Though not an exegetical study, I've been reading through this letter to the Church of Colossae and will try to bring out some of the highlights, and even some of the convictions I felt while reading through the it. Join along and let me know your thoughts. Or if I can pray for you, hit the "Can I pray for you?" tab and send me a note. God bless as you open God's word!
Colossians has been a long time favorite, but it’s also been a long time since I sat and read through it. Years in fact. One overall point that I remember from previous study is that Christ is my all in all. He sums up everything, and everything is summed up in Him. That phrase “in Him” has become to mean even more after reading Ephesians. In Him we are redeemed, reconciled and restored. In Him we are made righteous and complete and so much more. Let’s see what this letter tells the people of Colossae.
Paul begins this letter by expressing his authority to do so, as “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.” I guess you can’t get much more authority than that. Who’s going to argue against the will of God, or an appointment by Jesus Christ Himself?
And oh yeah, he tells us Timothy is here, too. Paul kind of took this young man under his wing into the ministry, and they had what Paul considered a father/son relationship, as his first letter to Timothy addresses him, “my true child in faith” (1 Timothy 1:2).
Those sweet mentoring relationships are life changing for most, and it sure was for Timothy who had a Greek father and a Jewish mom and grandma. I was blessed to have a few women who poured themselves into my life for the sake of Christ, and I am so grateful for each one that trained me up.
Timothy’s mother and grandmother taught him about their faith, and the Lord brought Paul into his life to further the gospel. For you moms and grandmas out there who are still praying for your kids and grandkids to come to the Lord, don’t lose heart. God hears. He knows. Don’t stop asking, don’t stop living out your faith. You never know the impact it is having, or the impact of your prayers on their lives.
This letter of Colossians is addressed to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae. So, we know he’s writing to other believers. We know they live in the city of Colossae, which is in modern day Turkey. Located on the Lycus river in what was called Asia Minor. This church of believers was taught by Epaphras, as we’ll see later in the letter.
Paul addresses this letter with the typical greeting of grace and peace, but where God is concerned, there is nothing ordinary or typical about the grace He has blessed us with, nor the peace that He alone can offer.
Paul gives thanks for these believers, these saints, and he prays for them constantly. Being a faithful pray-er for those I know is not my strong point. The Lord has used these verses before, and now again, to remind me to be faithful in my prayers for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I know so many who are hurting, need healing, need livelihoods, and it’s easy to remember to pray for them in their great need, but I should also be praying for all the saints. For all who are just trying to live daily in that grace and peace of God. Our unity of the faith, our position in Christ makes us one, so let’s remember each other in our prayers faithfully. I know I would appreciate it for myself, as it’s easy to get off-task, or side-tracked by all that’s in the world. Paul is our example to pray for others who are in Christ. What I love most is that we don’t have to sit and pray for each one by name (though often a particular name comes to mind and most certainly should be mentioned), but it’s more the communion and fellowship with God in that He knows our hearts desire for all believers to enjoy His grace and peace, for them to be blessed in Him. A reminder that we’re in this together, and that His light would shine brighter in and through us all.
Another thing the Lord convicted me of is that saying, “I’m praying for you” is not the same as actually praying for someone. One is a verbal encouragement, but the other is actually conversing with God. I need to be careful that when I say, “I’m praying for you” that I actually take the time to do that right in that moment. Praise Him, I don’t need an appointment to get to talk to my Father. He’s always available. And, it can also be a blessing to both of you if you stop and pray with that person rather than saying you’re going to pray for them. It may seem awkward at first, but I’ve never had anyone reply with “no thank you” when I’ve asked if I could pray for them right there. I’ve prayed in parking lots, grocery stores, pharmacies, sidewalks. Prayer is for everywhere and everything, because God is always present and faithful.
Paul's words inspire us to be pray-ers for our fellow saints. Who can you pray for today? You can start with me, and I will start with you. What a joy to know we are not in this alone.
Lord, please bless my fellow sisters in Christ today, May they totally be aware of Your grace and peace in their life. I pray this in the name of Christ Jesus, the One whom You have made us one in. Amen.
Have you ever seen or been a part of someone coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus, either directly or indirectly? I still remember when I was nine years old going to a Billy Graham crusade. I was already a believer by then, and I will never forget the flood of people that emptied the stands to go speak to counselors on the field to accept Christ as their Savior, while the choir sang the invitation. What an incredible moment to witness.
More recently, I was praying for a couple that was having marital problems, but worse, not knowing Jesus, they had no tools to cope with it. My pastor was their friend and he asked me to pray for them, occasionally sharing an update of how God let him share with them. I had never met them, but I prayed for them. It would be a long while of praying - months and months and months. Then one day, I was in Staples office store when my pastor called to tell me that they had just accepted Christ as their Savior. I had to go to the back aisles of the store with my cell phone because I had burst into joyful tears as he told me their story. I can’t tell you the emotions I felt for these two I’d never met but had been praying for over the past year.
Someone once said that not all of us are “closers”, meaning that we aren’t the ones that God uses to close the deal of someone coming to Jesus. Some of us are waterers, some of us are seed planters, and some of us, like that long list of those considered faithful in Hebrews 11, never see the fulfilment of what we have planted, or watered, or prayed for. But it doesn’t mean God isn’t using it all.
In Colossians 1:3-12 we see that Paul, who is writing this letter, has never met these believers in Colossae. Instead, Epaphras is their minister. But Paul, who knows Epaphras well, prays for these believers. It says, he gives thanks to God the Father. Praying for them always, for these who have faith in Christ Jesus, these who have love for all the saints. For these whose hope is in Christ.
He says their faith and the love they have for the saints is because of the hope they have laid up for them in heaven. This hope they heard about when the truth of the gospel was shared with them. I know that joy Paul had for these he’d not yet met. Just to know, they get it! They understand the grace given to them, and they are living in it. That’s a pretty joyful thing when you’ve invested your prayers and thoughts toward someone.
This “Hope” is elpida – it’s a response to what they have heard. An awaited goodness. A confident expectation that what God has promised will be provided. Paul refers to this hope in his letter to his “spiritual son” Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:6-8 “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering” (by the way, drink offerings were not the main sacrifice, but rather one poured over the sacrifice to create a sweet aroma.) Going on, he tells Timothy his time is almost up, “the time of my departure has come. I have fought the fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will award to me on that day; and not only me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” Did you catch that? “To all who have loved His appearing.” We each one of us have a future hope. Since God is who He says He is, we can believe it.
Paul is grateful to God for these who accepted the grace of God that Epaphras shared with them. Is there someone you are thankful for that God sent to share the gospel message to someone you know? Have you thanked the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for them? This portion of the chapter shows us Paul’s example of praying for the saints. Not as some religions pray to so-called saints that man deemed acceptable to be called a saint, but we address our prayers to the Father, realizing His word teaches that every believer is made a saint in Christ Jesus.
What are the things we can pray for other believers? Paul says he prays in thankfulness for their faith in Christ and the way they love others because of it. And that's a good starting point for us too.
He prays in verses 9-12 that they be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. That’s a sentence full of doctrine, right there. It is only by His Spirit that we can know God’s will. It’s only as we are birthed spiritually at salvation that we can understand the deeper things of God. We’re told in 1 Corinthians 2:14 “…a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” We need the Spirit of God to reveal His wisdom and give us understanding, so that means we need to be walking by the Spirit, not by our own strength and guidance. We can get by in this world with some good old common sense, but if we are going to understand God, we are going to have to rely on spiritual sense that comes by walking with His Spirit.
Paul goes on to ask that they “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” and that again is only possible as they submit to the Holy Spirit’s leading, for how can we walk worthy of the Lord apart from His help? I don’t know about you, but I know me, and me, left to my own devices, can never walk worthy of the salvation gift Christ gave me. His thoughts are so much higher than mine. I must have the Spirit living and moving within me to even come close to living out God’s divine and righteous plan in my life.
When we are walking “in a manner worthy of the Lord”, we will be pleasing Him “in all respects”. Think on that one! We will bear fruit in every good work (remember, only the works that God planned for us are actually good). And as a bonus, as we walk by His Spirit, we will increase in the knowledge of who God is.
The more we know about God, the more we will understand how He wants to work in and through us. We will be strengthened with all the power of His glorious might. Oh, I so need His power and might, because on my own, I can only function for a short time. My will power is just not strong enough for the long haul. My emotions are not courageous enough to face all that this world throws at me, alone. My intellect is not so great that I can overpower the schemes of the devil. I need GOD, and His mighty power working in me. It’s only then that I can attain steadfastness, patience and have a joyful life of gratitude.
We can be all that and do all that because of the fact that He has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light! The Light of the world came to show us how to live, walking by the Spirit.
Let’s be sure to pray for our fellow believers in gratitude and purpose, that each of us would walk worthy of Him today.
Did you know you needed rescuing? As I said, I was about nine when I finally committed to following Jesus, but I knew well before that time that I needed to be rescued. When we come to the knowledge of who God is, and who we are not, it’s time for a rescue.
