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“…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-14). 

Apart from Christ we are unqualified and disqualified from relationship with a holy God. This means that in our human condition we are insufficient in our nature (unqualified) and inadequate in our performance (disqualified). This is because, when compared to purity that God demands, we are sinners by nature and sinful in our actions and attitudes. Even considering the best parts of us, “we have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” (Isaiah 64:6). In other words, no matter how gifted, blessed, or “good” we may be, apart from Christ we unworthy due to our sin and our sinfulness. 

But Jesus is none of these things. He is the righteousness of God, the “spotless Lamb of God” (1 Peter 1:19), and our great High Priest “who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).  Therefore He is qualified and only in Him can we be made qualified: “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). In Him we become participants in His “divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). 

Not only has He qualified us when we were unqualified and disqualified but He has delivered us from darkness and transferred us into the light of His bright kingdom. He has turned us “from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God…those who are sanctified by faith in [Him]” (Acts 26:18). God’s Word uses the symbol of darkness to designate those that do not know or understand the light of the good news (see Matthew 6:23). Those in darkness (separated from God in their hearts and minds) can only see the light by the Light. Jesus tells us that He is that light: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12). Those who do not follow Him, then, are under the dominion of darkness and the sway of Satan (see 1 John 5:19). Those who are in Christ by faith are “uprooted” from this kingdom of condemnation and are “transplanted” into “the kingdom of His beloved son”. 

But there is more. Not only has Jesus qualified us and delivered us but He has also redeemed and forgiven us. This is because we need to be both redeemed and forgiven. Good works and good intentions are not enough. A positive attitude and self-image are insufficient. Forgiveness and redemption come only by Christ. And in Him. He has forever wiped our sinful slate clean because He is the only one qualified, adequate, and sufficient to do so. Through Christ’s shed blood He has declared those that are in Him by faith free from condemnation: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Or stated another way: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). 

This means that God doesn’t count our sin against us (Psalm 32:1-2), throws them over His shoulder (Isaiah 38:17), casts them into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19), and forgets them forever (Isaiah 42:5). In the infinitely gracious transaction of God sacrificing His Son and making Him our penal substitute we are qualified, delivered and forgiven. Through transformational faith we receive Jesus’ righteousness, we share in His inheritance, and are granted entrance into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son. 

Truly those in Christ have been redeemed (bought) by precious price (see I Corinthians 6:20; 7:23) and by the most precious One. He has overcome the darkness for us and in us. Jesus has qualified, delivered, and forgiven us so that we might forever bask in His life and light: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4).

So, to you, who is this Jesus? Is He the light of your life? Are you, through faith, in Him? These questions are critical in the most profound and eternal sense. One way or another we all must answer them. Jesus Himself accosts us with this all-important issue: “But who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29).

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father…” (Colossians 1:9-12a). 

The cry of our heart should be to please Jesus, to walk in a manner worthy of Him. This was the cry of Paul and his prayer for the faithful saints in Colossae. Let’s see… 

What Paul desired (v. 9):

  • That they know God’s will.
  • That they know God’s will with the substance and fullness of all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 

What a thought! Knowing God’s will is not enough for those whose life have been hidden in Christ, those who are inhabited by the living Lord. We desire to know His will with a depth and completeness that consists of  all spiritual wisdom and understanding. This is not just about knowing what we should do in finding a new job, or house, or what our next decision should be. Instead, it is about knowing Christ “and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,” (Philippians 3:10). It is about taking on the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16)!

Why Paul desired this:

  • That they might walk in a manner worthy of Jesus
  • That they might be fully pleasing to Jesus
  • That they bear fruit through their good works
  • That they increasingly grow in the knowledge of Jesus 

Our passion should be to walk worthy of Jesus so that we may be fully pleasing to Him. Can you think of a grander calling than pleasing our precious and preeminent Lord? The idea of walking in a worthy manner is a frequent topic in Paul’s writings: “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called…” (Ephesians 4:1). “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27). “…we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12). 

