Monday, January 26, 2015
“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him” ~ Colossians 2:13-15.
God’s provision of grace through Jesus Christ is for all. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, He disarmed the rulers and authorities, which I see as the flesh, the world and the demonic that push false wisdom on us, often demanding our attention and cooperation in this earthly existence. These falsehoods cause separation from God, which is true spiritual death, for they are in opposition to Him and His ways. By triumphing over these, Jesus destroyed the hold death has on us (eternal separation from God) and set us free to choose life (having our relationship with God restored in this life and eternity with Him assured for the next).
One hindrance to our receiving the grace God extends to us is a belief that we have to first change our ways in order to earn the forgiveness paid for by Christ. But God in this passage above says it was already done by Him even while we were dead in transgression (sin / separation from God and His ways) and uncircumcision (fleshly living / going our own way apart from Him). His gift of grace through Christ’s victory is ours to receive as our own and possess for life more abundant and full. But it is our choice whether to do so.
A picture of this is found in Isaiah 43. There God outlines the sin that Israel was living out into their daily lives at that moment in time. Then, while they were still in their sin, God says in verse 25, “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.” God’s provision for our forgiveness has nothing to do with us and everything to do with Him. God chooses to forgive our sin for His own sake, so He will continue to desire relationship with us. God is love; therefore He cannot help but love us despite our sinful nature. And He desires a relationship with us because He loves us; therefore He chooses to forgive so that He can be true to His nature and continue to seek relationship with the object of His affections.
However, just like for Israel in Chapter 43 of Isaiah, we have a choice in the relationship. We have to choose Him as He has chosen us. A gift is only the possession of the person it is intended for once they receive it. And it is only truly functional and fully affective when put to proper use by way of reading, understanding, and following the instructions given. Until the gift is received and put to use by the intended recipient, it is useless to them.
God’s love for us desires the best for us; therefore He provided a way through Christ for us to be as He is. Through Christ and the gift of His Holy Spirit He lifts us up to higher ground morally, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We show our love and acceptance of Him when we love Him in return by receiving the gift of grace found in Christ and putting that gift to work in our lives. That gift is proven to be our possession as we walk in the influence that grace has for our lives. God’s gift of grace is seen to be effective and active in our lives as we choose the higher ground in life, seeking to be more and more as He is, beginning with being love as He is love, and forgiving as He forgives, including forgiveness toward self that helps us to believe, receive, and walk in the gift of grace and love provided by God through Christ.
Father, thank You for Your gift of grace and love that truly is a free gift to us for use in transforming us to Your likeness in all areas of life. Grant us to truly receive this gift as our own possession and to cooperate with its work of transformation to the glory of Your name. May others know we have received the gift as they see the image of the Father ever growing stronger in us. In Jesus, amen.
All scripture is in New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise stated.