When Christ who is our life appears. The beginning of Colossians 3:4 is a powerful reminder that our Lord will return and that He is our true reason for living.
Colossians 3:4-5 “4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. 5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
For starters notice Paul states that Christ is our life, in verse 4. There is an enormous difference between the person simply attending church or claiming they are saved, and the person who Jesus Christ is their life. The difference is in the heart of each person and rests on the separation between being a part of a Christian religion verses having a “personal relationship with Jesus” as your Lord and Savior. The Word of God is clear in that everyone who truly believes and confesses Jesus as their Lord and Savior have their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. However, the difference in your daily walk as a Christian is greatly affected on whether you are a Christian simply with a belief in Jesus, or the person whom Jesus is “their life” as He was for Paul, the Apostles, and so many believers in the First Church. The difference lies in relationship. A person who has a personal relationship with Jesus will always have more inner peace and strength even during life’s turmoil as a result of that relationship over the person who just believes, but focuses more on the religion and outward appearance of Christianity than the relationship with Jesus. Proverbs 23:7 is worth studying on this. By human nature man has a mental difficulty in grasping that he can have a one on one relationship with our God through the shed blood of Jesus. Paul confirms this when he states the carnal mind is enmity toward God in Romans 8:7. However the person who begins to grasp the power of God’s grace in a believer’s life can also begin to believe the truth that God’s desire to have a personal relationship with man is the reason Jesus came and died on the cross in the first place. Salvation and being able to enter into heaven is the icing on the cake, but life and life abundantly is for the believer while here on earth and that can only be pulled from the spirit realm into the natural life through a personal relationship with God.
Verse 4 is not something earned, but is given as a part of our salvation. Note that verse 4 says when He appears. There is not an “if” statement but a fact statement. 1 John 3:2 tells us that we will be like Him in appearance, “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” Acts 1:9-11 are the first verses referencing the return of Jesus as told to His disciples by two men in white apparel at His ascension. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 gives us additional information on His return and includes the order of our ascension to meet Him; the dead first then those still alive. The Thessalonians understood that the return of Jesus would be “like a thief in the night” meaning no one would know the day or time, and all would be caught by surprise. The typical question from most newly born again Christians is when will this happen? Some want to know out of excitement and others want to know for personal preparation as if they can wait till the last moment then make the necessary heart changes for salvation. The person with the second type of question regarding the time of Jesus’ return is the one who has no idea of the blessings here on earth for God’s children; they look at heaven as the only reward. The more you know of Jesus and His love for you the more you want to live for Him here.
Paul is telling us in verse 5 that because Jesus is returning and because we are already in His presence spiritually, then we should put to death, NEKROO “to subdue, or to deaden” our sinful actions here on earth. This is a command and God would not command us to do something we could not do. Here is where Christians fall off into their rules and regulations in effort to not fall into any of these sins. Paul is not telling us to live a life of “laws”, but to destroy any of those things in our lives that would destroy us first. In the movie Fireproof these sins are described as parasites, which is probably the best description you could give for sin. A parasite attaches itself to a living thing with the purpose of sucking the life out of the thing it is attached to. Likewise according to my college microbiology class parasites cannot live outside of their attachment to their host and those that can, only live a very short time in a state of dormancy waiting to be reactivated. Parasites that are living in a body must be killed chemically and that is typically done by taking a pill. We must destroy any sin that comes up in our path, but to live by rules in effort to avoid these sins is to walk in fear and keep us sin conscious instead of Christ conscience. Christians must destroy the sin in their lives in order to experience the victory in Jesus that God wants us to walk in. The only way to truly kill sin is to daily ingest God’s pill; the gospel of Jesus Christ. Remember the beginning of verse 4? When Christ who is our life appears, is a powerful and often misunderstood statement. Is Jesus Christ your life, or simply someone you believe in?
Some Christians believe that if there is any sin in their lives then they are not holy and if they are not holy God will not answer their prayers. No; our belief in Jesus having died and risen makes us righteous, Romans 10:9, and God has already answered our prayers, made us holy, and has given us everything we need in the spirit realm, Ephesians 1:3. When we stumble or live in sin or ungodliness we are actually giving the Devil an invitation and means to interfere with the blessings God has already given. Just like your TV; the signal is already in the air from the satellite long before you turn on the set. If there is no picture than the problem is most likely your TV set. Something has interfered with your reception and your TV is broken and needs repair. With your TV it might be that you have not paid your bill, but with God your bill has already been paid for an eternity. Sin interferes and breaks your spiritual receptor; it’s just that simple. It’s not God keeping His answers and blessings from you; you are handing them over to the Devil with your sinful actions. Sin changes the channel on your God receptor.
The medication to destroy the parasite of sin in your life is not trying to live holy with rules and regulations; it is the understanding of the power of God living in you through the blood of Jesus and walking in the knowledge of that power that can set you free from sin. The putting to death your members is simply to say, destroy the sin that is in your life. If your arm has a parasite your whole body goes to the doctor not just your arm. Take your whole body to Jesus and lay it at the foot of the cross. Then pick up the medication, the gospel of Jesus, and put it in your body, it will do you good.
The reason so many Christians and Christian religions are so focused on sin and outward appearances of righteousness is because they do not understand the truth behind sin. Sin is the fruit we can see, of a deeper root we cannot see. As Christians if we spend our lives trying to remove sin from our lives or stay focused on sins of commission or omission we will never live the fullness of life God created us for in the first place. To try to change our sin behavior by just focusing on the sin itself is like trying to convert an olive into a grape by working on one piece of fruit from the vine at a time. Everyone knows the fruit of a vine depends on the type of vine. And the flavor of the fruit depends on the soil the vine is planted in, the atmosphere around the vine, and the nutrients given to the vine. But you cannot turn an olive into a grape by changing anything. Even if you graft an olive into a grapevine you will never get a pure grape, but you can get a sweeter olive. Christians were wild olives grafted into the good fruit vine of Jesus, Romans 11:17-24. Stop focusing on the fruit and start focusing on the root which is Jesus.
As a onetime wild olive if all you do is focus on the fruit to try to become a grape you may eventually turn into a sour grape, but you will never become a sweet olive.
Remember that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is salvation and life, Romans 6:23. Let “the gift of God” jump out of the page and into your heart. Say it out loud over and over so your ears can hear it, and settle this deep in your soul. Do you want the gift, then you have to come to Jesus first? You can’t get rid of the parasite first then come to Jesus, it will never work, but if you come to Dr. Jesus with your parasite He will heal your disease and set you free, Isaiah 53:4-5. Also when you become born again, it is your spirit that has been made perfect and new. Your thinking will take time to change, which is why renewing your mind is so important, Romans 12:2.
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