Are You Normal?

Bible Book: Colossians  2 : 12-15
Subject: Victory in Jesus; Cross; Forgiveness of Sin; Resurrection; Satan Defeated

Colossians 2:12-15

I read an interesting story recently. Listen to this.It doesn't hurt to take a hard look at yourself from time to time, and this should help to get you started. During a visit to the mental asylum, a visitor asked the Director what the criterion was which defined whether or not a patient should be institutionalized."Well," said the Director, "we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub."

"Oh, I understand," said the visitor. "A normal person would use the bucket because it's bigger then the spoon or the teacup.

"No." said the Director, "A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?"

Are you normal? As this is the Lord's Day and you are in the Lord's house, it is appropriate that we ask it from a spiritual perspective. Are you a normal Christian? What does that mean? Are you like most of the other believers around you? Is that normal? Take a look at them right now. Do they look normal to you?

Let me say it this way. Most "normal" Christians or believers are much too caught up in religion rather than relationship. In recent conversation with a friend, he was expressing an exasperating situation and stated that it was making him "lose his religion." I knew exactly what he was saying. That is an old "southernism" that is often used to express our distress or consternation. It brings up an interesting point. It is because most normal believers focus too much on religion and not enough on relationship. Then I say to you today it is a good time to lose your religion. In fact religion, in essence, is mankind's attempt to reach God. Christianity is about God's attempt to reach mankind. I pray that today you will lose your religion and you will find a relationship.

Over the next several weeks, throughout this summer, we will be looking at several Bible passages, which will be a part of a series entitled, "Extreme Faith Makeover." I am convinced that we need to see our relationship to the Lord in a very different way. Too long, we have been caught up in the religious aspects of our faith. Beginning today, let us see the God intended aspects of a relationship with Him. I believe that this would lead us to an Extreme Faith Makeover.

As we begin this series of studies on an Extreme Faith Makeover, turn with me first of all to Colossians 2:12-15.

When Jesus Christ died and rose again, He wanted complete and final victory over sin. He not only died for our sins (salvation) but he "died unto sin" (sanctification). What the law could not do, Jesus Christ accomplished for us. The old nature was put off so that we need no longer need to be enslaved to his desires. The old sinful nature is not eradicated, for we can still sin. However, the power has been broken as we yield to Christ and walk in the power of the Spirit.

What has Christ done for us that can give us an extreme faith makeover? In this passage, Paul uses a series of extremely vivid pictures to show us what God in Christ has done for you and me.

I. God Makes Us Alive In Christ (v.13)

Here Paul uses the illustration of baptism. Keep in mind that in the New Testament, the word baptized has both a literal and figurative meaning. The literal meaning is to "dip or immerse." The figurative meaning is to "be identified with." For example, the Jewish nation was "baptized unto Moses" when it went through the Red Sea. There was no water involved in this baptism, because they went over on dry land. In this experience, the nation was identified with Moses.

Paul used the word baptism in a figurative sense in this section of his letter. We know that no amount of water could bury a person with Christ or make him alive in Christ. Water baptism by immersion      is a picture of this spiritual experience. Yes, I do believe that it is important. I do not apologize          for calling for people to be baptized by immersion. When a person is saved, however, he is immediately baptized by the spirit into the body of Christ and identified with Jesus Christ, the head of the church. This identification means that whatever happened to Christ also happened to us. When He died, we died with Him. When he was buried, we were buried with him. When he rose again, we arose with him!

All this took place, "through your faith in the power of God." It was the power of God that changed us, not the power of water. The spirit of God identified us with Jesus Christ and we were buried with Him, raised with Him, and made alive with Him!

Paul says that without Christ, people are dead in their sins. We are powerless to break the chains of sin. We have no more power than dead men either to overcome sin or to atone for sin.

But, Christ has quickened us together with him, made us alive. Jesus Christ, by His action, has liberated us from the power but not from the consequences of sin. This phrase contains both the meaning that the condition is complete and also indicates an entrance into that condition of being made alive.

