2018-08-22 / Religion

Practice justice in today’s world

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

Colossians 3:5-17

When a person accepts Jesus Christ of Nazareth as his or her personal Savior, the focus of life is changed. In the “old life,” self is/was the focal point. Personal desires were the driving force. This condition might not have been obvious. Through oru “socialization process,” we learn many ways of covering the underlying motives of daily living. However, when the person gives personal spiritual control over to our Master, the central “driving force” is that of desiring to please God, Jehovah. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

As the apostle wrote to the young church in the city of Colosse (Colossians 1:2), he expressed the same theme. “If ye be risen with Christ (see Romans 6:3-6), seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” Colossians 3:1. He instructed these believers, “Set your affection (mind) on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2. This condition brings about a change in the outlook and actions of the believer, “Mortify (put to death) therefore your members (parts of the body), which are upon the earth.” Colossians 3:5. He, then, gave a partial list of the actions and attitudes that must be, personally, addressed, “fornication (all types of sexual immorality), uncleanness (moral impurity), inordinate affection (passionate desire), evil concupiscence (strong desire of any kind), and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5.

Some people claim to keep all the commandments. The Apostle James wrote, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend (to fall down) in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10. The young man who came to Jesus was given this same principle. See Matthew 19:16-22. As we “take inventory” of our personal lives, how close do we come to repeating the attitude of the young man of old?

Wrong attitudes and actions can have an effect on all areas of life. Of these things, Paul said, “For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience. In which ye also walked (knew as a life-style) some time, when ye lived in them.” Colossians 3: 6, 7.

It is important for each of us to remember that “God loves us, just as we are; but, He loves us too much to leave us that way.” This fact underlies the divine principle of the redemption of the fallen human race. Paul reminded these early believers, and us, of the change that had taken place, as we experienced redemption. “But now (at the present time) ye also put (cast) off all these; anger wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication (i.e., utterance of an uncontrolled tongue) out of your mouth.” Colossians 3:8. What would a “vocabulary inventory” reveal of each of our lives?

After the apostle instructed the believers oncrning what to “put off,” he gave them a directive concerning what to “put on.” As he wrote to the church at Rome, he said, “But put ye on (i.e., to be clothed with) the Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 13:14a He continued this theme in his letter to the Colossians, “put on thetrefore the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” Colossians 3:10

For some people, ethnicity seems to be a measure regarding any area of life. This thought is never taught in scripture. In the “family of God,” the only factor that is measured in our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. As Paul continued his instructions to the young believers, he declared the relationship, “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all. and in all.” Colossians 3:11.

The apostle continued his instruction concerning the spiritual dress of all believers, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels (tender affections; compassion) of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness (controlled strength), long suffering.” Colossians 3:12. While dressed in this “spiritual clothing,” proper outward actions should be the natural result, “Forbearing (hold up; bearing with) one another, if any man (one) have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Colossians 3:13.

Forgiveness is a theme often used by our Lord. however, this fact does not reduce one to the “doormat” personality. In the sample prayer, Jesus said we ask our Heavenly Father, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Matthew 6:12. As our master commented on the prayer, he made his comments regarding this portion. He used the word, “trespass–false step” in his teaching. “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14, 15.

Luke — “the beloved physician” — recorded the words of our master on the cross — “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34a. The religious leaders thought that this crucifixion was removing a “spiritual imposter” from the scene. These men were so steeped in tradition and man-made systems that they could not see the “truth,” as it stood before them. Their traditions were “more sacred” to them than the revealed Word of God. Sad to say, but there are those in our day who take the same spiritual position. The present-day Pharisees are no more accurate that were those who lived centuries ago.

It is easy to speak of “justice” and “righteousness” in the glib phrases that trip over our tongues. However, we must be certain that our “words” express the revealed Word of God, not just some philosophy of humans. The eternal Word of God is the standard by which all mankind will be judged. How often do you study the word, allowing the holy spirit to teach you eternal truths? A casual reading of the word has its benefits, but “in depth studies” allow the spirit to reveal the true meaning of the divine message for our lost human race. If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please accept him into you life today. John 3:16.

Rev. James C. Temples’ Sunday School Lesson has appeared in the Early County News each week since 1967. He can be contacted at P. O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478- 299- 2068. Email: temples_ james@yahoo.com

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