This morning I was reading through my NLT Life Application Study Bible. If you don’t have one of these it is well worth your hard earned (loaned) cash moneys. I was blown away by some of the things that is unfolded about this passage.
Paul is writing this letter from prison to address the false teachings which has infiltrated the Colossian church. Lots of teachings and schools of thoughts from various philosophies and religions has filtered through into the Christian faith which later resulted in a heresy known as ‘Gnosticism’ which emphasised having special knowledge and denied that God created the earth, that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and that He was The Saviour.
In order to address these issues Paul starts by teaching Christ’s deity, His connection with the Father, His sacrificial death of the death and the penalty He paid for our sin.
In our daily lives we are going to be bombarded with many different thoughts, philosophies and world views and even strains of Christianity that don’t match up with what the Bible says, whether at school/college, university or the work place. It can even be easy to accept them into our Christian belief; in fact some of them can sound so similar to what believe that they seem harmless and even compatible.
So how do we spot false teaching? Should we study every heresy under the sun so that we know what to look out for (there are a lot of them out there)?
The experts who look for forged money spend most of their time studying real money – because once you know what the real thing looks like, spotting the fake is easy. Studying heresies isn’t a waste of time but it should come secondary to the time we spend learning about Jesus. Because once you know the Biblical truth about Jesus you will spot the fake miles off.
Right, let’s have a look at the passage:
Verses 12-14 – The Benefits
Paul lists five benefits that God gives to all Christians through Jesus. Probably none of them will surprise you when you read through them but I wonder how many times we have allowed ourselves to be overwhelmed by how amazing they really are. It is always well worth the time taking the time to go through the scriptures slowly, all the while asking God to speak to you through them:
(one) God has enabled us to share in His inheritance
(two) He has saved us from slavery to sin and Satan and adopted us as Hid own children
(three) HE has brought us into His eternal Kingdom
(four) Through Jesus’ blood He has paid for our freedom from sin and judgement
(five) He has forgiven ALL of our sins
Verses 15-20 – The Supremacy
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God”
I love verses 15-20 of this chapter. For me they are a passionate, empowering snapshot of who Jesus is. A reminder that He is bigger than everything that is going on in life. It might be helpful for some people to write these down and stick them somewhere that you will look often. It reminds me of this stirring video that went round our church a year ago:
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/1371841 w=800&h=452]
v15 heads the beginning of this list and it has to be one the strongest statements about who Jesus is found anywhere in Scripture. Jesus was not just equal to God but HE IS God. The Life Application explains it this way: as the visible image of the invisible God, He is the exact representation of God. He not only reflects God, but He reveals God to us. As supreme over all creation, He has all the priority and authority. He is completely Holy!
Verses 9-11 – The Reflection Application
Knowing who Jesus is, is crucial to developing our relationship with Him.
Read verses 9-11 again in your own Bible:
“So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honour and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy”
For each of the points that Paul prays for the Colossian church, pray them for yourself; pray that God will “give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding”.
When you have finished, pray these things over your Christian friends and your church as well.