It’s my birthday today…as I dwelt on Colossians, Paul’s words in 2:13 were pertinent:
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him [Christ], having forgiven us all our trespasses.
I am so thankful, on my birthday, not only for my physical life, but more so for my eternal life! God “made me alive” TWICE! But, praise His holy name, I will only die ONCE! Again, we see Paul preaching the Gospel to BELIEVERS…the Gospel of God’s overwhelming grace, His immeasurable power, His loving initiative, and HIS sufficient work–NOT OURS! GOD made US alive, we didn’t make ourselves alive. As much as I had NOTHING to do with my physical birth, I had nothing to do with my spiritual birth. May we never stop preaching that to our own hearts!
He is glorious.
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father…” 1:2b
The Apostle Paul starts EVERY ONE of his letters with this exact greeting or something very similar–one thing is always sure, ‘grace’ and ‘peace’.
GRACE–unmerited favor. I believe this has everything to do with the fact that GRACE is the very basis of our relationship with Christ. There is nothing we can do to earn or lose favor with God! Paul is wise to keep that at the forefront of every one of his letters, Colossians being no exception. He knows that “but by the grace of God”, he would still be dead in his sin. He knows that he needs the grace of God to even write the very words. This word ‘grace’ is also very important regarding the occasion for the book of Colossians. GRACE.
PEACE–a state of harmony characterized by lack of conflict. I believe it is included in the same sentence with “grace” letter after letter after letter because you can’t have one without the other. If God has saved you by grace, if He has given you His gift-righteousness by faith, then you have peace. You are at peace with your Creator. You are reconciled with the Righteous Judge. THIS is true and everlasting peace. Friend, if you don’t have peace of soul, I would submit that you haven’t really understood nor believed the grace of God extended to you in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. PEACE.
What a God!
“To them [saints], God CHOSE to make known how GREAT among the Gentiles are the RICHES of the GLORY of this mystery, which is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory.”
I am drawn to worship Christ when reading Paul’s beautiful description of the Gospel in 1:27. “Christ in you” is his perfectly simple explanation of the wonderful good news. God was pleased to reveal to me the abundant riches, beauty, majesty, and depths of the glory of this mystery: Jesus Christ, the Sinless Savior, dying the most brutal of deaths, then raising to life to offer His perfect righteousness to me, a wretched sinner. What a beautifully glorious mystery…”Christ in you, the hope of glory” is the best of news, the Gospel.
We worship you, Lord.
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake…” 1:24
As I spoke those words today I was struck by Paul’s love for the Colossians, so much so that he is joyful when he is suffering in a Roman prison FOR THEIR SAKE. I asked myself, “how is a divine love for people evident in my life?” I believe there are three tangible ways to evaluate how well I am “suffering” for others’ sake:
- my checkbook…where am I spending my money?
- my schedule…where am I spending my time?
- my prayer journal…for whom am I persistently praying?
A correct understanding of the Gospel says we don’t do for others in order to earn favor with God, but rather we do for others in response to the abundant, glorious favor we have been shown. The love of Jesus has so filled our hearts that it naturally overflows to those around us. May God change us to be more like Him by the power of the Gospel.
The Apostle Paul’s words in 1:9-11 make up one of the most beautiful prayers in the New Testament:
…asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy…
As I recite these words, I say them to the Lord as a prayer selfishly for my own life! Don’t judge me. 🙂 I include others in that prayer as the Lord brings people to mind. But as I was dwelling on these verses today, I thought, I wish someone prayed this for me continually, as Paul says, “we have not ceased to pray for you…” Seriously? Wow…
Then the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, “Oh but you DO have someone praying continually for you!” He reminded me of Hebrews 7:25, “[Christ] always lives to make intercession for [us]” and Romans 8:34, “Christ Jesus is the one who died…who indeed is interceding for us.” I am so blessed to know that He, who is called Faithful and True, is interceding for a wretch like me.
The Kingdom of God is what theologians have called “already, not yet.” If we are in Christ, we experience the kingdom of God right now. We already experience regeneration, forgiveness, mercy, grace, and an intimate relationship with the God of the Ages through Jesus Christ by the indwelling of His Spirit, not to mention a host of other glorious things from God. We know this from 1:13 which says, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption the forgiveness of sins.” BUT we have not yet experienced the freedom from pain, death, disease, sin, Satan, and his workers of evil. There are still cancer patients, handicapped children, tsunamis, etc. We have not yet seen Jesus face-to-face. We see dimly as 1 Corinthians 13:12 says. HOWEVER, the truth of Scripture and the promise of the Gospel is that WE WILL! There will be a time when the not yet is no longer! It will be a very present reality!
Rejoice for the kingdom of God is among us!
I am challenged by Paul’s humility in 4:3-4, “At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.” The APOSTLE Paul, (yes “Apostle”!) still sought prayer from fellow believers. He did not feel any need to display some facade of complete maturity, that he was above needing their prayers, or that he had ministry all figured out. By asking for prayer:
- Paul allows the Colossians to partner with him in his ministry.
- They see an example of someone, although probably the most mature believer they know, depending on GOD first, then other believers.
- He allows them to see some weakness/vulnerability. It is easy for leaders to want to keep a certain “image” to those they lead.
I’m challenged to be actively sharing prayer requests–that specifically express my weakness–so that the Lord can develop humility in me.
His Word is good.