He has given us a life so new and so vital and so liberated that it can only be said that He has raised us from the dead and given us a new life. The work of Christ is a work of power, for it puts life into dead people.

We deserve eternal death in an everlasting hell, but the work of Christ puts life in those who will put Him in their heart.

It is a work of grace, because it reached out to those who had no reason to expect the benefits of God. Yes, God makes us alive in Christ. But next we have an even more vivid picture.

II. Jesus Has Blotted Out Our Sins (v.13b)

The phrase "handwriting of ordinances" is sometimes translated "charge list." The word for this list literally means an autograph. It was almost exactly what we call an IOU. It was a signed admission of debt. We all have sinned and we know it. It is a fact.

The Bible says that God has wiped out this list, erased it. It also helps to understand this concept if we see what the words "blot-out" means. You see, in Paul's day, ink had no acid in it, as it does today, and literally sat on top of the paper or vellum. It didn't sink in. Sometimes in order to save paper a scribe would take a sponge and wipe the writing off. It was wiped out as if it had never been there. It was as if God, in His amazing mercy, banished the record of our sins so completely that it was as if it had never been. Isn't that great?

Friends, do you see what Jesus has done? He has paid the price. He has wiped out the sin, which is our debt. He wants to continue blotting out your sin, too. He wants to guide you in a better life. He wants to walk with you.

Isn't it time to be done with religion? I do hope you will lose your religion today and accept a gift of relationship that will transform your life. This is the essence of an extreme faith makeover. It is recognizing that God did for you what you cannot do for yourself. It enables you and me to obey God out of love, not out of slavish fear.

III. God Took Our Condemnation And Nailed It On The Cross (v.14)

On the cross of Christ, the indictment that was handed down against us was itself crucified. An ancient historian, Grotius, pointed out that many debts, when paid in full, were fastened down and a nail was driven through it.

The charge against us was put out of the way. The tense of this verb emphasized the permanence of the removal of the bond which has been paid and canceled and cannot be presented again.

That is what Jesus Christ has done for you. You and I deserved to be on the cross but because of an amazing love, which is beyond our comprehension, our sin was taken care of in Him (1 Peter 2:24).

Here, indeed is grace. It is simply God's unmerited favor. Today, will you commit your life fully to Christ, who has done for you what no one else could do? Won't you choose life? Do it today.

IV. Christ Has Made Us Victorious In Him (v.15)

Jesus not only dealt with sin and law on the cross, he also dealt with Satan. Speaking about his crucifixion, Jesus said, "Now is the judgment of this world; Now shall the prince of this world be cast out" (John 12:31). The death of Christ on the cross looked like a great victory for Satan, but it turned out to be a great defeat from which Satan cannot recover. Jesus had three great victories on the cross.

A. First, He Disarmed the Powers and Authorities.

This strips Satan and his army of whatever weapons they held. Satan cannot harm the believer who will not harm himself. It is when we cease to watch and pray that Satan can use his weapons against us.

B. He Made A Public Spectacle of the Enemy

Jesus "made a public spectacle" of the enemy, exposing Satan's deceit and vileness. Religion can convince you that you have no choice but to let Satan affect your life. In Jesus' death, resurrection, and ascension, Christ vindicated God and vanquished the devil. He gives you power because of a relationship with Him.

C. He Triumphed

His third victory is found in the word triumph. Whenever a Roman general won a great victory on foreign soil and took many captives and much loot and gained new territory, he was honored by an official parade known as "the Roman triumph." Jesus Christ won a complete victory, and He returned to glory in a great triumphal procession. In this, He disgraced and defeated Satan.


You and I share in his victory over the devil. We need not worry about the elemental forces that govern the planets and try to influence men's lives. The Satanic armies of principalities and powers are defeated and disgraced! As we claim the victory of Christ, use the equipment He has provided for us and trust him. We are free from the power of the evil one as we clothe ourselves in the relationship that Christ has given us.

What a wonderful provision and position we have in Christ! It is time to lose our religion and accept the relationship that Christ has enabled for us.