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Colossians 3

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

WEDNESDAY, MAY 23

SCRIPTURE:  COLOSSIANS 3

This chapter begins with an important positional statement.  Paul is writing to those who have been raised with Christ.  This is not a reference to a physical resurrection (although that is to come). It is instead a reference to a spiritual resurrection. 

In verse 3, we are reminded that at salvation we died with Christ.  Again this is not a physical death but a spiritual one.  We died to ourselves when we were saved.  Part of what happened when that death occurred is we were hidden in Christ.  But notice it is our life that is hidden in Christ.  There is a great paradox here.  We “died” but our “life” is hidden in Christ.  Among other things that should tell us that our “life” as a Christian is not our “life” at all.  It is instead a life that is given to us and found only in Christ.  In fact, verse 4 says Jesus is our life.  So, as Christ followers we are hidden in Him.

But it doesn’t stop there.  Verse 4 also reminds of us the promise of resurrection.  When Jesus appears on this earth again, Christ followers will appear with Him.

All of this speaks to our position in Christ.  We should always be mindful of the fact that our position in Christ always leads to our practice.  Part of our practice as Christ followers is we should kill off some stuff that is characteristic of the unredeemed life (verse 5) and we are to put away some attitudes that are characteristic of the unredeemed life (verses 6-7).  As Christ followers, none of us is immune from any of that.  So we must consciously and consistently make decisions not to let those things be present in us.

Verse 9 sums this up. We are to put off the old self.  But we must also put on the new self.  Think of this in terms of clothes.  Imagine wearing some filthy, tattered, ruined clothes.  Imagine being offered new, clean, pristine clothes. No one would put the new clothes on over the old clothes.  We would all take off the old clothes first.  Because any analogy will eventually break down, don’t chase this too far.  But remember that as Christ followers, we have a responsibility to take the old stuff out of our lives and replace it with the things of Jesus.

Part of what we are to put on is found in verses 12-17.  As you look over that list, slow down a little in verse 15. 

The peace of God is to rule in our hearts.  That word rule is the source of our word umpire.  In other words, we are to let the peace of God be our decision maker.  If we do that stuff of the old life, our peace with God will be interrupted.  If we do the things of the new life, our peace with God will be deepened.  We should let that be the determining factor in what we do, how we act, what our attitudes are, etc.

Doing that has a most important impact on our most important relationships.  In verses 18-19, it affects our marriage relationships.  In verses 20-21, it impacts our parent/child relationships.  In verse 22, it should influence our work relationships. 

All of that culminates in verse 23 with an amazing statement.  Whatever we do, we should do to the best of our ability as though we were doing it for Jesus and not for anyone else.  Now that is an interesting motivation for our everyday lives.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Colossians 2

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

TUESDAY, MAY 22

SCRIPTURE:  COLOSSIANS 2

As is very typical of Paul, he continues to pack more words into each sentence than perhaps any other person can.  But each of the words he uses is important.  And each clause tends to reveal great Biblical truth.  Without exaggeration, it would be easy to spend a day or two on each of Paul’s paragraphs.  Instead, we have one day to deal with an entire chapter. Whew!

Paul begins this chapter by speaking of his great struggle for the believers in Colossae and in Laodicea.  The word for struggle is the basis for our word agony.  So, Paul’s concern for these folks was rooted deep in his heart and spirit.  It is not that some great heresy was being practiced in Colossae.  But the heretics and the false teachers were there and doing their best to mislead the Colossian church.  By the way, there are heretics and false teachers in the church today who are doing their best to mislead the church.

The key to knowing what is false teaching and what is not is knowing the truth.  Paul reminds us in verse two that full assurance of understanding and knowledge of God’s mystery is found only in Christ.  And in Christ (verse 3) are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  In other words, the more we know the reality of the true Christ, the greater prepared we are to deal with false teaching.  Our ignorance of the Scripture is fertile ground for heretical doctrines to creep in.

In verses 6-7, Paul talks about the relationship that should exist between each believer and Jesus.  We are to walk or live in Him.  This points to a continuous action.  As fish swim in the water, so should we live in Him.  We are to be rooted in Him.  We are to put our roots down deep into Him from whence we can draw the life and sustenance that we need.  We are to be built up in Him.  Once we are saved, we should necessarily begin the process of growing in Him.  Finally, we are to be established in Him.  This refers to a stability of life.  We stand firm in Him.  If we do these things, we will experience safety from being kidnapped and held captive by false teaching (verse 8). 

Verse 9 makes the incredible point that the fullness of deity is in Jesus.  In other words, Jesus is fully and completely God.  One of the common heresies of Paul’s day and of our day is to try to chip away at the deity of Jesus.  Just remember if Jesus is not God, He could not have died for all of humanity.  If He is not God, there is no way He can save any of us.  If He is not God, then the entire New Testament is a lie.

Verse 13 makes an incredible and important point.  When we are saved, we are made alive together with Jesus.  We share in His eternal life.  And we have been forgiven all of our sins.  That is a crazy important truth.  When we were saved, we weren’t just forgiven for what we had done before we were saved.  We were saved from all of our sins that we had ever committed or would ever commit.  As a result, our salvation is secure and the life we share with Jesus is eternal.

Because of that the religious traditions of men hold no power over us.  (verses 16ff).  There are no religious rules that we have to follow to maintain our salvation or our relationship with God.  Indeed when we are saved, we step into the glorious freedom of relationship with the one, true God.  That doesn’t mean we are free to do whatever we might want to do.  But it does mean we are free not to do what man made religion puts in front of us.  Rejoice in your freedom but just make sure your freedom is what Jesus has given you and not what you want it to be.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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