Throughout our whole lives we seem driven by the desire to increase in knowledge. From the time we are born we start learning and as we get older we move on to more complicated and challenging subjects.
When reading we first learn how to recognises simple pictures and words and by the time we are adults we are onto classics like Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations or Lord of The Rings. This makes sense too, as we grow and develop we outgrow the things we were taught before and long for new things to engage us.
The same is true for many other areas of life, we are driven to constantly seek out new things and increase our knowledge and our experiences yet there is one thing that we should never move on from and that is the gospel message that we were given when we were children or when we first became Christians.
As Christians our understanding of the gospel may become deeper and richer but we should never move on from it to other things that we may think are more challenging, or sophisticated. The same message that was preached to us when we first came to know Christ is the same message we need to dwell on until our final day on earth.
Foundational Truth Number One: We Have a Problem!
In Colossians 1, Paul encapsulates the gospel in a nutshell and he starts of by stating how before we became believers we were alienated and hostile in mind doing evil deeds. If you do not start with this fact when sharing the gospel with people the rest of it does not make sense.
Why is it important to focus on the evil that we did and our alienation from God? It is easy to think that it would be easier to reach people if we just presented the good news about God’s love for us and how Jesus came to save us and give us eternal life but the problem with that approach is that it raises the question why do we need saved? What do we need saved from?
To paraphrase Jesus, a person who does not think they’re sick will not go to the doctor so even if they have some horrible disease they will not get it treated even if someone says “I have great news! We have a great public health care system and you can get free medical care!”
As one of my pastors once said “It is the bad news that makes the good news good”. Before the problem of sin can be treated it must be recognised. The hard truth is without God we are dead in our sins, unable to do anything to fix our situation. Even the ability to accept God’s forgiveness is a gift he gives us. We are hopelessly wicked and desperately lost – dead even, yet that is not the end.
Foundational Truth Number Two: God Has the Solution
After the night comes the dawn and after the harsh and sobering truth of our wickedness and helplessness comes the awe-inspiring and hope-filling news of the Solution that God has for us. In verse 22 Paul says “he [God] has now reconciled [you] in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.”
Like pulling open the curtains on a gorgeous sunny morning – the near blinding glorious light of the gospel comes flooding into our lives. We are no longer cut off from our creator, Lord, and King; we are no longer destined for eternal death and separation from him. We are no longer shrouded by our evil deeds but through the death of Jesus – God the son, we are made holy, blameless, and able to be in relationship with God once more. We need simply to accept God’s gracious gift – made available through even more of his grace, and we will become his children!
Moving On From This Truth Is Like Moving On From Breathing Oxygen
In verse 23 Paul urges the Colossians not to depart from this basic yet profound truth which their faith is founded on and not to be lead astray by false teachings which seek to get them to put their trust in anything other than the gospel message upon which their faith was first put in.
We should cling to the truth we were first taught with the assurance that Christ will keep us secure as we strive to become more like him empowered by the holy spirit while we look forward to the day when we will be perfected and live with God forever in the new creation.
How should we apply this to our lives in a practical way? Like the passage the application is so simple and straightforward that we would probably miss it. We hold fast to the truth of the gospel we were first taught, dwelling on as John Newton says that we are “great sinners and have a great saviour” and continue, in this truth, to strive towards holiness as we wait for God to fulfil his promise to us by giving us our resurrected bodies and bringing us into the new creation he has promised us.
In short we read the bible, dwell on what it says and follow it.
Jessica McPherson is a Press Service International young writer from Christchurch NZ