We Are Not On Parole

This morning, I read Colossians 1-2. Wow. As a person who aspires to write truth that impacts lives, I’m in awe of the depth of what Paul is able to communicate in just a few words. This letter to the believers at Colossae reveals so much about who we are in Christ, but even more, who Christ Himself really is. In Him, all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form (2:9), and in Him, we have been made complete, because He dwells in us (2:10, 1:27) – if we have put our faith in Him and prove genuine by remaining in Him (1:22-23).

There’s so much we could talk about in these first two chapters, but I want to focus on these verses:

Colossians 2:13-15 – When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

Last night I was watching the series, Chesapeake Shores. It’s a bit dramatic but very clean, and really highlights the values of family, forgiveness, and kindness. There was a new character introduced (always have to bring a new love interest into the mix, you know), and he has a past. He’d made some foolish decisions and had spent three years in jail. He had served his time, gotten out early on good behavior, and was out on parole. His parole officer is a bit hard-nosed, and is constantly on his case, threatening to send him back to prison if he makes a mistake. The young man tests positive for amphetamines on this episode but swears to the parole officer he’s never taken them. His accuser, however, is relentless, and he has to appear before the parole board.

In the end, it’s proven that the test was a false positive triggered by the mixture of some sleeping aid and allergy medicine. He was innocent; he freely walks away from the hearing, but he still is on “parole,” always feeling the pressure to prove that he really has changed.

Why am I telling you this?

I was reminded this morning that the Holy Spirit is not a parole officer. If we have sincerely put our faith in Jesus, the entire certificate of our debt – ALL our transgressions have been nailed to the cross and there are no “pending charges” against us. We are NOT under parole. We are free – made alive – forgiven – declared innocent for all eternity. When we sin now, the Holy Spirit certainly brings it to our attention, so that we can return to that forgiveness and remember that we have been made free. We are no longer walking in our old life but have a new life in Christ. The parole officer was constantly looking for this young man to fall into sin or make a mistake so he could have a reason to take him back to jail. The Holy Spirit does exactly the opposite – helps us walk in our new life in anticipation of the glorious future we have in heaven.

We do have an accuser, however – kind of like that parole officer who was seeing his client as still in the old life. He didn’t believe he could put the past behind him and kept reminding him of it, telling him he was just one mistake away from losing everything. That’s what Satan does; he whispers that we are unworthy sinners and are not worthy of God’s love.

Jesus came in all the fullness of God – because He was God. He paid our sin debt on the cross – ALL of it. There are no accusations in heaven’s court; our record has been expunged and God sees us clothed in the sinless righteousness of His perfect Son, our Savior and Lord Jesus.

Let’s walk as free people. Let’s hold fast to our faith. Let’s live as new creations, turning our back on the past that no longer has a claim on us. Truly, we are complete in Christ, made righteous by faith in Jesus.

Colossians 1:21-23a – And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach – if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard.

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