Saturday

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, and establishing the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (v. 6)

Colossians 2:1-14 Saturday 18 April 2020

Psalm: Psalm 149

Background

Paul’s letter to the Colossians is likely to date to the mid-50s AD and is among Paul’s so-called prison letters. Paul never visited the Colossians. He highly praises their devotion to Christ but hopes to steer them away from religious practices which he considers questionable.

Verse 1 – Laodicea is a city near Colossae. Paul reminds the Colossians that knowledge of God’s mystery comes from union with and obedience to Christ. A heresy at the time was Gnosticism which believed knowledge of a secret lore, passed down by word of mouth, was the key for salvation.

Verses 6-7 – Fullness in Christ comes from lives rooted in Christ and built up in faith with much thankfulness.

Verse 8 – Paul warns against a contemporary astrology that taught that angels associated with stars controlled human destiny.

Verse 9 – There is no God in the stars, because the fullness of God dwells in Christ.

Verse 10 – In union with Christ we are fully human, and Christ has authority over all earthly rulers.

Verse 11 – ‘Circumcision’ is the practice for beginning life as a Jew. Paul uses it as a metaphor for beginning life in Christ, when sinful nature is cut off. Sin are those attitudes which drive us to actions which destroy our unity with one another in Christ.

Toxic inner attitudes such as envy, greed, lust, pride, resentment, indifference which unchecked can fester away and destroy our common life.

Another way to picture sin, is to see it as the ‘false self,’ the outer persona we create of ourselves, a self-created version of a separate self, leading to a forgetting of the deep shared true self alive in Christ.

Verse 12 – The imagery of baptism involves submersion in water, a symbolic death. Below the waters in Hebrew cosmology was Sheol, the place where the dead go to. Joined to Christ our small separate selves, (sinful nature dies), and we rise out of the waters to new shared life in Christ.

Verses 13-14 – This new life comes through forgiveness of our sinful nature. The slate wiped clean.

This is a slow process: dying and rising, with many small deaths along the way!

 

To Ponder:

  • What teachings today can you think of that might confuse us or distract us from living out of the fullness of Christ?
  • We must co-operate with God in growing out of our sinful nature in Christ. What means of grace (what practical ways) do you use to do that?
  • Can you think of examples of little deaths that you have gone through, as you have lived more deeply into the fullness of Christ? In what ways might we be in the process of dying to one way of shared life, in order to live more deeply into the fullness of Christ?
  • Are there ways in which you intentionally remember your baptism and is this important to you?
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