The Spirit-led life vs. natural man continued

Col 3:1-15

3 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (author’s emphasis added)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

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      Do not be enslaved to natural man’s emotions, thoughts, and actions.  Be set free to the life led by the Spirit, His Spirit leading our spirit, ever in tune with Him.

Setting our minds above, not below, raises us “above the land of earthly disputes and focus(es) us on our Father,” knowing how to live peacefully with one another, knowing we can live eternally with Him.

Not filled with”anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language,” all these tear down.   But clothed in “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience,”–these build up.

When the logs of discord, be they from memory or present, come by you in the sream of life, let them pass.  Recognize them, the feelings, the events, the words, the actions, but let them pass on by. Don’t stop them, pull them up on the bank, build a house of pain and disruption with them, then live in it.  It becomes a prison of your own making.  Christ set the captive free.  Let the logs go by and reach that place where you can “forgive as the Lord forgave you.” 

Then you can act in the victorious lifestyle of “over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Therefore, you can express compassion toward those who have brought you harm, treat them with kindness, remain humble in the Lord for he raises you above the hurt, be gentle in response to harshness, and have patience as you see the Lord work out His will in you and others.

Faithful Repentance

Ac 20:21
Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.     KJV

There is so much in this one little verse! I do not see that I will even be able to mention everything, let alone write about it. But, let’s begin.

The testifying that we are to do is to be before both those within the church and those without–both Jews and Greeks. Notice that there two things that are to be mentioned: repentance and faith.

Repentance comes from changing your mind about something. What we saw yesterday is that repentance should produce a radical life change.

Most of the time, repentance is connected with being sorry for our sin. That may be a place to begin, but it is not the place to end. It is not sufficient in and of itself.

If our sorrow is simply because “we got caught,” or that we are feeling guilty, then it produces nothing worthwhile. Being sorry is only a slick way to assuage our guilt for a moment, or to avoid some form of displeasure.

Repentance requires a complete change of attitude toward something.

However, it is possible to repent of something, have a complete attitude change that produces a radical life-change, and still not be saved. How is that possible?

Consider those who have quit smoking because their life was threatened. They repented of the damage they were doing to their body. They changed their attitude about their ‘need’ for nicotine. And they produced a radical life-change. But, they missed the most important aspect of repentance.

There must also be a turning towards as we turn away.

1 Th 1:9
…and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;      KJV

It is one thing to turn from our idols. It is another thing altogether to turn to God.

True, valuable, lasting repentance must be of the kind that turns us to the Lord.

The second thing that Paul mentions here is that he also testified of faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Again, it is possible to repent without turning to God. It is also possible to to repent, and turn to God in a way that has no lasting value.

Hindus repent and turn to God, but that turning is ineffectual. Moslems repent and turn to God, but that turning is ineffectual. Jews even repent and turn to God in an ineffectual way. So do many Christians.

If we do not repent and turn to God with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for our strength, our salvation, then our repentance will not be effectual. We will not be pleasing to God.

How do I know that? Why am I so bold?

Heb 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.          KJV

Without faith it is impossible to please God. Just simply cannot be done. And pleasing God is my only desire, my only reason for getting up in the morning, my raison d’etre.

Will you join me in this? Will you let this be your overriding desire?

The Knowledge of Ignorance

Ac 17:30
“God overlooks it as long as you don’t know any better — but that time is past. The unknown is now known, and he’s calling for a radical life-change.
(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

Many fail to understand that God has mercy on our ignorance. Paul knew this from firsthand experience:

1 Ti 1:13
Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.        KJV

Ignorance of something is understandable–for a while. In our laws, we are told that “ignorance is no excuse.” That is absolutely true.

There is a difference between an ‘excuse’ and a ‘reason.’ A reason explains why something happened. An excuse is necessary in order to avoid the consequences of that event.

Therefore, ignorance may be the reason, but it will not excuse you rom the consequences.

Take, for instance, our current modern problem of distractedness while driving. Multitudes of people are ignorant of the fact that a human being is only capable of one emotional focus at a time. That ignorance causes them to think that they can do many things at once.

They truly believe that they can drive a car while talking on the phone, smoking a cigarette, drinking a soda, and trying to change the radio station. Those actions will one day have consequences of a wreck.

Ignorance will be the reason they were doing all those things at once, but will that excuse them from the consequences of the bent fender?

So it is with God.

We might be able to claim ignorance for a season, and as a reason; but it will not be an excuse when we stand before Him who knows the heart.

The verse under our consideration says that the days of claiming ignorance are over with. We now know.

My heart is burdened for the Church in this condition of ignorance. I know the verse speaks to the lost who need to know the Lord; and I am concerned for them. But, the Body of Christ is also trying to function in a great time of ignorance, and it is costing us dearly.

Hosea 4:6 says that “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” That lack of knowledge is called ignorance. Ignorance is no longer something that the Lord will wink at. We can no longer claim to be ignorant.

What if we truly don’t know? How will that affect our walk with God? How long can we continue to claim ignorance?