Friday, February 26, 2010

Colossians 3

Colossians 3 - Passage Lookup - New American Standard Bible -

Paul shows his analytical tendencies in this passage. It logically follows that IF we have been risen with Christ, THEN we should seek those things that are heavenly. Our position should be reaffirmed by our practice. Too bad we seem to have to convince ourselves that this is how things work, because it doesn't. While this is how things should work, we still must actively seek those things which are above and simultaneously shun the baser things of earth.

Verse 10: Paul recognized the completion of a cycle in this verse. God creates man in His Image. Man sins and by the time Seth is born scripture says he was born in the image of his father, Adam. Now, in Christ, the image has been restored to a godly one.

Verse 11: Consider the radical nature of this statement. This is not the age of tolerance. This is the age of Jewish separation and legalism. Greek intellectual superiority. Slaves being considered less-than-men. Paul says that in Christ everyone is equal. There is no difference because all are condemned naturally and all can be redeemed by Christ.

Not only is there no difference in God's eyes, but now there should be no difference in your eyes as well. We are to be a community of believers with Christ in common. Since Christ should be everything to us, we, in essence, have all things in common. This attitude should reign in all that we do one with another, that the brotherhood of believers be shown to be the most important earthly institution--established by God Himself.

Verse 16: I find it interesting that Paul urges the believers to teach and admonish with songs before he instructs to sing songs. The songs were used as an affirmation of doctrine in the assembly, they were the liturgy. Without Bibles, the lyrics of the songs would be used for teaching core beliefs concerning Christ. Most of Paul's letters are believed to be sections of songs used to commemorate Christ's core actions.

Verse 17 sums up Paul's argument concerning social relationships, whatever situation you find yourself in treat it as though you were in that situation with the Lord. Christ should be such a large part of our existence that we cannot function without Him at the forefront of our consideration.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Colossians 2

Colossians 2 - Passage Lookup - New International Version -

The chapter begins with Paul reassuring the believers who have not met him personally that what they are believing and following is the truth. He tells them the very reason he is writing: that they would be encouraged and take heart, be united in love, have the full riches of complete understanding & know the mystery of God. This is the key to the epistle. This is Paul's thesis. He wants to make the Gospel clear, and in the clarity of the Gospel we can be encouraged to continue believing.

Christ is central to the Christian faith. Everything begins with Him. Everything ends with Him. Everything consists by Him. We receive Him & continue to live in Him. We are rooted & built up in Him. Therefore, any system of belief that does not center around the person of Christ cannot be the truth. This means if Christ is left out, it is wrong. If Christ is still there, but on the periphery, it is still wrong. Nothing can be true, regarding a faith tradition, without the centrality of Christ.

Paul continues to show the beauty of Christ in all things. He is the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Christ is fully God. He always was and always will be. He never left it anywhere, though he suppressed it for a time. But Christ is not only God, but man. While there never has been a time when Christ was not God, there was a time when He was not man. Christ became man to redeem mankind. Scripture never says that Christ put off his humanity, hence, He is still fully God and fully man. The fullness of the Godhead bodily He is.

Only man could redeem mankind, because man had sinned to bring the curse to mankind. That is why the person of Christ (His nature) is so important. There is a righteous requirement for the redeemer, and Christ satisfies every single one of them.

Next, Paul speaks to the legalistic tendencies that mankind tends to take part in. He begins with the "do's" and ends with the "don'ts."

Paul says not to be held hostage to any ritual. Specifically, do not let people's judgement affect your decisions regarding religious activity. Note that He does not ban any of these things altogether. He simply says not to hang your beliefs on them--because that would push Christ aside. If the ritual draws you to the person of Christ, then it is to be encouraged. Paul says not to focus on "doing" more than focusing on Christ.