In Colossians 1:13-14, Paul says we’ve been rescued from the domain of darkness. Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? The domain of darkness. And it is. When you consider how dark and evil this world can be, just take a deeper look to an eternity in the most diabolical evil there ever was or will be, where there is nothing that is good, except possibly the fact that the darkness might hide the hideous ugliness that surrounds, no, even that can’t stop the sense of foreboding evil of being locked up with the worst of the worst, in utter darkness.
As a believer you don’t have to fear it, you don’t even have to look at it, because “God has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints of Light”. How did God do this? It goes back to our participation by faith, as we saw in the book of Ephesians. At the moment we place our faith in the work of Christ on the cross, God “transferred us to the kingdom of His Beloved Son” (v. 13).
It is by our position in Christ “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (v 14) This verse might sound familiar as it was also stated similarly in Ephesians 1:7. Paul repeats to these believers in Colossae what he found of paramount importance in his letter to the church of Ephesus. Our rescue is complete when we are placed in Christ Jesus. When Jesus died on that cross, taking upon Himself the sins of this world: our sin, my sin, your sin, God the Father looked on that sacrifice and accepted it as payment for all that we owed, and when we said, yes, I will let Jesus pay that for me, God willingly then removed us from the pit of darkness we were in and placed us into His Son.
Look at these words that Saul/Paul explains to King Agrippa that Jesus spoke to him on the road to Damascus. Jesus said to him:
“But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:16-18).
Sanctified by faith in Jesus. That’s what takes us out of the darkness and into His light. And the light reveals so much, doesn’t it? We had no idea the level of filth we were even living in until the Light shone on it. The more we let His Light shine in us, the more that is revealed. Things that were once gray areas in our lives become much more black and white.
We have been forgiven of every sin (so don’t be holding on to that one you somehow think He can’t forgive), we have been redeemed, the ultimate price has been paid to take you out of darkness! So, let His Light Shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!
Who is this Jesus that they have believed in? The Apostle Paul spells it out for these in Colossae, and we get to peek in on the truths he shared.
“[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God”. If you wonder what God looks like, look at Jesus Christ. He was formed to show us God’s likeness. This happens, as we see in John chapter one, that “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...” (verses 1-3, 14a)
God came in the likeness of man to reveal the likeness of God to mankind. A paradox for sure, but one that we can be eternally grateful for. When it speaks of Jesus being the image of the invisible God, it’s important to note that he isn’t speaking about His physical appearance for we know that God is spirit. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us to reveal how God’s Spirit works. Everything He did was done in the Spirit. Empowered by the Spirit. Led by the Spirit.
We speak in terms of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit because our earthly brains can’t comprehend how this triune God works, but Jesus came to show us. He is the image of the invisible God. He came as a theophany to those in the Old Testament, and He came in the flesh for us. Many stories in the Old Testament show Him visiting those whom He was directing to do this or that. Beginning with walking with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening, He has always made a way to relate to mankind. A blessing that other religions cannot enjoy.
Verse 15 goes on to say that Jesus is “the firstborn of creation.” Don’t be confused by our English understanding of firstborn. The term here is not saying that God the Father created Jesus before He created anything else. No, in fact, Paul makes sure to show that in fact, it is by Him (Jesus/the Word) that everything was created. Everything in the heavens, and everything on the earth, both visible and invisible. They were all created by the Word that became flesh. Because He (the Word/Jesus) is the Creator He has pre-eminence, a superior status, to any other created thing or being. He existed before any other created thing. Just as John spoke of. The Word was with God, the Word was God. He was in the beginning.
Verse 17 assures us that “He is before all things, and in Him all things are held together.” There’s more to Jesus than this man who was born of a virgin. He is the creator of all, the image of God made manifest to us, and He is, even now, holding all things together.
If your life feels as though it’s spiraling out of control, look to Jesus. He is the one in which all things are held together. If you belong to Him, He has a firm grip on you and your circumstances by His grace, and His grace is sufficient for every need. I promise you that because He has said so (2 Cor. 12:9).
Let Him be your head, just as He is the head of the body of believers, the Church.
He has all authority and power. Look at verse 18 – He’s not only the One with pre-eminence over creation, He’s the one with pre-eminence over death.
This weekend we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is SO much to celebrate there, for the moment He died on the cross for our sins, He stripped Satan of any power to defeat us by death. Jesus stripped away even the fear of death by giving us hope of eternal life in Him. God sent Jesus to pay the penalty for our unrighteousness, and to make us holy and blameless before Him, all we have to do is call upon His name as our Savior and we will be saved.
The last two verses today, verses 19 & 20 say, “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness [of God] to dwell in Him and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross, through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”
We have the ability to walk in peace with God because of Jesus Christ having pre-eminence in creation and in death. He wasn’t the first to be resurrected, but He was the first to be resurrected to eternal life. Lazarus would die physically, again. The young girl whom He raised would suffer physical death once again, but Jesus died on that cross, a terrible death of separation from the Father’s Spirit for the very first time as He hung there, and was raised to be restored to the glory that was His before He came, never to have to die again.
John 17:3-5 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I [Jesus] glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” This is part of a prayer that Jesus prayed just before His betrayal by Judas, and His walk to Calvary began.
Oh yes, He made known to us the Father and the Spirit. The image of the invisible God, so that you and I could see Him, could know Him, and understand the great sacrifice of His death and resurrection.
As we celebrate the fulfilment of God’s plan of redemption and reconciliation this weekend, may we each pursue the fulness of joy He intended. We have the promise of eternal life and all hope because of this Jesus.
Happy Resurrection of the hope of our glory! He is risen! He is risen indeed!
We were formerly… what great hope is in that phrase; it means we aren’t the same. In God’s great grace and mercy, He provided a Savior, an exact representation of who He is. And through Him, He restores all those who would call upon His name into a new life in Christ.
Formerly we were considered alienated, and such we were, for in our sinful nature we could have no part of a relationship with God. Everything about God was foreign to us. His words, like a different language, His thoughts, seemed out of this world. Unthinkable, unimaginable. We were aliens to God.
In fact, we were so far from Him that our minds were hostile to Him. Fighting a battle for self to reign we engaged in evil deeds, to keep ourselves on the throne of our lives.
YET NOW, hope reigns, as He has now reconciled us to God. There was a great debt owed for our thievery, stealing away what was rightfully God’s, for our lordship belonged to Him.
And, “yet now…” Jesus Christ has paid that debt, reconciling the cost we owed for our sin. In that transaction of payment on the cross He made peace with God for us. All this to present us to the Father as holy and blameless and beyond reproach. Sounds reminiscent of Ephesians one, doesn’t it? Those in Christ were chosen to be holy and blameless before Him (v. 4); In Him we have redemption (v 7); God summed up all things in Christ (v 10)
Our faith in His work has made us established (in Him), we are now steadfast and immovable in the hope we have in Christ. The gospel message is this, that God sent the Son to be the Savior of the world, a fallen, sinful world. A world that needed redemption. And He was to reveal all the glory of the Father while walking as a man. Tempted as we are tempted, yet, without fail for He walked by the Spirit’s leading, and only did what the Father said to do. He is our perfect example of walking in the Light.
This reconciliation is the gospel message, that He could take us, who were once alienated and hostile in mind, and reconcile us to the Father. Our faith in that message let’s hope reign. We give Him ourselves in faith, and watch the transformation as we become something new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 states it clearly, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
Praise God, in Christ we are no longer the same. We have hope, a confident expectation, of all He will do in and through us who now are no longer an alien to Him, but have become His own.
Father, what an incredible gift. You sent Your Son, not just to save us, but that in Him we could see an example of how we are to walk by Your Spirit. You sent Him to stand in our place, and draw us into a relationship where we can have understanding and fellowship with You because in Him You made us holy and blameless and beyond reproach. That is amazing! Praise You God for your great hope given to us in Christ Jesus, through Whom we are allowed to come. Amen.
The Mystery of God.
Paul, sitting in house arrest, guarded twenty-four-seven, writes this letter to the Church to let them know that it’s all worth it. Even going as far as to say he “rejoices” in his sufferings for their sake. A mystery in and of itself. This joy that we can have in the midst of the worst of circumstances is only possible when we are where God wants us, doing what God has called us to do, trusting Him with it all.
Paul has been imprisoned for sharing the gospel message and yet he continues to teach the message that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God come to earth to save us all. He has been given a stewardship of this incredible mystery which was, for so long, hidden but is now seen… think on that… the prophets could only foretell it, generation after generation, decade after decade, the years have waited for this plan to be revealed… and now Paul shares with these, and us, the incredible mystery that has unfolded. “Christ in you.” We see it in hindsight, but for these it was fresh and new information, hot off the press.
God didn’t just send a Savior. He sent One which would be a
part of us; One who would cover us. Immerse us. One who would engage us. Indwell
us. This incredible plan that we would be ONE with God. He in us, and us in
Him. The mystery of how that could happen, revealed in Christ Jesus. He is the
hope of glory.
As His followers, we might suffer a bit in this world. If we are going to be a good steward, as Paul was, we will have to stick our neck out there, our life on the line, expend some energy and time, and may be persecuted for it. But just as Paul, we have been given the task to share Christ with an ailing world. We are also to proclaim Him, revealing this mystery to those around us. Admonishing every [wo]man with all the wisdom His indwelling Spirit provides, so that we can present every [wo]man complete in Christ.
