Colossians: Jesus is Better than Special Knowledge, Part 2

“Jesus is better than special knowledge” is the theme of the Letter to the Colossians. Already—in part 1 (ch. 1:1-20)—the Apostle Paul has introduced himself as one who has been commissioned by Jesus Christ, according to the will of God, the Father. As such, Paul had a significant spiritual gifting, which enabled him to powerfully and truthfully address the needs of the Gentile (non-Hebrew ethinicity) churches.

The new church of believers at ancient Colossae had need for defending themselves against a malicious, esoteric heresy called gnosticism, which sees Jesus as a mere heavenly messenger. Believers today need this defense as well:

This heretical view is still in existence today, both in various secretive cults and in such pop religious movements as astrology or alchemy.

The Masonic movement has been referred to as a Gnostic movement. The popular book The Da Vinci Code (2003, Doubleday) by Dan Brown promotes Gnostic ideas as it attempts to undermine orthodox Christianity. (Theopedia, Gnosticism)

For these reasons, the Apostle Paul was inspired by God to write defenses of the Christian faith (against gnosticism) in the Letter to the Colossians; and the letter is preserved for our learning and safety.

Within chapter 1, one reads Paul’s commendation of the believers for their mutual faith and love—a faith and love shared by many around the world. They are not alone. Secondly, Paul shares the content of the prayers he and his ministry companions often pray for the Colossians amid their fight against heresy and temptations. We do well to pray these prayers for one another today. Thirdly, Paul spends time exalting the Lord Jesus Christ in His rightful place of:

  • The Image of the Invisible God
  • Authority over all things, seen and unseen, especially angels (good and bad)
  • Creator and Maintainer of all things
  • The Head of the Church
  • The One “first” and preeminent in all things, especially a resurrection to glorification
  • The Means of Reconciliation of all things to God by making peace through the blood of His cross

At the end of what we know as chapter 1, Paul reminds the Colossian believers of what God has done for them:

1:21-23

  • You were alienated from God and were enemies to God through wicked works, but now you are reconciled to God in His (Jesus’) fleshly body through (His) death…
    • in order to to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before God
    • IF you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the Gospel*

*Here is a noteworthy point the Apostle makes:: IF one who has heard and believed the Gospel of Jesus should shift from the hope of the Gospel (which is exclusively Jesus), and so, accepts esoteric or gnostic teachings, then that one can no longer be counted as reconciled to God through Christ. To accept such pluralistic falsehood is to deny Christ. Esoteric study loves to collect “theosophic” ideas from nearly all religions—what those religions hold in common about “god.” That perhaps sounds wise, but biblicist Christianity holds Jesus preeminently and exclusively as the only true God in Flesh, and that, all other religions are the result of demonic teachings propagated by demonically influenced men (1 Timothy 4:1). The idea that humanity can be unified under one world-wide religion that combines all religions into one is nothing less than the scheme of devils.

1:24-29

The Apostle Paul was no stranger for toil and struggle in ministering defenses and support to the churches. In these verses, Paul states :”for this [their maturity in Christ], I toil, struggling….” Paul assures the Colossian believers that he rejoices in the sufferings he has undergone for their sakes (in regards to this heresy and similar things). Paul’s work was and is:

  • A completion of what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ for the sake of Christ’s body, the Church.
    • because Paul became a minister of that body, according to a stewardship / dispensation given to him by God…
      • for the purpose of making the Word of God fully known concerning…
        • the mystery (of the body of Christ, the Church), which was hidden for ages but is now revealed to believers…
          • who are the ones God chose to reveal how great (among the Gentiles) are the glorious riches of this mystery:
            • being, “Christ in you, the Hope of Glory”
  • A proclamation of Jesus, accomplished by warning everyone and teaching everyone WITH ALL WISDOM…
    • so that, Paul and company may present everyone to God as mature in Christ.

Every Christian minister would do well to note Paul’s inspired goal and description of ministry. The reason he endured toil and struggle against heresies and false teachers within the churches was precisely this: “to present everyone mature in Christ.” Keep that one phrase as the goal of ministry. If you agree to the call of God as a minister, then it is no bed of roses, but Paul admits he is able to toil and struggle because he does so with, “all [Jesus’] energy that [Jesus] powerfully works within me.”

Christ in you is the Hope of Glory for every believer!

Christ in you is the energizing power for every minister who is defending (warning) and supporting (teaching) the believers against (gnostic) heresy and other threats!

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