by Mike Ratliff
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” (Colossians 3:5-11 ESV)
In our last post we looked at the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, becoming flesh and dwelling amongst us. (John 1) Through our Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrifice as the Lamb of God, becoming the propitiation for our sins, He began the process of growing the Kingdom of God from a mere seed. Scripture tells us that it will grow and grow and eventually replace all that came before. For this to be true we must understand that there are two worlds, the old and the new.
The following is adapted from a sermon by Charles Spurgeon titled “Christ Is All”
Two sorts of Manhood, the old Man, and the new Man populate the old and the new worlds. We see this expounded in the passage above. Here are the pertinent verses.
“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Colossians 3:9-10 ESV)
There are many things in the old world that are not in the new world. Conversely, there are many things in the new world that are not in the old world. Let’s see the difference.
There are no national distinctions in the new world. We see this in Paul’s statement, “Here there is not Greek and Jew…” Our Lord Jesus is a man, but in the broadest sense He is neither Jew nor Gentile. We do not see in Him any restrictive nationality. Because of this, believers own peculiar nationality sinks before union with Him.
There are no ceremonial distinctions in the new world. We see this in the next phrase in Paul’s statement above, “circumcised and uncircumcised…” The typical separation is removed. Both Jew and Gentile are united in one body by the cross.
There are no social distinctions in the new world. We see this in the next part of Paul’s statement, “barbarian, Scythian, slave, free…” We are enabled through divine grace to see that these distinctions are transient, superficial, of small value, and are non-existent in the spiritual realm.
Now, let’s look at what is in the new world, “Christ is all, and in all.” We see this in our culture. Those in Christ live at a level of excellence that is only possible through the work of the Holy Spirit. No matter what our culture the presence of Christians within in it will cause it to rise higher. Christ is all our revelation. We glory in Him even as the “Jew” gloried in receiving the oracles of God. Christ is all our natural traditions. He is more to us than the freshest ideas that cross the mind of the “Barbarian” or “Neo-Pagan.” Christ is all our unconquerableness and liberty. The “Scythian” had no such boundless independence as we find in Christ.
“Christ is not valued at all unless He be valued above all. – Augustine
He is a path, if any be misled;
He is a robe, if any naked be;
If any chance to hunger, He is bread;
If any be a bondman, He is free;
If any be but weak, how strong is He!
To dead men life, He is, to sick men health,
To blind men sight, and to the needy wealth;
A pleasure without loss, a treasure without stealth. – Giles Fletcher
I cannot but reverence the memory of that reverend divine (Mr. Welsh) who being in deep muse after some discourse that had passed of Christ, and tears trickling abundantly from his eyes before he was aware, being urged for the cause thereof, he honestly confessed that he wept because he could not draw his dull heart to prize Christ aright. I fear this is a rare mind in Christians, for many think a very little to be quite enough for Jesus, and even too much for him! – Samuel Ward
“At length, on evening, while engaged in a prayer-meeting, the great deliverance came. I received the full witness of the Spirit that the blood of Jesus had cleansed me from all sin. I felt I was nothing, and Christ was all in all. Him I now cheerfully received in all His offices: my Prophet, to teach me; my Priest, to atone for me; my King, to reign over me. Oh what boundless, boundless happiness there is in Christ, and all for such a poor sinner as I am! This happy change took place in my soul March 13th, 1772.” – William Carvosso
Dannecker, the German Sculptor, spent eight years in producing a face of Christ; and at last wrought out one in which the emotions of love and sorrow were so perfectly blended that beholders wept as they looked upon it. Subsequently, being solicited to employ his great talent on a statue of Venus, he replied, “After gazing so long into the face of Christ, think you that I can now turn my attention to a heathen goddess?” Here is the true secret of weanedness from worldly idols, “the expulsive power of a new affection.” – Spurgeon
Dear reader, I was going to write a post on love and God. Part of my research was to listen to a teaching by R.C. Sproul titled, “The Love of God.” Through that I saw that there is no greater love than what God showed to His people when He sent the Son to be our propitiation for our sins. Without that no one is saved. Our Lord suffered much sorrow in planting the mustard seed of God’s Kingdom within the old world that is growing to totally replace it with the new. How can we have affections greater than that we have for our Lord?