Summary: There is a new way of life… it is the life of Christ… who has come and in his death and resurrected life… inaugurated the start of a new humanity… which we can enter and begin to embody. Our spiritual formation involves connecting with the new life that
Embodying a New Life – Part 2
Series: The Liberated Life (Colossians)
Brad Bailey - May 31, 2009
Intro – The search for a new means of life that can save us from our own divide.
Two of the big early summer films that just came out are the new Terminator and Star Trek films. Like so many science fiction films… and actually so many epic storyline films…they reflect the dilemma of the world now facing destruction as … until the human spirit of sacrificial love wins out. (Interesting that the Sci-Fi shows and movies that capture mass audiences the most.. are really about our human conflict and condition.)
> It is the storyline that runs through life. We seem destined for disintegration… our marriages ending in divorce or our masses being destroyed by war… unless something fundamental breaks through.
Therein lies the great news that God has raised one up at a perfect point in the human drama. Christ has come to reclaim and restore our true nature. In our current series entitled The Liberated Life, we have followed the great news as the apostle Paul wrote to a new church community that was gathering in the city of Colossae. He new well what rises up when people face the their need for hope.
The Rome Empire said the empire would unite all… but only by force and fear. And in reality, treachery would vie for power .. with leaders betraying leaders (as empires built on human competition for prestige and power always do.)
The religious leaders… offered a limited hope of salvation … to unite only around the goodness of the good… divided by their competition of the most minor issues… and leaving no place for those who couldn’t maintain their rules and regulations.
To this Paul… a citizen of Rome… and a religious leader… now imprisoned as a subversive voice to all such powers of this world … declares the work and way of God. It is the power of God that comes from beyond us to reclaim and restore us from what we face.
Quick review of last week (could skip)
While rules and regulations can serve to guide us, they are not able to make us transform our inner nature.
‘These rules may seem wise…they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.’ - Colossians 2:23 (NLT)
There is a new way of life… it is the life of Christ… who has come and in his death and resurrected life… inaugurated the start of a new humanity… which we can enter and begin to embody. Our spiritual formation involves connecting with the new life that is revealed in Christ… which is shared with us. … as we direct our inner attention and affections on Him.
Now he expounds upon the putting on of the new nature of Christ
Colossians 3:12-17 (NIV)
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Here we find Paul describing the new life that we are to enter and embody… and it is a life of love.
As N.T. Wright describes it, “The mood changes from negative to positive; it is like coming out of the fog into the sunlight.”
He begins by declaring the grand choice of God. That in Christ, everyone can become “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.”
In this he is defining all who receive the death and new life of Christ to have become the new and true Israel… as God’s chosen people… God’s new humanity. This new humanity is not secured in our choice but in His… not in our goodness but in His grace… not in our lovableness but in His love. All that God had said he would accomplish through Israel… is now to be fulfilled in Christ who came through Israel as the one who fulfills the role of the one ‘chosen and set apart.’ He becomes the true temple… the true and living word of God… the one through whom all the nations would be blessed. And now that blessing of being the chosen and beloved son is extended to all who receive him.