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The Fullness Of Christ

Colossians 2:9-10

Christless religion keeps God and humanity remote from each other. That approach seems reasonable to imperfect people. It preserves the dignity of the deity, and protects weak humanity from the full force of the god's anger. It also suits any religious hierarchy by preserving mysteries which only they can understand and teach to others. But faith in Christ is totally different. Jesus Christ was God in a human body - offensive to some but gloriously liberating to those who receive Him.

Powerful Surgery

Colossians 2:11-12

Circumcision of male children was done by Abraham and his descendents in response to God's covenant (Genesis 17:1-14). It marked each generation as those who were under God's authority and bound to obey His laws. Circumcision was also a life-long sign that they were set apart, cut out from the rest of humanity to serve the Lord, to marry within His family and to raise children who would continue in the faith.

Powerful Grace

Colossians 2:13-15

The Bible does not support the idea that we are all basically good. Paul now confirms that when we started our physical life, we were all spiritually dead (separated from God). Our hearts were not devoted to God and our nature was sinful. But the death of Jesus Christ opened a door of hope, in six significant ways.

Powerful Approval

Colossians 2:16-17

We all want to be liked. As a part of our desire to relate well with others, we want their approval of what we do. Every kind of society provides affirmation for people who keep the rules. The principle is the same for tribes and clubs, professional associations, businesses, sports, religious organisations and even criminal gangs ... keep the rules and all is well, break them and beware.

Powerful Illusion

Colossians 2:18-19

People influence us because we allow them to do so. They may appear wise and spiritual, and we may be fascinated by their stories and ideas, but how do we know who is true? The Early Church was at risk from people who seemed to be spiritual, but were false. Some of these were legalistic religionists (Colossians 2:16-17) and others, as in today's passage, were mystics. They were spiritually false because they lost connection with Jesus Christ, even though they were still in the church.

Appearance Of Wisdom

Colossians 2:20-23

People who follow Jesus Christ are different. They have a different reason for being alive (confidence in the gospel of God's grace), a different motivation (the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit), and a different final goal (eternity in the presence of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit). So why do some Christians think and behave like those whose hope is in themselves (and people who can help them), whose motivation is self-gain, and whose reason for life is either self-congratulation or survival?

Choosing Your Horizon

Colossians 3:1-2

Believing in Jesus is not just a journey of following a different Master. Like marriage, it starts with an immediate transition of status and then grows into a loving relationship, confident that the bond of marriage is strong and safe. In the same way, the moment that a sinner repents and receives Christ, new believers have already been raised from death to life (Romans 6:4).

Hidden And Revealed

Colossians 3:3-4

The new life of faith can only start when our old life of self-reliance is declared dead. Indentifying with Christ means that we accept His death as the punishment for our sinful 'old life'. So we must die to that old way of living; we cannot continue as we did before. But that is not the end of us! It is only the beginning, because Christ then comes to share His life with us. As Paul says in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.

Radical Reform

Colossians 3:5-6

New life in Christ is incompatible with the old life outside of Christ and opposed to His authority. Because He died to pay the penalty for that rebellion, all those who have been released from condemnation must not return to rebellion. The earthly nature puts a high value on money, sex and power - which are motivated by sinful cravings, the lust of the eyes and pride (1 John 2:16). These are all opposed to the life of Christ.

Changing The Habits Of A Lifetime

Colossians 3:7-8

The Christian life is sometimes described as a walk. Each believer in Christ travels through life with Him, learning to turn away from sin and embrace holiness. We all have a track record of wrong behaviour, with bad habits of thinking, speaking and acting. But when we start to walk with Christ we realise those things must change. When we see how much He hates our old self-serving attitude, the sin for which He died, we start to want to please Him.