First-century believers lived differently than 21st-century believers. Yet, God’s word, with surgical precision, is as relevant to our lives, today, as it was to the original audience.
The Bible’s focus is on conformity, not uniformity.
The goal is not to make everyone look, talk, and act like everyone else but that everyone is conformed to God’s eternal word. Philippians 2:12 says to, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling…”
You are responsible for knowing God’s word and applying it to your life as if your life depends on it. The outcome of our life is the result of what or whom we conform to.
- If we live by popular opinion, then we better know where that’s leading us.
- If we live by our desires, then we better know where that will take us.
The Bible is clear; the wages of sin is death. Jesus said that He came to give life and life to the fullest.
In the book of Colossians 2, Paul confronts teaching that has come from outside the church regarding faith living. His use of the phrase, “Christ Jesus the Lord,” is unique. Nowhere else in any of his writings does he reference Jesus like this.
- The name Christ references the anointed one, the Messiah.
- Jesus is the fullness of God with us.
- LORD is God’s covenant-keeping name.
The combination of these titles affirm that Jesus is the anointed one who breaks the power of sin, He is the fullness of God with us, and the one who personifies our covenant/relationship with God.
Paul imparts three responsibilities in response to receiving Jesus; walk in Him, be rooted in Him, and be built up in Him. These three phrases involve intentional action and effort.
#1 “Walk in Him.” This statement refers to lifestyle. We are to conform our thinking, actions, and ways to Jesus.
The question isn’t how much sin can I get away with and still be a Christian? As a follower of Jesus, the question is, how much am I willing to surrender to the one who surrendered everything so that I could have an abundant and eternal life?
If God’s word says “no” to a particular desire or behavior you’re engaged in, are you willing to surrender those to walk in Him?
#2 “Rooted in Him.” The word rooted implies work or effort on your behalf. Time is not the primary factor in spiritual growth; intentional effort is.
In 1 Peter 1:5-9, Peter instructs us to make “every effort to supplement your faith,” with a list of characteristics that will increase faith in our life. Having our sin forgiven enables us to live holy lives.
#3 “Built up in Him.” The idea of being built up in Him is to make Jesus Christ the center or foundation of your life.
When it comes to godliness, God’s word is the sole authority on the subject. Be careful not to build your spiritual life on someone else’s application of God’s word but God’s word alone.
The word “built” means established and is defined as to make firm, reliable, to warrant security, and inspire confidence. Build your life on what Jesus has taught alone; His words are life.
In the context of spiritual development, God’s word is the truth; everything else is a theory.
Any attempt to add some requirements to salvation nullifies Jesus’ sacrifice. In the Old Testament, a symbol of having a relationship with God was circumcision. The term uncircumcised was a derogatory term to refer to a gentile, sinner, or heathen, a person who did not honor God.
Some attempted to convince the people that to know God, they had to be circumcised.
Paul declares that those who are uncircumcised have been made alive in God through Jesus’ death and resurrection. He canceled our record of debt with all its legal demands, apart from circumcision.
Our spiritual growth and the power to live free from the control of sin is only possible by faith in Jesus Christ. As the author of our faith, He is also the finisher of faith.
He who began a good work in us is faithful to complete that work. Every attempt of living separately from the faith, in hopes to achieve spiritual enlightenment or maturity, will lead you away from Him and the truth.