Do you see the progression in this passage? When we have an intimate knowledge of Jesus and His will in rich depth we can walk in a manner worthy of Christ. Such a foundation allows us to fully please Jesus and pleasing Jesus necessitates bearing fruit though Christ-honoring good works. When this progression is realized then we increasingly grow in our intimacy (knowledge) with Him. And the cycle continues in a Godward spiral of even greater knowledge, expanded fruitbearing, and a demonstrably more faithful walk that is even more pleasing to Jesus.

How this can be a reality:

  • With the power of His might
  • With perseverance from Him
  • With patience from His joy
  • With praises of gratitude for Him 

Again, how can this be? The answer is “in Christ”; in His might, His joy, His strength. We only can walk worthy of Him when our lives are integrated into the life of Jesus. This happens though the mystery of our union with Jesus. It is not us: it is Him. It is not our self-effort: it is His inexhaustible might. Listen to Paul: “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:11). 

And, most importantly, saturate yourselves in the words of Jesus: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15: 1-5). 

In order for us to please Jesus we must know Him, know more of Him, die to self, increasingly surrender to Him, and allow Him to live in and through us. And then, through faith, receive His transforming presence and power. Like Paul who said, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). In other words, Jesus is most qualified to please Himself.  Thus we must yield, as His humble servants, to His power to do so in and through us.

“…just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit”  (Colossians 1:7-8). 

Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis” (Colossians 4:12-13). 

With the thought of faith, love, and hope (Colossians 1:3-6) resonating in our heads, Paul gives us a human example of the verbal and visible nature of these Christ-exalting attributes. His name is Epaphras. If you are like most Christians you might not be familiar with Epaphras. From scripture we can presume that he was one of the heroes of the faith that labored in relative obscurity. He was a servant of Jesus Christ and, I believe, his total surrender to his Lord is recorded for us as a model lifestyle for those who desire to imitate Christ and project of the beauty of Jesus. He demonstrates to us the radically life-transforming power of the good news of being in Christ. 

More than likely Epaphras was the founder of the church at Colossae. Under the ministry of Paul at Ephesus he was sent out to preach the gospel and eventually was instrumental in God’s work flourishing in that small city. It seems as if he returned to minister to Paul while he was under house arrest in Rome and, in the process, possibly Epaphras himself was imprisoned at this time (Philemon 23 is the only other biblical  reference to him outside of this epistle and there he is called, “…my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus.”), Nevertheless, he was with Paul during this epistle’s writing and was the source of information regarding the spiritual state of the Colossian church.  

Epaphras’ biblical biography is comprised of only 5 total verses but these 3 short passages are vibrant with the rich colors of the true servant of Jesus, a veritable storehouse of descriptive terms painting a portrait of his passion, purpose, and character. Here are some Epaphras’ notable characteristics: 

  • He was a faithful servant of Jesus (1:7, 4:13).
  • He was a teaching servant of Jesus (1: 6-7).
  • He was a loving and loved servant of Jesus (1:7, 4:13).
  • He was a ministering servant of Christ Jesus (1:7, 4:12).
  • He was a proclaiming and edifying servant of Jesus (1:8).
  • He was a fellow prisoner in Jesus’ service. (Philemon 1:23).
  • He was an encouraging (for their spiritual maturity) servant of Jesus (4:12)
  • He laboring (4:13), interceding (4:12 – struggling with intensity), and caring (4:12) servant of Jesus. 

In these small portions of scripture we have the picture of a man that had Jesus painted on the canvass of his life. We have a legacy left for our Lord. Aren’t we thankful for those like Epaphras that have sold out everything for the Treasure of immeasurable worth and the Pearl of matchless beauty (Matthew 13:44-46)? Don’t we want to be like him? Don’t we want to be like his Jesus? Isn’t our Savior so worthy?

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing–as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf  and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.” (Colossians 1:3-8). 

