“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)
A Christian is already living in Resurrected Life NOW.
We are not talking of physical life here. This is about our spiritual life.
This is what it means when a person must be “born again”. Born a second time.
A true Christian is living what is actually an Imputed Life.
Which can only be true if God has declared us to be both Crucified and Risen. We can only be risen with Christ if we have already been crucified, dead, and buried.
This is a truth that can lift us out of the common drudgery of Christian life and Christian service as is commonly taught in our Bible churches. Where we are taught to gut it out for God instead of resting in His incredible finished work.
Being Risen with Christ is about learning to rest in the reality of what He has declared us to be. Rather than what we actually see and feel day by day.
Which leads to a very critical question about the object of our affections.
Are we placing our hope in Christ or are we placing our confidence in our “Christian self”?
The things we think about affect our lives. That is a simple and obvious statement. Nothing profound there.
We are affected by the Where of our focus. Like a giant telescope focused on a tiny spec in the night sky.
Our minds dwell on things. We rest upon images and ideas. Or upon truths that are unseen.
The scriptures are designed to guide our minds. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8).
We start this focus by going to the word of God. To meditate on the word. In order that the Lord can reveal Himself to us. So, we can truly know Him.
The No-Earthly-Good Refrain
I heard a pastor a few years ago going through a sermon series about heaven. And I was hoping he would “unpack” the word of God and give us a glimpse of eternal things waiting for us above.
But it was not to be.
Instead, he criticized those who hoped to see the streets of gold, or the mansions the Lord was preparing for us, and many other wonderful things in heaven.
Instead, he emphasized the work that needed to be done here and now.
And criticized the “materialistic” mentality of those focusing on the riches and rewards of heaven.
Strangely, this has become a common trend among Evangelical preachers and writers. Who are increasingly critical of those who may be of little earthly value.
The church today is focused on the earth. On making the world a better place.
The trend today is to move people away from thinking about their “home by and by”. And to get them to work doing service to those around them.
But is this trend biblical?
The Only Source of Good Works
Yes. We are to be doers of good.
Yes. We are to help others.
Yes. We are to be servants to those in need.
But our motivation and our life can only flow out of our confident, inner hope. Out of something that we are truly and confidently looking forward to.
Spiritual motivation does not come from the scolding that leaders give to their people; telling them to quit worrying so much about doctrine and Bible study and preaching. Telling them to get to work in the real world. To push them to make a difference here and now.
The truth of the matter is that most of those who teach us today do not really have a solid faith. Theirs is more of an imitation faith. A faith built on trying to be like Jesus. Or trying to live out the life of Jesus.
This is an imitation life. It is not a truly Resurrected Life.
Theirs is a life that flows from the good intentions of a Christian. From their attempts to dedicate their Christian flesh.
True Life flows from Christ Himself.
One results in Dead works. The other brings the fresh water of Life to those around them.
The Hidden Life
Our life, by faith, is hid with Christ. There is incredible wonder, hope, and comfort in this.
This discussion reminds me of Dave Hunt’s book: Whatever Happened to Heaven?
Dave was distressed by this earthly trend as well. And he wrote this book back in the 1980’s (I think that was the timeframe). He could see the trend of churches away from preaching on solid, biblical truths.
And away from preaching about our eternal hopes, rewards, and inheritance.
He could see the trend of churches pushing for more good works while feeding their sheep less with the word. Failing to build up their people spiritually. Thinking more about making leaders or Christians of action.
And the reason for this is clear.
A Form Without Substance
The vast majority of those who call themselves Christian do not truly possess eternal life.
They possess religious life – maybe even combined with much truth. But they don’t know Christ. They are still lost in their sins as they try to establish their own righteousness before God.
Such churches and Christians only have this world to truly rest upon. And so, they make much of good works down here. And making this world, which is all that they really have, a better place.
Tragically, many deceived as well as deceiving teachers are leading the true body of believers astray with this focus. Bringing about a corruption in our Evangelical bodies by bringing us into fellowship and association with apostate groups all gathered together to do good works.
To do good things for good causes.
All, of course, for Jesus’ sake.
For the World to Truly See Jesus
The world needs Christ above everything else.
But they can only see Him when God uses His supernatural word to reveal Himself to them. This is a spiritual thing; it is not a carnal one.
The life we have in Christ is literally the Lord Himself living within us.
For the world to see Jesus our Lord, we must learn to walk in His Resurrection power; and to forsake the carnal, fleshly methods that the Bible churches of this age are trying to substitute for the working of the Spirit of God.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay