Sunday, March 8, 2015

Three foundations for Christ-centered manhood

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".

Jesus Christ came not only to provide redemption and forgiveness of sins to all who believe but also to provide the restoration of what was lost in Adam. The phrase I have heard being tossed around by men's ministry leaders is the idea that we are the by-products of "broken male culture". Today's study will seek to equip Christian men on the foundations for the re-created manhood that is only found in Jesus Christ. The principles laid out below can be applied to men specifically or anyone in general.

Foundations for Christ's re-creation of true manhood
As men of God, we're not called to be "recreational" in our manhood, but re-creations who have a totally transformed manhood. Colossians 3:1-17 describes the foundation of re-created humanity (and for that matter manhood). We can understand this foundation by noting what I term "three certificates" issued by Christ to the Christian.

Re-created manhood's power to prioritize things around God .  Colossians 3:1-2, 10-12
As a man born-again by the Spirit of God through faith in Jesus Christ, I am issued a birth certificate. (John 3:3-6; 1 Peter 1:23) Becoming a Christian is not merely turning over a new leaf, but becoming a whole new tree altogether. (Psalm 1) Thus as a re-created man, this first foundation tells me I have new priorities (3:1-2) and the power of a newly-formed nature in union with Christ to live out His priorities (3:10-12). 

2. Re-created manhood can put the past behind. Colossians 3:3-9
Colossians 3:3 states - "For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." At the cross of salvation the sinner by God's graceful gifting through faith believes and dies to who they were in Adam. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Old convictions (described in Colossians 3:5) and old habits issuing forth from those convictions (Colossians 3:6-9) are written on my spiritual death certificate by the Heavenly Coroner, the Holy Spirit, at my salvation. As a man of God in Christ I have the power to put the past behind.  This is to be a daily resolve and not just merely a once and a while "re-commitment".  The cross that saved me is now the cross that is going to be changing me in my mind, emotions and will. Everyday I must in my mind, emotions and will go to the cross by way of taking in the scriptures and breathing out prayers to God.  Christianity is not a recreational activity, but a re-creational reality.  Old convictions and habits may attempt to rear their ugly head, and will at times.  However when a man has the newly created nature deep inside the core of their being, that means that by dying to self, the power to change convictions and habits is well within reach.  

3. Re-created manhood is united to the One who enables persistent change. 3:10-17
When my wife and I were getting ready to get married, we had to go to the courthouse to obtain a marriage license. Do you remember what it was like when you went from the single life to married life? What changed? Your union with your spouse undoubtedly affected everything about you: finances, relationships, eating, sleeping, thinking - everything! As Christians we are united to Christ at salvation. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). Though that union is instant, the remainder of the Christian life is figuring out what happened!  

Think of the scriptures as the believer's marriage certificate that announces to Whom they are espoused. In the marriages of Paul's day, the couple to be married went through two stages: espousal or being regarded as legally bound to one another but not yet living under the same roof and then the actual marriage ceremony that would then be sealed by physical consummation and a lifetime of living under the same roof. As Christians, we are united to the Lord Jesus as His espoused bride and await for His return to take us to Himself to be with Him wherever He is in Heaven and then on earth. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 19:10ff) Included in this powerful truth is the literally transformation of our inward nature that takes place whereby we are made new creations in Jesus. (2 Cor 5:17)

The foundation to Christ's re-creation of a man's manhood involves the certificate of a new-birth (power for living) as well as a death certificate (putting the past behind). However unless we as men (and of course those who are women of God) are united to Christ at salvation, and understand in a growing way who we are in union with Him, we will never be convinced that change has happened, is occurring or must take place. 

The marriage certificate of the believer are the scriptures that declare the reality of a transformed life received by faith. Colossians 3:10 states - "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". What does this all mean? Through our union with Christ (like in a marriage), everything is made new: from attitudes (Colossians 3:12), to actions (3:13-15) to how I regard the scriptures (3:16-17). 

Closing thoughts:
As we saw already, the birth-certificate granted at salvation means new priorities and power for living. Furthermore, the death certificate means I can forsake the "old me" and live out who I really am in Christ as a re-created man. Then we saw that in our marriage certificate of the scriptures, all of those united to Christ by faith are espoused and thus have received a transformed nature that sets them on course to living for Christ until He returns. These are the foundations for re-created manhood in Christ. 

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