A few weeks ago my family was discussing a text from the Bible out of the book of Colossians. It is here we find Paul writing to the Church in Colossi telling us all what we ought to have our minds set on. He says there in Col. 3:2 “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
Upon reading this verse out loud to my kids, it was from my oldest son David that the correct answer appeared in the discussion. The other kids had good answers too, but my question was direct. I asked them, “what did Paul, speaking by the Spirit, mean when he said “”Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth?” What are the things that are above?” I received answers like “God, Jesus, heaven.” However, upon further hounding about what those answers meant I was left with a bunch of shrugged shoulders. Then David said a profound thing. His answer was “forgiveness.”
I have to admit that I had never even thought of such a true answer to that question in all my near 350 college credit hours of study. Forgiveness! When the Scripture says we ought to set our minds on the things of heaven we often think of golden mansions in the sky, or the like. How often do we consider that the things that are above are exactly the gifts that come to us from above? The forgiveness of sins is what God has given the world through Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection. We no longer have to feel guilty!!
As people that are sinful and blind, we find ourselves so blind that we refuse to admit our true state of sinner. Instead we act as if we are naturally good and subsequently therefore that the Bible is not correct when it tells us that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Humanity and sin are to human beings the same thing, for we cannot tell the difference between ourselves and our sin.
God however, does not respond to sin like we might expect. Rather, he responds by forgiving us and leading us out of our blindness and into a new life, given to us in Holy Baptism where we do not have to run from God and feel guilty. This gift of forgiveness that David mentioned is from above and is ours no matter what we have done. There is no sin too bad for this gift!
Today we pray Christianity will be seen as it truly is. Not as a system of how to be more “holy” than your neighbor, or a way to make yourself a better person than someone else. Rather, true Christianity is hearing the message that we are in fact sinners in need of this gift from above. God’s final judgment is still forgiveness!!! Forgiveness is for all because of the gifts from above. Peace to you all in Christ!
Jason K. Cody
Sem. 3 Concordia Theological Seminary
– Fort Wayne, Ind.
Trinity Lutheran Church – Alamosa