Love for Jesus Christ and the rapture of the church
The Apostle Paul starts out with us as Christians for all practical purposes being dead with Jesus Christ from the rudiments of the world. This is a place as believers in Christ that we have to abide in because there are many sinful lures down here; therefore, Paul in essence ends verse twenty by encouraging us to live by basic principles in the Bible as we follow Jesus Christ.
Once again Paul warns his readers not to follow the commandments and doctrines of men. Who is smarter God or people? The deception with this is it looks really good on the outside but little do the people engaging in these practices understand they are not worshipping their true Creator.
At the beginning of chapter three the Apostle puts on a really good case that if we were risen with Christ we are to seek those things which are above. This is where Jesus Christ sits on the right hand of God. Paul specifically writes about our affections and urges our love to be on heaven as opposed to the things on this earth which is almost always bad for us and will die. In fact the Apostle even says that we are dead and our life is hid with Christ in God.
Paul talks about the rapture of the church. First he starts by explaining that Jesus Christ is our life. This should give us our first clue on how to live before He returns. The Apostle then explains that Jesus Christ will appear and when He does we will also appear with Him in glory. Let me just quote the original text and you can read this or perhaps make reference to it if need be in this particular study of the Bible.
(20) "Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (21) (Touch not; taste not; handle not; (22) Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? (23) Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh. (1) If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (2) Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (3) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (4) When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." Colossians 2:20 - 23 / Colossians 3:1 - 4.
If something is from the traditions and injunctions of people then they have no true authority and we must realize this biblical fact. If the teaching is from the penned word of the Holy Spirit in the Bible it is true and from God.
We are basically talking about true or false here in this particular context. The worst case scenario is said person will follow the traditions and injunctions of men at the exclusion of the word of God and not go to heaven. If Jesus Christ Himself is not at the center of the teaching throw it out because you are going down a road that has nothing to do with God. This is why I believe the Apostle Paul in verse twenty three says it can look like wisdom, worship and humility but it is really a road of deception that has nothing to do with the Lamb of God that died for our sins. If the devil can throw half truth and half lies in our pursuit of God and get us to believe this we are in big trouble.
If we ever find ourselves on this path then we need to be engaged in some serious repentance before God. This is a response that the Triune Godhead respects and guides us in our recovery to the real truth who is Jesus Christ Himself. Did you ever see these testimonies where they were in this lifestyle and one day came to the truth of the true gospel of Jesus Christ? We can just see the countenance of love and light come out of their eyes because they are a brand new person in the Son of God. They were confused but now they are found. This is an example of the true way of salvation.
Many times when I see these man made rules they think themselves wiser than other people but if there is no true devotion to God in this system then they are not worshipping in spirit and truth. The Bible says that the true children of Jesus Christ worship Him in spirit and truth. (23) " But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. (24) God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth." John 4:23 - 24.
If we try and worship God through ritual observances we will not be talking to Jesus Christ. If we grow in grace and knowledge through the guidance of the Bible we will have communion with the Son of the Living God. The first seems like wisdom but it is foolish. It is the right choice to give our entire subjection to Jesus Christ who is the head of the church. Do we really want to be worshipping the devil through the disguise of ritual observances? If this is the case on judgment day Jesus Christ may say something to the order of I had nothing to do with any of these man made rules. Be careful where you put your allegiance because it will determine your eternity.
In Colossians chapter three it is true that we were made free from the ceremonial law because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ but this does not mean we can live like the devil. This is our opportunity to walk more close to God.
Our "Concern" must be about the things of heaven more than this earth. There are issues down here that we have to deal with head on but it should always be for the kingdom of God. The Bible never says avoid the problems in life, it says face them with the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of the Father as our God to give our spirit true closure as we seek heavenly things to give us true peace. If we try and find comfort through circumstances it will be back and forth because the devil can not promise us anything. He thrives on betrayal.
We have one of two choices. We can set our affections on heaven and our spirit will eventually move upward or we can set our affections on the things in earth which is actually opposed to the pureness that is to be found in Jesus Christ. The prevalence of our affection to one will proportionally weaken our love for the other because they are opposite realities which have nothing to do with each other.
We are supposed to be alive in Jesus Christ and dead to the world. This is a choice on our part or a renouncement. The next step is to make sure our affections are in the right place or should I say the right Person (Jesus Christ).
If our life is hid with Christ in God the new man has his or her new life in the Triune Godhead. Now our life is hid with Jesus Christ but that does not mean secrecy. This means security. This is why we have comfort and peace because our life as a true believer in Jesus Christ is hid with Him and is safely in the Son of God. We can not interpret this biblical principle in that nothing bad will happen to us on earth but the precept is saying we are eternally secure in Jesus Christ.
In Colossians 2:4 the Apostle Paul talks about the rapture of the church. This is an event that we can hope for the perfection of our position in Jesus Christ. This should tell us now that our life down here should be in Jesus Christ. Much of this is hid from us now but when Jesus Christ comes for us in the Blessed Hope (rapture) He will appear in His own glory and His Father's glory. When we are translated at the rapture of the church we will appear with Him in glory. This will be in the Person of Jesus Christ and it will be His pleasure to have His children with Him. It will also be our joy to be with Him.
We should be looking for this event without setting a date being ready at any moment and our affection should be on the world to come. We should be living above this world because our head (Jesus Christ) is in heaven. This is our true home and our treasure should be there so our hope should be in the coming of the Lord. This is why the rapture is sometimes referred to as the Blessed Hope.
If you do not know Jesus Christ as your very own personal Savior and Lord now may be a good time for you to repent of all your sins and invite the Son of God into your life. Sincere Christians do set their affections on heaven and we are occupying until He comes as we watch for His return (the rapture of the church).
You do not have to be a prophecy expert to understand that we are in the general vicinity of the return of Jesus Christ. All you have to do is look at the news. I do not know when Jesus Christ is coming but this event can not be to far off so wise people will accept and live for the Lamb of God who died for our sins. He is the one (Jesus Christ) that will snatch His bride up in the rapture of the church. I hope and pray that you just made that all important eternal decision through the salvation of Jesus Christ.
God Bless you,