Friday 17 August 2018

Bible Book:

“the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints” (v. 26)

Colossians 1:24-29 Friday 17 August 2018

Psalm: Psalm 119:97-112


Paul wrote to the church at Colossae to correct false teaching that had been circulating in the church. Among other issues, the church seems to have had some people who considered that there was secret knowledge (Gnosis) only available to a few select initiates (Colossians 2:16-23). This was a common philosophical expectation of the day among the many ‘mystery religions’ of the time.

In contrast, Paul argued strongly that there is no hidden knowledge to be known only be a few people in Christianity. All has been revealed for all and to all in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Additionally, Paul stressed that Jesus, as part of the work of God in all of creation, had also reconciled all of creation in his suffering and death. There is an inherent balance in Paul’s teaching about Jesus: the one present at the beginning would do the work of reconciling in the here and now. And he would also be there at the end when all things are reconciled.

This passage should also be a comfort to anyone who has ever been part of a church that was in what felt like intractable conflict. Paul began the section saying he rejoiced (verse 24) in the suffering that being in this conflict has brought. He said this because he believed in our suffering for and with each other there is an ongoing work of Christ. Being together in community is hard work, and real engagement with each other will bring conflict. He did not try to avoid or even to condemn the conflict, but gave a context in the continuing work of reconciliation which is Christian living.

To Ponder

  • Paul often spoke of the Church as Christ’s “body” (v. 24, also 1 Corinthians 12:12-31). To what extent do you think conflict in a church represents ‘illness’ in the body?
  • Why, or why not?
  • What do you think are the characteristics of someone who is “mature in Christ” (v. 28)?
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