Not by our own power, mind you. Paul is quick to make that clear in verse 29 when he says, “…I labor, striving according to the power, which mightily works within me.” How’s your power level these days? Is it lagging? Then look to its source.
As a believer in Christ, we are blessed at that moment of belief to be indwelled by the Holy Spirit of promise. He is our power source for all that we need to fulfill our stewardship. He leads us. He teaches us. He indwells us with a fruit of love (self-sacrificial), joy (regardless of circumstances), peace (in whatever situation), patience (with ourselves and others who fail us), goodness (only the works of God are good), kindness (even toward the unkind), gentleness (when our flesh cries war, He keeps us restrained), faithfulness (oh that we would let Him help us there!), and self-control (power over the flesh).
Christ is the mystery unfolded. We are the stewards to share Him to the world. May God find us faithful to do His bidding, and may we labor by the power that He provides MIGHTYILY within us.
Father, forgive my lack of stewardship. Help me to walk in the power of Your Spirit and produce whatever fruit You would want me to bear. Striving according to Your power which works mightily within me. I am not weak when I submit to Your power. I am not timid when I let You speak. So, have Your way in me today and always. I pray in Christ, the great mystery that You’ve shared with us. Amen.
Paul, in the end of chapter one, talks about “labor, striving…” and then he goes on in these verses to talk about the struggle he has on their “behalf and for those in Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face…”. He’s never personally met these people but he feels such a compelling push to share these truths with them.
The interesting thing about these verses is that everything that is being done, the knitting together in love, the attaining of the wealth that comes from full assurance of understanding, all of it, Paul speaks of with a focus on the SOURCE of the strength. As we look at the definitions of these things that are happening, we find Paul emphasizing that the strength to do these things comes from the very source he’s been sharing - The mystery of Christ in us.
It is Christ’s Spirit that has come to indwell us at salvation, because of that we have the most inconceivable source of power. The parting of the sea kind of power. A fire from heaven kind of power. Amazingly, even a defeating death kind of power. Paul wants them to know that this source of power is available and at work in us, to knit us together as one in Christ. A source that works to give understanding of this completely mysterious relationship that we can have with God because of Christ Jesus.
Paul’s struggles - living under house arrest, still sharing the gospel that put him there, not being able to see them in person, and teaching them the mystery of God’s plan, is all possible because of a power source that is not his own.
What are you facing today? There are plenty of struggles in this world. Paul says, even though he’s not with them in person, he’s there in spirit. Even though he’s imprisoned, he’s rejoicing. Why? Because he’s heard the news of their good discipline and stability of their faith in Christ. They had heard the true gospel message of “Christ in you”, the author and perfecter of our faith, and he encourages them to keep walking in Him, just as they know Him, by faith.
He’s just commended them for their discipline and stable faith, yet, encourages them to keep walking in that way because there are those who have come into the church and tried to persuade them that there were things they need to do in order to stay saved. Which makes no sense right up front since there was nothing they could do to save themselves and receive Christ, so why would they need to start doing things to keep Him as their Savior? Legalism, Judaism, Gnosticism, were all trying to vie for a place in their beliefs. Yet the simple truth remains: Our faith in Christ has placed us into union with Him. And in Him we have the source of power to know all the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge to deal with each circumstance that we are faced with.
So let me encourage you as well, let’s both be encouraged, to stay diligently focused on the source of our strength and power. Let’s both be encouraged to walk in Christ, following His Spirit’s lead. BECAUSE, we have been firmly rooted in Him. We are so secure in Christ. Nothing will remove us from Him, we are His own. As Titus 2:14 describes us, “a people of His own possession.” We are in Christ, and He cannot deny His own (2 Timothy 2:13)
He is our source of power to face the day in front of us. To face whatever this life throws at us.
“Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)
The result for us, should be as it was for these in Colossae – Overflowing with gratitude.
And a determination that, “Though all the peoples walk each in the name of his own god, as for us, we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.” Micah 4:5
For its, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.”
Father, this is how I am to walk… firmly rooted and established in love through the source of Your Spirit working in me. So, I come in all gratitude. Praising You for Your provision. Praising You for Your power to walk in a manner worthy of this great treasure of Christ in me. Only by Your might and power. Only by Your Spirit. Only in Christ Jesus, in whose name I come. Thank You Father, Amen
“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”
So much in this one verse. In the context, Paul was dealing with an issue of Gnosticism and Judaism, as well as, legalism creeping into the church. The Gnostics believed that your body and soul were separate. They felt knowledge (gnosis) was above all else, to become enlightened (have you heard that term before? Yes, there’s nothing new under the sun, as the Good Book says.) They approached attaining this higher level from one of two perspectives: 1) you could beat your body into submission, through discipline, restrictions, self-abasement; it would cause it so much pain that your soul would say it had enough and leave the body. Or, 2) it would let the body indulge in everything to excess, if the body was separate from the soul, let it enjoy all the sensuality it could attain. Again, with the result that your soul would say enough, and move out. What we have then with the Gnostics is a clear distinction between those who are ascetic (do-gooders by nature) and those who are lascivious (rebels by nature) shown by which approach they took. Likewise, those who are legalists have a set of rules and expectations that you are to live by, and of course, they put their own spin on what those rules are based on what their personal desires are. Judaizers wanted everyone to follow the Law of Moses (which, by the way, the leaders had added to over the years to create their own list of do’s and don’ts above and beyond what God had laid out).
For centuries man has followed the traditions of men. We have sought out philosophy rather than theology. We have (as we most recently have blatantly witnessed) willingly and eagerly followed after the empty deception doled out by those who are in authority.
Have you ever stopped to ask why you worship God the way you do? If you are a church goer, you know the routine. Sing some songs, greet each other, sing some more songs (that I venture to say we rarely think about the lyrics we are verbalizing) and then listen to a short sermonette about this or that, sing another song and go out. To what? To start another work week, another school week, another week where God watches and waits. Waits for another Sunday to roll around where we enter again to sing some songs and greet each other and on it goes. But do we worship? Do we find Him worthy of words, or our efforts? Or are we simply following the traditions of men?
Philosophy says, do good and you’ll receive good. Theology says, none are good, and only in Christ Jesus can you receive good.
Philosophy says, breathe and relax, you’re okay. Theology says, Let Me breathe into you my Spirit so that you can relax and be okay because you can’t do it on your own. But, don’t you find, we are so much quicker to rely on a ten or twelve step program developed by man than we are to trust in the Spirit of God to provide whatever grace we need for the moment.
Traditions of men says we worship on Sundays. Theology says, God wants a daily, abiding relationship with you. Living together, walking together, in His Light.
Traditions of men say we worship by singing. Theology says, you give God what He is worthy of, and isn’t He worthy of our everything?
We see in this verse that those traditions of men are according to the elementary principles of this world. We know that Satan has been given dominion over this world for the time being, it is led by his principles, so why would we want anything to do with the traditions of men?
Of course, there are some traditions that are so very dear to us. And some that are even biblical and worshipful. So, what does Paul mean that we should let no one take us captive by philosophy, empty deception and traditions of men?
The words, “See to it” are a command, and it means to be aware, watch out for, understand, pay attention. In this fallen world there are a lot of fallen, misguided people. The goal for us, as Paul lays it out, is to BE CAREFUL! Don’t just follow the crowd. Stack it up against God’s word and then understand the differences. It will require a lot more theology. The word means, study of God. Are we willing to put in the effort to study God?
Paul had just affirmed these believers in verse seven by saying they have been “firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed…”
They are firmly rooted and built up in Christ. They were taught and they understood their relationship with God through Christ. It was only as time went on that they started allowing other untruths to creep into their belief system. Persuasive men teaching other things. They were being persuaded by things that sounded good. Paul wants them to stack those things that sound good up against the word of God and see if they indeed are good. That’s the admonition to you and I as well.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
See to it… It’s imperative, a command, to be aware, is what we are saying and doing from God, or is it simply man trying to decide what is good or evil? The problem of mankind from the beginning. Be careful what you follow. Watch out, be on guard, alert and understand why you believe as you do.
Father, You have blessed us as Your children to have Your Spirit placed in us, just so that we can know the things that are from You versus the things of this world. He gives us wisdom and understanding. He helps us sort out what is tradition, or philosophy, if we will but listen. Your Word is the light unto our feet. The more we are in it, the more that the lines of distinction become clearer. seeing black and white so much clearer. But Lord, help us not to fall into our own error of biblical bias or legalism as we learn. The more we know, the easier it is to start coming to our own conclusions of this or that, and we see that is exactly how the Pharisees and Sadducees caused men to follow error, even up to today. May we never cause another to stumble by our self-perceived beliefs. Keep us humble Lord, and keep leading us into all truth. Your word is truth. Thank You Father. In Christ Jesus, I say thank You. Amen
Some of the most incredible words ever spoken about you are in these verses, but first, it begins with what it says about the Christ that you’ve placed your trust in.
