“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him. . .” Colossians 2:6 NIV
“Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” Galatians 3:3
In our quest for forgiveness of sin and a relationship with God, we finally come to an end of ourselves. In repentance, we acknowledge that we are helpless sinners, unable to fix ourselves. “While we were powerless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6 NASB Having finally realized that we are needy and incapable of making the life repairs necessary for reconciliation with God, we place all of our hopes in God to accomplish it. He does this unilaterally, by executing His own Son in our place. We give up all aspirations of ever pleasing God in our own efforts and cast all our hopes upon Him.
It is a strange thing that we have so much difficulty continuing in this helpless, dependent posture through life. After receiving the gift of eternal life, many people then try to muscle their way along in life, relying on their own efforts to develop godly behavior. There is a sense in which we are called on to make the effort to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12 But we act like we are the Principal in this partnership. We feel it is our responsibility to accomplish our own visible righteousness by working diligently at it. Paul tells the Galatians and Colossians that they must live the visible Christian life after we have been justified in the same way that we became justified — by faith. Trusting God to make of our everyday lives what He wants them to look like, as we rest in Him, depending on Him to produce it in us. It is like a hand-in-glove experience, as God lives His life through us. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Galatians 2:20 Our main concern is to stay fastened upon the Hand.