Category: The Gospel and the Christian Life

Death, Identity and Jesus

Introduction Colossians 3:5-17 falls within the broader section of Colossians 3:5-4:6 in which Paul gives instructions on living the Christian life. Based on their death and resurrection with Christ and the hope of future life with Him, Paul encourages the Colossians to continue eliminating sinful behaviors from their lives and cultivating Christian virtues. In Colossians 3:5-11 Paul is dealing with the sins of the past. Here Paul calls the Colossians to make a decisive break with the sinful tendencies they have carried with them in their Christian lives. In Colossians 3:12-17 Paul calls the Colossians to a holy lifestyle, consistent with their new identity in Christ. Believers have been chosen by God and stand before him as his beloved holy ones. They are to live up to what they are in Christ. Colossians 3:5-17 Put to death what is earthly in Colossians 3:5 is possible because believers have died with Christ (2:20; 3:3), they can get rid of sinful practices (Rom. 6:11; 8:13). The language of putting to death indicates that Christians have to take severe measures to conquer sin. Watchfulness and prayerfulness against it will be the first steps (Matthew 26:41), with self-discipline following (Matthew. 5:29-30). Sexual immorality refers to every kind of sexual activity outside of marriage. Five of the items that Paul lists have to do with sexual purity, stressing the importance of bringing this rest...

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The Stronghold of the Lord

Introduction In singing Psalm 27, God’s people have a way of not simply expressing confidence in Him but of cultivating that confidence for the weirdest range of challenging life situations. The psalm uses several synonyms for “enemies” (vv. 2, 6, 11, 12), giving it the concrete setting of a faithful person beset by those who would destroy him with bloodthirsty and deceitful means; one who can trust God in those circumstances can trust him in other situations as well. Explanation of Psalm 27 The terms fear (vv. 1,3) and be afraid (v.1) contrast with be confident (v.3): the faithful must learn to base their confidence on God’s ever-present protection (light, salvation, stronghold, v.1); this will be a confidence that grows through experiences of deliverance. The picture of “to eat my flesh” in verse 2 is one of evildoers as wild animals who would devour the faithful. The house of the Lord, temple, tent and sacrifices show that Psalm 27:4-6 focus on public worship; they view unhindered access to God’s presence in worship as the best of all gifts. This is the place of true delight and safety. Psalm 27:7-21 turn to address the Lord directly making it clear that the deliverance asked for is the purpose of continuing to seek God. The singing worshiper in Psalm 27:13-14 addresses each one of the other worshipers, with the admonition to live in continued confidence, returning...

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Resting Securely in God

Introduction When the faithful sing Psalm 16, they entrust themselves to the Lord and foster their confidence and contentment in His care. The Psalm uses imagery from Israel’s allocation of the land (vv.5-6) to expresses contentment in this life, and goes on to look forward to everlasting life in God’s presence (vv.9-11). Explanation of Psalm 16 The Lord is the only One on whom the psalmist relies for well-being (no good apart from you, v.2). There is a contrast between “the saints,” in whom is all my delight (v.3), and those who run after another god (v.4), whose practices the faithful will shun. The saints are the holy ones. All Israel is holy in the sense of being consecrated to the God who is himself holy; this does not guarantee, however, that every member of Israel will actually live out his holy status, and thus the command to “be holy” (Lev. 20:7-8). Here, the saints are those who have actually embraced their privilege; these are the ones whom the faithful singers should esteem, and whose company they should prefer. The psalmist utterly refuses to participate in idolatrous practices. Their names refers to the names of the false gods being worshiped rather than the names of the idolaters. The Psalm now describes in Psalm 16:5-6 the psalmist’s satisfaction with the Lord and His provision. The terms portion, lot, lines, and...

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Steady Growth in Godliness

Introduction In Romans 12:1-15:13 Paul teaches on God’s righteousness in everyday life. The gift of God’s saving righteousness leads to a new life. In this section Paul works out some of the practical ramifications of God’s saving mercy. Romans 12:1-2 is Paul’s paradigm for what it means to live a life totally dedication to God. Romans 12:1-2 summarizes the response to God’s grace and serve as the introduction for all of Chapters 12 through 15:13. Ephesians 4:17-20 will focus on four characteristics of the ungodly lifestyles the believer is to forsake. Explanation of Romans 12:1-2 The word “therefore” in Romans 12:1 points back to the entire argument of Romans 1:18-11:36. Christians are to give themselves entirely to God because of his saving grace. This is Paul’s main point in Romans 3:21-11:36. Sacrificial language from the Old Testament is used to denote the new life of Christians, and this means that the word bodies here refers to Christians as whole persons, for body and soul belong to God. They are a living sacrifice, meaning that they are alive from the dead since they enjoy new life with Christ (Rom. 6:4). “Living” also means that they will not be put to death as the Old Testament animal sacrifices predicted in the Old Testament, are now fulfilled in Christ. Old Testament worship focused on offering animal sacrifices in the temple whereas, Paul says that spiritual worship...

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