October 29th – Putting the Record Straight



Sometimes biblical scholarship has to play detective. It looks for clues from what the Bible says, to discover the situation it was addressing. A bit like piecing together an entire conversation when all you can hear is one person speaking on the phone. Paul’s letter to the Colossians is like this. They were in real danger and by studying his warnings to them we can deduce what the danger was. The start and the end of the letter give no problems – he sends them loving greetings, he prays for them, and at the end gives personal greetings and messages about particular people. The bulk of the letter reveals the dangers they faced of sliding into a kind of “New Age” religion which perverted Christianity into a cult. This heresy reduced Jesus to a great spiritual leader – one of any number – like those today who think all ideas of God are the same, and all religions are saying the same thing, when they are NOT. Paul speaks of the total uniqueness of Jesus Christ, and in speaking of Jesus Paul says in Colossians 1:15, 19-20.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
The New-Age Colossian cult taught that all matter was evil, and that the powerful elemental spirits of the universe were contacted through astrology, demons and angels and so on. Paul addresses the danger, and speaking of Jesus he says:
For by him all things were created:things in heaven and on earth, visible and i invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;all things were created by him and for him.He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the Head over every power and authority. Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? Colossians 1:16-17, 2:9-10, and 20-21
The old ‘magic days’ have gone, with their religious diets and diatribes. These are not steps into a new age, but 10 steps back into a black hole. Waken up! Get real! says Paul. In Christ you now have everything. By trusting in him totally, the old you died with Christ, and so you can live Christ’s risen life. This is how Chapter 3 begins:
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3: 1-2
Colossians Chapter 3: 11-17, is a picture of a truly living Christian church.
Then pray: Lord, I want my church to be like that.
Now read the Letter to the Colossians – it is only 4 chapters!

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Thought 4 The Day

The cross of Christ is the key of paradise. (Anon)

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