In this sermon, Pastor Joe Babij examines the apostle Paul’s introductory greeting in Colossians 1:1-2. Pastor Babij explains how what was true about the ancient Colossians’ spiritual position is and ought to be true of believers today.
Let’s take our Bibles again and turn to Colossians 1. I’ll be reading just two verses this morning. Verse one and two. Where the Word of God says in Colossians 1:1-2,
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
Let’s pray. Lord, this morning again, as we come to Your infallible Word, we know, Lord that it’s the Word of God. And because it is the Word of God, Lord, give us ears to hear it. Lord, that we may grow in it and understand it and live it. I pray, Lord, that today You may teach us from the Word of God the true identity that we have in Christ so that we can live that out. I pray, Lord, that You would receive all of the praise, glory, and honor and that Your people would be taught and edified. In Christ’s name, amen.
Colossae was a town in the province of Asia Minor, far north and west of Palestine. The Christians there had heard the message of the Apostle Paul, although he never visited there. The pastor was Epaphras. He came to Paul with a report about the bothering circumstances at the church. Like the false ideas that were being propagated and the teachings that were being dispersed amongst the believers at Colossae that did not line up with the truth of the Gospel.
He was concerned about the wave of error that even threatened some of the believers and led them astray from the truth. The errors being propagated were a combination of philosophical hedonism, Judaism, and elements of Christian teaching. In other words, the false teacher was slick enough to synthesize all these teachings together into one that he made up. It showed wisdom and human intellectualism, yet it circulated philosophies that bordered on paganism.
On the one hand, the true Gospel of Christ simply did not line up with what is called Gnosticism or those who have super knowledge, as I mentioned last week. It was more like God is up here, and we’re down here, and there’s a chain of angels that you have to go through to get to God.
The old idea of spirituality drastically distorted true biblical doctrine and the Christian way of living. Specifically, it was rooted in a doctrine that robbed Jesus of His central place, and believe me, Jesus is central to the Bible wherever you’re reading it.
On the other hand, the body of Christ, the new and living organism of what you and I and the Colossians are part of, have a newness to us. Something happened to us. Something changed in our life. Christ living in this body forms a new humanity and transforms us and all of our old ideas about life, God, and the way of salvation.
The major attack of all false cults and religions is to cast down upon whether God is God, whether Christ is God, and that He is sufficient to completely save. Many cults will talk about Jesus, but He just doesn’t do enough—something has to be added to the cross and the Bible. It’s the Bible plus another document or group of sayings by this person or that person.
A cult, by definition, is a religious movement that claims to be a Christian group that deviates significantly from or outright denies the teachings of Scripture, especially in its historic creeds and on specific and crucial points. Groups today included in this definition are the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Christian Scientists. These groups develop their doctrine through a combination of scripture-twisting and extra-biblical revelation while under the leadership of self-proclaimed prophets such as Joseph Smith and Charles Taze Russell. They consistently pervert Biblical truth, denying the deity of Christ and the Gospel of grace.
It’s a tragedy that Satan has such success in twisting elements of Biblical language and leveraging false Christian imagery that leads men and women away from the truth and into these corrupt cults and religious systems. Usually, the end result is deadly.
The Epistle to the Colossians is really an answer to prayer. It’s an answer to the request of Epaphras, the pastor there. The Apostle Paul writes this Epistle with deep concern in order to keep the Colossians and all believers who are going to read it afterward, on track with the truth of the Gospel. That is his desire and intention.
I didn’t want to go quickly over these first two verses because you would have to ask yourself: why does Paul open his letters like this and say specific things in greetings? I’m going to spend some time on that and look at that. I discovered that it’s going to talk about the sender of the letter, which is going to be Paul and Timothy, and then the receivers of the letters, which is going to be the Colossians and every other believer who is going to read this letter afterward.
The senders of the letter are Paul and Timothy. If you notice in verse one, it says,
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
We read a passage of Scripture this morning that told us that Paul was not a very good dude. His main purpose in life was to persecute the Church. It was called ‘the way’ back then. It was his desire to grab people, put his hands on them, and put them in prison, and even some were stoned to death because of his authority. Then one day, God picked him on some road in Damascus and converted him right on the spot. He says: Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?
