The turning point of the New Testament—and the entire Bible—is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It completely changes things: fishermen turned into preachers and healers; men who once fled now stood up bravely; and Jews and Gentiles are willingly being arrested and killed for their faith. The resurrection of Jesus changes things.
N.T. Wright notes how this change looked for the first century Christians, who were living in the midst of the Roman Empire:
Jesus the Messiah is risen from the dead! A new world has come into being, and within that new world all kinds of new possibilities are now open.
This was the mood in which the early Christians—despite the Roman Empire’s best effort to persecute them and stamp out the movement—began to live lives of generosity, caring for the poor, and tending the sick, including people with whom they had no connection either through family or through work. They realized, as they worshipped the God they saw in Jesus and celebrated his good news, that a new way of being human had been launched. They looked at impossibilities and prayed their way through them. They were mocked and vilified, attacked and driven out of communities. But the work went on. New things happened. People saw the difference. The resurrection of jesus launched a new, and newly integrated, way of life. (Wright, Simply Good News, p. 116, emphasis original).
The resurrection and exaltation of Jesus calls for a new way of living for his followers. There are to reflect new behaviors, living out the character traits of love, compassion, and forgiveness. They are also to put aside the character traits of the former way of living. As Write notes:
All that stood in the way of justice and peace—all the selfish concerns, petty jealousies, ambitions and rivalries and sheer human nastiness—belonged to the old world, to the old age that had been superseded by the new world of Easter. The power of evil that had lent its weight to injustice and oppression for so many centuries had been defeated on the cross. (Wright, 116).
Christ calls his followers to put away the old manner of living and to embrace a life filled with love and compassion. This is what Paul is presenting to his readers in Colossians 3, and it will be the focus of this Sunday’s sermon at North Baptist Church. I’d love for you to join us at 9 am as we look at The Identity & Mindset of a Christian from Colossians 3:1–4.Tweet