is, what He has done, what role He serves, and the place He now holds is of utmost importance. We would do well to properly understand this truth. Grasping its reality, or misunderstanding it, has eternal implications. Knowing the revelation of Christ is to know God. This makes it possible for us know how to live, in Christ, for the glory of God.
“You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.” Colossians 2:20-23 NLT
Spiritual disciplines are beneficial when it comes to conscientious conduct but not for earning acceptance with God. We all should strive to please the Lord in our choices and behavior. Moral excellence is becoming of a child of God. However, it cannot satisfy the requirements of salvation. Only a perfect sacrifice can do that. Jesus Christ is that perfect sacrifice. If we try to replace His free and full salvation with our religious observances we completely destroy the purpose of the cross. On the cross Jesus bore the wrath of God toward sin. In His death, burial, and resurrection God gave us the gift of eternal salvation. This gift is received, not achieved! When we acknowledge our sin, repent of it, and accept Christ as the payment for that sin, we are transformed from sinner to saint (see Romans 6:23; 10:8-10, 13; Ephesians 2:8-10) Only the blood of Jesus can do that (see I Peter 1:18-19). We do disgrace to the body and blood of Jesus when we supplement our "righteous" keeping of any ordinance for His gift. No act of ours is capable of saving us. If we could save ourselves then why did Jesus come to earth and die for our sins? He did so because we were incapable of redeeming ourselves. Anyone who teaches that we must believe in Jesus and keep certain other religious ordinances to be saved is a false teacher. Our observances should only flow from a heart that seeks to honor the Lord. Yes, He is Holy. Yes, He is worthy of our commitment and service! No one should use the gift of salvation as a license to be immoral. To do so is a complete distortion of His redeeming grace. He has saved us from sin, not so we can play in the mud of sin like pigs. Religious rites or ceremonies have their place in our worship but not in our redemption. We must never confuse the two. We cannot keep enough Sabbaths, eat enough of the right religiously "clean" foods, attend enough church services, pray enough prayers, read enough religious publications, or anything else to conquer sin. There is only One Conqueror of sin - Jesus Christ.
“So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it.” Colossians 2:16-19 NLT
Once again, it's all about Christ. Jesus is the Christ (God's Anointed One). Since He is Christ, why do any of us need to try to add anything to His All Sufficiency? We CANNOT add one iota to Christ! He's everything!!! No holy day observance can suffice! No diet plan can suffice! No physical discipline regiment used to punish the flesh can suffice! No "new fangled" doctrine or "special revelation" by some false prophet can suffice. Inappropriate angel worship can't suffice. Angels are created beings. Jesus is the creator! Nothing, absolutely nothing, can suffice apart from Christ!!! The reason He came, the reason He was born, the reason He lived a sinless life, the reason He died, and the reason He resurrected was to declare His sufficiency! We have no authority to interject anything whatsoever! Jesus plus something is a flat out lie! Jesus plus nothing is the flat out truth!!! Place 1 beside a 0 and you have 10. Jesus is the 1 and I am the 0. 1 plus nothing is a perfect 10!!! 0 without the 1 is nothing! Without Christ we are nothing!! With Him we are complete and perfected! Our righteousness does not come from any deeds we do, any religious disciplines or rituals, or any traditions of men. Our righteousness is derived from Christ in us. Only when we surrender to Him, and allow the Holy Spirit to direct our lives, are we living righteously. When we do anything to try to earn God's acceptance we are repulsive to a Holy, righteous God because we are corrupt apart from Christ. Only through Christ are we acceptable to God (see John 14:6). Matthew Henry has said that we "cannot be built up in Him or grow up in Him unless we are rooted in Him and founded upon Him." When we are rooted in Him, and founded upon Him, we are, then, ready to build and grow in our understanding of Him. We live righteously because of the presence of Christ in us, not because we are striving to achieve His righteousness. We are complete in Him (see Colossians 2:10). To be "complete" means to have all furnishings necessary for salvation. No one would hitch a horse behind a wagon because that would be utterly backward. The horse pulls the wagon. Trying to use our works to get into God's grace is just like trying to pull a horse with a wagon - ridiculous and totally ineffective. I could spend a lifetime trying to pull a horse with a wagon or I could simply do the correct thing and hitch the wagon behind the horse. He, Jesus, can pull the wagon!!! Just get in the wagon! He's the Key! Stop trying to pick the lock. Thieves pick locks. Residents use the key. What are you?