Saul, that day, went from being an old person to being a new person. Everything changed in his life, and now the Bible says that he is an apostle. That means he is a sent one. Paul’s apostleship is also, in verse one, directly from the hand of God by the will of God. That means that all the events, even his imprisonment, was from the hand of God. If you look at the last verse in Colossians 4:18,
I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember by imprisonment. Grace be with you.
Paul is in prison in Rome because he was preaching the Gospel. That means all the events that flowed in and out of Paul’s life were there because God’s hand was upon him. He had a special calling. An Apostle was a person who’s seen the risen Lord. An apostle was commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul was appointed a minister, and in his ministry, he had the power to work miracles to cast out demons and to raise the dead. All of those things authenticated the apostle’s message that what he was saying was from God and came from heaven. Also, he had the authority of Christ.
In the 1st century, the word for Apostolos was used for one who had the right to speak for an authority figure. He’s speaking on behalf of Christ, who gave the commission to the Church that in heaven and earth I have authority, and I am giving that authority to you to go preach the Gospel. So that’s Paul. He needed salvation and conversion. He needed a new identity in Christ, and God gave him one.
The second one, here it says in Colossians 1:1,
by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
Timothy is a pretty well-known disciple of Christ in the Word of God. He was raised in Lystra. His mother, Eunice, and his grandmother raised him up, and they were faithful Christian women who taught him the scriptures. In fact, it tells us in 2 Timothy 3:15,
And that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Timothy grew up hearing the Word of God, but amazingly, he didn’t get converted yet until he met the Apostle Paul. It seemed like under the Apostle Paul’s ministry that Timothy came under the conviction of the Holy Spirit of God, and he became a believer, and everything changed in Timothy’s life. He went from being an old person to becoming a new person and having a new identity in Jesus Christ.
Paul asked Timothy to join him on his missionary journeys. When Paul was imprisoned in Rome, he wanted Timothy alongside him. It’s not necessarily clear whether Timothy was imprisoned with him or if he was just a companion and a servant to him that could visit Paul and come and go. It could also be that Timothy penned down the words while Paul told him what to write in this epistle. We know later on that Timothy was imprisoned and, according to tradition, after the Apostle Paul’s death, he settled in Ephesus, which is a place where he became the pastor, and of course, found a martyr’s grave.
Both the Apostle Paul and Timothy experienced the reality of newness that comes when one repents of sin and believes on Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. They both were rescued by Jesus Christ. If you look at Colossians 1:13, it says,
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son
They experienced that, and every other believer since then experiences the same thing. Along with the reality of the newness of the Christian life is that you and I are now citizens of two kingdoms. One earthly and one spiritual. Those who have received God’s grace through faith in Christ have recently become citizens of the kingdom of God or born again into the kingdom of God. However, even though we have been rescued from the domain of darkness because the light of the glorious Gospel has shined in our hearts, we still live, at the same time, in both the earthly and the spiritual. Even though we presently live in the two spheres, the spiritual must always have the upper hand in the earthly sphere. That’s what sanctification is.
In other words, the flesh must be weakened, and the Spirit must be strengthened. That’s our reality right now. We’re between heaven and earth. While we’re in between and we’re learning how to live in both realms, the Gospel continues to instruct us concerning the new position we presently hold as children of God.
This greeting is not just a bunch of nice words to say, hey, how is everything going? It’s actually a greeting that points the believers who are reading it to their new identity that they have since they became believers or since they’re now in Christ.
You have to know who you are in Christ. If you’re going to stand up against what is false, you have to know, first of all, who you are. Then what you believe. Both of those things are important for you and me to stand in this world while we’re waiting for heaven.
The Gospel instructs us in our new position. I want you to think this morning if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, that you repented of your sin, and you believe in Him, then you have a new position and identity in Christ.
What is that identity? We’re going to see it right in verse number two. What is that? The first thing is that our new position that we have in Christ is that we’re saints in Christ. Look at what it says in verse two: To the saints.
What is a saint in Christ? Those who have received Him and those whom He has received. You could receive Christ because Christ received you. Both of those things are important to know. It is a description of all genuine believers. God does not choose us because we are saintly. He chooses us and makes us saintly. Just like the beginning of 1 Corinthians 1:2 says,
To the Church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ, saints by calling
So, we are saints. With that designation, you may think that’s not in for you, and as some have said, it’s like putting a diamond earring in a sow’s ear. What they mean is that it just doesn’t fit the nature of a pig. For it will not be long before the pig is rolling around in the mud again, greatly diminishing the glory of the diamond earring. But in our case, God makes us saints.
