Monday, April 26, 2010

Rooted, Established, Built Up

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. Colossians 2: 6-7

How do we receive Christ Jesus the Lord? By faith (Eph. 2:8-9, 1 Cor 15:1-5). It was in faith that you and I received Jesus. At that point we are called firmly rooted. This is by his work. We are now being built up, where is that? In Him. We are to conduct our every day in the faith and quiet confidence of Him who loved us and gave Himself up for us. (Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 5:25) How are we to continue? How are we to go through our days and our weeks? What is this established, rooted, built up life to look?

First we must realize that we must be walking in faith. The term "walk" is a term that means "the way a person conducts their lives". This is the most ground level reality that you can think of. It's how we get out of bed in the morning. It's how we act when we are held up in line at the gas station or at the doctors. It's how we treat our husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, friends and all of the other people we meet in day to day life. That walk is meant to be in faith. Trusting in what he has done. Most often our sinful behaviors are motivated out of fear. Fear that someone may take something from us, fear that we may not get something that we are entitled to, fear that someone will expose us as weak, hopeless, useless or cruel. We must walk every moment in the faith that we are who HE says we are. It is a day by day, moment by moment walk of trust in Him who is able to do more than we can even think to ask or imagine. (Eph. 3:20-21)

This walk of faith, what does it yield? Galatians tells us that it yields sanctification (the process by which more and more of us is set apart for God in our daily condition - Galatians 5:16). Ephesians 2:10 tells us that it will produce the good works that He prepared in advance for us to do (see the fruit of the Spirit - Galatians 5:22-23), and our passage today tells us that it will yield a life that is "overflowing with gratitude." Are you overflowing with thankfulness and praise today? Look at Christ Jesus the Lord.

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel

Romans 1:16 is a powerful passage of Scripture. It is really the theme statement of the entire book of Romans. It reads: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." Pages and pages have been written on this simple verse, and pages and pages more will be written. Let's just focus on the first part. Paul tells us that he is not ashamed of the gospel. We may not understand what may have tempted Paul to temptation. Paul preached the gospel in a world where the popular religion of the day was works based. The sentiment being that if you weren't doing well (i.e. physically prospering) then your belief system must be flawed. We can imagine Paul trying to share the gospel with both Jews and Pagans alike and each saying, "How's that working out for you Paul? You've been stoned, imprisoned and impoverished for your faith. Why would I want that?"

We, also, are tempted to shame over the gospel. Our culture has painted Christians (particularly those of us who believe what the word has to say about the Creation) out to be fools and idiots. Additionally, because we believe that Christ is the only way a person can be saved (John 14:6, Acts 4:42) our world will try to make us ashamed of our "intolerance". Modern philosophers will mock us for relying on God to save us, and on and on. Each of these ways we may be tempted to feel ashamed of the gospel has a simple explanation. Each could be argued and shown to be ridiculous. But that isn't Paul's direction here. He doesn't argue with the specific reasons as to why one might feel ashamed.

The reason he is not ashamed of the misconceptions of others of his day is because the Gospel possesses the power of salvation. The Greek word for power here highlights potential energy. Much like an atomic bomb has the potential energy within it to destroy a whole city, or a good medicine has the power to eradicate bad germs, the Gospel of Christ Jesus has the power of salvation to everyone who believes. Share the good news this week! You have nothing to be ashamed of!