"And you . . . he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him . . ." (Colossians 1:21-22).
Quick! What image flashed through your mind when you read the words above, about being presented holy and blameless? Did you think future fulfillment or present fulfillment? Did you think of (A) a radical transformation, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet sound? Or did you think of (B) steady growth in practical godliness that you can experience now in 2010, then 2011, then 2012?
If you thought "A," then you also probably thought of a few other things: "Christ will do it automatically apart from my striving"; "I'm saved by grace, not works"; "There is not much progress to be made here, but it's OK because I'm saved."
No one entertains these thoughts consciously or so crassly. But if your reading of Scripture puts off all the good stuff till the end, there will tend to be an unconscious passivity and complacency.
If you read Colossians 1:22 and thought "B," then you were mightily encouraged, emboldened, and energized. You read that verse as a promise of the power you have---NOW---in being "in Christ" You read it as a disclosure of God's heart toward you and present desire for you. You thought of all the verses that declare the resources available in the Resurrected and Ascended Christ. Here are a few of the verses that came to mind:
Ephesians 1:3-6; 3:16-20; 4:11-13; Philippians 2:12-15; 2 Peter 1:3-8; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13; Galatians 3:3; 5:22-23; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 7:1; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:3-4; Romans 5:17; 6:4, 6-7, 11-14, 18-22; 12:2; Titus 2:11-14; Revelation 2:7.
It is astounding what a different Bible version "A" is compared to version "B." It's like we're not even reading the same Bible. It's like we're not even living the same life.
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