Who is this Jesus? Some have questioned, liar? Lunatic? Or Lord? But Paul makes no bones about his belief who this Jesus is. Under divine inspiration, he writes that Jesus is the One in whom “…all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” It could not be said plainer, Jesus is God! In all His righteousness, holiness, love, mercy, omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence, He came to earth in the simple form of a man.
There is no other like Him. He is the only human that was fully God at the same time of being humbled in the likeness of man.
Then come the miraculous words in verse ten, “and in Him you have been made complete.”
Wow, have you ever felt lacking? Inadequate? Missing a piece of the puzzle? You know, one fry short of a Happy Meal? Incomplete? Or am I the only one? It’s only natural that we would, for God created us with a God-size hole so that we would seek Him. Paul lays down the truth that “in Him you have been made complete…”
We saw that phrase IN HIM in the book of Ephesians as well, and we saw that at the moment we place our faith in Him as our Savior that we are placed into Him, becoming part of the body of Christ. Sealed there by His Spirit for eternity, and blessed with every spiritual blessing that the heavens hold for us.
Those words should bring a lot of comfort, because the One in whom we have been placed, and made whole, is none other than Jesus who is God, and He “is the head over all rule and authority”. There is no one higher since no one else is God. If you’ve placed your trust in what He did on that cross, you belong to Him. You are His “periousion”, His own treasured possession. And in Him you are made complete, even made adequate for everything the Father prepared for you, according to 2 Corinthians 3:5-6.
Paul goes on… Christ circumcised us. Not as those who circumcised the flesh under the Law, but rather, this is a circumcision that identifies us as His by cutting off the power and nature of our flesh so that we are able to completely live by His Spirit, no longer a slave to the flesh. He makes us completely empowered to say, "NO, not today, Satan!"
In Him we have been birthed into a new creature. One that is now spirit. One where the flesh is no longer to be our master. As a follower of Christ, in Him our natural impulse to sin has been put aside; having been made complete because we have been buried in His death and raised to walk in that new life, He gives us.
Don’t forget, we were dead in our transgressions, no spiritual life at all! But in Him, that debt was removed. Our certificate owed was long and costly, and God took it and nailed it to the cross, right through the hands and feet of the Savior.
That is our Jesus. The One who alone disarmed the powers that held us captive. He alone triumphed. He alone could because He alone was “all the fullness of Deity” come to stand in our place, so that we could stand in Him. Complete.
Thank You, Father, for showing us Yourself in the form of Your Son. Showing us how to live and walk by Your Spirit. Forgive us for failing to walk in that simple truth that we have been changed. We fall so easily back into old habits of that one who was a slave to sin, when we have the very power of Your Spirit within us to say, No. Thank You for Your complete forgiveness. You held none of it back from us. You gave it all. Praise You Lord God. Praise You for Jesus who came to make us complete. Help us to walk worthy. In Christ I ask, Amen
Verse fifteen leaves us with the fantastic news that Jesus Christ has made all other rulers and authorities, whether flesh or spirit, impotent. Totally powerless. He triumphed over every evil force through His death as our certificate of debt was nailed to that cross. The very death they were celebrating, thinking it would bring them victory, in turn it destroyed them. And, in Him we have been made the blessed recipients of that victory through His resurrection. It was nothing that we have done, but all accomplished by Christ Jesus in God’s great grace.
So, why then, do we allow mankind to defraud us of that prize? Why do we submit ourselves to other’s judgment of what does or does not save us?
If we have accepted Christ as our Savior, we accepted it in the total grace of God, so why would we go back to submitting to the rules of man? Why would we bend to their self-made religion and thought, making it our own? Remember, the Law was given to point to sin and a need for a Savior. It was all a mere shadow of what was to come. In Christ, we have been given grace! And, grace is all we need to live this life and the next, for His grace provides every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Even giving us the deed to an eternal home. It is completely sufficient for every need. And it’s all ours! In Him.
Self-abasement, worship of angels, and trusting in visions that get inflated by our minds, we’re warned can defraud us of the freedom we have in Christ. Paul says we are to hold fast to the head. To not get sidetracked by the self-made religions of man, following after a vision that may be “inflated”, puffed up out of arrogance or pride. They aren’t holding fast to Christ Jesus. They are making it up as they go. Let’s not fall into that trap, too. Let’s not defraud ourselves of our prize!
He’s given us the Word of God as a training manual. His word is a light to our path. He’s given us His Spirit as our guide and teacher. There are plenty of things in there that tell us how to live. There are lists of what we are to put off, lists of what we are to put on. As we saw earlier, there is only one kind of behavior that a Christian should have, and that is one of total submission to the control of the Holy Spirit. Doing only what the Father has planned for us, just as Jesus was our example.
We belong to Christ, who holds all things together (Col. 1:17). He is our supply that makes us thrive and grow (Col. 2:19). So, hold fast to Him!
Father, I see so many relying on “visions” rather than looking into Your word for guidance. So many seeking a special revelation from You, when You’ve placed Your Spirit within each believer to be our guide and teacher. Forgive us for following after others rather than holding fast to Christ. Praise You that He triumphed over all rulers and authorities. He removed any hold they might have over us. Thank You for Your grace, may we be diligent to walk worthy of it and never abuse it. In Christ Jesus, I ask these things. Amen.
The “If” that begins this sentence in verse twenty is a 1st Class Conditional if. Did you know there are four different classes of the small word “if” in the Koine’ Greek? And they have four distinct meanings. Here they are:
- 1st class condition – If and it's true. It can be translated "as is the case," or "since"
- 2nd class condition – If but it's false
- 3rd class condition – Maybe it is and maybe it isn't, similar to our wishing
- 4th class condition – I wish it were true, but it's not
In this case, “If you have died with Christ…” is actually saying, “Since
you have died with Christ…”, or it might read, “as is the case, that you’ve died
with Christ…”. If the grammar didn’t show it (which it does), we would still know
it by the fact that Paul is addressing believers in this letter, and once a believer
has accepted Christ as Savior, they have identified themselves with His death
and resurrection. Every one of our sins was nailed to that cross as He hung
there. Life as we knew it naturally, died with Christ. BUT, just as we died
with Him, we were raised with Him. Raised to walk in newness of life. A new spiritual
“Since you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of this
world…” points to the fact that in Christ we have been born again, being spiritually
alive we are now no longer bound to the principles of this world, no longer a
slave, for it is not our master.
So why? Paul wants to know, “…why, as if you were living in the world, do you…” And therein lies the crux of life’s problems. We are no longer of this world, but we are here living on planet earth. And too often we end up living like the rest of the world. We submit ourselves to its teachings, to its decrees. To it's lifestyles. To it's entertainment. We listen to what its interpretation of who we are, is. We allow it to define us, to tell us what we can and cannot do, building a life around it, when all the while, this world and all that is in it will perish, be gone. Poof.
What will remain? Those who are in Christ. who are standing in His grace, will remain for all eternity with Him. Those who are not in Christ shall perish into an eternal death. And, that’s a very long time to keep dying.
Oh sure, the world may seem to have some appearance of wisdom. Did you note that in v. 23 it refers to, “self-made religion and self-abasement”? The primary word being “self”? Those in the world who want to tell you what to do, how to live, what to handle, touch, taste, or do not touch, are full of self. Arrogant. Judgmental. Bent on shaping the world as they want it to be.
Some would even say that Christians are the worst when it comes to this. Let’s be real, some are. It’s because somewhere along the way they have bought into the idea of legalism, or they end up judging others based on the principles of this world. Of course, there are others that seem to judge based on God’s word. However, as much as others might want to label Christians as judgmental, having a biblical perspective does not make us judgmental, it means we are building our lives on truth, and most of us who do that, also hope to help others see it the same. So, we speak the truth (in love, right?)
Did you know the Word of God tells us that we are to make judgments in regards to other brothers and sisters in Christ? Matthew 18:20, one of the most misquoted verses in the Bible, is actually dealing with church discipline. That is, discipline of another believer when they go astray. We are told to call attention to the ongoing sin in their life. The difference is that our judgment is not from ourselves, or principles we find worthy, but rather from the Word. Does their ongoing behavior line up with walking in a manner worthy of the One who died for them?
(As a side note - I know that people take great comfort in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three have gathered in My name, I am there in their midst.” But isn’t it even more comforting to know that even if you are only one, that God is still with you, in your midst? His Word assures us of that. He tells us He will never leave nor forsake us. He’s a God who sees, and knows, and He watches over you. Let that be your encouraging comfort.)
Just look at 1 Corinthians 5:9-13. We have a responsibility to keep the church body holy.
So back to this judging thing. God’s Word also makes it clear that we are
not to judge unbelievers. They have been judged already,
God says, for their unbelief. (John 3:18; 12:48) They have no other standard than
the principles of this world, mastered by the ruler of this world, and it is
not ours to judge their behavior, but to learn, and avoid that conduct. In
regards to not understanding why they would behave such a way, one pastor says
it well, “what do we expect? They’re
heathens.” Until they’re not! Judging unbelievers will not draw them to Christ,
but loving them will. We are to share the love of Christ and we can’t do that
from a judgmental point of view. The two are opposed. For unbelievers our response
is prayer, love and share the gospel, as the Spirit leads.
