Who Are You?

Grace For The Journey

14July  Who is Ariana Grande?  You might say she is one of the most popular singers today.  Who is Christiano Ronaldo?  Perhaps you would answer that he is the one of most gifted footballers (or soccer players) in all the world.  Who is Mohammed Ali?  Many would say Ali was the greatest boxer of all time (he certainly thought so!)

If you identified Ariana as a singer, Ronaldo as a footballer, and Ali as a boxer, you would be totally wrong.

You would be wrong because . . .

You would be telling me

Not who they are,

But what they do.

So who are you?

The Apostle Paul reminds Christians who they are in Colossians 3:3-4.  Before we geet into our study, remember in our previous post, we studied Colossians 3:1-2 where Paul encourages Christians to look upward to “those things which are above” and to “set our affections on things above, not things on the earth” (verse 2).

Now note the very reason Paul gives for this upward gaze: “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Verse 3).  See the connection between verses 2 and 3?  Verse 2, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth,” because – verse 3 – “you died.”  That is, you died to this life down here.

So, if you died to this life down here, then the things of this life are no longer as appealing as they once were.  The things you once valued no longer carry the same weight or value.

But have you really died?  Have you really died to the things down here in this fallen world?

If we have truly died to the old way of life,

Then we will value the old things differently.

The all-satisfying gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ

Changes everything, including our outlook

Regarding the priorities and pleasures of our former lives.

For example . . .

  • The gospel changes the way we value our time.

Do you believe that the way you choose to spend your time each day really matters?  It will if you regularly think about eternity and live for eternity.  What will hours of sitting in front of a screen matter for eternity?  Endless hours of game playing, movie watching, internet surfing; all this matters very little in the context of eternity.

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

  • The gospel changes the way we view our jobs or careers.

Do you regard your job as merely a means to make money in this world, or do you think of your job in a much grander way?  Do you think of your job – whether you are a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker – do you think of your job as one of the primary ways you can point people to Jesus?

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

  • The gospel changes the way we view our money.

Do you have a tendency to hoard your money, saving it up for earthly, temporal, fleeting self-centered pleasures?  Or do you freely give away your money to eternal gospel causes?

It is not wrong to enjoy the things money can buy, but how much “enjoyment” do we really need?  Remember that our Lord Jesus said, “It is better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).  There is joy in giving!  And remember: the only investments that last forever are those invested in the kingdom.

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

You died to the old pleasures so you are no longer attracted to them as you once were.  But you might respond, “But wait!  Is this really true?”  Let’s be honest: “Are we never attracted to the old pleasures or the old way of life?”  I suspect many of us would admit: “You know, I’m a follower of Jesus, but I do struggle at times with the pull of the old things and the old ways.” Okay, but here is another honest truth . . .

We are only attracted to

The old things and the old ways

When we allow ourselves to be.

If you are a Christian, then you really have – actually have – died to the old pleasures.  They have no hold on you . . . Unless! . . . Unless you allow yourself to get around the old things again, in which case you will find that they still appeal to the old you.  This is why we must continually die to them by continually setting our minds on things above.

We must be looking to and longing for the things above.  We must keep on thinking about the things of heaven as a motivator to personal holiness.

If we will both “seek those things which are above” and “set our minds on things which are above,” then we will discover no fewer than three joyous blessings.

1) Rejoice In Your Security In Christ.

Paul says in verse 3, “Your life is hidden with Christ in God.”  Here again is a reference to the Christian’s union with Christ.  If we have turned in repentance from our sin, if we have broken with the world, and if have turned to Jesus, trusting Him as Lord and Savior, then our lives are “hidden with Christ in God.”

This is a great statement that emphasizes that the Christian’s eternal security is based solely on God’s justifying the Christian, declaring the Christian “not guilty” of sin.

It is much the same truth as Paul teaches in Romans 6 or in Galatians 2:20 where Paul writes, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

The security of our soul’s salvation

Is not based upon our performance,

But based solely upon Christ’s

Performance on our behalf.

We find acceptance with God the Father,

Not based upon our own righteousness,

But based upon the righteousness of Christ.

Our lives are “hidden with Christ in God.”

2) Rejoice In Your Identity In Christ.

Verse 4 declares, When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”  To be a Christian means that “Christ is our life.”  There is no better way to define Christianity in practical terms!  Jesus Christ is our life and we find our identity in Him – or at least we should!

Our identity is bound up in Christ.

Never define yourself by what you do.

Don’t locate your identity in your job or in your performance; nor your success, nor your failures.  Remember who you are in Christ.  You are “hidden with Christ in God” and “Christ is your life!” 

Many of us can be liberated today

By remembering to locate our identity

Not in what we do nor what we have done,

But in Christ Jesus, in our glorious union with Him!

You are a Christian, you are in Christ.  Locate your sense of purpose, meaning, value, worth, and significance in Him!!  Don’t let Satan tell you that you are a failure, or an embarrassment, or a nobody, or a “superior somebody,” for that matter.  You are in Christ.

3) Rejoice in Your Eternity in Christ.

Verse 4 goes on to say, “When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”  “When Christ appears” is a reference to His second coming.  He came the first time as a babe born in a manger.  He took on flesh to live for us and to die for us.

He came once

And

He is coming again.

One day He will appear suddenly in the skies.  He is coming again.  He may well come today.  No one knows the day or hour of His coming.  But He IS coming!

When Christ who is our life appears, Paul says, “then you also will appear with Him in glory.”  When Christ returns, Christians will be caught up in the air to meet Him and welcome Him to His rightful place upon the throne, ruling over all creation.  And Christians will share in His reign forever and ever.

Paul’s aim is to encourage Christians.  Don’t live for temporary things and don’t be distracted by earthly notions of success or failure.  Live with a view towards eternity.  Look up!  He is coming!  And when He appears, you will appear with Him.

This is God’s Word …

This is Grace for your Journey …

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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