Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dead and Alive in Christ

This past week I have trying to read through Paul's letter to the Colossians in one sitting once per day. I am looking forward to receiving Michael Bird's new commentary on the letter for Christmas so I am preparing myself beforehand.

In chapter 3 Paul uses the image of dying and rising with Christ in order to promote right living in relation to God, each other, and the world. This is a frequent theme outside this letter as well (i.e. Galatians). He tells the Christians to seek things that are above, where Christ is seated. This isn't simply a way of saying, "think nice thoughts about heaven and don't think about the world." It means that the Colossians are to live as new creations in a world that is hostile to God. They are being transformed into the image of their creator and they are to seek the things that promote growth in this direction. This means that they will have to consider certain things to be true. It is tempting for Christians to think that they have two natures battling within and sometimes the bad nature wins and sometimes the good nature wins. This isn't how Paul thinks. He teaches that Christians are already new men and women in Christ. They have been redeemed in Christ as a foretaste of the things to come. Therefore when temptation comes don't say things like, "I can't overcome this unless you do something God!" because God has already done something. He has made us new in Christ and given us his Spirit so that we can, unlike before, be obedient to him.

No comments: