Becoming Whole in Christ
Living Like I’m Really Alive – Colossians 2:6-15
Pastor Doug Klein
How can I really get to know Christ in an in-depth way? How can I get to know Jesus as a friend who is closer than any friend or brother? How does He become more than a concept or philosophy? Putting it more simply, how do we really grow in our faith? How do we live like we are really alive?
The first principle is 1.) Grow deeper (Roots) Colossians 2:6-8.
Many churches in America are described as a mile wide and an inch deep. When challenges arise in their lives or the church, they are nowhere to be seen. The thrust of the passage in verse 6 is that we have to go down deep in our faith before we go up. If we don’t develop deep roots that sustain us in the dry times, our faith will remain shallow and subject to the pressures of the moment. The deep roots are able to sustain us when the conditions above ground are unsustainable. I have known some really harsh winds in my life when I have had very little to show of success or fruit in my life. But those times proved to be fertile times of growth looking back.
Now, here’s a hard truth to be reminded of: The only way we can develop deeper growing roots is if we experience the softening of the soil of our lives through hard times. Hard resistant soil rarely produces deeper roots.
In verse 6, Paul gives an overview of what takes place in our lives after we come to know Jesus. When we receive him, we begin to walk a new and different road. It becomes a way of life and as much a part of us as breathing. The roots begin to push into the soil and our life begins to grow and our faith becomes established on the solid foundation of Christ. We become “earthquake proof” like many modern buildings. And we never lose sight of what God has done for us. We reflect on His grace and can’t help but be filled with thanksgiving.
When God asked Adam, “Where are you?” he was drawing attention to the horrible distance that had occurred due to Adam’s rebellion. To avoid being deceived by the empty deceit of this world, we need to check our bearings and check our lives. We move to get back on track by the power of God’s Word.
The second principle is 2.) Grow closer (Union with Christ) Colossians 2:9-12
The bible repeatedly compares the intimacy of marriage to our relationship with God. But our relationship with God has the potential to be many times deeper and more intimate. We barely scratch the surface in terms of intimacy with God. But there is so much more happening in our lives than we often perceive. The Bible reminds us that the very “fullness” of God lives in us in all of His splendor and glory. No matter how weak or uncertain I might feel, the reality is that the living God is filling my soul with his presence.
God has performed surgery on my hard, resistant heart. Paul uses here the metaphor of physical circumcision to describe the internal cutting of own hearts resulting in salvation. Our hard, stubborn hearts are replaced by a softer, pliable, teachable heart. The circumcision of the heart that Christ performs is permanently life changing. Like circumcision, it is a sign of God’s Covenant commitment to us. But instead of it being an external symbol, it takes place in the deepest area of our hearts.
The intimacy with Christ that I can know is based on my union with him. I am baptized into his death, burial and resurrection. On a practical level, my sins are buried forever because they are tied to his death on the cross and subsequent burial. My sins are gone forever never to be dug up. When Satan reminds us incessantly of our sin and actually tries to get us to dig them up, we remind him that they are forever buried in the depths of the earth.
Christ’s resurrection also becomes mine. I am raised with Him spiritually in the highest places and will be raised by Him physically at the final resurrection. I can pursue intimacy with Jesus because the very nature of our relationship is already more intimate than the closest human relationship in marriage.
So instead of running away from Him in my sin and shame, I aggressively run towards Him no matter what I have done. I pursue Him on an intimate level because He has already made me His own and included me in His death, burial and resurrection. God desires intimacy with me more than I could ever imagine.
The third principle is 3.) Grow in freedom (shame vs. bondage) Colossians 2:13-15
Everyone is tough on themselves in one way or another. Unbelievers and believers in different ways experience a deep sense of coming up short by failing to live up to our own standards. Believers experience the additional complication of knowing that our sins offend a Holy God. Add to this the fact that Satan is a master manipulator who is an expert on accusation. So we wind up carrying a great weight in our lives. When we hear the Gospel once again, we are reminded of the radical measures Christ went to so that we could be free of shame and guilt.
My debt before God is huge. It’s impossible for me to pay it off in a million years. What takes place in us is much more than declaring bankruptcy and trying to start over. It’s very hard in our culture for people to emerge from bankruptcy. Instead, in the Gospel, Christ writes “PAID IN FULL” over our debt to God and completely cancels it forever. It amazes me given this fact, that so many of us live our lives with a constant burden to repay God in some way or another. Every one of my sins has been nailed to the cross, having been dealt with by Christ in his atoning death for me. The cross is transformed from a symbol of a horrible curse to that of the ultimate glory.
Why continue to allow my shame and guilt to weigh me down? Why carry burdens I don’t need to carry? Why continue seeing myself as a slave or worker for God trying to get Him to like me? Instead of working for God as an indentured servant or slave, I can now begin to relate to Him as his very own child. And whenever I don’t feel worthy to be in his presence, I remind myself that He alone has qualified me to be his own. I stop living like a spiritual pauper who has very limited resources. Instead, I am a child of the living God who possess everything in Him. I really start to live like a person who is really alive. That’s because I truly am.
Faith Presbyterian Church
May 15, 2016