I don’t usually get too political, so forgive me, but I couldn’t help but think of our current government situation when I read these verses. I have begun to notice that many are treating this worldly government as their god. They religiously listen to the “prophets”, these government officials and doctors, accepting their words as wise, as truth. They shape their life to fit the principles outlined for them. They’re told to live in a certain way (which really is not living at all, people are missing out on so much), and worse, they gather to worship the true God only when and if these others say it is okay to do so. Something has gone terribly wrong. Fear has become a master.
As a believer we MUST believe God at His Word. He says not to live in fear, He is with us. He says, our time on earth has already been numbered (so teach us Lord to use them wisely.) He has said that He will work whatever comes into our lives for our good. He says, if He is for us who can be against us? He says a lot of things that somehow have gotten forgotten amid the principles of this world.
Why? Paul asks.
Why, do we live according to the principles of this world when we have died with Christ. The principles of this world are of no value to us. Do we believe God? Do we believe His Word when it says, “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21)? If so, then we must live this life without fear. Yes, by all means, be responsible as you would with any other illness, but please, start living the life that God has called you to live. (Not many are called to do that in isolation.)
If we are “holding fast to the head” (I’ll let you decide which class of if that is), then God will be at work in and through us. We can’t hope for better than that, so again, hold fast. But let's make sure we are holding fast to the right thing, shall we? And if we see a sister holding to the principles of this world rather than the word of God, let's follow His Spirit's leading, and if it be His will, share His Word, to win them back. Let's encourage one another all the more!
Father, what have You called each of us to do in this situation? How do you want to use us in this time? I pray that each one of us would be alert to the ways that we are living according to the principles of this world rather than by walking in the control of Your Spirit. Apart from Him we can do nothing to please You, and that is my goal, Lord God, to please You. Praise You for covering us in Your grace. Help us in dealing with this pandemic. Help us in being judgmental to only judge sin for sin and leave the rest to You. May we win a sister in the process. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Raised up with Christ. That is the position that each one of us as believers are blessed to be in. Therefore, death has no hold on us because in Christ we have already been resurrected. Leaving this earth will be the most incredible trip every taken, because to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord! Instant gratification. If we could just keep our perspective of this world from that vantage, life would be so much better.
Chapter Three begins with another of those ifs. “If you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above.” This is a first class if. We can know that by the “indicative mood” of the phrase “have been raised up.” The indicative means it’s a fact you can count on. So, again, here we have “since you have been raised up with Christ,” for every believer has been placed into Christ at salvation and because He has been raised up and is sitting at the right hand of the Father, our position spiritually is in Him, with Him right there at the throne of God.
The people of Colossae were no different than us. We, like they, get so consumed by this world we live in. It is the tangible, physical life that demands our attention. Satan, like a spoiled child, tries to turn our eyes to anything that will get our attention, and his goal is to hold our gaze. Being the physical nurturers we are, we allow ourselves to be easily distracted.
Paul says, “set your mind on the things above.” Then clarifies it even further, “Not on the things that are on the earth.”
Why? Because “you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Too often, we are so worldly minded that we are no heavenly good, for our job as a believer is to be an Ambassador of our King (2 Corinthians 5:20) to bring reconciliation between God and others. God has placed you where you are, among the people that you know, for that very purpose. And I guarantee they are all watching to see what kind of representation of the King you will be.
They are watching, while Satan and company are trying to get you off course. It truly is a spiritual battle. One that must keep us in constant contact with our God.
In the mindset of one who is seated in the heavenlies in Christ, we are to consider the members of our earthly body as dead to things such as, immorality. That’s any kind of sexual uncleanness. That includes our thought life and what we watch or read, as well as what we participate in. We are act as dead to impurity. This deals with our morals. Are they pure? Good? Wholesome morals? We don’t have to look too far around us to see the lack of morals in this world. There is no compass of right and wrong as each one decides what is relevant truth, or not. Everyone does what they want, when they want, as they want. As a Christian we are to have pure morals based on the truth of God’s Word.
We are to consider ourselves dead to passion. This isn’t speaking of the type of passion that one would have to follow after His calling in our life. This is a lustful passion. Sexual in nature. In fact, these first three things all deal with sexual drive and ambition. One of Satan’s biggest tools is taking what God intended to be an enjoyable, wholesome, fruitful, expression of great love, and twist it into a selfish act bent on satisfying our own flesh. Since we are to die to self and live for Christ, we need to consider- think about, be cognizant of these things that would twist God’s design and plan into something grotesque. In other words, don’t let the flesh drive us, let His Spirit lead us.
Other things to die to: Evil desire. Craving what is harmful or bad for us. Quit longing for the things we know that are actually harmful to us. Aren’t we silly people? We know there are certain things that are bad for us, whether that be too much food, alcohol, smoking, anything that has effect on our physical will also in turn effect the spiritual. Remember Gnostics taught that your body and soul were separate and unconnected. They believed you could live however you wanted physically because it didn’t affect your soul. We know that to be a lie. Our soul is housed by our body. Our spirit is carried in this physical body as well. What we allow our body to participate in deeply effects our soul and spirit. So don’t crave evil for your body to participate in.
Then there’s this greed thing. Someone once said, “how much money is enough… just a little bit more.” Money isn’t the only thing we can be greedy over though. We can be greedy for attention, for material possessions, for food, and on it goes. You fill in the blank. Every bit of greed, stems from a place of selfishness. Irrespective of need, we just want more. These things we are greedy for ultimately become our god. We place a higher priority on them than what God has given us. Discontentment breeds greed. It was the Apostle Paul, sitting in house arrest, that said he had learned to be content in every circumstance (Philippians 4:11) Contentment sits back with a grateful heart rather than striving and fighting for more. Because greed amounts to idolatry. May we not go there!
Verse seven reminds us that we USED to walk that way. We used to live that way. But in Christ we are a new creature and we need to allow His Spirit to rehabilitate our life to match our new position in Him.
Rehabilitate us by participating in the action to put aside all (and this is a command): anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech, lying, and anything else of our old self that had evil practices. They don’t represent the God we love or serve. These things put self in first place rather than Him.
How do we do this? Galatians 5:16-17 says, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”
Father, our goal, as a believer, should be to please You, the One who loved us so much that You sent Your Son to be our Savior. You gave Your Spirit to lead us. To teach us. To rehabilitate us. I pray we each one of us will cooperate with You in that today. Help us to set our mind on things above, and not on the things that are on the earth. Remembering who we are in Christ, in whom we pray. Praise You Lord God for making all things possible. Amen.
Since we have been born spiritually from above, as believers in Christ Jesus, we saw that we are to participate with His Spirit in putting off certain types of behaviors. I think one of the amazing gifts in the great grace of God is that His Spirit is more than willing to do all the heavy lifting for us. All we need to do is submit. And yet, I don’t know about you, but I find that submission is simultaneously the hardest, and yet, the easiest thing to do.
Here’s what I mean by that, submission means dying to our own self, our own will, and turning that over to someone else. Dying to self when we accept salvation sounds really good, especially when we know the alternative is eternity in hell, but as a Christ follower, we are to daily submit to His Spirit that is trying to abide within us. What happens in the gnitty-gritty of daily life when we want to do something but God says, “nope, I want you to do this instead”? What happens when we want to be angry at someone? What happens when a lie is easier than being truthful? Or when we need to forgive someone, or be patient, or be kind, but we just don’t want to? Submission becomes really hard, doesn’t it? Dying to self doesn’t seem right somehow.
But the incredible twist is that, when we finally cave (sometimes it might take us a while) and say, I’ll do what You want God, He just shows up, often in astounding ways, and carries the load for us. He makes forgiving others possible as we remember how much we’ve been forgiven. The Spirit gives peace where there was once turmoil; kindness where there was anger. He provides all the grace we will need to accomplish whatever He’s called us to do. But He isn’t going to force us to accept it. We need to participate with Him in putting “on the new self”. We are to choose to place ourselves in the position to be acted upon to put on something new. And you know what? With God it doesn’t matter what race, what nationality, what religious affiliation you might have, the fact is that Christ was given for ALL. Christ is all in ALL.
There is no room for racism or partiality, where God is concerned.
Ephesians said it like this, God made known His mystery to all of us, “that is the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things in the earth.” Those who were formerly excluded and strangers, had no hope, “BUT NOW in Christ Jesus you who were formerly far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Eph. 1:10; 2:13)
Jesus’ half-brother, James, spoke about those who showed partiality to the rich above the poor. In James 2:1 it reads, “My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.” Who are we to take the grace of God and decide for ourselves whom should receive it? Should we have received it?
Since we have been born from above (not by our own doing, but by simple faith in the work of Christ) then we are to put on the new self. We need to cooperate with the Spirit to change us from the inside out!
We are being renewed to a “true knowledge.” The Gnostics felt that knowledge would save them. Elevate them. “Enlightening” to a higher level was their aim. It’s still going on in the world, isn’t it? Higher education, spiritualism, mindfulness. All making knowledge the goal. But Paul says, there is a TRUE knowledge, and it’s according to the image of the One who created us. True knowledge comes from God.
