A Little Something Extra
I am very eager to preach the message from our Colossians study this weekend. I was convicted deeply in my own preparation and trust that this will take us places as a church where we need to go.
If you are like me, it is not easy to get serious about sin. Oh, maybe it’s easy to get serious about someone else’s sin. It’s even easier to passionately oppose the sins of society. But personal sin? I’d rather avoid that surgery, and so would you if you’re honest.
In Colossians 3:1-15, Paul gives us a very straightforward guide to killing sin. I like to call it “The Sin-Killer’s Guide for a Sanctified Life.” Honestly, when I follow the process I sense the benefits, but I’m not as diligent often enough as I should be. So “I wish” and “I’ll pray” and “I want to,” but it takes work and participation on both my part and yours to get it off a laundry list and make it active. It’s a beautiful thing to know that we will never be more justified than we are when we first come to Jesus, but we will become more sanctified as we take up arms against the sin that remains in our lives.
The little something extra I want to give you here that I don’t have time to unpack this weekend is the encouragement we hear from the apostle Paul regarding his own personal fight with sin. It’s not in Colossians, but Philippians.
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
I find his words very encouraging. Even God’s agent of instruction here, the apostle Paul, had yet to find completion in his victory over indwelling sin. But he didn’t let that keep him from persevering for holiness. I like to summarize his instruction in the form of something we all love to do—the laundry. There is a lot concerning our sanctification that is like washing the dirt off of our clothes. Paul even alludes to this in Colossians. In Philippians, Paul’s encouragement to us for faithful perseverance isn’t just in the pursuit of Christ, but in the practice of holiness. Keeping with a laundry theme, we can merge the fabric of Colossians and Philippians to find Paul’s point very helpful: Be a wash and wear Christian. And permanently pressed.