Nonetheless, you are a saint, whether you want to consider that or not. You should this morning because the basic meaning of this term is to be set apart. To be separated from something and for something. Set apart needs to be understood in two ways. You are the saints set apart outwardly, first of all. The saints, then, are those whom God has called and who have called upon Jesus as Savior and Lord.
The Christian is a person who has been separated from the world’s clutches and Satan’s claim on them and now they’re in the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven. Here on earth, the Christian has been brought into the family of God by the rescuing power of the Gospel. God called out people and separated them from the world unto Himself.
Galatians says it in a different way. It says, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age (Galatians 1:4). That means we stop going along with what’s happening in the world and the way the world is flowing, and we start living according to a new kingdom.
Usually, in theology, set apart connotes a religious and ethical idea. The religious idea refers to being set apart to God, and the ethical idea refers to being set apart from sinful behavior and conforms to the righteous character of God. That’s sanctification. Both ideas are found in scripture and are necessary for the believer’s being set apart.
The Holy Spirit is the author of one being set apart to God and righteous living, showing the Christian now the will of God. We know now what the will of God is found in the Word of God. We’re set apart outwardly from the world to God.
Secondly, we’re set apart inwardly. In this sense, we are set apart from the guilt of sin. Guilt is no longer something that is weighty upon us because of what Christ has done. Also, we’re cleansed from the pollution of sin. Sin can no longer send us to hell. In other words, a separation has taken place in your mind, outlook, heart, conversations, and behavior. You are essentially, as a saint, a different person.
The Christian is not a worldly person. In other words, he’s not governed by the world in its outlook and mindset. They’re separated from that.
A saint actually describes something that has happened to you. We have been set apart for God. We are made His, we are His property, and we are His people—His holy people. Saints are just regular people who come to know Christ as Lord and Savior.
All saints go to heaven when they die, but they don’t become saints after they get there. They become saints now. Of course, the Roman Catholic church has greatly distorted the word saint. Roman Catholic teaching says that saints are those few whose spiritual excellence and merit caused them to be set before the church as models and intercessors. According to Rome, these saints pray in heaven for those who call on them. They say that we can and should ask saints to intercede for us and offer their merits to God on our behalf. That’s the current Roman Catholic catechism.
Nothing’s changed in the Roman Catholic church. They’re still espousing that. The result is people pray to all kinds of Patron Saints. You pray to Mary, Joseph, and Peter. If you’re traveling, you pray to Christopher. If you’re doing this, then you pray to that saint. They venerate these saints to the status equal to deity, which amounts to their worship in place of God. That is simply idolatry.
No church or council can pronounce anyone a saint, for a saint in Christ are those who are separated and saved by God to God in God and through God. It’s all His grace. This is our position in Christ: saints.
We should just stick to the clear teaching of scripture where it says in Timothy, for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). We should never think of saints as superior Christians who offer their merits for us to God. No. All Christians are saints. Yes, ordinary, regular, wrestling with the flesh and sin, striving together for the sake of the Gospel. Christians like you and me who know Christ as Lord and Savior are saints. God wants us to see ourselves as that.
That’s the point of this greeting. Every Christian is a saint. You cannot be a Christian without being a saint. And you cannot be a saint and a Christian without being separated in some radical sense from the world because you’re different now.
The next thing this greeting identifies believers as, if you notice in Colossians 1:2, to the saints and faithful brethren. Faithful brethren. Now, this is not a separate group of people. God is in the process of building us into perfect saints. He knows what He is making of us.
Although we are definitely yet in the making, we are a building project of God. We are far from perfect, perfection will come in glory, but God is working on you if you’re a saint. How is He working on you? You become faithful to God. Faithful brethren in Christ refers to those who have faith, first of all, in Christ.
No one can be faithful until they have faith in Christ. Saving faith always sanctifies. The sanctified want to be saintly and faithful to God. That’s what God produces in our hearts. This is the difference between those who merely profess to know Christ and those who possess salvation.