Verse twelve says, “as those who have been chosen of God…” Perhaps we need the reminder of how God chose us. Satan has weedled his way into the church to make some believe that God chose who would or would not be a Christian. Negating the other attributes of God, they single out His sovereignty as to excuse Him for then sending other people to the lake of fire for all eternity. Oh, they don’t approach it from that view, they instead are “just happy that He chose them.” That’s not the God I see in the Bible. Nor is it the God that I serve. The God I know is also ALL loving, ALL knowing, ALL just, ALL righteous, ALL holy, ALL patient, ALL kind, ALL present, ALL powerful. And He tells me Himself in His word that He is not willing that any would perish, but that ALL would come to salvation. He is ALL of these things, and none outweigh the other.
His attributes are what make Him God and we cannot pick and choose which of those we want to override the others. What if we just said, as do some, that God is love above all else. Their premise is that since God is love, love will win, and ALL will be saved from the lake of fire, in fact, there really is no hell because God’s love would never send us there anyway. Yes, God is love, but He is also righteous. And this is where we meet Him, at the fact that He is righteous and we are not, and in His love, He sent His Son, and our faith in that Savior places us into Christ, and Christ was the plan all along. The summing up of all things in Him. What we find then is that those who chose to be IN CHRIST, are the ones God foreknew and chose to be holy & blameless. We participate in the action by placing our faith in Him, for He was the plan.
But what about where it says “He chose us in Him before the foundations of the world”? (Eph. 1:4)
Good question. We must then look at the text in the original language and finish the sentence. What we find is that God chose those that are in Christ to be holy and blameless. Not that He chose who would be in Christ, but that those who choose to be in Christ were then chosen to be holy and blameless. A great distinction!
Christ Jesus is our all in all. He is the mystery, one in which all the fullness of deity was revealed to us. In Him we have been made complete (Col. 2:9-10). It’s all about being in Him! And in Him, we are made new. There is no longer any distinction between Jew or Gentile. Between those who lived according to the Law, or not. Between those who were ascetic or lascivious. Or those who were barbaric, or not. For Christ paid the same price for us all.
Father, how blessed we are to be called Your own. Praise You for being a God that is just, loving, kind, forgiving, righteous and just. Sovereign Lord. You are all that and more, and yet, You sent Jesus to die for us. To unite us to Yourself. He is our all, in all. Everything we need. Praise You Father for such a plan. Praise You for Jesus Christ. Help us to walk worthy of Your great gift. In Christ I pray, Amen.
Verse 12 begins, as those who have been “chosen of God, holy and beloved”. YOU are beloved. The word here is “egapemenoi” and it’s a “perfect, passive, participle” in the Koine` Greek, which simply means that there was an action in the past that has a continuing result, it was an action that happened to you, and it was a principle that God had set up. Not just to you, but a principle set up for all people, that whoever is in Christ would be those set apart as His beloved.
Our response to this love that pulled us out of the pit of darkness and moved us into His glorious light, is that we are to PUT ON a variety of things. But this is not a list of to do’s, rather, a revealing that since we have been clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and have His Spirit indwelling us, what we have inside of us is to work itself outside of us in all the glory of God. His attributes are available for us to live out.
If we are wondering what the life of one in Christ looks like, it comes with a heart of compassion. Compassion recognizes the pain of others. It means we will be looking outside ourselves to what is going on in other’s lives. It’s an awareness to their needs that extends mercy to them. That’s compassion.
Kindness falls into line with compassion as it puts into action a response to their need. Kindness does good for another.
There’s humility involved here as we set aside our self. Set aside our own judgments and interpret the situation based on the esteem of others, over the esteem of our self. Having a correct estimation of who we are, as well as who they are. Humility relies on the submission to Someone higher than us because He is God, and we are not.
Gentleness. I liked the definition of this word. It goes beyond meekness to “an inwrought grace of the soul.” (Strongs) What that means is that we are to treat others in the grace that we have been given. There is none gentler than our God, who rightfully could slay each one of us, but treats us in gentle grace.
He is patient, and we are to live that out as He lives within us. We are to be one “using self-restraint before proceeding to action.” Having “the quality of a person who is able to avenge himself yet refrains from doing so.” (Strongs) Think about that definition a bit.
Bear with one another, as one who has patience with “another in regard to the errors or weaknesses of anyone” (Strongs) This is what God does for us, isn’t it? He knows our weaknesses. He knows how fallible we are, and that is why, as those chosen and beloved, He provided His grace in multiple ways, the least not being His Spirit coming in to help us achieve these things. He bears with us constantly. Always. Even when we continue to take back the reins of control in our lives. He is still patient, bearing with us.
Bless the Lord, He forgives. And we are to as well. Extending His grace through us to give grace to another. Forgiveness is not just a gift for the one we forgive, but it is a greater gift to us, for it releases us from the hold that the other person has over us by what they did to us. Forgiveness doesn’t say what they did was okay. Forgiveness says, I’m going to release you from the cost of what you did. That is exactly what God did for us. Every sin we committed was forgiven, and paid for, by Jesus Christ. As one who belongs to Him, we are to extend that forgiveness to others. Christ’s example is that He did that even when the other person didn’t ask to be forgiven. The forgiveness was just made available for them to accept, or not.
The final kicker of this list is in verse 14. “Beyond all these things, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” You probably guessed that the word for love is “agape”. It’s a self-sacrificial love that keeps on giving regardless of the response. It always does what is in the best interest of the other. It is only possible to live this type of love under the control of the Holy Spirit.
We just celebrated Mother’s Day. And we fully recognize that there are many mothers who would gladly sacrifice themselves for their children, even children who have gone astray, but agape goes beyond self-sacrifice. Agape always does what is best for the other person. Sacrificing self can go terribly wrong in parenting, and is not always in the best interest of the child. If we get things out of balance (which is our natural tendency by the way), we end up training them to be takers and never givers, as we give and give and give. Too often our idea of what is best for them is really not. We correct and train (or not) based on our own desires. I was a big “guilter” as a mom. I wanted them to know, to feel, to understand the depth of their disobedience or poor behavior. So, I would try to lay a guilt trip on them, rather than disciplining, forgiving and moving on. It was not a great parenting tool. It ended up affecting me more than them, I think. I didn’t know how to parent for their best, try as I might. BUT, when we parent under the control of the Holy Spirit, our approach changes because He alone knows what is best for our child. As we follow His leading, we will parent in a way that will be beneficial to them in the long run. That is true love.
Praise God He never intended to try this all on our own. He set us apart, in Christ, with His Spirit to direct our path through this crazy, maze of a world. It’s His great love and grace that help us to put those things into action in our own lives. Affecting the world around us. Before we get lost in the idea that this will create utopia, remember, we are living in a fallen world that doesn’t know God like we do. So, as His own, holy and beloved, this is a life-long assignment of living this way. But we may be like those mentioned in Hebrews 11, who never saw the fulfilment of their labors. Like those who served God faithfully (well, most of the time 😉) because they knew God would provide “something better” (Hebrews 11:40).
That’s what I’m longing for, aren’t you? Something better. If we hope to have that, then we need to carefully live each day, putting on the character of Christ, through allowing His Spirit to produce it in us, because we are holy and beloved by the God who created us, and He is always faithful to His character.
Father, Thank You. Praise You for being a God of love, patience, forbearance. Help us to live the same by Your Spirit working in us. Let Your love and grace live in and through us to the world around us. And to You be the glory. In Christ’s name, as one holy and beloved, I pray. Amen.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…” As one whose been chosen of God, holy and beloved, we are to live out the character of Christ in our life, by the power of His Spirit within us. Pretty impossible on our own, huh? But all things are possible with God, aren’t they?
2 Peter 1:3-4 say, “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these [His own glory and excellence – of which there is no shortage!] He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”
He made living out life in a godly way possible through Christ, and through the power of His Spirit. Including living out the ultimate character of His love.
He goes on to direct us to let the peace of Christ rule in our heart.
Oh, God’s word is so amazing!! Don’t ever stop studying it! The Apostle Paul has been talking to this group of believers in Colossae, a group he’s never met face to face, but he writes this letter to teach them about the grace of God, to straighten out the false teachings of those among them that are leading them astray with teachings of Gnosticism, Judaism, legalism. Paul brings them right back to the grace in which they first accepted Jesus as the Christ.
He explains this mystery of how we who are in Christ have been chosen to be holy and blameless (an echo from his letter to the church of Ephesus); the mystery of all things being summed up in Christ. The mystery of “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” And then we read in verse fifteen that we are to let the peace of Christ rule in us. But here’s the thing. Our usual thought about peace doesn’t even measure up to what Paul was saying in the Koine`.This is not a mind at ease, though it should result in that for us.
The definition of this word here in verse 15 for “peace” is described by what it is not. Let these thoughts resonate in your mind as you realize that in Christ you have His peace. It’s defined as the opposite of war, or disturbance, the absence of hostile feelings. It has a strong religious content. It carries echoes of redemption. The opposite of divine judgment, it is a state of not being in conflict with God. Pardon and mercy are also mentioned in the definition.
