I found some things that I wrote about six years ago. I thought it would be neat to share some of them. This is from something I called Thoughts On Colossians.
I grew up going to church almost every single time the door was open. I learned all of the Bible stories and all of the Sunday School answers about God, Jesus, Heaven and Hell. I never really understood it all though. I don’t know that I ever really took it seriously either. I guess you could say that I may not have really believed all of it either. They were stories…much like Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy and The Easter Bunny. I believed all of those were real too…for a while. The one thing I did believe in was the concept of Hell. I don’t know why the idea of frying for all eternity was the one thing that my mind latched onto at such an early age. I wish I had known about the concept of reconciliation.
I do believe that we are all alienated/estranged from God. I also believe that Jesus is the one who fixes that problem. Paul writes that Jesus made peace through his own blood. That is amazing to think about. Even though we are hostile to God…He makes a way for us to be brought back into fellowship with Him. We can stand before Him and be viewed as holy and blameless…no matter what we’ve done. That’s something a lot of us have a hard time grasping. We want to categorize sins and label people based upon their actions when the truth is…we are all in the same category. We are all separated from God. None of us stand a chance on our own. The good news is that God doesn’t want any of us to be that way.
I needed to know that a long time ago. I spent so much of my life living in fear, guilt and doubt. I believed in God and I believed in Jesus but I didn’t truly understand what Jesus did for me. It’s easy to say that Jesus died for us but I believe it’s difficult to truly understand what that means. I thought that I was going to get baptized and everything would be wonderful after that…Jesus died for me…awesome. But I never counted on the process of sanctification. I never counted on continuing temptation. I spent my life in a constant state of comparison and contrasting. I would look at my shortcomings and think that there was no way I was as good as the “Super-Christians” I saw around me. I also looked at my shortcomings and told myself that they weren’t as bad as those heathens around me. I might not be as good as the preacher…but I am better than some of those deacons and elders. I was definitely better than those outside of the church.
I failed to recognize the fact that we are all in the same position when we stand before God. We are all sinners who have failed Him. The only difference and the only thing that saves us is the blood of Jesus Christ…and it was spilled for every one.
I never wanted to think about homosexuals or terrorists or Democrats being able to be sanctified through the blood of Christ. Those folks were bad and they were the enemy. That’s why Hell was invented. I never understood my position before a holy God. I never understood grace and mercy. I never truly understood the Gospel. I never understood that it is truly a life-changing experience because it never changed mine. I never truly believed it. Even though I denied it with my mouth…I was a firm believer in works-based salvation. It was all about what you did or did not do.
After all these years I just am now starting to “get it” a little more. I was dead for all those years and because of Christ…I now live. I must be something new and different if I have truly experienced the Gospel…not because I have to meet some standard to get into heaven…but because Christ should be the single motivating factor in my life. Paul tells the Colossians that they need to put their old selves to death. Romans 12 also talks about being a living sacrifice.
I’m not a Greek scholar but it seems to me that Paul is using some very specific imagery in chapter 3 of Colossians. He talks about putting away (or taking off) the old stuff and putting on the garments of Christ. What did he say that they (and I believe we) are to put on? Compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience are listed.
He talks about believers having forgiving spirits…after all…we’ve been forgiven. We are to let the love of Christ rule in our lives. Everything we say and do should be done to bring glory to Him.
What do you think would happen if all believers actually lived their lives that way? What would happen if just the believers here on (this website) totally sold out to that concept? What would happen if just I would buy into that 100%? Do you think the world might be a little bit better place to live? If we truly recognized that those still living in the world are not that different from us…would we treat them differently? If we were honest and reminded ourselves that we were no better…would we be a little more merciful and graceful?
I don’t want to get into the part about family relationships right now. Paul addresses those and I have some opinions about that as well…but I really feel like I need to think about them more. I need to pray about them more. I will say that I believe that our relationships with others are directly related to our relationship with God…but I need to think about it some more.
I feel like I’m rambling a bit…but there is so much going through my head and I wanted to put as much of it down as I could. I may re-read this post and offer additional commentary later…especially if some of you respond.
Grace and peace.