This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. John 3:19
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in Him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision make without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised Him from the dead. Colossians 2:8-12
Jan's teaching today in CBS was awesome to the point of being scary. I feel like I have so much to say that I only barely grasp, this post may be a little incoherent. I'm going to give it the old college try in the few minutes I have tonight though because it will help me gather my own thoughts. Mostly I think I'll write out my scribbles from this morning's lecture.
Jan started out by talking about how Paul was not content just to see that the Colossians were saved. He wanted them to be solid and mature in their faith, and involves eradicating self-deception in their faith.
Here in America we tend to get saved, and then immediately become distracted with church-y arguments, theological debates about non-essentials, such as when the rapture will occur, or how to do communion or the best Bible translations. This, rather than experiencing a crucifixion of our heart, a circumcision of our heart. Without this crucifixion we fall into self-deception. Who is winning the battle for our heart? Is it the old man or the new man? Is it the Gospel or religion? Many self-deceptions are couched in God-words and Jesus-sentiment that take our minds off God-truth.
[A little aside here: she began the whole lecture by saying that as a teenager she appeared to be Godly and righteous. She had stellar grades, was involved in church and spoke often at Girl Scout gatherings. She appeared to be what every mother wants her child to be. But this outward appearance masked an inward rebellion against God. Specifically, she was in love with a "bad boy" from the other side of town, and she had reformulated Christianity in her own mind such that this boy and her love for this boy were all good in God's sight. She was steeped in self-deception. So relevant to the discussion below, but it also gave my heart hope that my silly L, so in love with her "bad boy," could also turn around and be as solid in her walk with the Lord as Jan is!]
We have been made complete in Christ. We have access to God's fullness now. Jesus is the Head, and He has rule and authority over us. The Gospel is Christ in us, with His rule and authority over our lives. Are we experiencing that Gospel? The Gospel of Christ's in us with His rule and authority? Or are we going the way of sappy religiosity (my words, not Jan's) and self-deception?
The Gospel becomes a reality through death: death of the old nature. And that death is like the removal of the foreskin in circumcision, but this is a spiritual circumcision, a circumcision of the heart. Physical circumcision is an illustration of the removal of what is unnecessary. Another illustration of the death of the old man is baptism: down into the death of the old life, and up into new life in Christ.
God obliterated the charges against the old man by obliterating the old man altogether. We are a new creation. Rebirth. New life. His life in us.
The death of the old man should take with it the deceptions of Satan, but we love our darkness! We love those deceptions! Our opinions! In the darkness we do not have to die! We can hold on to our opinions, our control. In the end, it's all about holding onto that control, our control over ourselves rather than giving control and authority over to Him.
I hope I'm not being too cryptic here even to understand. I have literally been typing out my notes from lecture. Jan then talked about how all the rituals in the Old Testament were a shadow of what was to come. For example -- just one example -- the Sabbath in which one day per week is set aside for rest. This is a shadow of what we have now, which is continual rest in Jesus! Her point was, why hold on to the shadow now that we have the substance!?? Jesus has come, and He is our substance. We have Him, so we no longer need those things that remind us of the possibility of Him. We have the fullness of Him! We no longer need the shadow!
So what fights deception? Knowing the substance! She said there are so many ways to fall into deception, but they all come from the same source: not knowing the substance, not knowing Jesus, not living in Him fully.
This world is not our home; it is not our reality. Our reality is in Christ. Here we are only vessels for the King to live in and through us for a time, but our ultimate reality is in Christ.
How easily we deceive ourselves. It is always a control issue; always, "I want to live and not to die." There is a fear of submitting wholly to Him. But if we are not in Him and submitted to His authority, we are adrift in a sea of self-deception. How willing are we to die to self?
I love that: If we are not in Him and submitted to His authority, we are adrift in a sea of self-deception.
And it goes along so beautifully with what she said last week that struck me: There should be nothing more real to me than the reality of Christ in me.