I just recently started reading the book, Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman where he challenges Christians to examine their walk with God and decide whether they are a fan of Christ or a follower of Christ. Using different "case studies" found in the New Testament, he shows different ways a person could be living as a fan and not a follower. Kyle points out how being a follower requires change and sacrifice as a result of the gift of grace we received. With the book in my current reading pile, I thought of it as I read through the verses I am looking at. Please turn to Ephesians 2:11-13.
Last week, I focused on the need for grace and forgiveness and God's response was to provide a way through Christ. I also looked at how we were dead because of sin but God raised us with Christ so He could point to us for future generations as an example of what His grace can do. I looked at how salvation was not a reward for doing good things; however, good works should be the result of salvation. I also explored the idea that when we received God's grace, we were made habitable for Christ to live in us, who empowers us to do the good things God planned for us. Today, I want to look at the idea that God strips away the sinful nature in us. In verse 11 Paul writes how the Gentiles were separated from the Jews and the circumcision was physical evidence of their covenant with God. In this verse, Paul also points out that the circumcision was performed by humans and it only affected the physical body.
In Colssians 2:11 Paul wrote, "When you came to Christ, you were 'circumcised,' but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature." When Christ does a work in us, it is not a physical representation; Christ wants to perform a permanent change in our hearts, cutting away the sinful nature in us. When we become followers of Christ, we need to accept the changes He wants us to make and be willing to sacrifice the things that make us comfortable. We learned last week in Ephesians 2:10 that these changes are made so that we can to the works that God planned for us long ago. Don't you love knowing that God has had plans for you before you were even born (Psalm 139:16)? It is in the cutting away of our sinful nature that gives us the endurance and ability to run the race. "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us," Hebrews 12:11.
Are you ready to follow Christ?