Sunday, October 30, 2011


Colossians 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Paul is very specific in this verse—The believer is to reckon himself dead (to the flesh).  We have been born again in the spirit to new life “with” Christ “in” God.  This wording stood out to me since Paul uses the expression “in Christ” so often.  The Greek for with states “denoting union.”  We are united as one with Christ in a fixed position of rest in God.   Paul pictures Christ as the head of one body of believers. 

Ephesians 4:15-16 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

We are also joined as one through the indwelling of the same Holy Spirit.

1Corinthians 6:17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

Though it is important to recognize the distinction in Father, Son and Spirit, it is also important to understand that they are also the same.  So, even though Paul is making a point as to the Father’s provision for us through His Son, it is clear that if we are “in Christ,” we are “in God.”

Paul also makes the point that our life is “hid” with Christ.  The Greek makes reference to being concealed by covering and kept secret.  We tend to think of life more from a physical perspective, but the true essence of our life is spiritual.  When we accept Jesus as Savior, we are given new life that is concealed in His righteousness. 

2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

When we receive our glorified bodies, our spiritual life and physical life will once again be manifest in the glory and image of God in which it was originally created.

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

This is a when statement, not an if statement.  Jesus Christ will manifest Himself in all His glory to those on planet earth.  When that time comes, the body of believers will be with Him.  Prophetic side note:  We can’t be with Him when He returns to earth unless we have first been taken up to be with Him in heaven.  Note that we will appear with Him “in glory”—in our glorified bodies.

“who is our life” – I think it is important to emphasize again that it is “in Christ” that we have new life. 

1Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

2Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

(to be continued…)

Thursday, October 27, 2011


In this post we will be challenged to examine the desires that guide the choices we make in life. 

Colossians 3:1-2 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

These verses refer back to the truth presented in chapter 2, verses 11-13.  The child of God has died to the flesh and has been given new life in Christ.  This is what is pictured in our baptism—death, burial and resurrection.  Again we meet that little word “if,” because it is only “in Christ” that we are empowered to “seek those things which are above” through His Spirit.  Above is defined as “where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God”—heaven.  This is a reference to spiritual treasure that will be ours for eternity.  This is what Jesus referenced in His Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

What are those treasures?  I think Paul answers this best in is letter to the Corinthians.

1Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Paul is counseling the Colossians to pursue activities that will accrue to eternal treasures with Christ rather than pursuing the temporary pleasures of this world.  It sounds as if it should be so simple, but it’s not.  I find myself more and more often questioning the wisdom of investing chunks of time in the things of this world.  I’m seeking to know how to best balance my pursuits regarding time invested in spiritual endeavors and time invested in the things associated with my life now on planet earth.  Many of these activities are entertwined regarding family and establishing a spiritual heritage and legacy. 

I found this quote from Augustine in the JFB Commentary:  “No one longs for eternal, incorruptible, and immortal life, unless he be wearied of this temporal, corruptible, and mortal life.”

I think this statement gets to the heart of the matter.  We should get to the point that our true heart’s desire is centered on our eternal future.  It’s at the heart of Paul’s statements to the Corinthians and the Philippians.

2Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

Philippians 1:21-24 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

I can’t help but think of something Jesus said in connection with this truth.

Matthew 10:37 “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

My whole life centers around my family, and these are words that have caused me to examine my heart closely throughout the last decade of my life in particular.  Honestly, it has taken me a long time to grow into a faith that rests in God’s love and understands that only in trusting and loving Him more can I best show my love to others—especially my family.  That doesn’t mean I don’t struggle from time to time with the trials of life, but the struggle is much less intense and more readily given back to the Lord with confidence that He is working what is good and to His glory.

(to be continued…)

Monday, October 24, 2011


Paul now challenges the Colossian believers with a question, my translation:  “If you have died to the flesh and are new creations in Christ, why are you being tempted to submit to the doctrines of men rather than living in freedom in Christ?  It’s worded in the scripture as follows:

Colossians 2:20-22 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

Many of the false teachings being promoted were full of restrictions in areas that Christ has given us freedom.
  • Touch not – “attach oneself to”
  • Taste not – “to eat or experience”
  • Handle not – “to manipulate, to have to do with

In context, this seems to refer back to the self-denial or self-mortification spoken of in verse 18.  The religions of men always end up as expressions of ways that man can reach God through their works; Christianity is dependent upon God reaching down to man through His Son to provide for him what he can in no way provide for himself.  Religion is based on works as represented by the law; Christianity is based on relationship that is a gift of grace.  Paul also addressed this issue in his letters to the Romans and Galatians.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Romans 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Galatians 2:19-21 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Colossians 2:23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

I like the NLT translation of this verse: “These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility, and severe bodily discipline. But they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires.”

