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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“A renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.”—Colossians 3:11 (NASB)
In our study of this iconic letter to the Colossians, Paul has described the incomparable Christ. Paul teaches those who have received Jesus into their hearts are rooted in Him and ought to aspire to follow Him (Colossians 2:6). As Christians, we use the term “in Him” to describe our relationship with Jesus. This means that His death on the cross and His resurrection from death has become our death and new life, as well. We’re a new creation in Jesus; our very identity is in Christ.
So, if we’ve come to realize our identity is in Christ, then Paul encourages us to put on this new self. We should not give attention to anything immoral, should not exercise evil, and we should put aside anger, malice, and abusive speech (Colossians 3:5-9). A life with Jesus and lived for Jesus means our lives are hidden within Him and our eternity is wrapped up in Him. We’re renewed men and women. He’s our all in all.
This renewal means there’s no room for racial distinctions in the body of Christ, nor is there room for looking down our nose at anyone from a different background or culture. To devalue the life of someone based on ethnicity, class, political platform, gender, race, or religious preference does not represent the Jesus who ate with sinners and sought the lost.
In a message delivered by Pastor Duane Roberts, he passionately spoke about division. He commented that even members of the church body are divided on current events, landing on different sides. He reminded us of Jesus’ words that a house divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:25). The very fact that we dehumanize anyone made in the image of Christ is an injustice. He encouraged us to “dialogue and go deeper” into one another’s lives so we can learn more about one another’s culture.
The body of Christ is diverse, just as God intended. In his letter to the Church in Corinth, Paul writes, “There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other” (1 Corinthians 12:25 NIV). Each of us brings our own gifts and talents, and they all come from Jesus. If we’re indeed “in Christ,” if we’re united with Him, then we owe it to Him and His church to be reconciled to one another as we share an identity in the incomparable Christ. By succeeding in this, we’ll show we are His disciples by our love for one another (John 13:35).
DIG: What does it mean to put on the “new self”?
DISCOVER: If God is love and Jesus’ nature is love and we are “in Christ”, to what degree should our affections lie for the body of Christ?
DO: If there is someone or a group of people you struggle to accept or love, ask the Lord to renew your perspective so you can practice more love and excel still more (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10).
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.