Here I just want to pass on some strong encouragement from the Apostle Paul and at the same time demolish some preconceived ideas we may have picked up along the way as Christians.
Col 1: 21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—
Paul is speaking to believers who were previously alienated and enemies yet who have now been reconciled by God through Jesus so as to be constantly presenting them holy, blameless and above reproach in God’s sight.
It is not talking about one day you will stand before God blameless— but from the moment you were born again, you are being presented before God’s sight as holy, blameless and above reproach. Then he says IF….
23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I,(by)Paul, became a minister.
Paul is saying you and I are holy and blameless now before the Father and remain that way if we are NOT MOVED AWAY from the hope of the Gospel which he preached.
What hope is that? Exactly what he just wrote! That the death of Jesus did away with your old unacceptable life which presented you to God as an unholy sinner and His resurrection made you sharers in His holiness and blamelessness. If you are moved away from believing that you are justified COMPLETELY by grace alone — you will be aligning yourself with the old man which was crucified and died. If you do not continue believing that ONLY JESUS JUSTIFIES YOU but instead begin to trust in what you do to be pleasing to God you will NULLIFY the grace of God on your part.
God still sees you as reconciled…He still sees you as justified…But because you have begun to trust in your works instead of resting in His finished work for you – you are returning to that hostile mind and are alienating yourself from God. This alienation from God is only in your mind. In actual fact you are still inside of Jesus if you have believed in Him and received His Spirit. But in your mind you have separated yourself from Jesus and are trying to prove your own worthiness by what you do for God. This only revives sin and brings you into a hellish experience where though you are born again, you struggle constantly with yourself.
This happens because we have been MOVED AWAY in our minds from simple trust in Jesus as the One who makes us right with God. This happens because Satan accuses us of DOING NOTHING FOR GOD…To quiet that accusation (which we assume is from God) we move into striving to do many things for God. Religious things. Once we give ear to that accusation and obey it…we are going to be tossed around by it…and shall lose all the joy and peace we had when we simply rested in His righteousness.
Col 1:27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.
God raised up Paul to give him the Gospel for the Gentile church –That Gospel is built around the CENTRAL MYSTERY revealed to Paul which is CHRIST IN YOU THE HOPE OF GLORY.
In verse 28 Paul says “Him we preach…”
“Christ in you the hope of glory!” Paul preached Jesus Christ in the believer.
“Warning every man…” ABOUT WHAT Paul?–warning them about what??
Warning them NOT TO BE MOVED AWAY from the gospel they had heard and been taught by him…which is CHRIST IN YOU THE HOPE OF GLORY.
Teaching every man in all wisdom…Teaching them what Paul?
Teaching them what it is to have Christ in you and how we are to walk with Christ in us.
What for Paul? Why do that?
“…that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”
Just as he wrote in Col 1:22 that God has reconciled you through the death of Christ to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—
So he preaches and warns and teaches every man ‘CHRIST IN YOU’ the hope of glory in order to present every man complete in Him.
What moves us away? Why is there a need to warn us not to move away?
Col 2:4 Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. 5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
When Paul says the “steadfastness of your faith in Christ” he is referring to his Gospel and what it means to have faith in Christ. It is this mystery he labours constantly to sow into them…He is speaking about the FAITH IN “CHRIST-IN-YOU-THE-HOPE-OF-GLORY”….NOT a faith in an outward Jesus up in heaven.
6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
Again…Here Paul is speaking his Gospel given to him by Jesus Himself through revelation. He is saying:having received CHRIST IN YOU THE HOPE OF GLORY – SO WALK INSIDE OF HIM JUST AS HE WALKS INSIDE OF YOU….Live in Him as He lives in you! Rooted and built up inside of Jesus inside of you!..As I have taught you–my gospel–Christ in you the hope of glory.
8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
Beware.?..This is why he warned them…because there are those who would MOVE YOU AWAY from this trust in Christ in you the hope of glory…They would move you away to trust in outer performance and traditions and anything else EXCEPT CHRIST IN YOU….Because trusting in ‘Christ in you’ is how the POWER of the Gospel is released constantly in you to transform you into His likeness.
9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
This wonderful Christ Jesus who is in you contains ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD–IN YOU!! This is why the enemy seeks to MOVE US AWAY from Paul’s revelation of Christ in you.
He will get you off trying to keep the law, the sabbath, doing religious things…anything except trusting in and being rooted in this message of Christ in you the hope of glory.
He does not mind Christians having a focus on heaven as long as they do not focus on Jesus Christ IN THEM.
If you do not stay in this central reality of Christ in you you will have no rest and no power.
All of Paul’s teaching is based around this central pillar.
I shall share more next time.