Only by the Grace of God

The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the saints and the faithful in Christ Jesus who were at Colossae. And where it applies, we can apply it to the lives of those today who are the saints of God and who are his faithful ones. And a saint is one who is holy, and to be holy is to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ in character and in deed. They had faith in Jesus Christ and love for all the saints, and the truth of the gospel was bearing fruit in their lives.

Colossians 1:9-14 ESV

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

So, to begin with, we need to believe in Jesus Christ. But belief in Jesus is not just words we speak or professions of faith in Christ, but true genuine belief in Christ results in us loving others with the love of God, a love which prefers what God prefers, which is what is holy and righteous. And true faith bears fruit in keeping with repentance, and with the truth of the gospel, and with the grace of God, in truth. And God’s true grace trains us to renounce ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return (Luke 3:8; Titus 2:11-14).

So, when we believe in Jesus Christ with genuine God-given faith, we are crucified and buried with him in death to sin, and we are raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, no longer as slaves to sin, but now as slaves to God and to his righteousness. And now sin is to have no more control over our lives, but Jesus Christ is to be our Lord and Master. And now we are to walk no longer according to the flesh, but we are to walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit, in walks of holiness and righteousness, in obedience to our Lord (Romans 6:1-23; Romans 8:1-14; 1 Peter 2:24).

And the lives which we now live in the Spirit, by the Spirit, and by the grace of God, and in the power, strength, and wisdom of God, are to be continuous until the day that we die, or until Jesus comes to take us home. For the Christian life and our salvation are ongoing. And so we should always be growing in the Lord and in our walks of faith, and we should be changing to be more like Jesus, and we should be maturing in Christ and in our walks of obedience to him. And we should not be remaining as we were when we first believed in Christ, but we should be ever growing in Christ and in his grace.

We are to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. And to walk worthy of the Lord means to conduct our lives, in practice, in a way that is suitable, fitting, and appropriate to who our Lord is, and to what he stands for, and to what he taught, and to what he did in freeing us from our slavery to sin so that we can now walk worthy of him. So yes, we are to live lives which are fully pleasing to him, and yes, we are to bear fruit in every good work of God which he prepared in advance that we should walk in them.

So this involves daily dying to sin and daily walking in obedience to our Lord. But we don’t do this (we cannot do this) in our own flesh, but only in the power of God as he gives us strength and wisdom. And we can only endure the trials of this life and the persecutions we must face for our walks of faith in Jesus Christ in the strength of the Lord, and in his power and wisdom. And all this should result in us giving thanks to the Lord for all that he has done for us in saving us out of our lives of slavery to sin and in empowering us to now live godly and holy lives, to the praise and glory of God.

Now, it is God who qualifies us to share in the inheritance of the saints. Yet this doesn’t mean we have no part in it at all. We do. But even the part that is required of us is only done in the strength, wisdom, and power of God, and only because God, in his grace, persuaded us as to his holiness and righteousness, and of our sinfulness, and of our need to repent of our sins and to now follow Jesus in obedience. And please know that our salvation (our redemption) is about being delivered out of our lives of sin so that we can now walk in holiness and in righteousness, by the grace of God.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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