If I put up a comparison chart of world religions, I could show you their symbols (star of David, the cross, star and crescent, etc.), their book (Torah, Bible, Quran, etc.), their founder (Abraham, Jesus, Mohammed, etc.), their major beliefs and number of followers, and even their important burial sites (Hebron, Jerusalem, Medina, etc.). What sets Christianity apart from all other world religions is the empty tomb! All other leaders are still in the grave. Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins and was buried. His enemies and His followers all said He was dead. But on the third day He rose from the dead. He walked on this earth for 40 days and was seen by over 500 people at one time! Both His enemies and His followers agreed His tomb was empty and eyewitnesses encountered the living Lord Jesus. It is the single most important event in human history, and it can change your life. Jesus wants to give you:
A New Position
Colossians 3:1 says, “So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” We all have different positions in life. We are sons, daughters, husbands, wives, moms, and dads. The first thing people ask when they meet you is, “What is your name?”, followed quickly by, “What do you do?”. So much of our identity is wrapped up in what we do and what we have. The problem comes when we try to find our significance and sense of belonging in our jobs or possessions. Our identity must be in Christ. We are all made in the image of God. Satan wants to steal your identity. If your identity is in your family, what are you going to do when they die? If your identity is in your marriage, what are you going to do if your spouse is unfaithful or you divorce? If your identity is in your job, what are you going to do when you lose your job, get reassigned, downsize, or they fire you? If your identity is in a relationship, what are you going to do when that relationship is broken? Is your identity misplaced? Our identity cannot be in a place or race but only in God’s grace. Jesus said rejoice that your name is written in heaven!
A New Perspective
Paul continues, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (v. 2). What does it mean to set your mind on things above? I think of our grandchildren. When they come over, they run in the door and go straight to the kitchen! Their minds are set on the candy jar above! They run to the pantry and their minds are set on the snacks! Think about your pets. All you have to do is go get their bowl and they lift their head and their mind is set on things above! The Bible has a lot to say about our minds. It tells us being double-minded will make us unstable (Ja. 1:8), God has given us a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7), we are to love God with all our mind (Lk. 10:27), we should not conform to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Rom. 12:2), etc. Ultimately, we do not read the Bible through the lens of culture. We read culture through the lens of the Bible. We need heaven’s perspective on every issue. We need a Kingdom mentality. Paul explains the reason behind this, “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (v. 3). The Bible says that when a person puts their faith in Christ, Christ in you is the hope of glory (Col. 1:27). It also says that you are in Christ (Col. 1:14, 1:28, 2:3, 2:6,7) and are with Him (Col. 2:12, 2:13, 2:20,3:1,3). When your life becomes His life, then your problems become His problems. If you are in Christ, and Christ is in you, nothing can defeat you. Not even death. If God be for us WHO can be against us?
A New Purpose
“When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (v. 4). We were raised with Christ in the past. We are hidden with Christ in the present. We will appear with Christ in the future. Our past, present, and future are in Christ. When you know who you really are in Christ, you don’t have to pretend or be fearful. You are secure in Him. Discover your destiny. Be who God made you to be, wired you to be, and do it for a bigger glory and a bigger story.
Jesus and His resurrection can change your life. It is more than one decision. When you accept Him as your Savior, He becomes Your Life! It is like marriage. It was more than one decision, moment, or a few words. It was life-changing. Christianity is not just being a moralist. It is not a list of externals. It is not adding enough negatives to equal a positive. The greatest miracle is regeneration. The question is not are you in church? Church is a building. Are you in Christ?
The Jeremiah Study Bible, pg. 1674.