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  • Ron York

Truths We Can Serve By

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. - Colossians 1:19-20

In considering our memory verse for this month we will look at how these truths should impact our walk with the Lord. We will also look at a little of the context of these verses, the example Paul set for us and the impact of these truths about Christ that are proclaimed to us by God, through Paul in relation to our daily walk with our Lord. It is important to note that we are not discussing salvation we are talking about the believer applying the truths of God’s Word and thereby walking in obedience to our Lord.

These two verses are part of one of the greatest and most powerful statements about Jesus Christ, if not the most powerful statements about Jesus Christ’s deity and power in the New Testament. Much could be said about these two verses and the surrounding context and much has been said. I would encourage us to take time to look more deeply into this passage then what we can cover in this devotional.

Paul wrote from Rome during his first imprisonment which is referenced at the end of Acts 28. Paul had never visited the city of the Colossians. We read in verse 7 that the Colossians heard the gospel through the ministry of Epaphras. Paul also wrote Ephesians and Philemon during this same imprisonment at Rome. All of these were written between AD 60-62.

Paul’s imprisonment and struggles during his ministry for the Lord is a very important aspect of the truths we are considering in this letter to the Colossians. Paul’s emphasis to the Colossians is the grace and power of God. We need to remember this grace, we need to understand this grace, we need to rely on this grace. We need to walk in this grace if we have any hope of living the Christian life. We need to keep the power and grace of Jesus in the forefront of our mind if we hope to have a Christian walk that is shaped by obedience to our Lord.

The circumstance which prompted the writing of Colossians was a specific heresy that arose there. This false teaching was likely the beginning of what later (in the second century) developed into Gnosticism. It contained several characteristics. (1) It stressed the need for observing Old Testament laws and ceremonies. (2) It was philosophical, laying emphasis on some special or deeper knowledge. (3) It involved the worship of angels as mediators to God. (4) It was exclusivistic, stressing the special privilege and “perfection” of those select few who belonged to this philosophical elite. (5) It was also an attack on the deity of Christ.

To combat this extremely destructive heresy in the Colossians' lives Paul gives one of the greatest declarations of Christ’s deity found anywhere in Scripture. This context is important because the Colossians were being told that there was some secret hidden knowledge that if they could only find a way to grasp by following the right rules then they could walk rightly with God and be blessed. God is saying absolutely not, there is no secret, here is the truth you need to know and if you will imbed this truth in your hearts and minds and rely on this truth in faith you can and will obey me and walk with me in a way that is pleasing to God and a blessing and joy for you. One very important thing to remember from this is that our sin nature and our enemy will attempt to sidetrack us in this way as well. The world, our sin nature and Satan is constantly working to get us to believe other things about God and about how to walk with God in obedience.

The kind of walk he calls us to was explained in some detail in verses 3-14 of this chapter of Colossians. We are to be filled with the knowledge of his will, walk worthy of the Lord, bear much fruit, strengthened by all power, have all endurance and all strength, have all patience, have joy, always be giving thanks. We all know we have no hope of doing this in our own strength. I know from my experience in life, I most emphatically do not and cannot walk in that way without the enabling of God to do so.

It is vital to remember that what is being expressed is absolute, it is foundational and eternal truth about Jesus Christ as God. It is of primary importance for our Christian walk because God is asking us to rely on these truths when all other knowledge and beliefs fail us. When our strength, courage, endurance, our physical, mental and spiritual strength fail. In our lives we face challenges and struggles that are far beyond our ability to handle and the Lord is telling us, you can put your faith in me, you can rely on me when all seems hopeless. Through that faith in his grace and Power in the very person of Christ in our lives we are able to love and obey Him in the hardest of times. Not only are we able to love and obey him but through reliance on these truths and putting our faith in Him we are able to, in obedience, love and help others even while we ourselves are struggling. Not only that but through believing these truths and allowing them to strengthen our faith we can obey our Lord by loving those who have not shown love to us, when they have been unkind and uncaring to us.

Paul saw the power of God in these truths, and he put his faith in these truths about our Lord. Paul is telling the Colossians this has dramatically impacted his daily walk with and service to the Lord. It is good to remember Paul’s experience in serving the Lord. In 2 Cor. 11:23-27 Paul says:

…with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.

Again, as he is writing this letter to the Colossians he is suffering in this way. These truths are not theoretic platitudes of a privileged teacher living a life of ease. These truths can do the same for the Colossians and for us. When we are tempted to not love, to not show grace, to not have faith and to not obey, we need to remember the grace of God in our lives and his almighty power. We need to ask God at the moment of struggle when we are about to lose our temper or despair to allow these truths that we know from his word to embed themselves in our hearts and minds through the work of the Holy Spirit so that we can walk according to his will. May we daily walk according to these glorious truths for the glory of our almighty Savior.

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