Risen With Christ

Multiple candles giving off light

Once an individual obeys the Gospel, he is added by the Lord to His church (Acts 2:47).  It is at that point that the man’s life is forever changed.  Yes, he enjoys all of the spiritual blessings that are in Christ, but there is more to the life of a child of God (Eph. 1:3).  He is now responsible for remaining pure and faithful (Rev. 2:10).  Sadly, too many do not continue to live a righteous life.  In the book of Revelation, there is an entire congregation of Christians who decided against faithfulness.  Through John, Jesus told the church at Ephesus, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Rev. 2:4-5).  This shows how imperative it is that Christians continue to live a life of godliness.  It destroys the false concept of “once saved, always saved” because unless repentance occurred, the congregation in Ephesus would have had its “candlestick” removed. 

          Also, Peter expressed the terrible condition in which a child of God would find himself if he became unfaithful.  He wrote, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.  For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.  But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (2 Pet. 2:20-22).

          With such warnings, the Christian should do whatever he can to make sure that his life is lived acceptably to God.  That way of life is described in detail by the apostle Paul.  When writing to the church at Colosse, Paul told those brethren, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:1-4).  The faithful child of God has a different focus than he had before obedience to the Gospel.  Worldly things and affairs are not the emphasis of his life.  He should be living in such a way as to be looking forward to Heaven.  His desire should be to receive those things that only the faithful will enjoy.

          To further instruct, Paul wrote, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:  For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:  In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them” (Col. 3:5-7).  A Christian should detest sin!  Sin should be so disgusting and horrible that the child of God has no use for it.  With that being stated, yes, children of God will still sin from time to time.  However, their lifestyles should demonstrate that sin is deplorable to them (1 John 1:6-2:2).  That is in harmony with what Paul told the church in Colosse.  They were instructed, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.  Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:  Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free:  but Christ is all, and in all” (Col. 3:8-11).  A faithful Christian cannot live a lifestyle of sin and expect to still please God.

          With all of those things being removed from his life, the child of God will need to find better things to replace the void.  That is what Paul taught next.  He wrote, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any:  even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Col. 3:12-15).  Those who have been risen with Christ should be demonstrating characteristics that Jesus did.  If we love, forgive, and are thankful, then we will be closer to being like our Lord.