Paul has explained that we were buried with Christ and raised to new life in him (Col. 2:12). We are new creations, new people, and our identity is now in Christ.
Christ has done everything that is needed for our salvation. But this does not mean that we sit back and do nothing.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Col. 3:1-2).
Since we are united with Christ, and Christ is with God, that is where we should set our affections. That is what we should desire, and that is what we should think about. This does not mean that we ignore earthly things, but that we bring heavenly qualities to our earthly lives.
Don’t worry about what you used to be.
“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). The old “you” is gone, killed with Christ on the cross and buried with him. Although it may not look like it, our real self is to be found with him.
Christ has brought us into the heavenly places, and that should transform the way we think — including the way we think about ourselves. Our new life is to be patterned on the reality that Christ has brought us into the divine life, into the fellowship of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We belong to God, and we should think and act like it.
However, it will be evident to everyone in the future: “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:4). Yes, we will be with him in glory in the future — but even now, Christ is our life. We should live in a way that is appropriate for those who live and move and have their being in him.
God is re-creating us, but he does not force this change upon us — he tells us to do it: to put on, or to clothe ourselves, in something new. We are to make choices in the light of who we are. We are to become more and more like Christ is, because that is who we are.
Our identity is not in our ethnic group, our education, or our social status. “Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all” (Col. 3:11). Christ is the epitome, the standard, the model, of everything that humanity was ever intended to be, and everyone finds their true identity in him. Rich and poor, sophisticated and simple, young and old, we are one in Christ.
Kathy Houston of White Hall is pastor of Christian Fellowship Center of Grace Communion International Pine Bluff.
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