COLOSSIANS 2:20: IDENTIFIED WITH THE DEATH OF CHRIST OUR SUBSTITUTE

' ... you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world ... '

The person who truly believes in Jesus Christ is united by that faith to the death of Christ.

This identification with the death of Christ means that the person who believes in Christ has already paid the legal penalty for sin- which is death - in the death of Christ who put himself in our place. In this way the Bible teaches that the believer has died with Christ.

Our text this week teaches a further aspect of this dying with Christ: 'you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world.'

This refers to a fundamental paradigm shift of massive and far-reaching proportions . The paradigm of this world is a 'tit-for-tat', payback mentality. Belief systems created by man make our acceptance with 'god' or the attainment of our ultimate spiritual destiny, dependent on our own actions. I must do this in order to attain and maintain that.

The message of Christ stands in stark contrast: we are 'saved', we gain 'eternal life', we know God and are united to God, not by anything that we have done, but by sheer gift, absolute and amazing grace: undeserved, unmerited, unearned.

In receiving Christ and his gift of salvation we are liberated forever from this principle of performance . It cannot touch us. It cannot disqualify us. We are dead to it and it is dead to us.

The gospel of Jesus Christ commands and enables us to repent: to change our minds, to throw off the perception that we have to work to gain and maintain salvation, and to take on board the paradigm of grace.

In this paradigm we are liberated to love and serve God for his sake, to love and serve our neighbour freely, and to live at peace without fear of accusation in the innermost depths of our own souls.

Scriptures: Colossians 2:20, 12; John 3:16; Romans 3:19-31; Ephesians 2:8,9; Galatians 4:3-5; Romans 7:6; 8:1,31-39; Galatians 5:1,13; 1 John 4:16-19.

COLOSSIANS 3:3: HIDDEN WITH CHRIST IN GOD

'For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.'

These words are an anchor for the soul, a secure and certain shelter from all the accusations that could ever be made against us; they are God's guarantee against all the guilt and shame that would destroy us in our innermost being.

'You died'. This fact is repeated here in case we missed its significance before. You died. You who believe in Jesus Christ - you are incorporated into and identified with his death for sin on the cross.

His death is your death. God's law, guilt, condemnation, accusation, judgement - none of these has any right to touch you. You have paid the just penalty, you have borne the just condemnation: in Jesus Christ your substitute: you have died. You are no longer legally accountable. God's law has already been met by you in Christ who held himself accountable for your sin.

So Paul adds: 'your life is now hidden with Christ in God'.

This statement contains the absolute in assurance and confidence and security. Nothing, not even the judgement of God, can touch you here. Your life, with all its sin, its lack of love, its imperfection, its ups and downs - everything - is hidden with Christ in God.

The believer is as safe in the presence of God as Jesus Christ is safe; as safe on the Day of Judgement as Jesus Christ is safe. Christ will never again have to bear the punishment for our sin: we will never again have to bear the punishment for our sin. Christ will never again be forsaken and rejected by God the Father: we will never again be forsaken and rejected by God. Our sin will never again separate Christ from the Father: our sin can never again separate us from the Father. The believer is just as accepted by God as Jesus Christ is accepted by God.

In this is peace. In this is joy. In this is contentment. In this is absolute, guaranteed security:

'Your life is now hidden with Christ in God.'

Scriptures: Colossians 3:1-4

© Rosemary Bardsley 2018