Passions of a Godly Life
In our study of the book of Colossians, we have been picking out elements of the Christian life that I believe should instill a passion and drive in us for living for Him.
Faith with Passion (Colossians 2:6-7)
~ rooted, built up, and established
Prayer with Passion (Colossians 4:2-4)
~ steadfast, watchful, with thanksgiving
Suffering with Passion (Colossians 1:24-29)
~ rejoicing, filling what is lacking
Fullness with Passion (Colossians 2:8-14)
~ vigilance, fullness, barriers removed
Church with Passion (Colossians 1:1-8, 2:1-4, 3:12-17)
~ bearing fruit, forgiving, teaching, singing, thanking
Family with Passion (Colossians 3:17-24)
~ everything in Jesus name, pleasing the Lord, revering the Lord, living for the Lord
Living Powerfully with Passion (Colossians 1:9-14)
~ knowledge, wisdom, understanding, fruitful, thankful
Jesus Our Passion (Colossians 1:15-20)
~ eternal, Creator, Sustainer, Preeminent, fullness of God
Today, in the few moments we have together, I want to look at the wonder of having a relationship with God. When I say the wonder of it, I refer to the fact that this relationship did not start out well, but through God’s love and grace, accompanied with our faith in accepting His forgiveness, we can be reconciled to God.
Illustrate a broken relationship in a marriage.
When a relationship finds reconciliation, it grows deeper, stronger, and more passionate than it ever could have been. Our relationship with God is somewhat different because God is our Creator, but there are still some similarities that we can identify with in a marriage. I believe that when we understand the power of being reconciled to God, a deeper more passionate relationship develops. Let’s look at this passionate relationship we have with our God. Notice how this relationship begins in verse 21.
A Passionate Relationship (Colossians 1:21-23)
~ Alienated and Hostile (v. 21)
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,
I am going to be honest with you, I don’t like being described like this! But before salvation, this is truly an accurate description. Three very powerful descriptions of the kind of person we are before salvation. First, we are alienated. This is the Greek word ἀπαλλοτριόω (apallotrioo), to be cut off, to be alienated, or estranged.
Somehow many people don’t get this. We are alienated because we sin, this is not God’s problem, it is our problem. Often you will hear people say that if God loves us, why would He allow bad things to happen to us. But the problem is not God, we caused this problem because we sin. Humankind brought the curse and penalty of sin upon this world. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Our sin alienates us from God. And it is not God’s fault
In fact, it says we were hostile in mind. This is hating God like an enemy. Unbelievers hate God and resent his holy standard because they love their sin. John 3:19-20 tells us that some people love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. It is because of this hostile mind toward God, that we alienate ourselves from God.
Third, before I got saved, I did sinful things without even thinking twice about it. Why? We are all sinners, that’s our nature. We all enjoy doing certain things though we know it was not something God would approve of.
Certainly, God hates sin. Why? Because of God’s holiness sin not only separates us from Him, sin has a penalty, it is eternal death. God’s love is so tremendous for us that He hates the very thing that alienates us from Him. It is obvious that sin separates us from God, alienates us from God, and breaks our relationship with God. This is a relationship issue. But that does not mean He cannot be in the presence of sin or sinners. In fact, it seems that Satan himself stands in the presence of God as our accuser (Job 1:6-12, 2:1-7). One day he will be cast out to never accuse us again (Revelation 12:9-10). Jesus, in human form yet being God, walked and talked with sinners. He even healed sinners. The alienation that is being talk about is a relationship issue.
If you are saved today, you understand, that once you were alienated from God, hostile in mind toward Him and even enjoyed doing evil deeds. But through faith, that has all changed.
