Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 28: Sunday
Sunday’s Bible reading is Colossians 1–2. This is one of Paul’s letters written from prison, most likely during his first Roman imprisonment.1
As I thought about this remarkable letter I realized that here accurate and exact teaching about Christ and the powerful transformation of those who are Christ are so intertwined in Paul’s words as to be inseparable. Christ is our life because of who Christ is and what Christ has done for us. Paul’s teaching about Christ propels us to know and comprehend the riches and glory of Christ in us.
This is a letter that refutes the bondage of cults as Paul proclaims Christ is the image of the invisible God, through whom and for whom all things were created, who is before all things and in whom all things hold together.
This is a letter for new believers so that they won’t fall prey to those who appear wise with their ascetic denial as Paul proclaims God has made you alive with Christ, having forgiven you all your transgressions.
This is a letter for Christians who need to be built up in Christ and established in their faith as Paul proclaims that in Christ all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form and in Christ you have been made complete.
This is a letter for Christians today to read and take to heart. There is so much insidious mysticism with its trappings of asceticism and legalism that is creeping into the church today through books on spiritual disciplines and spiritual formation (those are some of the buzz phrases—I hope to write more on this movement in the future). It is pulling people away from Jesus Christ, and taking them captive; Colossians speaks directly to its heretical deception.
Jesus Christ is the center of Colossians and the sound doctrine Paul teaches us about Him brings us to Him to know Him and to love Him. Why? Because sound doctrine enables us to see Jesus Christ as He truly is.
“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
I remembering reading those verses in Colossians 2 for the first time. I was a young Christian and apprehensive about the ideologies and ideas antagonistic to Christ I was being bombarded with as a college student. Not only was Paul concerned for those whom he knew personally, but he also wrote to the Colossians his great struggle on their behalf and for all who have never even seen his face. Here in God’s Word Paul’s efforts on our behalf continue.
These first two chapters in Colossians bring us face to face with Christ.
“For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.”
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
1William Hendriksen, “Exposition of Colossians and Philemon,” New Testament Commentary: Philippians, Colossians and Philemon, p. 28.
Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter