Thursday, April 18, 2013

Daily Devotional Thought--From the New Testament

Colossians 3:1-4
1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and our life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

In the name of + Jesus.

Christ was killed, but Christ is risen.  Alleluia!  By virtue of your baptism, you have been crucified along with Jesus, and, amazingly enough, have been raised along with him also (**Read it in Romans 6:4-5 below!).

Jesus’ resurrection occurred all at once, body and soul together for all to see.  Your resurrection, however, occurs in parts.  For the bodily part of your resurrection, you will have to wait for the Last Day, and Christ’s return (see 1 Cor. 15).  But even now, by the work of the Holy Spirit in Holy Baptism, there is a new man which lives in you by faith, and trusts in the Words and promises of God.  This new man is a man raised from the death of the Old Man who was yours by nature, and whose death was accomplished in your Baptism.  The Old Man despised God’s Word and preferred to be his own God.  But the new man; the new man loves God’s Word and delights in it.  The Old Man sees God’s word as an intrusion on personal freedom.  The New Man knows that true freedom only comes because of God’s Word.  The Old Man desires to gratify the sinful, fleshly, desires.  But the new man desires to daily live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

This is what St. Paul means when he encourages you, who have been raised with Christ in your Baptism, to “seek the things that are above, where Christ is.”  What you think about is what you desire.  And now that you are raised with Christ, and the New Man lives in faith, you need not continue to think about, desire, and crave those things through which the world promises pleasure.  The world promises life in ways that the Old Adam finds pleasurable, even fulfilling.  But the New Man seeks the things that above, where Christ is.  The New Man seeks holiness, righteousness, and purity.  Even as he fights against the desires of the Old Man, who still clings to him, he who has been crucified with Christ learns to crucify these desires, and to say “NO!” to the Old Man so that the New Man can continue to think about those things which are of Christ.

On the last day, when your resurrection is complete, and you have your new and glorified body, there will be no need for the Old Man to be silenced and crucified, for that day will bring about his death forever.  Which also means, that day your New Man—that faithful man living in you—will no longer be hidden (v. 3) behind your sinfulness, but will be all of who you are—forever.

Jesus’ victory of sin, death, and the devil are not meant to give Christians license to go on sinning, and be taken over by that Old Man.  On the contrary, by virtue of your baptism, you are incorporated into Christ, and his life becomes the life you now live in faith.  While the Old Man fights against the things of Christ, the New Man will never be satisfied until the things of Christ are all he has.  Until then, let us set our minds on the things above—the things of Christ—and by the Holy Spirit, pray that they may even be done in and among us.

Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed.  Alleluia!

Almighty God, You gave Your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon Himself. Grant that we, Your adopted children by grace, may daily be renewed by Your Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ, our Lord (LSB, p. 312; #204).

**Romans 6:4-5 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

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