This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17
You are living a brand new kind of life that is continually learning more and more of what is right, and trying constantly to be more and more like Christ who created this new life within you. In this new life one’s nationality or race or education or social position is unimportant; such things mean nothing. Whether a person has Christ is what matters, and he is equally available to all. Colossians 3:10-11
As you live this new life, we pray that you will be strengthened from God’s boundless resources, so that you will find yourselves able to pass through any experience and endure it with courage. You will even be able to thank God in the midst of pain and distress because you are privileged to share the lot of those who are living in the light. For we must never forget that he rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, that is, in the kingdom of light. For it is by his Son alone that we have been redeemed and have had our sins forgiven. Colossians 1:11-14
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
The Word of God emphasizes powerfully and clearly that a Christian is a new person with a new life. The Scriptures above paint a wonderful picture of the new person we are and the new life we have in Christ through these words, "a new life has begun," "a brand new kind of life," "more like Christ," "new life within," "transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son." These words stand in stark contrast to the concluding words of our story which said, “Then the master said to his other servants, “Now, throw that good-for-nothing servant far away from me into the outer darkness, where there will be great misery and anguish!” At the end of yesterday’s Devotional set we said we would explore today what these dire consequences are all about. You might want to go back and read the entire story again in Matthew 25:14-30.
I want you to see something about the dire consequences of verse 30. They are not a part of the story Jesus is telling but rather they are his application of the story. The human master in our story cannot “throw someone into outer darkness where there will be great anguish and misery.” We are not told what the human master might have done to his good-for-nothing servant. Jesus chose to switch from the story to real life. Remember, Jesus is telling us what the kingdom of heaven is like. In the first two servants we see what it is like and in the third servant we see what it is not like.
Keep in mind that in the ministry of Jesus the kingdom of heaven is at hand and he is offering it to all who will come out from the religious system of the day and follow him. Followers of Jesus will be rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred to his heavenly kingdom and they will become like the first two servants who advance the heavenly kingdom and someday enter into the joy of their Master as good and faithful servants. Followers of Jesus are not like the third servant and will never receive the dire consequences of verse 30. Now let’s see who these dire consequences are for as we look much more closely at the third servant and how he represents what is not the kingdom of heaven.
We have said that in the third servant we see what the kingdom of heaven is not like. The kingdom of heaven is not like what his listeners are used to. Jesus wants his listeners to see that the kingdom of heaven stands in contrast to and in confrontation of conventional life on earth and the troubling religious system of the day that did more to draw its adherents away from God than it did to bring them closer to him. Jesus is a threat to conventional life on earth and to the troubling religious system of the day. What Jesus has to say about the third servant serves as an indictment against those in his audience whose response to the treasure of Jesus and his heavenly kingdom is one of complete dismissal. They are like the third servant who buried his master’s treasure.
Unlike those who dismissed Jesus and his heavenly kingdom, those in the audience who became true followers of Jesus dismissed, rather, conventional life on earth and the troubling religious system of the day in favor of a lifetime of embracing and serving the true kingdom of God. So then, we are those who don’t dismiss the treasure of Jesus and his heavenly kingdom and have become true followers of Jesus who help with the advancement of his heavenly kingdom. God is faithfully and diligently at work aligning us with his glorious heavenly kingdom. Like the first two servants in our Matthew 25 story, our lives will help with the advancement of God’s heavenly kingdom. As good and faithful servants, we will hear him say someday, “enter into the joy of your Master as good and faithful servants.” We will not hear those words of dire consequence, “Now, throw that good-for-nothing servant far away from me into the outer darkness, where there will be great misery and anguish!” These words are reserved for those who dismiss altogether the treasure of Jesus and his glorious heavenly kingdom.
While there are consequences associated with not living as fully for God and his kingdom as we should, they are not the dire consequences of Matthew 25:30. The dire consequences of Matthew 25:30 are in reality a description of the ultimate consequence of hell. Those who dismiss altogether the treasure of Jesus and his glorious heavenly kingdom are in reality rejecting Christ. Those who reject Christ and never embrace the Savior of the world in this life, will pass into eternity and go to the place of outer darkness where there is great misery and anguish. Let the words of John 3:16-18 ring in your ears, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 5:24 says “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
This Christmas season we rejoice that we have embraced Jesus Christ who was born into this world that first Christmas and became the suffering Messiah who gave himself for Israel and the world on the cross of Calvary. We are the redeemed who are forever his and are seeking to live fully for him and his heavenly kingdom.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, thank you for the work of grace you are doing in my life. I am grateful for your patience and gentleness with me. Fill my heart with hope and confidence that you are at work in my life and will never let go of me or give up on me. This Christmas season cleanse me, renew me, fill me, and use me. May you truly be honored and glorified in my life. Thank you for drawing me to yourself and helping me become your true follower. You and your heavenly kingdom are the only treasure for me. I choose to press on in faithfully serving you and the advancement of your glorious kingdom. Amen!
Posted on Sat, December 7, 2019
by Ken Hart