The Elect, Holy and Beloved
When Paul wrote the epistle to the believers at Colosse, he made a very interesting statement which runs totally contrary to what is taught in modern day religion – “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, HOLY AND BELOVED, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.” (Colossians 3:12)
Can you even begin to imagine the comfort and hope these two great words, “holy and beloved”, gave to these justified sinners who continually found themselves struggling every day with their old sinful nature?
This religious world would never imagine, much less tell any of their members that God considers them “holy” (legally righteous according to His strict law and justice) based solely on Christ’s finished work of redemption at Calvary. I’ve actually had people tell me: “If you preach this kind of message, you’ll open the door for men and women to live like hell.”
The reason they will not declare this message of salvation by God’s free grace based on Christ’s righteousness alone is they are convinced the only way to keep sinners motivated to obedience is by threatening punishment for disobedience and by promising rewards for obedience.
The reality the Scriptures clearly declare is that before ANY OBEDIENCE can be acceptable to God, the one doing the obedience must already be declared LEGALLY RIGHTEOUS and their person acceptable before God. A preacher once put it to me like this: “The JUSTIFIED SINNER has for his starting place, what the SELF-RIGHTEOUS religionist has for his goal.”
The self-righteous religionists goal is to establish a righteousness by his obedience to the law.
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
Any sinner who is ignorant of or not submitted to Christ’s Righteousness ALONE as their only ground of salvation will always try to establish a righteousness on their own. On the other hand, the JUSTIFIED SINNER has been “made the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM” (2 Corinthians 5:21) based on the blood and righteousness of Christ, before he takes the first step by way of obedience.
In Colossians 3:12, the Apostle Paul does exhort believers (justified saints) to obedience, i.e., “bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness”, but not until he has already dogmatically established to their minds their present abiding position before the true and living God, i.e., “HOLY AND BELOVED”. If you rest in Christ’s righteousness ALONE as your only hope of salvation, God views you “holy, unblameable, and unreproveable in His sight.” (Colossians 1:22)
Therefore, because you are holy, because you are a saint, because you are God’s child, with no possibility of ever being separated from him (See Romans 8:28-39), out of grace and gratitude, SERVE HIM. This is the only way of acceptable obedience. All else is dead works and hated by God.
By R. Warmack