There are several things saints and faithful brethren continually receive while being in the family of God as a saint. If you notice, saints and faithful brethren in verse two have been given manifold grace. Notice what it says. It says,
To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae, Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
They are given, granted, manifold grace. That unmerited favor of God. If you peruse through scripture, you’re going to find that there are many kinds of grace that God gives. He gives us saving grace. Ephesians 2:8 it says: For by grace you have been saved. By His grace, He has provided redemption by the sacrifice of Himself. By His grace, He has called guilty sinners and made them into saints.
There’s also living grace which is sanctifying grace. It’s God’s gift to the saints to make them gracious, saintly, and faithful.
There’s also suffering grace. It says in 2 Corinthians 12:9, He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.
We also have dying grace. That grace comes in the form of understanding in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, for God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is also serving grace, where Peter tells us in 1 Peter 4:10, as each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
God has given us this grace so we can simply live our life. We live our life by His power, not by our power. He changes our minds. He changes our affections. He changes our will to do the will of God. He gives us the ability to do all of that. That is God’s grace to us. His grace is so deep that it can never be exhausted. It is an empty barrel. I mean, it’s a barrel with no bottom to it. It just keeps going.
That’s why the Gospel of John says we have all received grace upon grace upon grace upon grace. You can’t exhaust it. It’s always available to us, and it’s always available to who? To the saints and to those who are faithful. The faithful brethren in the family of God.
Looking again at this. The false teacher and his teaching, if we act upon what he says, it will lead us to becoming grace abusers and grace killers. What is a grace killer? A grace killer is legalism. What does legalism do? It emphasizes works over grace. It opts for giving a list of dos and don’ts. Whether it would be in a personal realm or a traditional realm, the criteria is to earn God’s acceptance. Do we have to earn God’s acceptance? No. The Gospel has accepted us. We are accepted in the Beloved. The Word of God tells us that we don’t have to earn anything anymore. It’s not works.
Look at Colossians 2:16-17. Here are the false teachers’ works-based-system. Colossians 2:16 says,
Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day
In other words, you must do these things to be accepted to God by God. See, what happens is that when it leaves no room for gray areas, there are not many gray areas, but the thing is that the fellowship is based on whether there’s full agreement. Whether if you do these things then I’ll be in fellowship with you. If you don’t do these things, then I’m out of fellowship with you. Its rigid standards are more important than relationships with individuals.
Again, look at Colossians 2:20, especially verse 21, it says,
“Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”
Those are commands given by the false teacher, and Paul was saying no, don’t let anybody push you into that. You don’t have to do anything. Everything is already provided to you. They cultivate a judgmental attitude towards those who may not agree or cooperate with their plan. That’s not grace. That’s legalism.
Then there are grace abusers. Do you know what they are? They are the ones who give you license to live the way you want, do what you want. God’s forgiven you, don’t worry about it. See, they go too far and set aside all self-control because one of the things the Spirit of God is going to give you is what? Self-control. That means you have authority over yourself to say no to sin and no to temptation. You don’t have to go there; you can run from there in order to serve the Lord.
Look at Colossians 3:5-7. Look at what it says here about what not to do. It says,
5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality
He’s saying this because of what the false teachers are espousing to live as you want. Then he says
impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them
He says you’re not like that anymore. You’re saints. You’re faithful. Don’t live like that or think like that. Don’t let anybody push you to the point where you can just live any way you want. Now you want to live for the Lord, and you want to please Him. That’s the difference.
Also, their liberty went to such an extreme. It really pushed people again into serving their old sins. Again, look at Colossians 3:9-10. It says,
9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—
That is grace. When grace has changed us to the point where we know we’ve laid aside the old self and its evil practices, and we have a new self—a new identity in Christ.
Also, if you are in the family of God, you not only have manifold grace but secondly, in verse two, you have peace. Faithful saints and brethren have been granted multifaceted peace. That with grace comes peace. Peace is the cessation of hostilities against God. It’s freedom from fear of damnation. It’s freedom from deliberation. It’s the liberation from guilt. That saints are at peace with the God of peace, as Paul said in Romans, may the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
If a person is thinking about this, it’s really the blessed condition when God is our friend, and all is well with us in time here on earth and in eternity. Both of those things. Both of those are mediated by Christ.
If a person is at peace with God almighty, who else do we have to be afraid of? No one is the answer. Romans tells us that if God is for us, who can be against us? No one can be against us. The Gospel of Jesus Christ plunders the evil one’s kingdom, and because the strong man, the devil, is overcome, and the captive souls are removed from his kingdom into the kingdom of God. They become saints and faithful brethren.
