Summary: Religion that focuses only on the details of things you’re allowed or not allowed to touch or eat is dealing with worldly and perishable things. God is much bigger than that!
“A Big Sigh of Relief”
As Christians, it seems like we are always trying to add more stuff...
…rules, regulations, don’t do this, don’t say that…
“…you gotta have this, you gotta have that…”
But in our Scripture Lesson for this morning, Paul is telling us that Jesus Christ is all we need.
A wealthy art dealer once sent his agent to find and purchase a certain set of paintings that he desperately wanted.
After searching and searching the agent returned to report to his boss that he had finally found those paintings.
They were in the dealer’s own warehouse.
He already had what he desired.
He already possessed that which he pursued.
Have you ever found yourself searching for something…
…something you know you need so bad…
…only to find you already have it?
I remember, as a new born Christian in college, feeling so bad about my inability to “live up” to what I thought Christianity was about.
I felt as if I were a person living in the hands of an “angry god” whom I had to act and do things a certain way in order to please.
And so I sought, and sought and sought to do what I perceived was God’s will.
But I kept falling short.
And every time I fell short I became more and more discouraged.
And with that discouragement came depression, guilt, hopelessness and a general feeling of unhappiness…
…even a bit of self-loathing, if you will.
I felt like there were a whole long list of rules and regulations that I needed to follow in order to be on “God’s good side,” or to be “saved.”
But I couldn’t follow them.
I couldn’t measure up.
I was lost!
I was steeped in darkness and sin.
There seemed to be no way out!!!
Have you ever felt like this?
Perhaps you feel this way now.
Maybe, you imagine that God is looking down on you with either a great big disgusted sneer or a hopeless tear.
Or even worse, perhaps you feel as if God has given up on you—turned His back on you!
Do you feel as if you are not good enough?
Have you missed the mark?
Has your train derailed?
I remember feeling that way in college.
And during one of those unhappy spells I opened my Bible to this passage from Colossians and read:
“When you were dead in your sins…God made you alive with Christ.
He forgave…all [your] sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
Can you sense the “sigh of relief” I felt when reading those Words for the first time?
I was already complete in Christ!!!
I didn’t need anything else, just more of what I had!!!
Anyone looking at the Cross of Jesus with a normal understanding of the first-century world would think: “the rulers and authorities stripped Him naked and celebrated a public triumph over Him.”
But, blink and rub your eyes!
On the Cross, God stripped the armor off the rulers and authorities!!!
The Devil and his demons---God held them up to public contempt!
God’s triumph was over the principalities and powers, the very powers that thought it was the other way around!!!
What a glorious paradox!!!
God’s supposed weakness overcomes all other strength!!!
God’s supposed folly overcomes everything that stands against us!
Dear Saints, all the forces that might try and take over your life…
…to steal your salvation or the joy of it…
…are included in the ones shamed by the triumph of God in the Cross of Jesus Christ!!!
And God did all this for YOU, for ME!!!
What better reason to be “overflowing in thankfulness”!!!!
The Law that stood over and against us has nothing more to say.
When Jesus was nailed to the Cross, this written code was nailed there with Him!!!
“There is therefore no condemnation,” as Paul writes in Romans Chapter 8, “for those who are in Christ Jesus…”
… we are “set free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do…God did by sending his…Son…in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us…”
Breath in, breath out…
…Can I get a great big SIGH OF RELIEF?!!!
If anyone or anything tries to entice you to think any differently…
…and to make you think you have to please Jesus to make it into heaven or to be saved and live this life to the full—take no notice of them!!!
All those things are irrelevant!!!
All you need is Christ!