God’s ways are so beyond our understanding.  We like the feeling of earning our own way and of not being beholden to anyone for anything.  Our culture works on the principle that you have to pay for what you get.  We have a hard time relating to the truth that salvation is a gift of grace from God through faith.  Yes, there are strings attached. We have to admit that we are sinners in need of a Savior.  We have to accept Jesus as Lord and trust Him according to the truth of His word.  It’s a relationship rooted in the love of God that can only be established by grace through faith.

There are so many in this world today—many who even call themselves Christian—that are depending on their works to get them to heaven.  They think that if the good things they do outweigh the bad on the grand scale, God will accept them into heaven.  Some even acknowledge that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but do not accept His provision as sufficient alone.  They are still focused on their works as a necessary part of their salvation.  Those who embrace these false teachings are in for a very sad confrontation with the truth.

Ephesians 2:8–9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

It is only through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit that we can overcome sin.  The Holy Spirit is only ours through faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

1 Corinthians 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

1John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

1John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

(to be continued...)

Friday, October 21, 2011


Colossians 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind….

This is a hard verse.  The main points of accusation seem to be false humility through self-denial or self-mortification and worship of angels based on deceiving visions.  It would seem that there were false teachers in Colosse that were promoting the worship of angels.  Scripture is clear that we are to worship no one but God.

Exodus 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

To give your worship to anyone or anything else is to reject God as Lord.  To allow yourself to be deceived into thinking otherwise is to be deceived and lost. Satan is a wonderful counterfeiter.  People can be very convincing who have allowed themselves to be deceived by visions of Satanic origin.  We are much more prone to give credence to what we experience over what we must choose to accept by faith.  As the old saying goes, “Seeing is believing.”  The problem is that “Seeing can be deceiving.”  Example:  There are many in this world today being deceived by visions of “Mary” calling herself the “Queen of Heaven.”  The message is one of concern and encouragement and is deceiving many people.  It is another evil spirit that is drawing attention to itself and away from the Savior.  The “queen of heaven” is identified in scripture by the prophet Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 7:16-18 Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee. Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.

She was one of the pantheon of gods and goddesses worshipped in the ancient world.  Wikipedia offers the following information:

The Roman writer Apuleius' "Transformations of Lucius" gives us an understanding of Isis in the first century. The following paragraph is particularly significant.
"You see me here, Lucius, in answer to your prayer. I am nature, the universal Mother, mistress of all the elements, primordial child of time, sovereign of all things spiritual, queen of the dead, queen also of the immortals, the single manifestation of all gods and goddesses that are, my nod governs the shining heights of Heavens, the wholesome sea breezes.  Though I am worshipped in many aspects, known by countless names. . . some know me as Juno, some as Bellona . . . the Egyptians who excel in ancient learning and worship call me by my true name..Queen Isis."
[end quote]

There are some good free online resources on this subject at:

Self-denial and self-mortification is another form of pride and setting oneself apart as more worthy than others.  It is a mentality of works salvation as opposed to faith.  This verse seems to tie directly to the truth Paul wrote in his letter to Timothy.

1Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils….

Colossians 2:19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.

These false teachers were not connected to the Head—Christ, the head of the body of believers.  They were promoting angels and even themselves—not Christ.  It is “in Christ” that the body of believers are knit together as a unified whole.  I believe that this is accomplished supernaturally through the indwelling Holy Spirit.  It is only “in Christ” through the ministry of the Spirit that we as believers can be nourished to grow in spiritual development.  God provides for that growth through the Holy Spirit’s gifting in the body whereby we benefit from ministry to each other as we “speak the truth in love.”  This truth will always point us to Christ—not self or angels.

Ephesians 4:11-15 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ….

(to be continued…)