Paul gives thanks to God who, through Christ, is the only source of our faith. Then he makes us aware of the character of this faith. Saving faith necessitates love motivated by hope. This hope is rooted in and propelled by the “word of truth”, the good news of Jesus. Holy Spirit driven love for Jesus, who is the truth (John 14:6), manifests itself in the fruit-bearing that such passion characterizes. There is no such thing as loving Jesus without faith in Him, loving others, and bearing fruit. Our hope (Jesus as our eternal reward – see Colossians 1:27) is the instigator of such internal devotion and external deeds. 

Faith and love are virtues that are visible and verbal. When one is placed in Christ there is no such thing as private faith and love – these are publically displayed as evidence of the transforming power of Jesus that is empowered by His Spirit. Although Paul had never met the Colossian disciples, he had heard of their faith and love. It was no secret – the word spreads when we are radically transformed by a crazy love for Christ. And the scope of this love was not narrow or limited. Their love affair with Jesus and faith in Him caused them to have love for all the saints. I believe we all understand just how incredible this is. We often find it most difficult to love other believers. This same sentiment is echoed in Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church: 

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith–that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:14-19). 

Indeed, this is the good news, the gospel. Jesus, through life-altering, soul-absorbing faith in Him, drastically revolutionizes us from the inside out. He becomes our reality. Beyond that, He becomes our future hope (assurance) of an even greater experience of His reality – heaven. And what a motivator it is! He has laid up this hope by having our sins laid on Him. Its full consummation will be in glory but, with our hearts melted into Him and our eyes fixed on our future with Him, faith and love come pouring out of our spiritual pores as we are compelled by His Spirit. This is the character of those “in Christ”. This is why I don’t buy into the misapplied axiom that “you can be so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good”. And I believe Paul would agree: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4). 

In looking at Paul’s body or work, clearly faith, hope and love are interconnected. Paul often refereed to this trinity of virtues in the Christ-follower: 

  • “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). 
  • “remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). 
  • “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8). 

Just as significant and breathtaking is this Word of Truth that is the well-spring of this kind of faith, love, and hope can be known. It is objective and, despite the outcries and reasoning of the relativists, can be experienced. Jesus is that Truth and He is that Word. And from intimacy with Him pours these attributes that testify that we are faithful saints in Him. 

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,  To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father” (Colossians 1:1-2). 

Before his customary greeting of “grace and peace”, Paul introduces himself (he had never been to Colossae) as “an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God”. First on his mind and lips was the precious name of Jesus his Lord. This serves as a distinctive clue to this letter’s thesis; the all-sufficiency and preeminence of Christ. Paul could not exhale an entire sentence without uttering the name of His Savior. Thirty times in the first chapter of Colossians we see him refer to some form of his Master’s name (Jesus, Lord, Christ, Him, He, etc.). This letter begins by immersing the readers with one clear concept – Jesus is everything! Oh, that we might have such a disposition – Jesus is our center, top of mind, and on the tips of our tongues! 

The reason for Paul’s obsession with His Savior? He views Jesus as the source and sum of all that he is, what his purpose was, and his ultimate treasure. There is nothing lacking in Paul because he was “of Christ”, by Christ (“God”), and “in Christ”. Paul needed nothing else because he had received by, for, and through Christ that which made him indescribably complete. He had Jesus. The Creator and Sustainer of all things, the One to whom all the world will bow, the King who will rule and reign over His church and His creation had become Paul’s life. He was now possessed and indwelt by God Himself in the person of Jesus as expressed through His Spirit. The person of Jesus was all he needed and nothing else. 

Warren Wiersbe aptly comments: “The message of this letter is greatly needed today. I hear too many voices telling me that I need something more than Jesus Christ—some exciting experience, some new doctrine, some addition to my Christian experience. But Paul affirms that what I need is appropriation of what I already have in Christ. ‘And ye are complete in Him.’ I also hear voices that want to judge me and rob me of the glorious liberty I have in Christ. How encouraging to hear Paul say: ‘Let no man beguile you, let no man spoil you, let no man judge you.’ The fullness of Christ is all that I need, and all man-made regulations and disciplines cannot replace the riches I have in God’s Son.” 