Why is the concept of peace with God so important? It’s important because Satan wants Christians to think that the fight against holiness is worthless, hopeless, or a monumental impossibility, and only the stronger and better-equipped Christians could do that. That’s a lie, too. We can all do that. The truth is that every Christian is totally at peace with God and cannot truly be shaken by any Satanic tactic if the Christian stands upon that grace.
Peace in the Christian sense connotes a Messianic salvation, that is, the salvation that Christ provides from the slavery of sin and death. The peace that comes with true salvation is better understood in the several forms it takes in the life of a Christian. It’s also mentioned in scripture. What is that?
There are actually three forms of peace. That is, a Christian experiences peace with God. That’s the firm awareness that there is nothing between a believer and God. The peace brought about by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Romans tell us, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. The Christian, in other words, must have confidence about their relationship to God in this area. Regarding this concept, we must think that if I am in any doubt about my salvation, I shall not be able to fight the enemy. I should have to spend the whole time struggling with myself instead of the things I ought to be struggling with.
A Christian must have clarity about their sins being forgiven, their souls being reconciled to God, and the Spirit of God now working sanctification in them, already making them saints and faithful. We must know this if we’re going to stand against any temptation.
Hebrews tells us, now the God of peace who brought us up from the dead, what is He going to do? Equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:20-21). He is working in us to do that.
Secondly, besides peace with God, Christians also experience the peace of God. That is a little bit different. That means we’re satisfied in God and His work. The Christian feels tranquility of God in their hearts. It’s like it says in Philippians 4: and the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. That is the tranquility of God that transcends understanding.
God’s peace in a person is like a platoon of special force warriors guarding the entrance of our mind, and our heart, and preventing any enemies that would promote anxiety from entering. That’s why practicing casting your care on Him is a biblical practice because the believer’s soul is at rest due to the peace of God. That’s why, if you look at Colossians 3:16, you and I can actually do this. It says,
16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
That’s a person at peace. They know where they stand before God. They know what the Lord has done for them.
There’s a third kind of peace. That’s in the peace obtained through the Gospel that really helps a Christian understand and be aware that their struggles are not against flesh and blood. God has taken care of the believer’s most important need, salvation, so the Christian is freed up from all animosity toward others. This peace is peace with other people.
Again, look at Colossians 3:13. You can’t say this unless you have peace. It says this,
13 Bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
That means my desire is to want to be at peace with people, especially those who are brethren.
Next, if you are in the family of God, back to Colossians 1:2, it says that this grace and peace comes from our heavenly Father. In our new position, we have a new source of blessing because of Christ. What is that source? God the Father. That grace and peace is from God the Father. Having God as Father only comes by having Jesus as Savior and Lord. Before that, He was not your Father in a salvific sense.
Each person of the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is involved with bringing believers the grace in which they stand. The source of this change and new standing is God the Father. In fact, once a person has come to Christ, that person can truly, for the first time in their life, call God father because Jesus has appeased the Father’s wrath toward that believing sinner. The believer is in a new position with the Father.
The Father has chosen, adopted, and accepted that person. The reason for that believers’ acceptance and change and standing before the Father is the Lord Jesus Christ’s work on their behalf. That Jesus is the believers’ Lord and bears all of their punishment on the cross, reconciling the believer to God and bringing peace to them. Genuine peace.
That’s like when we come to the Lord’s table. What do we do? The disciples lay down. We sit around the table. Why? We’re at peace with God. There’s no animosity between Him and us. It’s been taken care of by the Lord Jesus Christ.
The work of Jesus enables the new birth and believers amazingly become the children of God, as the Gospel of John tells us: but as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name (John 1:12). Christians are children of God and therefore have a new Father. The Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you have the Father, you have the Son, and if you have the Son, you have the Father. If you have the Father and the Son, you have the Spirit. That’s what the scripture teaches. You have it all.