You see, Christ is the key. He is the vehicle that we take to obtain peace with the God who is the eternal, creator of all things. He alone reconciled us to God. We are no longer at war with Him. There are no hostile feelings toward us, sinful creatures though we be, for we have been given the peace of Christ! A peace that was bought with His righteous blood on a cross.
Christ alone provided for God’s mercy to reach even us. There is no earning this peace. There is no price we can pay. There is not the ability to reconcile ourselves to God any other way than through the “peace of Christ”. In Christ there is no divine judgment to be held against us. He paid the cost to set us free, and provide peace between God and man. So, let that peace of Christ rule in your heart. Not as a get out of jail free card to go back and live as we would naturally, but in light of the cost of His peace that we would “put on” Christ. Wear Him in the holy, righteousness that He is for all the world to see. He is our all in all. Let Him rule!
To rule means to act as an arbiter (an arbiter is one who settles a dispute or has ultimate authority in a matter. Christ is that for us, so what He says, goes.)
As we allow that peace that He made for us to rule in our hearts we are then to respond with all wisdom (again, only found in God’s word and by the leading of His Spirit) to teach (give instruction), and admonish one another (exhort, even to the point of discipline). We are to do this, it says in verse 16 through psalms, hymns, spiritual songs and praising, with thankfulness in our hearts.
What are these things: Psalms tell the story of man’s deliverance, whereas, hymns are a declaration of how great someone or something is. Spiritual songs express spiritual truths. The result of all this wisdom of Who we serve, and all He’s done for us, and continues to do for us, is that we should live a life of praise. For Christ is our all in all!
Verse 17 finishes up with “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…”
That’s quite the caveat, that everything we do should be done as if it were Christ Himself doing it. Attributing every action to the action of Jesus. And yet, if we are doing this thing right, it will be His Spirit that is doing it. Every word, every deed, done by His Spirit in us, working out the character and fruit He has placed within us.
In the 1990’s there was a large movement among both Christian and non-christian alike, called, “What Would Jesus Do”. There was clothing, jewelry, accessories, all asking the question, “What Would Jesus Do?” WWJD became a known symbol for making the right choice. I looked up the source of this movement and found a LOT of information about it. In 1896 the Kansas Congregational minister Charles Sheldon published a novel called In His Steps: What would Jesus do? The publisher made the mistake of not copywriting it and so it was copied and multiplied by multiple publishers until it became among the top 50 published books. Then, some 90 years later a youth group leader read it and decided to make it a motto for her group. From there it spread until organizations of every kind use it to make their point, even today. It’s a timeless question, isn’t it?
God’s word tells us, whatever we do, whatever choices in life we make, let’s do it as if Christ Himself is making and doing them, after all, it is to be His Spirit that is at work working out the peace of Christ within us. Others watch to see what Christ looks like. They are watching those who are called His. So, let’s do all as in His name, giving thanks through Him to God the Father, for He makes all things possible! Even living letting His peace rule in our hearts. Just follow His Spirit’s lead.
Father, thank you seems a bit impotent in light of what You accomplished in Christ Jesus, but thank You, for making peace between us. You did all it takes to reconcile and redeem us. Praise You, for who You are, for what You’ve done. Your grace is full, and our peace is made, all in the name of Christ Jesus. Help us to walk in all the wisdom of that today. In Him, I pray, Amen.
Relationships. They can be tricky, or just downright hard, yet the Bible gives us the principles to navigate them by. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be easier, but if we’re willing to follow God’s direction, then our part in them will, at the least, be pleasing to Him. So, what does He say here in Colossians three about relationships?
Wives, be subject to your husband. Husbands, love your wives. Children, be obedient to your parents. Fathers, don’t exasperate your kids. Slaves, obey your masters. And, Masters, be just and fair, remembering you have a Master in heaven. Each and every relationship is underscored with doing all things as to the Lord, for ultimately, it is Him who we are serving.
Don’t you love it? Paul says, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily…” Heartily, put your heart in it! The word is psyches – it is your soul. With all you are, work as if you were working directly for the Lord. The cool thing about this word is that it’s feminine, which is a response. A response to what? To the fact that we are in Christ. We’ve escaped the corruption of this world, we’ve been redeemed, firmly rooted, and built up in Him. Our response should then be, to please Him. In whatever we do or say. Whatever work He has put before us. Whatever relationship we are in.
Our omniscient God knows how hard it is for us wives to submit to our husbands, j, He just as He knows how hard it is for our husbands to love us and not be “embittered” by us. It’s like a carousel ride that doesn’t stop - We don’t submit, he gets embittered because we are always arguing about what we should be doing, and we get even more stiff-necked about our position because he’s not loving us as he should, and he gets more embittered by our stubbornness, and on and on the cycle goes. UNTIL we willingly allow the Spirit to work in us.
I know what you’re thinking… if God would just change HIM! But that’s not the focus of our relationship with God. God is much too personally attentive to us. To you. He wants your full attention and full obedience, just as He wants mine. And sometimes, just as the book of James speaks of, He allows various trials in our lives to work out Christ in us. That disagreeable husband you might have may just be the tool that God uses to work out His fruit within you. For wouldn’t you agree, its in the messy times, when God is the only way, that we finally make headway in our growth? We learn to be forgiving. We engage our soul, our will, our thoughts, and actions, to be patient, kind, tenderhearted, loving.
We’re not good at maintaining that type of response by ourselves. Oh, we might be able to pull it off for a short time, but face it, we need His Spirit to produce that fruit in us. Our will only lasts so long. But walking with His Spirit provides an endless supply of power to achieve long lasting results that will ultimately please God.
Our job is to remember, in every relationship, we are serving the Lord Christ. The definition of this type of serve is “to serve - normally in a humble manner and in response to the demands or commands of others.” (Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A.1996)
As we walk in Christ Jesus, our perfect example of a servant, we are to serve others. Heartily! Humbly. Recognizing we need God to fulfill every need. And it is to Him whom we serve. After all, we know we have a Master in heaven to please. Let's be about that in whatever we do.
Father, relationships are not always easy, and yet, perhaps that’s why you placed us in so many. Working out every facet of self from us to depend more and more on Your Spirit to live like Christ did, in full surrender. May we be just as self-sacrificial in each of our relationships. Give wisdom to be the kind of wife we should be, the mother to the children you’ve blessed us with, the workers, or managers, You’ve given us responsibility to perform. May we walk by Your Spirit with all we are. I ask in Christ’s name. Amen.
Devote yourselves to prayer. Keep alert in an attitude of thanksgiving.
Paul begins to close his letter and he does so with an exhortation to keep on praying, and keep on being thankful. Having just stated that we are to do everything as unto the Lord rather than for men, he knows we need a direct line with Almighty God to achieve what he’s asking us to do. His answer: devote ourselves to prayer and be committed to keeping that communication line open all day long.
Praying is one thing, but with an attitude of thanksgiving, it’s another, isn’t it? How many times have your prayers sprung out of anger, or frustration? How many times have we prayed because we had nothing left we could do? Yet, Paul makes this one distinction – do it with an attitude of thankfulness.
Have you ever tried to pray about someone you’re angry with and been able to stay mad while praying for them? Try entering into that prayer with thankfulness and see how long the anger lasts.
Paul also knew that when we pray for someone, bringing them before a holy and just God, that we might recognize our own sinfulness in the process, especially if we intend to come to Him in an attitude of thankfulness. You can’t fake purity with God. He knows every thought before we think it, every word before it is spoken. He knows our hearts, wretched as they are. And He says, devote yourselves to staying in contact with Me.
Prayer is open communication with our Father, the God who created all things. And in order to come to Him and have a conversation with Him we must be right with Him. Perhaps that’s why we are to walk in humility, acknowledging He is God and we are not. Perhaps that’s why 1 John 1 tells us that to maintain fellowship with Him we must confess our sins.
We can only ever please Him when we are in fellowship with Him through His Spirit. Our behavior isn’t going to cut it. No matter how hard we try to be good, to do good. We need to be alert to those things that would separate us from fellowship with God, and pray.
I’m pretty sure that we women have the easier lot. At least in this area. I think God uses our parents, and then our husbands, as a training ground for us to learn to submit, and as we achieve that, we find it’s easier to submit to God.
I’m also pretty sure it’s a fact that most of us would gladly submit to God rather than to our parents or husbands, but truth is, we can’t do one without doing the other. And if we are going to do either, we must be devoted to pray without ceasing, in an attitude of gratitude that comes from a place of humility. And that is what pleases God.
What does Paul want these believers to pray for? Pray for our pastor-teachers, our missionaries, and all those who share the gospel. Every believer is to share the gospel message, so yes, pray for me and pray for you.
Pray that doors would be opened. You realize the significance of those words as you remember that Paul is in prison at the time of this writing, behind locked doors. Yet, he doesn’t pray that those doors be opened. He prays that God will open the door for the word, that they might speak of the mystery of Christ.
We need to pray that God would make it clear what words to speak. As God opens doors to share Christ with those around, pray for words you should speak. His Spirit is within you to give you wisdom in each situation, don’t move ahead of Him, or don’t lag behind. Speak as He leads.
From the mindset of thanksgiving should be easy as we remember this mystery of Christ in us, the hope of glory. There are so many blessings in Christ that are given to us. We have been included when once we were excluded, we have been reconciled to God, we have been given a Helper to achieve all that God calls us to do.