Further, Paul continues in the next portion, since we are associated with Christ, we are free enjoy our life on earth. There are things which we would be restricted from in our own human wisdom that there is no need to restrict any longer. Asceticism is not the lifestyle that Christ requires--though there is nothing wrong with performing acts of Asceticism (fasting, denying yourself of a pleasure for Christ). While it is not forbidden, it is not something that should be central, only Christ is central. Paul says not to focus on "avoiding" more than focusing on Christ.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Colossians: Intro and Chapter 1

Introduction:  Paul passed by Colossae during his third missionary trip recorded in Acts 18. He never stopped in Colossae to preach or establish a mission there. He mostly passed by the city en route to Ephesus. Colossae was likely highly influenced by the believers in Ephesus, and many have noted that the themes discussed in the epistle to the Ephesians and those discussed in the epistle to the Colossians are very similar. In fact, many have said that they are identical with emphasis being placed on a different part of the message. Ephesians, it has been said, is a letter about the BELIEVER'S STANDING in Christ. While Colossians is a letter about the believer's STANDING IN CHRIST. Either way, both are about our position as believers. Praise God, we are found in Christ.

Chapter 1. Paul opens the letter emphasizing the will of God. This will take shape throughout the chapter. He then introduces two prayers.

Prayer 1: verses 3-8. Paul's first prayer is thankful for three things regarding the believers: their faith, love and hope. Faith is in Christ and His work on our behalf. Love is to be exercised on one another in the church. Both the faith and love are borne out of the hope of the Gospel. The hope of redemption for all mankind--even all creation. Without a hope of this magnitude, neither faith or love would do any good here on earth. These three characteristics (most commonly read in 1 Corinthians 13) are the pervasive character traits of the believer. The believer should exhibit these characteristics while on earth. Especially in light of the Gospel. The Gospel never fails, our hope is in a sure thing. God's Word always ha its impact when it goes out.

Prayer 2: verses 9-14. Paul's second prayer is on the believer's behalf. It is an instructional prayer describing what the believers should do next. Paul gives a 4-part description of what the believer has/does. 1) Paul urges the believers to grow in the knowledge of God's will. Believers are to constantly grow in wisdom and knowledge of God. Paul told them they could do it because they had the Spirit of God assisting them. We should be growing even more so because in addition to the indwelling of the Spirit, we have the scriptures--otherwise known as the Sword of the Spirit. 2) Next, Paul tells the believers that they should lead lives worthy of the Lord. We are told elsewhere to be holy as God is holy. We are to live our lives to please God. Paul says that the way to do this is by doing good work and knowing God better. When we do good works in an effort to please God after being saved, it is something pleasing to Him. We are to learn about God Himself, this is different than the other bit of encouragement to grow in knowledge, this refers to Theology; the study of God's nature. As we learn God's nature, we learn why God is pleased as we do certain things. Then we can learn to do everything in a manner that pleases Him. 3) Next, Paul urges the brethren to increase in strength and might for endurance purposes. We are not said to endure when things are easy. Endurance is a term applied when things are tough and we still fight through them. What gives the believer the ability to endure the hardships is faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. It is the thing that we can strengthen and build little by little. Then, when the storm comes we can rest in the promises that we have believed. 4) Paul finally encourages the believers to give joyful thanks to the Father for redemption. This is worship, the believer's highest occupation. This is the ultimate response of a sinner to his savior. This is the response of a believer who is right with his Lord.

Note above that the Father provides redemption. Theologically, He sacrificed His Son. In essence, He paid with the currency of Christ Jesus' blood to buy us back from evil. Christ's role was to be the perfect sacrifice, the one whose blood was shed. This is clarified in verse 22.

In verses 15-23, Christ is called the Firstborn of All Creation and the Firstborn of the Dead. In other words, He is the preeminent one. He is the head. Technically, Paul has also called Christ the Firstbord of the Church in here as well, we know elsewhere Christ is called the Firstborn of Many Brethren. Christ, by virtue his redemptive work, is above the natural realm, the eternal realm and the spiritual realm. He is above every realm one can imagine. He is the Firstborn. He is the fullness (vs 25). When filled with Christ, we are full of the hope of Glory (vs 27).

Verses 28 & 29. The chapter closes with the following three terms: Proclaim, Admonish & Teach. We proclaim so we know who He is. We admonish each other so we know what is wrong. We teach one another so we know what is right. The goal is to become mature in Him. That is the reason we strive this way. That is what Paul lived for.
Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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