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(Part 5)


September 13, 2017

Today’s readings:
Colossians 3:1-11
Luke 6:20-26

As part of and a key to being destined for greatness, we are called to be holy. To be holy is to be set apart, to be not of this world. This is the call to all who profess to be Christian. “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.” (Col 3:1-2).

Now the mind of what is above and the mind of what is on earth are totally different and opposed. This is about the Spirit and the flesh. The Kingdom of God overturns the values of the world. Consider:

  • The world looks to wealth and power. Jesus says, “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours.” (Lk 6:20b).
  • The world looks to physical and material satisfaction, gorging on food and the world’s goods. Jesus says, “Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied.” (Lk 6:21a).
  • The world looks to enjoyment and pleasure and what they think will make them happy. Jesus says, “Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh.” (Lk 6:21b).

Now the blessing is not poverty, hunger and sadness. As ends, these are contrary to God’s will for His children. But the blessing, for those who are poor, hungry and sad, is what God will do for them. Not what the world offers them. It will always be the choice between God and mammon. So what is one to do? “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry.” (Col 3:5). These are all the opposite of holiness. What is the consequence? “Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.” (Col 3:6).

Now consider that being destined for greatness is about our relationship to God, to brethren, and to the world (see schema in Part 1 of this series). So we also look to our relationship with the brethren in the body that God has established. Here too we are to look to values of the Kingdom in our relationships. With regard to our earthly inclinations, “now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths. Stop lying to one another” (Col 3:8-9a). See how these wrong actions hurt our relationships and weaken the body?

All these are about holiness, being set apart, being transformed. We must stop and put away wrong things “since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self” (Col 3:9b-10a). Only in this way can we be destined for greatness. This is as we are “being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator.” (Col 3:10b).

Now we look to our relationship with the world. A holy people will be used by God to be His instruments in the world, to be His prophetic voice. God’s people are to speak about what is right and wrong, and are to preach the gospel of salvation in Jesus. When we do so, we will be opposed and oppressed. But this too will be how we are destined for greatness. For the very same thing was done to our Lord Jesus Christ.

And so Jesus teaches us, “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man.” Imagine the world calling good as evil! Jesus was accused not only of being out of his mind but of doing the work of the devil. If we share the lot of Jesus, then we will suffer but we will be destined for greatness. “Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.” (Lk 6:23). Great reward for those destined for greatness.

Jesus is priest, king and prophet. We too are called to participate in the ministry of Jesus in these three ways. Jesus died to give us new life. We in turn put to death our old selves in order that we might be renewed in Christ. “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.” (Col 3:3-4).

You too will appear with Jesus in glory! You are destined for greatness!

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