So, let’s conduct ourselves with wisdom toward outsiders (those unbelievers around us) making the most of every opportunity God provides to share the gospel message.
Let our speech be with grace, seasoned with salt (which is both a preservative and adds flavor.) Who knows but the words the Spirit gives may be a preservative to the life of the one hearing.
Back to those relationships, they are going to need a lot of grace. Conduct ourselves in such a way that our words might flavor their life with grace. Remembering that grace is never earned, it is gift.
That's the exhortation that Paul gives these fellow believers, An exhortation we would be well to follow. Devote yourself, in an attitude of gratitude, to talking to God.
Father, the only way to achieve these goals is to remain in constant prayer, being devoted to that type of lifestyle that walks with You minute by minute. Help us to do so, and to be alert to having an attitude of thankfulness. You have blessed us so much in Christ, may we be a blessing to others, as You lead. In Jesus’ name I ask. Amen
Do you ever read the names of the people in the Bible and wonder what they were like? We are only given snippets of them, a mention here, a note there. As Paul is closing up his letter to the believers in Colossae, he begins to talk about those with him. Some under arrest with him, and others free to leave.
Tychicus is one of the latter. Paul says, he’s sending Tychicus as the letter bearer entrusted by Paul. Look at the words used to describe this man: Beloved brother (a believer in Christ), a faithful servant and bond-servant in the Lord, sent to be an encouragement to them. Tychicus was from Asia Minor, and traveled with Paul, as well as delivered letters to Ephesus with Epaphras. Given the task of encouraging these other believer’s hearts.
Onesimus – here’s an interesting tidbit about Onesimus – Look how Paul describes him: Our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of them. Onesimus is going home. The interesting tidbit is harmonizing that fact with the letter of Philemon. A single paged note from Paul to a man named Philemon (between Titus and Hebrews), probably written and delivered at the same time as the one to the church. Philemon was a faithful attender and generous giver to the church of Colossae. It was held in his house. And Onesimus was at one time his slave, but he ran off. Paul is now sending him home, and in the letter to Philemon tells of all the help that Onesimus has been to him. Appealing to him for “my child Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment, who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me.” Paul makes a case for Onesimus, detailing how much he wanted to keep him with him but knew he needed to go home. He pleads that Philemon would now recognize him as more than a slave, but now a beloved brother in Christ. And whatever is owed by Onesimus be charged to Paul’s account. He’s asking for Philemon to treat Onesimus in grace, as a favor to Paul. As for Onesimus, a runaway slave, he had to be counting on the words of Paul to bring about reconciliation with Philemon, but I'm sure there was a certain anxiousness to returning. He had to trust God with that.
Aristarchus is mentioned next. A fellow prisoner. A Macedonian traveling companion of Paul who winds up in jail with him.
Mark (Barnabas’ cousin). Remember the story of Barnabas and Paul arguing over taking Mark with them on one of their missionary trips, because Mark had abandoned them when needed? Apparently that all got sorted out in God’s good grace, because here we see that Mark (also known as John Mark, and also believed to be the author of the gospel of Mark) is with Paul. Along with a man named Justus (Jesus), each having the distinction that they are the only two that are from the circumcision. They were Jewish. Each had proved themselves to be an encouragement to Paul.
Ephaphras is one of them. He’s a bond slave of Jesus Christ, and labors earnestly for them in his prayers, praying that they might stand perfect and fully assured in the will of God. Deeply concerned for those in Colossae, Laodicea and Hierapolis, since he was the one who presented the gospel to them. He was the church start there in Colossae, so of course he would have a fond affection for them.
Luke, “the beloved physician.” Traveling with Paul. Nice to have a resident physician considering the beatings Paul endured. He would require much help throughout his imprisonment and journeys.
He also mentions, Demas. It would only be about five years later, in the second letter to Timothy, we find Paul writes this: “Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica” (2 Timothy 4:10). Not a great end to his story. Pretty devastating to have that exposed. And such a shame when one who was in ministry wanders off after love of this world. We need to guard ourselves, be aware, that we aren’t getting caught up and following after the world rather than remaining faithful to the God who is always faithful to us.
So, there we have the entourage. Some staying on with Paul, and others returning to their home in Colossae with this letter meant to inform and encourage, not just those in Colossae but also in Laodicea, as we’ll look at tomorrow in the closing of Colossians. But note that Paul was not on his own.
I wonder what Paul would have had to say about us? Would he call us beloved sisters? Faithful sisters? Fellow bond-slaves of Christ.
It doesn’t really matter what Paul would call us, it’s more important that we be about the business of pleasing God, so that one day we will hear those infamous words, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”
I’m praying each of us will be faithful to our walk with Him today. To be sisters devoted to prayer, having an attitude of gratitude, for we truly are blessed to know Jesus, and serve the living God.
Father, these people that were used by You all those years ago, have brought Your truth to us today. Some by writing the truth down for us, others by delivering it, others by preserving it. Your word has survived all these years. Help us to be in it, to understand it and live by it. Help us to walk faithful and not love the present world and desert You or Your calling for our life. In Christ's name I ask, amen.
Here we arrive at the end of the letter, with Paul asking that they share it with the believers in Laodicea, as well as read the letter that he had sent to them.
In our day and age, letters are pretty much a thing of the past. We text, we tweet, we Facetime or Skype, but rarely do we hand write a letter anymore. I don’t know about you, but I kind of miss the letter days. I remember getting a letter in the mailbox, and being so excited that I was opening it before I even got back into the house. I would read it over and over again. At times trying to read between the lines. Handwritten letters were a connection to someone you couldn’t be with, and wanted to be. There were letters that were kept for many years and treasured. Letters that were weathered and worn from pulling them back out of the envelope to re-read yet again. Some letters were passed among the family so that all could see what was being said. Paul wants these fellow believers, these brothers and sisters in Christ to share their letter among “family.”
Paul had written them with his own hand, and it was personal. It connected them to him even though he’d never personally met them. He was so far away, and in a precarious position, but he took the time to write them. Paul took his calling seriously.
He asks them to remind Archippus to take heed, be careful, about how he’s fulfilling his ministry in Colossae. Obviously, a member of their body of believers there, and most likely in a leadership position of some sort, we aren’t told what that ministry is. Only that he be careful to faithfully fulfill that which the Lord had given him to do.
And that’s the letter to each one of us as well. Each of us have a purpose and a plan that God has laid out. A “ministry” to walk in, a race to run, as Hebrews 12:1 describes it. That “ministry” could be raising your children to know God, being a wife that submits to God, or a good employee that shines for God where you work.
Whatever He calls you to do, we know from this letter to the church in Colossae that religion is not it. The list of do’s and don’ts won’t accomplish the depth of the relationship He had in mind when He sent Jesus Christ to rescue us from the domain of darkness (1:13).
We have this incredible mystery revealed, that we are in Christ and He in us, having reconciled us and making peace between God and us. (1:20, 27)
He is the sum of all we need. (1:19) In Him we are holy and blameless (1:23). He is our hope (1:5, 23). In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (2:3). In Him we are firmly rooted and built up, established in our faith. In Him, all the fullness of deity dwells in human form (2:9). In Him we have been made complete (2:10). In Him we were made alive when we were once dead in our sin (2:13) He canceled our debt that sin cost us (2:14). He disarmed all other rulers and authorities publicly, He triumphed over them all (2:15). He is our life and we will be with Him (3:4). In Him we are no longer sons of disobedience (3:7). In Him there is no partiality, He is all in all (3:11). In Him we are chosen of God, holy and beloved (3:12). In Him is peace (3:15). In Him we can give thanks (3:17). In Him it is fitting to submit to our husbands (3:18). In Him we will receive an inheritance, it is Him whom we serve (3:24).
Because we are in Him, we are to: Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord; Please the Lord in all respects; Bear fruit in every good work (only one kind of work is good, and that is what God has for us to do under the control of the Holy Spirit) (1:10); Give thanks (1;12; 2:7; 3:15, 17). Walk in Him (2:6; 3:23). Not be taken in by deception, or false teaching (2:8). Not let others defraud us of the freedom we have in Christ. (2:16). Set our mind on things above (3:2). Put aside – anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech and lying (3:8-9). Cooperate with the Spirit to put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, forgiveness, and beyond all these, love (3:14). Let the peace that Christ gave to you resonate in your life (3:15). Let His word richly dwell in you (3:16). In Him we are to pray, keeping alert. (4:2). Conduct yourself with wisdom (4:5). Watch our speech (4:6)
And with all that we’ve read of this great mystery of Christ, our all in all, let us live for Him. Walk for Him. Learning to please Him in all respects. Because He's worth it, isn't He?
Father God, You sent the perfect One to make us perfect and complete in Him. Help us to walk by Your Spirit so that we put off those things of this world that distract us from our relationship with You. Help us to walk in a manner worthy of the great sacrifice of Jesus, not under our own power, but as you describe in this letter, under Your power. Help us to walk in the blessings this letter has laid out for us, and to bring You glory as the result. In Christ, our peacemaker, redeemer and friend, Amen.