Friday, January 06, 2006

Colossians 3

Read it here.

The end of Colossians 2 saw Paul showing the Colossians the nonsense of man made religion. The waste of time that angel worship, human philosophy and asceticism is, when compared to Christ. The readers of this letter might at this time have been thinking that Paul was going to spend all his time outlining where his opponents were wrong, without reminding them what the alternative was. At the start of chapter 3, Paul does just that. We are to embrace our new life with Christ totally, throwing off any vestiges of our old selfs. Paul tells his readers to set their minds on the things that are above...pretty much the opposite of what the teachers of deceptive philosophy had been trying to get them to do. 'Set your mind on what is above, not on what is on earth. Look at Christ, look at His ways, His teaching and life, not to something made up by another sin filled man. Christ is God with us, surely His ways are better and more worth setting our minds on. Paul tells his readers that they have died to this world, and are now hidden in Christ. Why, if you are dead tjo this world do you still mess around in it? It has no authority or hold over you, so look at the things that do have an authority over you. Look at Christ. Get to know His teachings and words, because nothing else will satisfy and give you life as Christ does. Paul makes this all sound very easy, and we know the experience of it is a lot less easy. But this is what we must do. We must ignore todays fallible, Christ denying teachings, and, as Paul said before hold fast to the head. We must make sure that no one disqualifies us by immersing ourselves in the teaching of the man we know never would...Jesus!
So we must lose ourselves totally in this new life. We are a new creation in Christ, we have been born again, so lets live like we have been. Lets embrace the great calling that Christ has put on us! And what, according to Paul, are we being called to lose, to give up? Good things? Things that make the world a better place? Indeed no! We are called to get rid of: sexual immorality (BAD), impurity (BAD), passion (BAD), evil desire (BAD), and Christ denying idolatry (BAD). So, Christ wants us to live our new life putting away the things that destroy us and harm the people around us! So whats the problem? Our desires are the problem. Not that our desires are too strong but that they are too weak, that we too happily settle for second best. I know, deep in my heart, that the most joyful, deeply satisfying moments i've had have been when i've lost myself in Jesus. When i am deeply immersed in His word, or in real, heartfelt and honest prayer to Him. Those are the great moments. But i am also painfully aware that all too often i forget those things, and run after the things Paul lists above. But look at verse 6. On account of these things the wrath of God is coming. These things are the reason that Christ will return in glory and power to judge us. Because of the fall of man leading to these things. Do we really want to be a part of that? Did Paul want the believers in Colossae to be part of those things, that so many people around them were telling them to be. Or did Paul want his original readers to turn all together from those things, so that they might show the all satisfying glory of God to the people that perpetrated such lies. Verse 7 tells us that we used to walk in these things...and that is irrefutably true. But now our lives are hidden with Christ, we can not, we must not continue in these things. How does that bring glory to God? How will we look like new creations, if we don't look like new creations?
Pauls tells the Colossians to also get rid of the Christ denying things that come out of there mouths. The lies, the slander, the malice, the lies. To put in the new self. The self which is better. The new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Renewed in knowledge. How will we know what our new life is supposed to look like if we don't know about Jesus? If we don't try to know more about His life and teachings, if we don't study letters like this? If we don't, as Paul has already said, hold fast to the head? We can't. We won't have a chance, we may as well make it up. So lets open our hearts and seek knowledge of these things. Knowledge of Christ, and all His glorious teaching. Then the Holy Spirit can show us more and more of the father. Then our hearts will be set alight!
So we are to be new people. To put on compassion, rather than malice, humilty, not pride, patience not wrath and kindness rather than evil desire. Remember that the Lord has forgiven you, so you ust forgive. And, above all, to put on love, which binds everything together. The second of the two greatest commandments. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, open your hearts to Him, and be thankful. Is that not a better way, than asceticism, than new moons, than evil, than sexual immorality, than passion? Christ is better than all that the world has to offer, so lose yourself in Him. Again Paul tells his readers to let the word of Christ dwell in them richly, so they can teach and admonish, so they can be wise, and so that they can be thankful to Christ.
And finally, greatly, importantly. Whatever the Colossians do, they must do it in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the father through Him. So, if there's anything they do that does not sit well in the name of the father...they must stop it, they must put it away. Paul wants his readers to remember in all they do they they are new creations in Christ, and that it is only through Him that they can do anything. New creations in Christ, as all believers are, must be those new creations! Lets give all the glory to Christ. Lets give thanks to God the Father through Him, because of Him. Lets embrace our new life, our better life, as an act of worship to Him, and to make His name famous.

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