Brothers and sisters:
If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him in glory.
Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly:
immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire,
and the greed that is idolatry.
Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.
By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way.
But now you must put them all away:
anger, fury, malice, slander,
and obscene language out of your mouths.
Stop lying to one another,
since you have taken off the old self with its practices
and have put on the new self,
which is being renewed, for knowledge,
in the image of its creator.
Here there is not Greek and Jew,
circumcision and uncircumcision,
barbarian, Scythian, slave, free;
but Christ is all and in all.
Over the past weekend I went to the funeral of one of my high school classmates. At the graveside burial I was reminded by what the Pastor had said when he reminded us that when we are Baptized we die with Jesus and we rise with Jesus. That our old self dies away and we are born anew or born from above. In John 3 when Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus and talking about baptism He tells Nicodemus that we must be born of water and spirit. Nic doesn’t get it and Jesus explains further saying that we must be born anew. Some translations render it as born again. However probably the most accurate way to render it is “born from above”. Paul tells us today that we are “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire,
and the greed that is idolatry.” He goes on to tell us that also put away “…anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths. Stop lying to one another,…” Paul is telling us to quit our old lives and put on our new self. He further says that we are being renewed, for knowledge and in the image of the creator. Notice how Paul is using a present tense there? Our being renewed is an ongoing thing. We are renewed in Baptism and we are continually being renewed daily each time we repent of our sins. When we repent, we say no to the past and yes to God. I have adopted a response I once heard someone say when they became a Christian. If someone were to ask me when I became a Christian, I would answer this morning…yesterday afternoon…yesterday morning. We become a Christian each and every time we turn back to God through Jesus by the Holy Spirit.
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for the Kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are you who are now hungry,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who are now weeping,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they exclude and insult you,
and denounce your name as evil
on account of the Son of Man.
Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!
Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.
For their ancestors treated the prophets
in the same way.
But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
But woe to you who are filled now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will grieve and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.”
Today’s Gospel reading is Luke’s version of the Beatitudes. I am not going to go into this in great detail because I have already done so with Matthew’s version but I’ll give you the short short version.
God doesn’t want you to be poor, hungry, weeping, to be hated, or to be insulted even though he is giving blessings to those that are. No what Jesus is telling us is that If we are poor, hungry, weeping, hated, or insulted that we will be provided for by God if we turn to Him rather than rely on ourselves. Just look a few lines down and god is cursing those who are rich, filled, happy, slanderous etc.. Why? Because all of these things cause us to lose focus on God and rely on ourselves rather than on Him.
Thought for the day: What is keeping myself from turning away from my old ways and turning my life towards Jesus?