I have a very important question that I am going to be praying for clarity on over the next few weeks and I would love to hear back from all of you regarding the question I will be asking at the end of this post.
Summarizing Colossians 1 we can see a few crucial words; alienated, hostile, reproach, wickedness, and righteousness. Let’s look quickly at how all these words tie together in Colossians 1:
The word reconcile is used twice within 3 verses in Colossians 1:
Colossians 1:20-22 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
Reconciled: Brought into friendship from a state of disagreement or enmity; made consistent; adjusted.
Enmity: The quality of being an enemy; the opposite of friendship; ill will; hatred; unfriendly dispositions; malevolence.
To be reconciled simply means, you were an enemy (that includes hatred and unfriendly disposition), but now you have been brought into friendship; the relationship has now gone from being rooted in hostility to peace.
If there is a wall of hostility between two people and you want peace something has to happen for peace to be realized. Typically, one or both parties need to humble themselves in some way to open the lines of communication.
In the case of our relationship with our Creator; our sin has put a wall of hostility between us and Him. We have our own personal wall of hostility between us and God; it’s not a big wall between ‘all of us’ and God. As we read above, our peace with God comes only through the Blood of the Cross of Christ.
The Scriptures tell us He was humiliated, scourged, beaten beyond human recognition, He was nailed to a cross…and then the worst part happened…He bore the sins of the world and the Wrath of God was poured out on Him. Father God hates sin so much, and loves us so much, that as His Son bore the sins of the world it pleased Him to crush Him.
Why did Christ have to do this?…We read the answer in Colossians 1:
Colossians 1:22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
He did it “in order to present you blameless and above reproach” on the Day of Judgment!
Reproach: To charge with a fault in severe language.
When we trust in Christ alone to redeem us and save us, He takes our wickedness and gives us His righteousness. If both of these things DO NOT happen we CANNOT be presented to God blameless and above reproach on the Day of Judgment; instead we remain in the domain of darkness.
Colossians 1:13-14 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1 also talks about our firmness in the faith. In fact, Paul gives an “if then” statement in regard to being presented blameless to God:
Colossians 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
After Paul shares this Truth He tells us that his motivation is to “make the Word of God fully known”. He is also revealing a mystery that has been hidden for ages:
Colossians 1:25-27 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them 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.
God’s Word speaks of the seed of God in us, the Spirit of God within us, being born-again, being regenerated. Why is this a mystery, and why is it so crucial? Part of this we will answer when we take a quick look at the end of chapter 2; but the first and foremost; if this doesn’t happen you will not go to Heaven:
John 3:3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Being born again, God’s seed in us, Christ in us is the only Way to Eternal Life. Christ in us is also the reason the regenerated believer cannot practice sin:
1John 3:8-9 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Romans 8:10-14 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. 12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
As we can see, victory over sin is the work of Christ in us; not a striving of the flesh. The deeds of the body are put to death by the Spirit of God in us. Victory over the indulgence of the flesh happens when we are led by the Spirit of God.
This is a mystery because many then and many today are of the mind that ritual and religion are a means of righteousness. Many think that ritual and religion will make them right with God. When we do not have the Godly wisdom and understanding that it is Christ in us that makes us righteous, and it is Christ in us that gives us victory of sin, we often get confused and even upset as to why we do not see regeneration. The end of Colossians 2 tells us why ritual and religion cannot give us victory over sin:
Colossians 2:20-23 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations– 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)–according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
Ritual and religion only appear to be wise; but they DO NOTHING to stop the indulgence of the flesh! Only Christ in us can stop the indulgence of the flesh.
This brings me to my question of the month:
Colossians 3 has a few words that seem to put the responsibility on us; “seek”, “put”, “let”, “set”, and “do”. Since we know that God does not contradict Himself, and we know that God’s Word is our only source of absolute Truth; what is the “balance”, if that is the right word, between “Christ in us” and our responsibility as outlined in Colossians 3?:
Colossians starts with another “if then” statement along with our first directive:
Colossians 3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Now let’s work through the next 16 verses being mindful of our “question of the month”?
Colossians 3:2-17 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.