Thursday, February 23, 2017

Colossians 2:1 - 2



Verse 1 - Paul is concluding the thoughts about his pastoral heart for those at Colossae. He again connects with the statement about his struggle (Greek helikos agon) that some translations call a great conflict carries the image of an athletic contest. Paul is speaking here of the contest against spiritual foes as well as the physical ones. He is saying that he cares about the outcome of the battle they are facing that he is about to address, the struggle between true Christianity and philosophy or ritual.

Verse 2 - Paul is praying for the believers to be encouraged in the struggle in which they face. The word parakaleo can carry a variety of meanings[1] and in the form used here means to find comfort in the midst of the struggle. This comfort comes from their bond that has developed because of love. As Dr. J. Vernon McGee calls it, “the Elmer’s glue of the church.”[2]

It is through the assurance (Greek plerophoria) that they can have the confidence of the wealth they have attained[3] in sunesis, or knowledgeable understanding of the mystery. This word is the same that we get our word synthesis from, thus giving the flavor of something that has been brought together, such as the collection of the teachings from the Old Testament and the revealing of Jesus Christ. Paul makes reference again to the fact that the comfort comes from the mystery of God, or Jesus Christ (see 1:27). 

In this understanding, there is a unity within the body of Christ, His Church. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul speaks about this unity.[4] We are incapable of making the unity. The Holy Spirit has made the unity of the body, but we need to keep the unity. 

Prayer: As I ponder my life, Spirit, show me where I have kept the unity of the Your Spirit, and where I have failed You. Forgive me, cleanse me, and empower me to walk and live within the unity of the Church. You are the provider, the comforter, and the encourager to live this way. I praise You. Amen.

_______________________________
[1] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). Page 111. 
[2] McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible. Vol. V. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983. V vols. Pages 347. 
[3] See Colossians 1:27 
[4] 1 Corinthians 12:13ff



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Colossians chpater 2 intro


As we continue in the study of this letter to the Church at Colossae, we conclude with Paul’s discussion on the Subjective work of Christ in verses 1 – 3. Paul has established that Christ is pre-eminent in Creation, and pre-eminent in His objective work dealing with redemption. The final section of chapter 1 dealt with His subjective work in the Church. We will conclude this study here.

Now in this chapter in verses 5 – 15 we will consider Paul’s thoughts on Christ being the true freedom by being the answer to philosophy and in verses 16 – 23 His being the true freedom in being the answer to Ritual. The answer to philosophy is for the head, and the answer to ritual is for the heart.

Christianity has always teetered on the edge of being a philosophy or a ritual. One step away from being just a mist that constantly swirls around or one step away from being a frozen form. Jesus called Himself the Water of Life (John 4:14). Mist or ice neither one is able to support life. We must be careful not to make Christianity a philosophy or a ritual. Christianity is Christ.

Paul deals with five errors that the early church was facing. In verses 4 – 7, he discusses the issue of enticing words. In verses 8 – 13 he deliberates about philosophy. He continues his discourse in verses 14 – 17 dealing with legality, and in verses 18 – 19 on the topic of mysticism. He concludes this section with the area of asceticism.

Even today, the church is in danger of sliding into one or more of these errors. It is through diligence and decision to remain close to Christ that believers can navigate the river of errors around.

Prayer: Jesus, may I seek to stay close to You at all times. Guide my mind and heart away from making You just a philosophical concept or just a tradition or ritual in my life. May I seek true Christianity, which is You and You alone. You died for me, help me to live for You today. I love You because You loved me. Thank You for Your great love. Amen.



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Are there contradictions in Colossians 1?



Colossians 1:24 Does this verse teach that Christ’s death was lacking in being sufficient for salvation?

Problem: 

The Bible declares that Christ’s death on the Cross was sufficient and final for our Salvation.[1] Yet Paul has made the statement in this verse that we are to be “filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.” The issue appears to be how can Christ’s sacrifice be all-sufficient and still be lacking in suffering?

Solution

The point we need to clarify at the start, is that the sufferings of Paul were not redemptive. He cannot suffer for himself, or for others, to provide redemption. Paul is careful in his wording, when he speaks of redemption he does not use terms such as suffering, but he speaks of a cross, a death, or His blood.