The phrase that is so critical is “in Christ”. In many ways this phrase, and its multiple variations such as “in Him”, “in Jesus”, etc., is the tagline for all of Paul’s theology. He refers to this letter’s recipients as saints (those set apart by God as holy) and faithful (a term that is only used in scripture to designate true believers). Why could they be described this way? Only because they are “in Christ”. This is why Paul later says of these disciples of Jesus, “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:3-4). Notice how they were “hidden with Christ” and He was “[their] life”.  

And how did this incredible transformation become a reality in the life of Paul and the church at Colossae? And how does it become a reality in our lives? “By the will of God” (Colossians 1:1). Such unspeakably great things could only have been devised by the sovereign act of this great God who has placed us in Christ. This is why Paul’s very next sentence is, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:3-4).  He is acknowledging the only source of this great and mysterious gift – The Father through His preeminent Son. He thanks God, and no one else, for the faith that placed them “in Christ”. Truly, we experience this grace through faith only by the will of God and we are in Christ and of Christ only by Christ (see Ephesians 2:1-10). 

This is why He must be our everything, our only hope, and all that we need! This is why we should, like Paul, “decide to know nothing…except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). Why? Because “Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:11)!

**** This is an excerpt for Captivated by Christ: Focusing on Him published in 2008:

Some so-called Bible studies do little to teach the Bible. They focus not on biblical grace but on Christianized pop-psychology. Case in point: I recently attended a Wednesday night Bible study at a growing evangelical church. The sessions were led by the pastor and revolved around the subject of having a grace-filled home. The lessons were based upon a popular book by a Christian psychologist, but the content said nothing about the source of grace; God, or the vehicle of grace; Christ’s death on the cross, or anything related to biblical teachings on the subject. The study could’ve been easily entitled, The Characteristics of a Humanist’s Home or The Characteristics of a Positive Atheist’s Home for all the Bible-based logic it lacked. To me the study was an affront to foundational doctrines of original sin and human depravity on which the concept of grace rests. 

Since the core issue behind this particular study was self-esteem (and not grace) I must admit my prejudice: I’m dubious of the spiritual value of any concept that starts with “self” as opposed to starting with God. Beyond that is the fact that many scientists are discovering that the self-esteem concept is an indefinable notion. Furthermore, much research indicates that supposed self-esteem is not an indicator of enhanced performance or a cure for social ills. Even in the workplace, secular organizational psychologists are recognizing that self-esteem is not a precursor to productivity: high productivity actually leads to higher “self-esteem.” The self-worth bandwagon has a flat tire. 

Perhaps what bothered me most about the Bible study I attended that was no one seemed to think it was anything other than Bible-based. No one questioned the instructor when, at the end of one meeting, everyone was instructed to chant, “I am lovable.” The session closed with a sing-song distortion of the real meaning of grace, which means unmerited favor. The study defined grace as the love of God directed toward those that are already lovable. Nothing, however, could be more false. Nothing could be more graceless. We are sinners. God is perfect. We are not lovable. God alone is. 

Jesus’ statement “Love your neighbor as yourself” is not a command to love ourselves but an acknowledgement that we already do (See Matthew 22:39). We naturally look out for our own best interests, we care for ourselves, and we protect ourselves. Nowhere in Scripture is self-love commended. On the contrary, it is viewed as the primary barrier between a holy God and sinful man. James tells us that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). The Lord desires followers who accept their salvation for what it is: an unmerited gift straight from His generous hand. 

We are wise to heed the warning of Second Timothy 3:1-5: 

“There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” 

It is obvious from this passage that self love is among the most heinous offenses to God. Although it looks and sounds godly it is, in fact, a denial of God as our real source of power. Paul conveys the clear message that this is a form of idolatry and should have no part in a believer’s life. 

William Carey, the pioneer of modern Christian missions, put this on his tombstone: 

William Carey

Born 17th Aug. 1761, died 9th June 1834

“A wretched, poor, and helpless worm on Thy kind arms I fall.” 