One last thing in Colossians in our verse that I kind of skipped over. If you notice in verse two, it says: to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ. You’re going to find that term all over scripture. It is a very significant term. The source of this identity. This new creation is God Himself. It’s like it says in 2 Corinthians 5:17,
17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come
This is an important shift of stance and change in sphere in which we live. As I said, we live between two things, heaven and earth. Now we’re saints living for the Lord and sojourning here on this earth. Because the Apostle Paul is viewing all people as either in Adam or in Christ. In other words, all who are in Christ are a new creation, and all who are in Adam are still linked to the old things. The old things are the old Adamic nature with all its corruption, all its old habits, all its old sinful being, and with all its enslaving sins.
Those who are now associated with Christ, those who are in Christ, find themselves in a new position and sphere. God is not simply patching up the old. He is creating a new. Old things are discarded. All things do not become new at conversation, they are actually discarded, and other things take their place. The newly created things take their place.
This false teacher in Colossians and his teaching made it possible for people to become comfortable in their old Adamic nature. They’re still children of Adam. They’re still in Adam, and they’re not in Christ. Either you’re in Adam, or you’re in Christ. There’s no in-between.
The question is, how can we be in Christ, and at the same time Christ in us? Usually, when we hear the word in, we think in terms of space. Being in something or something being in you does not seem to be possible at the same time in the same way. But our union in Christ is not a spatial reality but a relational and spiritual reality.
I never found an illustration that would sufficiently come close to explaining the reality of the Christian life. That is Christ in you and you in Christ. Recently, in my readings, I came across an illustration that at least cracks the door open and sheds some light on the truth.
The illustration goes like this. Picture a helicopter flying you into the middle of the Pacific Ocean. You ask the pilot to bring the helicopter to a standstill hovering just above the surface of the water. Then you leap from the helicopter into the Pacific Ocean. You are now in the Pacific. You signal the pilot, and he turns the craft and speeds away.
Your entire identity is now wrapped up in the fact that you are in the Pacific. You are surrounded by seemingly endless miles of open water. There’s nowhere to go. Now this defines your existence. This aids in our understanding of the first foundational truth, and that is seeing ourselves in Christ. We are immersed in Christ. We have been put there by the Father.
But what about the other truth? Christ in you. Picture yourself now taking an action that will actually go against everything you ever thought sanely and in accord with reality. And yet now, by an act of your will, you draw in a deep breath and turn yourself downward and swim with all your might, going as deep as you’re able to go with one breath. You are now in the Pacific. Now open your mouth and draw in a huge breath. Now the Pacific is in you. You say, ah, but now I’m also dead. Precisely. You are dead to yourself. You are alive in Christ.
In fact, if you look at Colossians 2:20, look what it says. It says, first of all: If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world. And then look at Colossians 3:3: For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Then, secondly, you have not only died with Christ, but you were also buried with Him. Colossians 2:12: Having been buried with Him in baptism. Then, also, in Colossians 2:12 and Colossians 3:1, it says, you have also been made alive with Christ, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. Then Colossians 3:1: therefore, if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
If you go to Romans 6, you will find the same thing. We’re baptized into His death, we’re buried with Him, and then we’re raised to walk in the newness of life. We are in Christ and Christ is in us.
That would bear out a conscious awareness that your new identity as one in Christ and your new power, presence, and position – Christ in you and you in Christ. That means that Christ is your life. You in Christ, Christ in you. Colossians 3:4 says,
When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
This is what God does for us. This is our new position in Christ. Now we go and live who we are. Saints inside and out. Faithful brethren. Part of the family of God. You have been given a barrel of grace that has no bottom. You are at peace with God. You have the peace of God. You have peace with others. The Father is the source of all this. Now you have the Father, the Son, the Spirit. This one God who is yours. You are in Him, and He is in you. Christ, now is your life. Christ in you is the hope of glory. That will take you right into eternity.
This morning, do you know who you are? I pray you do. As you live that way, then depend on God because everything is available to you.
Let’s pray. Lord, thank You again for the powerful nature of scripture. Thank you, Lord, that even in these two short verses, which is a greeting, You have in there the ingredients of identity for the believers who are going to receive this letter that need to know who they are before they event confront or identify false teaching. Oh Lord, I pray for every one of us here that we would not walk around doubting these things, but we would walk around with boldness and confidence because we know these things, and this is who we are. I pray, Lord, as we go out and we live this life, that You would use us in a significant way, to not only bring the gospel to those who have never heard it but to build up the family of God to make it strong and protect the family of God by discerning truth from error. Thank You, Lord, for what You are doing and for what You’re going to do. I pray in Christ’s name, Amen.