I spent a lot of my young Christian life trying to put together the right recipe to stay in God’s good graces. Just a little bit of Bible reading here… A touch of prayer there... A whole lot of faith for some extra flavor! And of course, I would avoid putting sin into the recipe. That would ruin the whole batch! Ain’t nobody got time for that!
It was constantly a mixture I was working to perfect. I was bogged down so much by what I wasn’t supposed to do or be that I forgot who Christ already said I was—what He already did. I was reminded of this while hearing this word recently. I’d like to share with you a portion of scripture in Colossians 2:6-15 (The Message version).
”6-7 My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well-constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.
8-10 Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.
11-15 Entering into this fullness is not something you figure out or achieve. It’s not a matter of being circumcised or keeping a long list of laws. No, you’re already in—insiders—not through some secretive initiation rite but rather through what Christ has already gone through for you, destroying the power of sin. If it’s an initiation ritual you’re after, you’ve already been through it by submitting to baptism. Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross. He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets.”
In other versions, verse 10 sounds like this:
“10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”
It says, “You also ARE complete through your union with Christ.” ARE complete. Not “will soon be complete.” Not “will become complete.” Not “have potential to be complete.” You “ARE complete through your union with Christ.”
What a thought! In Christ is all. He is complete. When we come into union with Christ we are actually given that fullness. His power extends over us and then empowers us. We don’t have to work to get it—it’s given by his sacrifice. All we have to do in response is carry it with us as we move forward.
What a relief that is! The sin that we would normally be nailed to a wall for was nailed to a tree and cancelled out for good. Our arrest warrant has been torn up--all charges against us have been dropped. The work is done, and it's not ours to worry about any longer. All because of the grace that flowed through Christ’s DNA, and that same DNA is now within us. We are made complete.
My challenge to you today is that you would not get stuck in the practice of our faith, but that you would live it out. That you would stop trying and start doing. Through your union in Christ, you already have what you need—you are complete!
Now go forth in that power and freedom!