Colossians #4 Colossians 1: 21-23
Colossians #4 Colossians 1: 21-23
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard
21 You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. 22 But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God's side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. 23 You don't walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message—just this one. Every creature under heaven gets this same Message. I, Paul, am a messenger of this Message.
“It seems to me that God has put us who bear his Message on stage in a theater …”
God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
2 Corinthians 13:5 (MSG)
Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don't drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.
Forgiven, reconciled, put together, whole, and holy, Paul writes: “You don't walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted.”
There’s a warning here. As a believer you can become distracted from your first love, you can be diverted from doing the good works God wants you to do. If so you walk away from the gift God has given you in Christ. Both the Kings James translation and the New International Version translate Paul’s word to read “if you continue in the faith.” You can discontinue being in the faith simply by neglect. Paul himself didn’t want to mess up and disqualify himself from the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:26-27 (MSG)
I'm giving it everything I've got. No sloppy living for me! I'm staying alert and in top condition. I'm not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it, and then missing out myself.
Behind the words, we can make an educated guess as to what some of the issues circulating in the Colossian congregation. Though we don’t see it so much in the English translation we can see in the Greek a heavy emphasis on Jesus having a body (sarx vs soma). This would be a correction to the Gnostic idea that Jesus didn’t have a body, that He wasn’t fully God and fully human, that He wasn’t even God. That one has to continue in the faith is another refutation of Gnosticism that taught that all you needed was the secret knowledge to escape corruption and enter into a whole and holy state. Once you’re in, you’re in, and nothing could change that. Paul also reminds us that it is not some secret knowledge, it is Jesus' atonement that makes salvation possible. Then we can surmise that some accused Paul of preaching a different message to different people to win favor. Paul writes, no, the gospel I preach is the one I preach to everyone. This was one of the accusations that those who taught you had to keep the law as well as believe in Jesus to be saved that was leveled at Paul. Paul also affirms that he is a messenger sent by Jesus himself, referring to himself as an apostle, a sent one. We know that some called into question the authenticity of Paul’s calling.
You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. 15 If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. 16 Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
2. Salvation through faith in Jesus is not a one and done, it's one and started. You are expected to demonstrate your gratitude for so great a salvation, for Jesus dying for you, by your good works of love. Your good works of love allow you to continue in the faith.
Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you.