“In it [the church, Christ’s body] I [Paul] became a minister in accordance with the divine stewardship which was entrusted to me for you [as its object and for your benefit], to make the Word of God fully known [among you]—The mystery of which was hidden for ages and generations [from angels and men], but is now revealed to His holy people (the saints),” Colossians 1:25-26 ->me: Paul, not only a servant of the gospel (vs 23) but a servant of the church. For Paul the word of God is a power let loose in the world embodied in the true gospel message. The big ‘Aha!’ for me in this passage was that little bit of research I did on ‘Mystery’. The word of God is the ‘Mystery’ that been kept hidden for ages and generations but is now revealed to the saints…namely Christ IN us…the hope of glory. In the old testament, when the Jews looked forward to a time when God would act in history to restore the fortunes of His people. Some Jewish seers expressed their hopes in terms of the ‘Secret Plans’ that God was reserving for the last great day. Mystery, in the way Paul is using it should not be mistranslated as English might…it is a secret, not an illusion, puzzling, or paradoxical. It is God’s secret plan…not a time table but a person…the person of Jesus Christ. All that God has from the beginning, planned to do, He has done, is doing in Christ, for the sake of His people (you and me). A great support of this is found in 1 Corinthians 2:6-7 “We speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.”
“[Even] now I rejoice in the midst of my sufferings on your behalf. And in my own person I am making up whatever is still lacking and remains to be completed [on our part] of Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of His body, which is the church.” Colossians 1:24 Biblically there are two ‘Ages’ referred to: ‘The Wicked Current Age’ and ‘The Age to Come’. I have been cross referencing this passage to get a better understanding of what Paul is saying here. When I first read it I was like, “what do you mean Christ’s afflictions are incomplete, His work of justification was complete on the cross!”. The understanding of the 2 Ages helped me comprehend what is going on so I took all of the information gathered in cross reference and commentaries and built the illustration below (sorry, I know it is rough). Rather than thinking that ‘The Evil Wicked Age’ and ‘The Age to Come’ stand back to back, Tyndale and other writers believe (and now I do too) that these Ages overlap. Jesus’ resurrection had inaugurated the new age, but the old age would continue alongside it until Jesus’ second coming. The whole of the span between the Lord’s resurrection and His return was, then, the period of the turn-around of the eras; and therefore the whole period would be characterized by the ‘Messianic woes’. Such suffering is regarded as evidence that the sufferers are truly God’s new people. So, the sufferings of the church during this time are also the sufferings/afflictions of Jesus since we are IN Him and He is IN us. Just as the Messiah was to be known by the path of suffering he freely chose,, so his people are to be recognized by the sufferings they endure. I like how it is clear from this that we can participate in some of the blessings of the Age to Come while we are here in ‘The turn-around of the eras”.
“which you heard and which has been preached[as being designed for and offered without restrictions] to every person under heaven, and of which [Gospel] I, Paul, became a minister.” Colossians 1:23b ->me: The ‘hope’ I have is founded in the good news of the gospel. When I heard that message, and God called me; I stopped and took hold of what God through the gospel was offering. This experience is what Paul dedicated his life to in reaching the Gentiles. ‘has been preached to every person under heaven’ -> Paul of course had to know that there were people in the world at that time who didn’t even know who Jesus is…so why would he say this? I think this is anticipatory. If a king makes a proclamation and then sends out his messengers to all of the kingdom to render the news, the fact that he ‘has made a proclamation to the entire kingdom’ stands. God has, in Jesus Christ, proclaimed once and for all that the world which He made has been reconciled to him. His heralds, scurrying off to the ends of the earth with the news, are simply agents, messengers, of this one authoritative proclamation. Am I doing my part as an agent of the Lord to ensure ‘the gospel HAS been preached to every person under heaven’?
“[And this He will do] provided that you continue to stay with and in the faith [in Christ], well-grounded and settled and steadfast, not shifting or moving away from the hope [which rests on and is inspired by] the glad tidings (the Gospel)” Colossians 1:23a ->me: ‘and this He will do’ -> Jesus will reconcile us to God in the body of His flesh through death…so that He can present us holy and faultless in the Father’s presence. ‘Stay with and in the faith’ – True Christian faith is the beginning of a life which, given by God, will be brought to completion be Him (Philippians 1:6). Genuine faith is seen in patient and steadfast day-to-day Christian living, while counterfeit faith, so hard in its early stages to distinguish from the real thing, withers and dies. God’s point of view is that genuine faith is assured of continuing to the end…while the human view is that Christians discover whether their faith is of the genuine sort only by patient perseverance, encouraged by the Christian hope of eternity with our Savior.
“…although you at one time were estranged and alienated from Him and were of hostile attitude of mind in your wicked activities, yet now has [Christ, the Messiah] reconciled [you to God] in the body of His flesh through death, in order to present you holy and faultless and irreproachable in His [the Father’s] presence.” Colossians 1:21-22 ->me: There are 2 awesome points in these 2 verses for me today -> 1) Paul does not talk about any works or ritual we must complete or achieve in order to receive this reconciliation to the Father. So we cannot do anything to EARN the reconciliation; however -> 2) The hostile attitude of mind and hostile activities (which are best portrayed in Romans 1:21-32) follow a sequence…Wrong thinking leads to vice, vice to further mental corruption, so that the mind, still not totally ignorant of God’s standards, finds itself applauding evil. Verse 22 here does not say that God’s action in Christ, and my acceptance of the gospel, have automatically and instantly made me perfect. Having been given a new life, I must behave in accordance with it. This I can do only because of the reconciliation (between myself and the Creator God, the God of Israel) which was achieved on the cross.
