Have you read your Bible today? Have you spent time in prayer? Have you been a help or a hinderance to your Savior? It’s a choice we all have to make each and every day. What’s your choice today?

Colossians 3a

There’s an old song that asks the question: Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Other songs remind us that we were not among those who actually saw or walked with Christ when He was here on this earth.

But Paul has a different lesson for us as Christians. He reminds us that we actually are participants in the resurrection of our Savior.

Colossians 3:1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. [2] Set your mind on the things  above, not on the things that are on earth. [3] For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. [4] When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Just like Romans 6 talks about baptism as a participation in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, so, too, does Paul remind us and the Colossian Christians that this is very much the reality of being IN Christ. As much as baptism is a dying to our old self of sin, so, too, it is a resurrection. And we are not ever alone in that resurrection. Paul reminds us that we in Christ have been raised up with Christ!

Yes, Scriptures warn us not to think too highly of ourselves and to be humble. But God also reminds us just exactly who we are in His sight! If Jesus was raised from the dead to be restored to His position of authority beside God, then what are we raised for with Him? One of the hardest lessons in life is getting our priorities straight. It’s easy to spend all day on some insignificant task only to realize at the end of the day that we failed to accomplish the really important thing we needed to do.

In the exact same way, we so often spend our day, our week, our entire lives as Christians focused and worrying about tiny, insignificant things. Jesus would comment about the worry of food and clothing when we know that God takes care of all that for even the birds. How much more does He care for us? (Cf. Matthew 6:25-28)

If we are IN Christ we must be, just as He had to be, doing our Father’s business (cf. Luke 2:49). If we are IN Christ our priority must be on the things of God, not on the things of this world. Now there’s a hard lesson for us to learn!

Lord, how can I possibly have time to worry about you and your will? Don’t you know, God, how important all these myriads of other things in this world are? The hardest part  is, He knows. Jesus knows just how unimportant all this busy work is when there is the work of God to be done.

The real question is: Do we know who we are? We died! We need to visit the cemetery and have a look at all the dead people there and see what they are doing! Have you ever noticed? How busy are they? How many conversations are they having? What are they doing?

The answer is, nothing! They are dead! And the answer for me and my life and my priorities and my ideas is exactly the same.

Lord, give us more dead people to serve you! Too often we are dead Christians instead of dead non-Christians! When we put on Christ the old me dies and the ONLY priority is Christ living in me! How much could we accomplish if we actually remembered that? Lord, please hide the me and reveal the you!

One of the world’s favorite sayings is, I need to take time for me. God says the right time for me time is when Christ comes again. How much of you and your time and your life does Jesus really want?

Colossians 3:5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. [6] For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, [7] and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. [8] But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. [9] 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 — [11] a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

To be blunt, the real reason so many so-called Christians continue to indulge in sin is because they don’t really belong to Jesus! Paul’s next lesson is, if you are IN Christ then start living like it!

Paul begins with a list of sexual sins and broadens it in a couple of pointed ways. Jesus extended adultery to include the desire for adultery even without the actual action (Matthew 5:28). Paul also adds greed and equates the whole realm of sexual sins with idolatry.

In our world of casual sex and sex as a normal part of any degree of relationship, how does a Christian feel about all this? Far too many have simply caved in to the Devil and gone along with the practices of the world. New Testament Christians faced exactly the same compromises! If the pagan temples could sell sex and everybody in the Greco-Roman world was accepting any kind of sexual perversion as “normal” then why not Christians?

God’s answer to that question is simple. You might just as well worship an idol! Many Christians today are happy to pervert God’s standard for morality and yet still be proud that they don’t worship some little false god statue. God sees no difference and  the eternity for one sin is the same as for the other.

As Christians we are called to be new, to have a do-over that avoids all the mistakes we once made. Further, Paul says that renewal is for ALL of us as Christians. Don’t pretend that you are somehow better than others, we are all sinners that have fallen short of God’s glory. And we ALL need to be renewed that we might together live for Jesus.

God doesn’t care what you’ve done, what your ancestry is, or where in society you fit in. None of that matters to God! The thing, the ONLY thing that matters is Christ! Are you IN Christ? Is Christ IN you? If so, then all of us as family, God’s family, have to work together to accomplish God’s work and will on this earth.

Do you really know Jesus? Or are you just some impostor trying to look like a Christian?

If you feel that any of this is harsh, that’s because it is. Paul and God want the false and  the fake out of us and out of Christ’s church. Look back at verses 10 and 11 one more time. God wants His people to be the ones that have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him — a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

Those words are important, they are imperative, not optional. There is no room in Christ’s church, His body, for those that allow outward, humanistic appearances to count for anything.

Our world imagines that prejudice is something we’ve invented in the last few hundred years. It’s not. People of one background or appearance or culture or whatever have always imagined that they are somehow better because they are different.

The reality is, they are nearly right! Those that belong to God and are faithful to Him and His will ARE MORE than just better. We are sanctified, set apart as special, made holy by Jesus. The Hebrew writer says it like this: By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Hebrews 10:10).

It’s certainly ridiculous to imagine a Christian meeting Jesus in person and complaining about His skin color, His heritage, His eye color, or any other feature. It is equally ridiculous for a Christian to look down on a brother or sister in Christ for such things.

When we see a brother or sister in Christ, we see Christ for it is Christ who lives in them as He does in each of us. When we see anyone outside of Christ, we see either someone who is in need of Christ or someone who has rejected Christ. But NEVER will we see anyone any greater on this earth than a brother or sister in Christ!

If any of this sounds a bit like many of the earthly problems of our world today, that’s because that is exactly what Paul, what the Holy Spirit of God speaking through Paul, is trying to get through our thick heads. Being one with Christ, being in Christ and Him being in you, is where it’s at, it’s what’s most important.

The churches of the first century struggled with getting over their prejudices, and they, just like us, had many to get over. But get over it we MUST if we would see Jesus, either here on this earth or in eternity.

Finally, notice again that all this is written by Paul, by God in imperatives. Getting rid of immorality, getting rid of prejudice, getting rid of all kinds of sin is NOT optional!

DO the right things because they are right before God. Nothing else in this world matters. Nothing!

—Lester P. Bagley