Colossians 3:10-11. 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
A lot has happened since the Garden of Eden.
When God created Adam and Eve in his image and after his likeness, he had created a humanity meant to live in perfect harmony with the Trinity, with each other, and with all creation. A humanity representing God to the world, and revealing God to the world through their benevolent rule of the garden-temple of God. An imago dei that received God’s love and grace and, unlike anything else in creation, shared his love and grace with everyone and everything forever.
But then sin crashed the party. The desire for self-autonomy through the knowledge of good and evil corrupted all the good that God had made. With their new lust for power and control, mankind became more and more divided. Knowing good and evil took us further and further from God’s life giving grace. Further and further from knowing what it truly means to be alive – receiving and sharing God’s love.
For some this meant a complete rejection of God and his love. For others it meant an opportunity to prove ourselves to God, and earn his love through those “regulations, human precepts and teachings, self-made religion, asceticism, and severity to the body” that Paul warns about (2:20-23). And somewhere in between all this running from God and chasing after God, we found ourselves as a divided race. The same humanity that was meant to live in the oneness of God’s image and in the common goal of worshiping him, now finds themselves splintered into Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free.
So how does humanity get back to the Garden? Back to the restored imago dei? Back to loving one another from God’s grace and for God’s glory? How do we return to our true humanity?
Union with Christ. Those who are in Christ are the new creation, the new humanity. In Christ we are being renewed in knowledge after the image of our creator. Our created purpose, destiny, and desire are restored in him. How? By our new identity in him – [You] have put on the new self.
This means that to be truly spiritual is to be truly human. No more, no less. Why? Because Christ is all and in all.
Christ Jesus is all. He is the totality of all humanity. All that mankind was ever meant to be is found in him alone. And Christ Jesus is in all. Christ is the image of God (Col. 1:15) that makes every person alive. His is the imago dei that is corrupted by sin and restored by grace through faith in him.
What does all this mean? It means that to know Jesus Christ is to know ourselves. Our personhood. Our humanness. To know Jesus is to know the dependence on God’s grace and love that defines humanity. And it means that to love and serve Jesus is to love and serve another person. To submit your life to another is to submit to Jesus. To listen to the hurting is to listen to Jesus. To ignore the elderly is to ignore Jesus. To walk past the homeless is to walk past Jesus. To belittle, disparage, or discount a person is to do the same to Jesus. To reject a child is to push aside Jesus. How? Because Christ is all and in all.
And this is exactly why there cannot be, and ultimately will not be, divisions in humanity. And it begins now with the church. In Christ’s church there is no Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free, male or female, old or young, brown or black or white, socialist or capitalist, Democrat or Republican, Calvinist or Arminian, PhD or GED, blue collar or white collar, traditional or contemporary. Every barrier is demolished. Every wall torn down. Each indebted equally to grace. Each standing level at the cross of Christ, allowing our beautiful diversity to flow into glorious unity in the body of Christ. For Christ is all and in all!
In the upcoming verses Paul will show us quite specifically what being renewed into the knowledge of the image of Christ looks like. But for today let’s just ask this question – how do you see other people? Are you able to see every single person as proceeding from Christ, for Christ, and unto Christ? Or do you see others only in comparison to yourself? Do you see every single person as being in need of Christ’s indwelling life, or do you only see them as a means to exalting your own life?
“To live is Christ” means we have put on the new self that is being renewed into the knowledge of Christ’s image. And that means there is no longer any room for division among us. We are all equal in our need for grace. We are all equal in God’s love for us. Because we are all in Christ.
How do you tend to see other people? Is Christ part of the equation?
You in Christ
How does being in Christ change how you see others?
Christ in you
How might you go about seeing others as Jesus today?
Playlist: Christ is All.