Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Christ + Nothing = Everything

God doesn't need me to do anything else to earn grace.

Colossians 2:11-15 When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. 12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.

13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.

Colossians 2:20-23 You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, 21 “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? 22 Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. 23 These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires. 

Could anything be added to Christ work in the new believer? What else could I do that would make me more worthy of God's saving grace?

My achievements and following of the rules are no good, I am already in the family through Christ work and I cannot add anything of value to the work that Jesus has done. What a relief! My old life and the pressure of trying to be good enough are over, I couldn't possibly be good enough or worthy of Jesus sacrifice, I have been set free.

The Jews and the Gentiles that were converted in the church of Colossae were being told that they needed to follow the law or some other set of religious rules. Other religions had these rules and the Jews had strict rules in the Old Testament so it was easy to think that this teaching was correct.

Not so after Jesus came, he made a way to God that wasn't based on performance, Jesus went against the logic of man that said that you have to do something to be forgiven and you must be a certain way in order to have a pleasant after-life. I have been liberated from worldly rules and I don't have to worry about judgement.

A rigorous devotion to Christ can be seen as a means to obtain God's grace, while spiritual discipline is a good thing, we must keep our focus on the reason that we are motivated to the disciplines. Are we trying to become more like Christ because his is the best way of living or are we still trying to obtain what has already been given to us for free?

Rule keeping is usually an illusion

Matthew 23:27-28  "What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people's bones and all sorts of impurity.  28  Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Spiritual disciple was a way of life for the religious leaders of Jesus day, few people could claim to be as disciplined as they were and yet they totally missed the point, all of their rule keeping was just an illusion. They believed that they were better off than the common people and that they deserved to be in heaven someday because of their own good deeds but Jesus told them that they could never do enough to earn salvation.

I must live in a manner that pleases my Savior, his way of life is far superior to the way of this world, but I can't allow myself to think that successfully adhering to spiritual discipline makes me any better or more worthy of grace.