Colossians 3:5-11 (ESV) Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
For the person like myself who has been rescued from a life in full pursuit of death through the pleasures of the flesh (addictions, lust, materialism, resentments) for so many decades, the journey of Sanctification is hard, very hard.
Many of the strongholds, in God’s incredible mercy, were removed from me in a Saul to Paul moment of surrender when I made that fateful cross over the line and fell into the arms of a Loving Savior.
In the early days, life was easy, faith came like a new day to a young boy, full of adventure and awe as nearly every breath I took became a new discovery of how God’s sovereign reign over my life had been unfolding, and the beauty of His works was all around me. I was truly blinded to the past and given new sight for the future glory to come.
But as the years roll on, one pervasive stronghold remains in my heart, a fear, a darkness, an emptiness which the devil uses as a siren song to call me back to my old ways. And sadly, I don’t always ignore it. And when I fall, it grieves the Holy Spirit and tears me apart. I am not that old man, but I am terrified he could take hold one day.
I am coming to realize though that I should not fear Satan, for in that moment I give him too much power. There are many beautiful passages such as this one in Colossians that speaks to a Fear of God.
For the Christian in love with Christ, who strives to follow God’s word, who relies on the grace of Calvary, it is the Trinity who is our fighter, our protector, our healer, our guide, our strength, our hope and in the end, our Righteous Judge and Jury.
Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV) 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Satan cannot beat God, he has already been defeated. Satan cannot destroy us if we use our free will to choose the path of righteousness.
It is God, who is returning to us one day (soon) and to bring upon His perfect and righteous judgment upon those of His creation who reject His Son, His word, or His Spirit.
And according to His word, the scale of judgment will be on the condition of a man’s heart.
Daniel 9:4 I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments,
John 14:15 [ Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit ] “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
John 14:21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
John 15:10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
Justification is the point of entry into our relationship with Christ, that work is complete by our loving God, our sins are forgiven. But those (like myself) who battle old tapes, who struggle to overcome the sins of idolatry, anger, lust, resentments and more, we can find the battle in the mind to be soul wrenching. I often times find myself fearing the next time temptations or resentments begin to rise up, for my reactions seems to be so carnal in that moment that I find myself powerless to overcome and yet again must humble myself, cry out for mercy and repent.
Job 28:28 (ESV) 28 And he said to man, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’”
The Good News
Gratefully, God knows our struggles. He knows that Satan has dominion over this world and that our temptations and pride of the fall will follow each man. We will never live to the standards of holiness set before us, but we can take great joy that it is in our passionate pursuit of righteousness that we are indeed working out our own salvation with fear and trembling.
So what then are we to do. Our sin will be judged, how we live our life matters, what can we do today to make a difference in our lives and the lives of others?
Colossians 3:12-17 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
For those of us who call Christ our Savior, there is great hope, for the journey of redemption will lay before us until that day we are called home to be with Him, our Redeemer, our Father n Heaven.
Until then, may we strive to remove the log from our own eye and live free in the pursuit of righteous obedience and washed clean by the blood of Calvary .
Matthew 5:3 “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.