I have been off in a different direction spiritually in the last 6 years or so. What does that mean? The main thing is that the pressure to be or do something to obtain or maintain my salvation has been removed; and that means going to church, reading the Bible, or any other religious activity.
This does not mean that going to church and reading the bible is not important. They most certainly are. However, doing those things so that I will be okay with God, or feel better as a “Christian” is not necessary.
Jesus has done all that is necessary to give my life meaning, or to make everything between God and me okay, and yes, to make me feel better as a person. When I start to feel inadequate about myself and my life, or, inadequate about my standing with God it is because I have lost focus on what my place is and in whom my faith belongs.
For in him all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form, and you have been filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority. In him you also were circumcised – not, however, with a circumcision performed by human hands, but by the removal of the fleshly body, that is, through the circumcision done by Christ (Col 2:9-11).
This verse says that the fullness of deity resides in Christ and that in Christ we have been filled. To me, that means everything I need to qualify me or give me good standing with God has been done in Christ. There is nothing for me to do except to believe what is being said to me in verses such as these.
The passage in Colossians goes on to say that we were,
buried with him in baptism, you also have been raised with him through your faith in the power of God who raised him from the dead (Col 2:12).
This is THE WAY IT IS. This is the truth about humanity in Christ. However, the key in this verse is “your faith in the power of God”(Col 2:12). When I lose sight of this I start thinking that I am somehow judged by my own merit. I start to believe it is the things I do or don’t do that matter, and that if I “do” or “don’t do” whatever, I am in or out of God’s favor. I forget that I am in Christ. And in forgetting that I am in Christ, I forget who I am in Christ; one of God’s righteous sons or daughters because of Christ.
As C. Baxter Kruger puts it, “Jesus is the one who is face to face with the Father.” I take that to mean that in Christ I share in his relationship with his Father. I take “in Christ” to mean that I have access to all that is available to Christ as the Son of God. And as long as Jesus and His Father are okay (that will be forever), then we are okay as well.
What is the importance of being in Christ?
Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his descendant. Scripture does not say, “and to the descendants,” referring to many, but “and to your descendant,” referring to one, who is Christ. (Galatians 3:16)
If we are “in Christ” as the scriptures say, then we are quite stable and secure in our relationship to God. The verse above states that the promises were spoken to Abraham and his descendant, making sure to differentiate between descendants vs. descendant, to ensure that we understand that it is Christ who receives the promises. It is also Christ who is able to keep the law, whereas we as men and women break probably all of God’s laws on any given day.
Essentially God has made a covenant with Himself. Every covenant God has made with man, man has broken. We could never keep our end of the deal because of our proclivity to break God’s laws. By sending his Son in our flesh God was able to keep both sides of the covenant.
It was his plan all along. By placing all things “in Christ” it is God who enables us to be declared righteous. By being “in Christ” we are by extension holy and righteous. Not only in God’s sight but, in actuality. In Christ, we have truly been made whole.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him – all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers – all things were created through him and for him (Col 1:16).
This is why Paul instructs us in Romans, “So you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus“(Romans 6:11).
It is our faith in the power of God that sets us free in Christ. Whether you know it or not, believing you are in Christ, and that being there you have been raised up with him is what sets us free from sin. Believing you are righteous in Christ is the key that unlocks the power of grace in your life. It is grace that overcomes sin. It’s like magic, for lack of a better expression. Believing is the key because that is what the scriptures say about the one who believes. In Christ, you are what he is.
His Father is your Father.
His Spirit is your Spirit.
His love is your love.
His wholeness (holiness) is your wholeness.
His power over darkness?.. yours.
His dominion over the forces of evil is yours.
But, YOU MUST BELIEVE! When you do you will feel it. You will know what I am talking about. All fear will leave when you realize that the Father loves you the way he loves Jesus. In fact, now that I think about it, that is the first thing you should come to understand. God loves you. It doesn’t matter what you have done in your past. It doesn’t matter who you are. God loves you without reservation or hesitation. Once you KNOW this, everything will be different.