All in All




Scripture:

Col. 3:5   Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. 7 These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. 8 But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices 10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. 11 In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

Observation:

This message is for those who have come to know Christ and have been made new. In baptism we rise again to newness of life, the old is gone, the new has come. John Chrysostom gives us this illustration:

“Does Paul write as though these things were in us? There is no contradiction. It is similar to one who has scoured a statue that was filthy, recast it, and displayed it new and bright, explaining that the rust was eaten off and destroyed. Yet he recommends diligence in clearing away the future rust. He does not contradict himself, for it is not that rust which he scoured off that he recommends should be cleared away but that which grew afterwards. So it is not that former putting to death he speaks of here, nor those fornications, but those which afterward grow.” (Homilies on Colossians 8)

We are like a statue that has been cleaned, but must now work to remain clean for we have been renewed. This renewal means that all class distinctions have been removed. We no longer brag about who we are in the flesh, but about who we are in Christ. Jesus Christ is our all in all — he becomes the defining point of our lives. The renewed image or statue, is in the image of Christ. 

Application:

I think that there are times when we actually resist this message. Maybe it’s because we want to hang onto some of the things of our past, or we find it hard to imagine that Jesus can really set us free. Or maybe it’s because we are now asked to enter into a day by day relationship with Christ in which we are to bring some elbow grease. 

If we look at Chrysostom’s illustration of the statue, we realize that there is some “elbow grease” required to keep the statue clean. It’s not just cleaned once and then magically remains that way. I think we’d like to see that happen in our spiritual lives, but it’s not realistic. Yes, we believe in the cleansing power of God’s Holy Spirit to make us renewed in the image of God. That is a beautiful thing, but it is just the beginning of an exciting journey in which we find renewal day after day. Temptations of the past may still surround us and we have to learn how to, in the power of the Spirit, put aside the past. We have to learn that Jesus can be our all in all. 

That learning is part of our spiritual growth and development. The wonderful crisis experiences of life come, and we can be entirely cleansed and sanctified, but then the daily living in Christ must be maintained. Today I will learn something new about what it means for Jesus to be my all in all, for I will face things I’ve never faced before. That’s part of the spiritual journey. It’s that daily awareness that something old can be stuck back on me, or not, depending upon my walk with the Lord. This day I need God’s daily bread and provision. I have to pray for it every single day, trusting he is all in all. It’s when I get too busy that I forget about his supply and suddenly I’m allowing the rust of the past to again develop on me. 

Let’s put to death the things of the past and bring ourselves to Christ today, and every day. We are set free from an label which may divide or place us into a category. Jesus is our all in all. 

Prayer:

Lord, may this be a day of shaping me in your image.  Amen. 

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