Friday, August 1, 2014

Submit your relationships to Christ's Lordship - Colossians 3:9-14

Colossians 3:9-10 "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."

Review: Considering Christ's Lordship in Colossians 3:1-14
For the past couple of days we have been considering the important subject of submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We are told in 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." The supremacy of Jesus Christ is expressed practically and doctrinally in the scriptures by a closely related idea called "Lordship". To say "Jesus is Lord" means "Jesus is in control of the Christian's life from the start and throughout to the end. We know when Paul is referring to "above" and "where Christ is", He is talking about Jesus' Lordship over the believer. For example consider Philippians 2:9-11  "For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Jesus Christ's Lordship defines the chief end of His accomplished work according to Romans 14:9 "For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living." Thus Christ's Lordship over individual Christians and His church practically expresses the doctrinal truth of His Supremacy, Sufficiency or what is sometimes termed "His imminency".

Point of application: As we have explored in the past two posts we express our submission to Christ's Lordship by beginning with our priorities and proceeding to our morality. These two areas express our overall point of application: "Every disciple of Jesus Christ is called to submit to Christ's Lordship." Today we will consider one final main area that reveals how much we are submitting to Christ's Lordship - our relationships.

Considering one another in light of Christ's Lordship
As you read down through Colossians 3:9-13, the concern deals with how Christians are treating one another in the church.  If you and I have have surrendered our priorities and morality (in the realm of our drives and speech) to Christ's Lordship, then how we relate to one another will result. However, if we find ourselves not relating to one another in a Christ-like manner, then somewhere along the way we have not submitted a priority or an area of our morality (more often our speech) to His Supreme authority.

Paul writes in Colossians 3:9 to "not lie to one another". Then we read two more "one another" (also called reciprocal commands, because we 'reciprocate' the action) commands in 3:13, namely "bearing with one another" and "forgiving one another". The former instructions of "putting off" and "putting on" affects not just our personal spiritual well-being, but also others around us. 

Unfolding the meaning of "putting off" and "putting on". 
The logic of Colossians 3:9-13 is inescapable: if we have laid aside the old practices (compare 3:1,5 with 3:9), then it follows that we have "put on" something it is place. The "putting off" and "putting on" language is found in Ephesians 4:22-24 "if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth." When the scriptures speak of "putting on the new self", that is speaking of the righteousness of Jesus Christ upon which we ever rely from the time it is first placed upon us by God the Father in saving faith. (compare Galatians 3:27)

Our practical righteousness goes by the judicial righteousness of Jesus Christ.  That is to say, whomever God declared me to be positionally in saving faith in justification I am becoming by experience in my practical righteousness i.e - sanctification. Thus in one sense I have put off the old life and put on the new positionally and as a one time act at saving faith in justification.  However in another sense I am to daily remind myself of "who I am and Whose I am" by looking to Christ, my justification before my Father, and base my Christian walk or sanctification upon all He did in both His perfect life and perfect obedience on the cross. 

Putting the garment Christ's righteousness over our righteousness in order to love one another
What happens when we individually submit our individual priorities, morality and relationships to Christ's Lordship, the results will make a great impact! Colossians 3:13 speaks of us as being God's "chosen" or "elect". To know that God chose me not because of what I had done but because of His loving purposes of grace provides the basis for who I am in Christ. Colossians 3:12-13 speaks of the believer's own practical righteousness and then Colossians 3:14 states: "Beyond all these things....". Now here is the question: what could be "beyond" what Paul just wrote in Colossians 3:12-13. To even "bear with one another" or "forgive one another" is a pretty tall order. The love being spoken of here is not just mere human love, or even the love of Christians, but the love of God that can only be supplied by the seamless robe of Christ's righteousness. Only His righteousness can be deemed that "perfect bond" of unity. We ever rely upon His power, His Person, His grace to fulfill God's commands to us. (2 Corinthians 12:9; Philippians 3:7-9).  

When we individually have resolved to submit to Christ's Lordship, that attitude becomes a sweet expression in a local church body or group of saints.Christ's Lordship is everything in the Christian life, being that we are in effect saying: Jesus is enough! Jesus is all I need! I surrender all to Him!

Closing thoughts:
We have endeavored over the past few days to drive home the main point of: "Every disciple of Jesus Christ is called to submit to Christ's Lordship." We have explored three practical ways from Colossians 3:1-14 in which we can achieve this: submit your priorities, your morality and your relationships to Christ's Lordship. May we all take to heart Paul's words here in Colossians 3:1-14 and submit ourselves to Christ's Lordship. 

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