J. Vernon McGee speaks of two types of suffering.[2] He calls these ministerial and mediatorial. The sufferings of Christ were mediatorial. Some of His sufferings we cannot share in, His suffering as a man, His suffering as the Son of God, and His sacrifice for the sin of the world. On the other hand, we can share in His suffering for righteousness (see 1 Peter 3:14), and His suffering as we identify ourselves with Christ in the proclamation of the Gospel (consider 1 John 4:17; John 15:18 – 19; Acts 9:4; and 1 Peter 4:12 – 13).

So, there is a difference between the mediatorial work of Christ (our redemption) and the ministerial work that we can share in, when we are active in proclaiming and standing for the righteousness given by our redemption.

Prayer: I will sing Your Praises! I will offer my worship with my mouth! Glorious and ever present Savior, I shout and sing that there is nothing lacking in Your provision of salvation. No one will ever be able to say that Your provision just wasn't enough to save them. If I accept You, I have everything that I need to be reconciled with the Father. Never, never, never, never let me forget what great thing You have done for me. In all my wildest dreams and imaginations, I can never see all the majestic provision! Amen!!

__________________
[1] John 19:30; Hebrews 1:3 
[2] McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible. Vol. V. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983. V vols. Pages 343 - 345.



Monday, February 20, 2017

Are there contradictions in Colossians 1?



Colossians 1:20 Does this verse support universal salvation?

Problem: 

Paul writes in this verse that Jesus would “reconcile all things unto himself.” If Paul is saying that all things were reconciled to Jesus by His death and resurrection, does this imply that all people will be saved? Other Scriptures clearly state that many will be lost.[1]

Solution: 

Paul does not speak about universal salvation at any point. In this passage, Paul is speaking about the universal sovereignty of the Lord Jesus Christ. Another way of saying this is that all authority has been given to Jesus, both in Heaven and on the Earth.[2]

However Paul speaks of being “in Christ” (or, being saved) he does not include those under the earth (or, the lost). All will one day bow the knee to the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:10) to admit to His universal Lordship. But this does not mean that all will be saved. A number of verses speak to the truth of those who will be eternally separated from God. Consider and study the following sections of Scripture: Matt. 25:41; Luke 16:19 – 31; John 17:12; 2 Thess. 1:7 – 9; and, Rev. 20:10 – 15. A thorough study of these passages will show that not everyone will be saved. 

Prayer: May I see the importance of sharing the only ultimate solution for mankind every chance I get. Father, there is no second chance. There is no universal salvation. Your Word gives the solution, yet many reject. Strengthen my desire to reach as many as I can with Your message of salvation and restoration. Amen.

_______________________
[1] Consider (Matt. 7:13 – 14; 25:41; Rev. 20:11 – 15). 
[2] Matthew 28:18



Sunday, February 19, 2017

Are there contradictions in Colossians 1?



Colossians 1:18 Does this verse teach that Jesus was created? If so, how can He be God?

Problem: 

The Apostle John wrote in his Gospel account (1:1; 8:58; 20:28) that Jesus was eternal and was equal with God. However, in this verse, it appears that Paul is saying that He was only a created being, albeit the first one created (born) in the Universe.

Solution

As one closely examines this letter by the Apostle Paul they can see that he openly states that Jesus is God. He makes the claims in 1:16 that “For by him all things were created….” And as we continue in this letter Paul declares “in him is dwelling all the fullness of the deity.” (2:9)

That He is called “firstborn” is not that He is the firstborn in Creation, but firstborn over Creation, since He is “before all things” (v. 17). The term then does not mean the first one to be born, but the heir of the inheritance of all that is. He is the Creator and Owner of all. Thus, since He is the Creator of all things, he could not be a created being.

Prayer: Spirit of Wisdom, give me the wisdom and insight to see that Your Word does not contradict itself. Help me to be prepared to stand for Your Truth at all times. May I always be ready with an answer to those who ask of my hope and confidence in You and Your Word of Life. Amen.



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