Christ our reason: Devotional Commentary for July 23-29
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us wisdom and insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
1For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face,
2that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself,
3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
These are the words of a passionate minister who was preoccupied with the spiritual welfare of his children in the Lord. Certainly, inspired and authored by the Spirit of God, these words reflect the heart of Christ through the words of the servant of Christ. Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ by the Will of God, expressed the intense anxiety he was experiencing due to his burden for the believers in Colossae and its surroundings. Because he was not known to the people in Colossae and its surroundings, he was probably concerned that no one would take him seriously. So he told them with emphatic insistence that he was hard-pressed to labor for them in spite of his circumstances.
Paul's ministerial objectives were clear. He wanted the Colossians and the believers around them to be encouraged, to have understanding, to be knowledgeable, and to be filled with godly wisdom. He wanted them to be encouraged by the love of Christ which knitted together their hearts as one. He wanted them to have the understanding of the assurance of the riches they have received. He wanted them to know with clarity that the mystery of God's redemption declared to them in the Gospel is fully revealed in Jesus Christ Whom they believed unto salvation.
Paul's pastoral concern for the spiritual welfare of his children in the Lord was obvious. His exhortations were accompanied by a persistent prayer so that their thriving faith and flourishing love would be rooted in true knowledge, clear understanding, and godly wisdom. He was well aware that mere confession of faith and a habitual practice of exchanging sentiments of fondness would not furnish the needed spiritual essentials necessary for growth. He wanted them to understand that Christ Himself has brought into their lives the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
4I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.
5For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.
6Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
Paul had a well-founded reason for his concerns regarding the stability of the believers in Colossae and its surrounding towns. He wanted them to guard against persuasive falsehoods that might be popularized by the enemies of the Gospel. Even though he was not with them in person, Paul still cared for the church at Colossae and was troubled for them as their comrade in spirit.
He urged them to beware of the formidable power of persuasive arguments. He did not want them to be misled by words that merely sounded good. Even though he was happy with their discipline, orderliness, and commendable standing in faith and in love, Paul admonished them to be well-anchored in the Gospel so that they continue to mature in the stability of their faith in Christ.
Paul's exhortation was simple and clear: As you received Christ Jesus for your salvation, so continue to live as Christ’s people. Let your walk as the followers of Christ be consistent with the Foundation of your salvation, Who is Jesus Christ Himself. Do not heed the enticing words of persuasive arguments even when they sounded good and convincing. Grow in the True Vine as Its true branches. Let your soul and spirit be saturated by the nourishment which flows into you from the true Vine, even Jesus Christ Himself. It was necessary for the Colossians to understand that the Love that bound them and the Faith by which they accepted Christ are stabilized by the assurance of what God has done for them in Christ. He is the Power of God in them against the ungodly world around them.
Paul showed his commitment for the spiritual welfare of the Colossians with expressions that were meaningful and significant. In the first chapter of his letter to them, he prayed God's Grace and Peace over them after commending them for their faith and love. He was thankful for them to God and was committed to praying for them ceaselessly. He encouraged them by the hope in Christ laid up for them in heaven and assured them by the true Gospel they heard and believed. He taught them about the Deity and the humanness of Jesus Christ and promised he would continue to labor for them so that Christ in them would be their strength to resist and overcome the ungodly world around them.
The mystery of Christ is the thrust of Paul’s message to all Christians. Jesus Christ, God incarnate, is God among us through Whom God's plan of redemption and judgment is revealed and accomplished. Knowing Jesus Christ as revealed in the Gospel is at the core of our understanding about: God, Salvation, Judgment, Mercy, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation.
Without Jesus Christ, there is no creation. Without Him, creation would fall apart. Without Him, there is no reconciliation. Without His cross, there is no peace with God. Without Jesus Christ, there is no Salvation, Mercy, Faith, and Love. Without Him, there would be no Mediation with the Holy and Righteous God. In Jesus Christ all things consist.
This is the message for which he labored without any thought for his own health and safety. This was the substance of his prayers. He was deeply concerned for the welfare of Christ’s Church—those whom he knew and those whom he had never met.
For this reason, Paul could say to the Corinthians: “I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” For this reason, Paul could say to the Galatians: “Even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” For this same reason, Paul could say to the Colossians: "as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him."
Any other doctrine, any other philosophy, any other religious scheme is futile and meaningless. Jesus is everything to those who have been redeemed. There is nothing or no one else that captures the heart and mind of a redeemed sinner as the supreme glory of the One Who died on Calvary’s Cross. With Paul, each one of God's redeemed exclaims: “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ”, because Christ in us, is the hope of Glory.