In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
The Christian life, or as Paul will describe it to the Colossians, “the life hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3), is not difficult. It is impossible. Maybe this is our biggest problem. We think it is difficult, and because of this, we resolve ourselves to try harder. When we come up short again and again, we consider it too difficult and settle back in to a life of easy believism, cheap grace, and self-satisfied, mediocre, compromised existence.
The Christian life is not difficult. This would be to evaluate it on our terms. The Christian life is impossible. It does not require more effort on a human level. It requires the movement to an eternal level of living. Jesus’ invitation to us is not meant to elicit more resolve but deeper surrender. It’s why he said things like, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28–30).
Paul wants to awaken us not to the possibility of redemption but the fact of it: “Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ” (v. 2:11b).
Circumcision was the mark of the old covenant. Baptism is the mark of the new covenant. While baptism is an outward sign, it signifies something decisively done by the very hand of God—the circumcision of the heart.
Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. (vv. 11b–12)
My faith in the working of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, must translate into my faith in the working of God, who raised me from the dead, and all the incredible implications of such a resurrection. This is the plane of eternal life. This is the substance of real Christianity.
We happen to be living in an era of human history and even church history where real Christianity has been traded in for a cheap substitute, an easy counterfeit. It should be no surprise that this coincides with the rise of a generation who characterizes their religious affiliation with the word none. They are the “nones.” What this means is they will have none of the brand of faith we are offering. Can we blame them? They want something authentic. Though they don’t know it, what they want is real Christianity.
Who will show it to them? Whoever will awaken to the fact of an already accomplished redemption and the necessity of a few other people to help them receive this death-and-resurrection-real-Christian-reality fully into their lives.
Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who not only has done it, but who is it. He is our redemption. He is our death and our resurrection. Awaken me to my life hidden with Christ in God and your readiness to reveal it to others through me. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
- Could our struggle to live the Christian life be connected to the lack of a deep reality of Christ in us?
- Could the shallowness of “Christ in me” be connected to a lack of deep faith-formational relationships with others?
- What does it mean to you to awaken, not to the possibility of redemption, but the fact of it, and to move from endless struggle with sin to victory over sin?
For the Awakening,