~ Reconciled and Blameless (v. 22)
He has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
This is a “once” but “now” contrast. What we are seeing is the huge contrast from before a person becomes a believer and after. Now we are reconciled. How is this possible? In the body of Jesus’ flesh through His death it says in verse 22. Reconciliation takes place through our faith and trust in the work of Christ on the cross for our sin. This is what we call the “Great Exchange.” Christ’s death has paid the penalty for sin. His life was taken to pay for my sin and the payment is applied to me.
I love how 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 describes this.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
We are reconciled to God through the blood of Jesus Christ. The Greek word translated reconcile, ἀποκαταλλάσσω (apokatallasso), means to be restored in a relationship, to be brought back together again. It is not just a partial reconciliation either. It is a complete restoration.
Once we were alienated, now we are reconciled. Everything has changed. We are new creatures we just read. How? We are presented holy and blameless and above reproach because Jesus took the penalty for us. Now we can once again have fellowship with God, our relationship stands whole.
Do you get the power of this? We broke the relationship, not God. When Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from God. But God went looking for them, seeking to restore them. As sinners we are alienated from God and that is our choice. But God chose to make a way to reconcile us to Himself, but we much accept His offer by faith. God wants to restore us. So, what does that mean for those who have accepted His offer? Look at verse 23.
~ Established and Steadfast (v. 23)
If indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
I love this verse. It is how we see the confirmation of reconciliation in our lives. How do we know that we are presented holy, blameless, and without reproach as it said in verse 22? Because those who are reconciled will continue in the faith, persevere in the faith, and not shift away from the hope we have in the Gospel message of salvation. Our translation begins with the word “if” in verse 23. In English is makes it look like there is a great possibility that this won’t happen. But what we don’t see is that in the form of this phrase in Greek (using the Greek particle ei and the indicative mood of the verb epimenō) indicates that Paul fully expects that the Colossian believers will continue in the faith; there is no doubt expressed in the Greek as it appears in English.
Notice the four powerful words used here: Continue, stable, steadfast, and not shifting. First, when we “continue,” ἐπιμένω (epimeno) or we could say persevere, there is affirmation of a reconciled relationship. Second, when we are “stable,” θεμελιόω (themelioo), or we could say firmly established and grounded, there is stability in that reconciled relationship. Third, when there is “steadfastness,” ἑδραῖος (hedraios), this has the idea of sitting in one spot, not trying to sit in many places at once, there is focus and singlemindedness in our reconciled relationship. Fourth, when we are “not shifting,” μετακινέω (metakineo), we are not moving away or removing ourselves from a place, thus, there is commitment.
These four words speak volumes into what it means to have a reconciled relationship with our Creator. Our disposition toward God is different, now our desires focus on our relationship with God, the things we do is with the aim to please Him, and all of this is energized by a reconciled relationship with Him. True believers remain solid on the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are not saved as a result of remaining true to Him, we are true to Him as a result of our genuine faith in Him.
Having recognized and appreciated the reconciliation we have through Jesus Christ, we are now ministers of reconciliation. Proclaiming the Gospel message of salvation so that others may be reconciled to God.
Remember what I read a moment ago from 2 Corinthians 5:18?
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.
How can we not share about the greatest thing that can take place in a person’s life? We were alienated and hostile toward our Creator, but now we are reconciled and blameless. We know that because the result is a life that is established and steadfast. This is the source of passionate godly living. We live for Him, because He loved us so much that He sought us out to reconcile us to Himself.
Sometimes I wonder if we get discouraged in our walk with the Lord because we have forgotten what He has done to reconcile us to Himself. He sought me when I wasn’t desiring Him. Do you get the enormity of this? We are responsible for this broken relationship, but we cannot make restoration on our own. God, the One we sinned against, reached out through His Son Jesus to reconcile us back to Himself.
Remind yourself of this often. Memorize these verses or the verses of 2 Corinthians 5, which put this reconciled relationship in the forefront. Thank Him often for seeking you out. Praise Him for the life you have being reconciled to Him and for your future life with Him. Passionate living begins with realizing what we have through Jesus Christ. Do you know Him?