“For it has pleased [the Father] that all the divine fullness (the sum total of the divine perfection, powers, and attributes) should dwell in Him [Jesus] permanently, and God purposed that through (by the service, the intervention of) Him [the Son] all things should be completely reconciled back to Himself, whether on earth or in heaven, as through Him, [the Father] made peace by means of the blood of His cross.” Colossians 1:19-20 ->me: God was pleased to have His entire fullness dwell in the tabernacle of the body of Jesus where we now abide with Him. The person of Jesus provides the vessel or location that both the Father and His creation can co-exist because of the cleansing flow of the blood of Christ spent on the cross. Jesus was raised because He must live for us to be able to live IN Him. THIS WHY WE WORSHIP!!! Because of the work of Jesus to show that He is the rightful Lord over all things (because He conquered the last boundary – DEATH), it is through Him that the Father will reconcile ALL things back to Himself…this is everything…all of creation, world powers, world rulers, world thought, and anything other form of governance or entity you can think of. I (we) am the first of His creation to manifest that reconciliation through our sanctification. These 2 verses are so powerful! The entire culmination of God’s total plan is summed up RIGHT HERE!!
“He also is the Head of [His] body, the church; seeing He is the Beginning, the Firstborn from among the dead, so that He alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place [stand first and be preeminent].” Colossians 1:18 ->me: In order to be an active member of the body of Christ, I must be paying attention to and listening for the instruction of the Head. When I am not conforming to the instruction, commands, and will of the Head then I am not ‘working’, I am a lame appendage. So, what I feel the Lord is telling me today is that when I am not being obedient to the Rule of Christ as Head of the body (the church) then I am not falling in line with what I have been designed to do in in the Church Body of Christ. This aspect becomes even more important for those who will be held to a higher account of leadership/teachers in the church (this is me too as the leader of a Life Group). If this is correct then all those churches who believe you can be a vibrant growing church with leaders and teachers working through enslavement by unrepentant sin, no matter the sin, are fooling themselves. Paul’s 2 letters to the Corinthians to turn them from their fornication is a perfect example.
“For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him, and He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together).” Colossians 1:16-17 ->me: All things were thought up and designed by Jesus–all types of things in all dimensions and realms. All things were created by Him personally; not only did He think them up but He formed them with His own hand and put them into place. All things are controlled by Him. There is nothing that happens that He is not intimately involved in. Jesus was there before anything else was and He holds everything together by His might and will. Yesterday the Lord called on me to do something crazy and through a struggle with my flesh the Lord gave me the strength to obey and I was blessed to be a part of what God wanted to happen – He used me as an aspect of this strength to manage the universe….how stinking awesome is that??? This is what God wanted to teach me this morning following on from yesterday’s QT—>My joy comes from glorifying God through obedience to Him; plain and simple. I should not expect anything from God for He has already done more for me that I could ever comprehend deserving. Happiness to the believer is obedience and worship.
“[The Father] has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in Whom we have our redemption through His blood, [which means] the forgiveness of our sins.” Colossians 1:13-14 ->me: What an awesome truth to ponder on -> God rescued us; He has drawn us to Himself. He has plucked us out of satan’s dominion and set us in the safety and rule of His Son the Lord Jesus. The dominion of darkness cannot touch the Kingdom of the Son of His Love. I must realize and internalize this truth in order to have the hope in the promises God has made about the future and eternity. We are covered and cleansed by the washing of the blood of the cross. Our sins are no more; they are literally washed away. Lately have been focused on God making me feel good about my life in Him -> “God I have been seeking You in your word and desire to be with You, so why are you not making me feel good inside about it??” This is absolutely backwards!! The base bottom root of all intention must be glorifying God and His Kingdom….not what he can do for me and my morale. God may give me that peace I have felt from Him numerous times but getting that should not be my motivation for seeking Him through my quiet times or prayer. Lord God forgive me for not having the right heart lately; for allowing my sinful fleshy being to focus on self rather than YOU, the Creator of heaven and earth.
“[We pray] that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, [to exercise] every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy, giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified and made us fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints (God’s holy people) in the Light.” Colossians 1:11-12 ->me: Verse 11 contributes 2 very important pieces to Paul’s prayer – 1) That growth in the knowledge of God, and in holiness, is an uphill battle. 2) That strength for this battle can only come, but will surely come, from the power of God Himself. “Might of God’s Glory” – The image that comes to my mind when I read this is the image John gives us in Revelation of his vision of heaven with peeling thunder and lightning emanating from the throne. This glory would be filled with power and an unsettling view of His might and capability. I am to enact EVERY type of endurance and patience WITH JOY and I am able to do this because of being invigorated strengthened with ALL the power . This is so applicable in some situations I am in today. Finally I must remain in an attitude of thankfulness to the Father Who through the work of His Son has certified and equipped me to take part in the inheritance that has been given to and is in Christ Jesus. All I can think about when I read this verse is how I need to knock down my pride and fall to me knees in front of that quaking throne.