Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Route 66 Through The Year: Colossians 1:24-2:23

Spring Harvest’s ‘Route 66 Through the Year’ is designed to take readers on a tour through each of the 66 books of the Bible over the course of a year, with each day’s reading featuring a short passage and comment written by a variety of Spring Harvest speakers.

I have contributed notes for this week on Colossians, looking today at 1:24-2:23.

Read: Colossians 1:24-2:23

It becomes apparent that Paul is trying to persuade the church not to be led astray by ‘fine-sounding arguments’ (2:4). Whatever the precise nature of the problem he is countering, Paul names it as a ‘hollow and deceptive philosophy’ (2:8) which moves them away from depending on Christ.

At the heart of his appeal, then, is to stick with Jesus – to start with him and continue with him (2:6-7).

So, the warning not to get distracted by ‘deceptive philosophy’ in 2:8 is coupled with a reminder in 2:9-15 of who Jesus is and what he has done – that Jesus embodies God’s fulness in himself, that we have the benefits of being joined to him, which includes being made alive, having all our sins forgiven, our record of debt cancelled by Christ’s work on the cross through which he also triumphed over powers and authorities.

Paul’s pastoral combination of warning with reminders about what we have in Jesus continues in the rest of the passage, as we are encouraged to trust Christ rather than irrelevant practices (2:16-17), empty promises (2:18-19), and false purity (2:20-23).

Lord, we want to serve you, but please give us the confidence of knowing that our faith is based on what Jesus has already done on our behalf, not on what we can do for him.

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