Saturday, January 7, 2017

Colossians 1:2 part 1

Paul then goes on to identify whom it is he is writing to. His statement of the “the holy ones” is translated in many places as “saints.” The Greek word “hagios” means to be separate from common, or dedicated to.[1] It means to be set apart under the Holy Spirit who is making the believer reflect the character of God. There are three parts to sanctification in the New Testament.[2] As Paul understood his position as an apostle, he also understood that we do not attain our “sainthood”, but are privileged to have the state that God in grace calls us to.[3] It is also a reminder to each of us that we are not to be deadbeats, but light bearers, showing Jesus to a world darkened by sin. We are not “saints” by what we do – it is entirely by position.

He also calls them “faithful brothers.” He is referring to human relationship. They were trustworthy and full of faith. We can see two aspects in these terms he uses. First we see their relationship to God – “holy ones,” and then we also see their relationship to each other – “faithful brothers.” Spiritually they were one with Christ; physically they were united in fellowship. He is reminding them (and us) that they are “in Christ” and at the same time “in Colossae.” A significant point is that it is important not to just ask, “Where are we at?” but also, “Who are we in?”

It is important for us to notice at this point that this letter is written to the members of a local church located in the city of Colossae. This means that in around 25 to 30 years following the crucifixion of Jesus, there were local churches established. They appear to recognize some form of membership and organization.

When we correctly study the scriptures, hermeneutic[4] concepts are vital to observe and maintain. Such concepts as if the plain sense makes common sense seek no other sense unless it becomes nonsense. Another concept is to determine to whom the passage is written. From this we can determine if the passage deals with an individual, nation, church, etc. This will help us not misapply scripture.[5]

Prayer: Father, thank You that You see me as a saint. I often fall short, but because of Your Son's provision, I am now clean in Your sight and a "holy one." May I always strive to live up to my name. Amen.

[1] Wesley J. Perschbacher, ed., The New Analytical Greek Lexicon, ed. Wesley J. Perschbacher (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1990). 
[2] (1) We are forgiven and set apart to God in salvation. (2) The believer is continually being set apart by grace in his life. And, (3) the believer will be completely sanctified when he meets the Lord, either in the Rapture or death – he will be completely sin free at that point. 
[3] 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). 
[4] The term hermeneutics means the science of interpretation, particularly that of the Holy Scriptures. 
[5] Bernard Ramm’s Protestant Biblical Interpretation and Henry A. Virkler’s Hermeneutics: Principles and Process of Biblical Interpretation are two of this author’s favorite references.

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