Col 3:11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. (ESV)
When we step into the Kingdom and embrace the truth of Jesus’ finished work, we begin to “see” Jesus everywhere. He is moving and working and changing and revealing and Loving. I sometimes get powerful glimpses of Him in the most unexpected ways. Watching movies as an example can often bring us into His land of imagination and vision.
The movie “The Giver” is one of those experiences for me. I don’t know if you are familiar with the movie (or book) and I don’t want to “spoil” the experience for you so I will be somewhat vague in sharing. The backdrop is a very distant future where the people have embraced a very regimented society where memories of the past and emotions of the present have been “removed.” The filmmakers really capture the impact by presenting this society in black and white. There is no color in their world and most of the movie is in black and white as well. There is a boy in this society who has come of age and has been chosen as the receiver of memories. The tradition is for one person to have the memories of past human experiences so they can provide wisdom based on those memories. The rest of the society is deemed not suited to have these memories since they are THE perceived threat to their peaceful existence. The story then is about how this boy receives these memories and what happens to him and the rest of these people. OK, with that as a setup, there is a moment when the boy sees color for the first time as part of receiving the memories. It is a captivating moment for me. Black and white…all day long…then just a glimpse of color. He had seen a “shadow” of this new experience before. He now could look back and realize that he had experienced color in a lessor sense before this revelation. Then the “Giver” of the memories “gives” the boy a full dose of a color-saturated memory. It is absolutely mind-blowing (for me and the character in the movie).
Paul eludes to the concept of the “law of sin and death.” God said to Adam and Eve that if they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would die in their dying. They didn’t drop dead on the spot. They actually took a few hundred years to die. God didn’t kill them but this “law” of creation was in effect. I think that the dying in dying part is like the people in this movie. Here is the passage:
Rom 7:5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. (ESV)
Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (ESV)
Jesus is our savior. He is salvation. I don’t know if you have really pondered what that means. Religion distorts and presents the beauty of Jesus finished work through the filmmaker’s lens of black and white. The deceiver is still deceiving and sucking the life out of our passion and experience. Jesus came to restore that life with His life. He says stuff like this:
John 1:4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. (ESV)
John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (ESV)
Paul says this:
2 Tim 1:9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, (ESV)
And Paul remind us that we are no longer in bondage to this “law of sin and death” because of Jesus:
1 Cor 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)
Imagine a guy we will call Mike who has a neighbor who has lots of stuff. Let’s say Mike doesn’t have lots of stuff. Let’s imagine for a moment that Mike actually has very little stuff and lacks stuff all the time. Let’s say the Mike is married but his wife ran off with his best friend. Now lets imagine Mike is really unhappy. Not a stretch, right? Now Mike wants his neighbors “life.” He thinks if he has his neighbor’s stuff and really gorgeous wife then Mike’s “life” will be restored. Mike has a couple of options within the darkness. One is to apply the law. Don’t steal, covet, commit adultery and all that. So he doesn’t break the law. He takes all his hurt and pain and lack and wants and shoves them into a deep dark hole of pretend forgetting. In this place all that junk begins to eat him from the inside out. OR….Mike can take matters into his own hands and take his neighbor’s stuff and his wife. Then Mike is really miserable. Not only does the stuff not solve his problems the guilt and shame and condemnation of his own conscience drives him batty. In either case Mike has acted out of the darkness instead of the light. Mike has not embraced Jesus as his salvation.
When we know our inclusion in the triune dance of Love we begin to see things very differently. What we thought was important before takes on a new light. Color returns to a black and white world. We are filled with the love and acceptance of the Father in the Son. We share in the relationship that the Father has for the Son and the Son for the Father. Does God lack anything? Does Jesus need his neighbor’s wife to be happy? Does the Holy Spirit need stuff to be fulfilled? Are you getting the picture? It isn’t a mind trick. It is a new reality as a new creation. It is the light of life! It is “Jesus is our salvation.” He takes those wounds and heals them as the great physician He is. He takes those pains and brings peace. He renews our minds to see the beauty and power of loving relationships over the independent and rebellious nature of the darkness. We get to love as He loves. We get to share in His love for another. We know that He knows our pain and “temptations” so well that He takes them as His burden. It is a mystery. It is a mind bender. It is color in a colorless existence.
I hope you are “seeing” the beauty of the union we have with Jesus. He is amazing and awesome and understanding and no further from us than our very breath. The great darkness can be summed up as “God is far away and doesn’t approve of us.” The great light is “Jesus is in us, with us, as us, joined to us.” He is our salvation. Check out this passage from the Mirror translation. I think it will give you a blast of vibrant color!
Col 3:9 That old life was a lie, foreign to our design! Those garments of disguise are now thoroughly stripped off us in our understanding of our union with Christ in his death and resurrection. We are no longer obliged to live under the identity and rule of the robes we wore before; neither are we cheating anyone through false pretensions. 3:10 We stand fully identified in the new creation renewed in knowledge according to the pattern of the exact image of our Creator. 3:11 The revelation of Christ in us gives identity to the individual beyond anything anyone could ever be as a Greek or a Jew, American or African, foreigner or famous, male or female, king or pawn. From now on everyone is defined by Christ; everyone is represented in Christ. 3:12 You are the product of God’s love; he restored you to his original thought. You belong to him exclusively. It is like changing garments. Now that you have gotten rid of the old, clothe yourselves with inner compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, (Just like you were once identified by your apparel, the characteristics of these qualities define you now.) 3:13 upholding one another in positive expectation. If anyone finds fault with another, restore that person to favor, remembering how the Lord’s forgiveness has transformed our lives. 3:14 Wear love like a uniform; this is what completes the picture of our oneness. 3:15 Appoint the peace of Christ as umpire in your hearts. We are all identified in the same person; there is only one body. We are born to be a blessing and exhibit his benevolence. 3:16 Christ is the language of God’s logic. Let his message sink into you with unlimited vocabulary, taking wisdom to its most complete conclusion. This makes your fellowship an environment of instruction in an atmosphere of music. Every lesson is a reminder, echoing in every song you sing, whether it be a psalm (raving about God in praise and worship accompanied by musical instruments) or a hymn (a testimony song) or a song in the spirit (a new spontaneous prophetic song). Grace fuels your heart with inspired music to the Lord. 3:17 Your every conversation and the detail of your daily conduct reflect him; his name and lordship define your lives and inspire your deep gratitude to God the Father for his grace. (Toit, Francois Du (2014-01-08). Mirror Bible)
Jesus is our salvation. He is our light. He is our light of life. He restores and renews and invigorates our lives now, in this very moment, in our circumstance today. He is our new experience. He is our color.