Lent Devotional: Colossians 3
by Jonathan Haefs
Colossians 3 (click here)
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 3:9-11)
Have you ever been guilty of thinking that you are better than someone else? I think all of us have done that before… whether we would admit it or not. There is something in our sin-soaked hearts that immediately likes to size people up and tear them down to ensure that we outrank them.
The ancient world was no different.
In Colossae, people considered certain ethnic backgrounds superior to others… Jews boasted in their closeness to God through observing the law… others saw their freedom as proof that they were better than all who belonged to that powerless class known as “slaves.”
This was a culture in which you leveraged every possible advantage you could to get ahead… doesn’t really sound too unfamiliar does it?
Apparently, Christians in Colossae were having a tough time leaving this mindset behind and so Paul reminds them that this is simply not who they are anymore. The primarily thing that defines their identity is not race or social class, but Christ!
They’ve become part of a new community and they are being renewed, recreated into the image of Jesus! It’s not that all their differences disappear, but in Christ their differences are not advantages or disadvantages, but simply a multi-faceted display of the glory of God as he unites all sorts of people into one people… his people!
Christ is all, and in all!
Therefore, they are to no longer lie to one another, use one another, take advantage of one another in order to elevate themselves. No… now they look to Christ who did not even use his deity for his own advantage, but humbled himself to the point of death on a cross for God’s glory and the good of the Church.
That Christ is our all! That Christ is in us all! That Christ empowers us to be a cruciform community… a people who no longer try to use our differences as advantages, but as ways to serve each other. We humble ourselves for the glory of God and the good of the church… and in doing so, we are being formed into the very image of Christ… we are being a cruciform community.