Carey’s inscription explains grace. Therein rests our true hope. The Lord cares not for the self-esteem of finite man. Instead, He chooses to meet man where he is, saving Him and giving his life worth through the power and promise of a sovereign, infinite, and gracious God. He chooses to love us in spite of ourselves. 

May we cast our worthless self-esteem into God’s loving arms. For while we were yet unlovely, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8). 

I’ve often heard people describing the presence of God as if it is only some type of “warm and fuzzy”, mystically induced, and purely emotional experience. Using this verse as a proof text, it sounds a bit like, “If you snuggle up to God, He will snuggle up to you.” Although I agree that we can sense God’s extraordinary presence as we pursue Him, the implication here is this experience is derived in some esoteric, trance-like crescendo only. But this idea doesn’t tell me, in a practical sense, how we can experience God’s nearness on an ongoing basis. Thankfully, James helps us with this. The context of this verse explains some of the critical components of richly experiencing the presence of God consistently in our lives, something we all must desire. In James 4:1-12 we see some principles (although it is not some sort of “how-to” manual) in developing an ever-increasing experience of the nearness of our Lord. Turn to that passage and notice that to be saturated in His presence we must: 

  • Have unselfish motives (v. 1-3). We must seek to glorify Him only when desiring His presence and not “using” Him to fulfill our own or worldly desires. Do we desire His presence to seek the Giver or His gifts? Do we want His “hand” more that His “face”? His presence awaits those who are seeking after Him for His own infinite worth and not as some sort of cosmic concierge. 
  • Forsake worldliness and pursue purity (v 4–5). In other words, we must love God more than earthly pleasures and treasures. Jesus says that the “pure in heart will see God” (Matthew 5:8). When He is the Treasure that we would sell all for and our Pearl of Great Price we can encounter Him in the fullest sense (see Matthew 13:44-46). 
  • Be humble before Him (v. 6). Pride is the great barrier and humility the marvelous gateway to knowing God. Jesus indicated that to experience His Kingdom in the present we must be “poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3).  Proverbs 3:34 says that “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 
  • Submit to God and make an intentional effort to flee sin (v. 7). Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6). There is no greater satisfaction than to commune with God but His holiness demands our pursuit of surrender and obedience. 
  • Confess our transgressions and repent of our sins (v. 8). “Blessed”, Jesus taught, “are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4). John tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:19) and Jesus makes it clear that we must repent to experience the nearness of the kingdom of God (Matthew 3:2). 
  • Have an awareness of our sin that exalts His grace (v 9-10). When we are cognizant of our sinfulness we tend to have an exalted view of His mercy and grace. This kind of spiritual neediness makes us desperate for Him, His salvation, and His kingdom (Matthew 6:33).  
  • Be at peace with others (v. 11). We will not fully experience the Prince of Peace when we do not seek to live in peace with those around us. Although following Him may cause conflict with our unregenerate environment we never seek out conflict (Matthew 5:9). In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus directs us to not even give an offering in worship until we have been reconciled with our brother (Matthew 5:23-24). 
  • Mindfully and constantly acknowledge God for who He is (v. 12). He is above us – Creator, Lawgiver and Judge – as unfathomably superior in all aspects of His being (see Isaiah 55:8-9). He is supreme and has the right to complete dominion over us as our King and Father. We invoke His presence with such a worshipful attitude.  

Given that God is always with us (Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 28:20) and His Spirit indwells us a guide to and guarantee of His relationship with us there must be a key ingredient that makes His presence most real to us. There is – obedience! This is what James is saying – obedience is the key to experiencing a sense of God’s “closeness”. Thus a marvelous, supernatural, Godward cycle is created. First, He has made Himself close to us (see Acts 17:27) that we might be obedient to Him. In our Spirit-wrought obedience we have a heightened awareness of His proximity to us and in us. And His presence enables us to be more and more obedient and, subsequently, to have “more of Him”.

But, in order for this to be a reality, we must be fixated on Jesus and Calvary, the real impetus behind His presence (walking with Him –  being raised, rooted, built up, established, and made alive in Him) with us: 

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith…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. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross (see Colossians 2:6-14).

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