When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.” Colossians 2:11-15 NLT
The Jewish male was to be circumcised on the eighth day following birth (see Genesis 17:9-14). This was a covenant seal between God and the descendants of Abraham. This act involved a shedding of blood and a cutting away of flesh. The flesh represented the corrupt nature of man due to sin. The bloodshed was a symbol of life because life is in the blood. These two things were a shadow (representation) of the body and blood of Jesus that would be given for the sins of man (see Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20; John 13:1-30). Paul makes it clear that Jesus is the circumcision of the believer in multiple passages of the New Testament epistles (Romans 2;28-29; Galatians 2:16; 3:13-14; 5:1-12; Colossians 2:11). Other places in the New Testament explain the issue in more detail as well. Simply read the book of Galatians and it will clear up the issue. Jesus Christ is our All in all! When we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior and followed His example and command of baptism, we declared the death of the old man and the resurrection of the new. In Christ Jesus we are made completely new (2 Corinthians 5:17). We used to be dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1 and Colossians 2:13). Now, through Jesus Christ, we are made alive. Through Him we have been spiritually resurrected to life and one day we will experience the physical resurrection to a new body (I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Corinthians 15:51-58; Philippians 3:21). Jesus Christ has won the victory for all those who trust in Him. He is the Victor!!! We used to be the victims of sin. Now, we are the victors through Jesus Christ our Lord. “But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57 NLT Stop fighting for victory and start living in victory through the power of Jesus Christ. He's the only one who has ever won the race of life. Abandon your feeble attempts to win and fall into the arms of His mercy and grace. He's all you need!
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” Colossians 2:6-10 NLT
We must continue to believe in, and trust, The Lord Jesus Christ. No one else will do!! Just as Paul says in the above scripture, we must let our roots go way down deep into Jesus and our feet stand squarely upon Him. We do this by our faith in who He is and what He has done. Paul warned the believers in that time not to be caught up in the empty philosophical nonsense that was being taught by other "so called" followers of Jesus. There was, and is, only One Jesus. We cannot try to make Him fit our rationale or our personal preferences. He is no less than God in a human body. (see verse 9). This scripture is absolutely and resoundingly clear about who He is. There is no need to interpret this in any way other than in its intended clarity - Jesus - God in a man's body. In fact, verse 10 exclaims emphatically (insistent without doubt) that we are complete (made whole and perfect) through our union with Christ. This truth ought to make you, as a believer in Jesus, want to shout to the top of your lungs with joy and freedom. Jesus is the God of Creation that has recreated us. Whew!!!!! Wow!!! Hallelujah!!!!!!! Shout saints, shout!!! "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so..." Psalm 107:2 KJV. In Him we live, move, and have our being (Acts 17:28).
One church hymn declares "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly trust in Jesus name. On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand." We, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, must return to the central truth of God Himself, Jesus Christ. We cannot allow ourselves, or the church, to demean Him by our human, traditional assumptions or by trying to figure Him out by our finite (limited), puny minds. Accept the Word of God as the Word of God. God has spoken to us, and revealed Himself to us, in the person and work of Jesus Christ! He is the ultimate authority (see verse 10 above).“ And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Matthew 28:18 KJV The word "LORD" in the New Testament is often used as the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew name for God - Yahweh or Jehovah!
JESUS IS LORD!!!
Rev. Curtis Norris