“This includes you who were once far away from God. You were His enemies, separated from Him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.” Colossians 1:21-23
Does it ever bother you how easily familiarity ruins enthusiasm in life? As a certified creature of habit, I am realizing more and more a certain rhythm of life, in which some kind of exciting revelation occurs — this could be a new hobby or relationship, or maybe a fresh perspective on things — and this revelation is followed by a brief period of what I’d describe as a spontaneous kind of enthusiasm; a seemingly lasting feeling of joy and satisfaction through that revelation. It makes you feel fresh and alive, like a new flame has been lit within your very soul. Yet, within a week’s time, whatever flame existed feels completely extinguished, and what was once an exciting revelation feels like yesterday’s news. Do you know what I mean? One day you feel permanently on top of the world, and the next, you’re back in the trenches. I’m finding that just about everything in my life seems to happen this way to some extent, and what scares me the most is that my cherishing of the Gospel is a prime example! There are times when the message of the Gospel resounds within our hearts with power and life, and there are times when the love of Christ can feel so foreign, it’s like it doesn’t even exist. I don’t say this because it is good, but because it is real, which is why I think Paul is imploring us in these verses to “continue to believe this truth [the Gospel] and stand firmly in it” (v.23) Today’s message is the Gospel, plain and simple, and so my desire is that we would approach it as if we had never ever heard it before, asking the Spirit to open our hearts in new ways to its life-giving truth and its sanctifying power, so that our being familiar with it would not inhibit our receiving joy in it.
“For God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through Him God reconciled everything to Himself. He made peace with everything on heaven and earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.” Colossians 1:19-20
Last time we talked at length about the identity of Christ in a very theological manner, trying to understand His relationship with/identity as God, His existence before anything else, God’s bringing everything else into existence through Him, and the consequential supremacy of Christ in all things because of His being the author of creation; God Himself. It was an emphasis on Jesus’ “God-ness.” Today, we see Jesus from a slightly different perspective in order to emphasize His “man-ness.” It’s important to keep in mind that neither of these aspects of Christ is more important than the other, and neither is more correct than the other; by that I mean that Jesus is both fully God and fully man, and there are equally significant implications for both of those descriptions of Him. So, before I tie our minds in a knot, let’s venture into today’s word to see what the Holy Spirit might teach us about the implications of Jesus being a man.