In Colossians 3:3 Paul says that we “are dead” and that our “life is hid with Christ in God.” Then, in Colossians 3:4, he says that Christ “is our life.” This is an amazing statement. It is wonderful how consistent Paul is. What he says about us in Colossians is the same as what he says about himself in Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”
This idea of death with Christ and new life in Christ is the way that Paul understands and communicates what Jesus did for us. Unfortunately, it is not the way we usually talk or think. How many times have you heard people talk about “living for Jesus?” Many a fiery sermon has been delivered on such a topic. How many times has such a sermon made you feel guilty and afraid? How many times have you heard the invitation call to “give your life to Jesus?”
Contrary to the way we usually speak and think, the Gospel is about Jesus living for us and us living in Him. The Gospel is about Jesus giving His life for us, not us giving our life to Him. Paul says in Romans 1:17 that in the Gospel “the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” The Gospel is about receiving the life of God in Christ by faith. The Gospel is not about achieving a life of godliness for Christ by the flesh.
Religion is not the same as Christianity. The sum of religion is: do this and you shall live. The sum of Christianity is: Christ is my life. In Religion, all Religions, if you live a good enough life God will come to you and bless you. In Christianity, God came to us in the person of Jesus Christ and lived for us, died for us, and lived again for us. In Religion you try to get to God but in Christianity you trust that God has come to you. In all Religions you are on a journey to a final destination. In Christianity you have already arrived at the final destination. Jesus said, “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Jesus is the final destination.
What does it mean to be a Christian? It means that you are born again. It means that you have died with Christ on the Cross and that you have been raised to new life in Him. The Gospel is all about being identified with Christ. The Gospel is all about being in Christ. In the Gospel we believe we are made one with Jesus. That means His death is our death and His life is our life. We are “dead to sin but alive to God.” In Jesus we “live and move and have our being.” He isn’t our leader, He is our life.
In and of ourselves, we don’t have anything to offer God. That isn’t to say that He doesn’t love us or value us. He does! He is crazy about us. He cherishes us. He loves us enough that He was willing to give His most precious possession, the Lord Jesus Christ, to have us. Nevertheless, the point of Christianity is not what we give to God but what God has given to us. We don’t have anything to offer to God but God has everything to offer to us. Won’t you receive it? Won’t you rejoice in it?