Rejoicing and Filling Up

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“If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church.” Colossians 1:23-24 KJV

There a just a couple of items in these few verses that I want to highlight. The beginning of verse 23 was discussed in the last post, so please go there to read if needed. The first thing I want us to notice is that our gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of hope. The Greek word translated “hope” means expectation, firm, confident expectation. So it is a confidence in what He has accomplished for us that give us eternal, confident expectation for what tomorrow will bring. It is not a “hope” like we use the word today – that is more like a “wish.” That is not at all what is meant here. Instead, this good news of all the accomplishment of Christ for us brings a moment-by-moment expectation of all He has promised. This does not lead to despair, nor to depression. It leads instead to joy!

Paul has said in 1:6 that this gospel has come to all the world (as it did to them) and now he repeats that truth by saying that it had been preached to every creature under heaven. So that has been completed, at least once in this world.

Then he returns to the “joy” theme as he states that he rejoices in his personal suffering which is doing four distinct things: 1 – It is for them; 2 – It is filling up (or completing) what was still lacking in the afflictions of Christ; 3 – This is for Christ’s body’s sake; 4 – That body is the church. Now what he is talking about is the sufferings that he (and everyone who is a believer) suffered as a result of being a part of the body of Christ – the Church. This suffering is the body’s part. Christ completely purchased total redemption, forgiveness of sin, reconciliation, sanctification, and on and on. As a believer suffers for the cause of Christ, that is added to Him personally. We, His body, do suffer – everyone in one degree or another due to our faith in Him. That is natural in the Body we belong to. It is a part of the whole and a participation of each one of us in Christ’s afflictions. (Review Acts 9:4-6 where Paul encounters our Lord and the Lord asks him why was he persecuting Him when in fact, it was the Lord’s people that were being persecuted). Our suffering is “participatory” but not redemptive. Nothing in that process has been left undone, or “left behind” as Paul says here.

We can embrace the attitude he is talking about here and learn to rejoice in being misunderstood, disliked, left-out, looked-over, hurt, misused, and every other form of suffering that might happen. To turn that natural “sorry-for-self thinking” into the thinking that I can be joyful, even here, takes some mind training in the expectations of the Lord for us, in us, and with us. We begin to understand we are in Him, so it is not just us – it is Him being persecuted and mistreated. We share in that and that can bring us joy. So as He teaches us, let us learn openly to be glad when others do not appreciate us. That will immediately let go of any offense, and leave us in love for others – regardless. I did not say this is easy, and neither did Paul. But it is not only possible, but it also brings great rewards within its understanding. Thank you, Lord!

Thank you for reading.

Later this week: Becoming a “Manager of the Mystery.”

 

If You Continue…​

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“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;…” Colossians 1:21-23 KJV

We would all like it if this passage simply was not in the book. But it is! As much as I treasure the security I have in Jesus, that security is not understood well if we do not allow for the “if”s” that are placed next to the security passage.

Here, all of the blessings of our Lord are hinged on a “staying put” “being grounded” and “not moving away from the hope of the gospel.” All the blessings are within Him. When we become aware, we are “within Him” then we understand that we have been given all the strength and power that comes with that placement (Colossians 3:1-17 is a good primer in all this). So a recipient of Grace is empowered by the nature of Grace to live as Christ has empowered – “holy, unblameable, unreprovable.” Such is our new man in Christ and with that gift is the expectation of the fruit of the incorruptible seed.

So Beloved, this is not intended to cause fear, as I do not believe Paul wrote it to cause fear. Just the reality that “in Christ” are all the blessings, confidence, security, etc…. But outside of Him is nothing but fear and darkness. The encouragement is to stay within and trust Him for all He is in us. Forgiveness always flows freely, and inclusion is always there for us. But He has empowered and does expect the fruit of Himself in our lives.

If we are still trying to make the old man prominent in our behavior, then we have yet to believe this book of freedom – Colossians. I urge you to sit for a few minutes and read the entire thing (only four short chapters). It is incredible in its entirety. When we get this book inside us, then this “if” is no longer a problem. Read and be released into Him!

That Was Once -This is Now!

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“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation — if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.” Colossians 1:21-23 NIV

We acknowledge that all of us were alienated from God – not a one of us stands before Him guiltless in our own worthiness. This was because of the way we thought. Oh, glory! How we need to understand that the secret is how we think. Our minds hold the key to our total belief system. We actions are the result of what our minds think. If the mind is unchanged and unrenewed, then our lives cannot be transformed by His power. The whole key is what and how we think! When we choose to open our hearts to our beloved Lord, we enabled a change, or we stepped into a change of thought. Belief is our choice. Once made, if we willingly allow the power of God resident within us to begin to renew that thought process and pathway, then we have opened and guaranteed change in our behavior. All this begins when we choose and say “yes” in a willing openness to His salvation.

As we allow the Holy Spirit to teach us through His Word, our mind becomes empowered to think differently, and we move from knowing we are condemned into knowing we are holy, blameless and free from any accusation. His power within us is capable of making real what He says is true. If you are living according to the Word, but struggling with condemnation, then you need to take time to read this little 4 chapter book of Colossians and choose to believe its truths. Then choose to think about those truths – a lot. Then change in that whole process will disappear. In the light of the truth of this gospel, that has to leave. Colossians is a fantastic primer in the life in the New Covenant purchased and put in place by our Lord Jesus Christ for each and everyone who will choose Him.

He accomplished this for us over 2,000 years ago through His physical body and His death on the cross. We are now reconciled and able to think and do as He would. This is awesome to allow to penetrate into our minds and begin to grab hold of this truth. There is an “if” attached. We will study that in the next post.For now, this is enough to begin the process. Faith is the key to allowing and holding. Stay tuned. Thanks for reading.

Oneness Through His Blood

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“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him and to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Colossians 1:19-20 NIV

We looked at verse 19 in the last post, so today let’s look at verse 20 which begins with “…and to reconcile….” A similar verse in Ephesians 1:10 is similar and reads,

“That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.” KJV

I have quoted the KJV simply because in this verse it is very close to what the Greek text actually says. Another passage that is similar in intent is the discussion of the oneness of all races in Ephesians 2:14-22. Jesus is the peace of the heart, and when that is in place we find deep “oneness” in our hearts with others. The word “unity” is another word in Greek and is not in either of these passages. For us, in English, that word contains meanings not found here. So I have not used it.

To be one is to dwell in peace and to function out of a “knowing” in Spirit that being one in Jesus means being one with others. In Christ, who is our peace, is contained all the purposes of our Father; in Christ is contained all the empowerment of our Father; in Christ is contained all needed knowledge and empowerment to be as He is. (1 John 4:17)

There is only one other place that this oneness exists and that is the oneness of the covenant of marriage. (Another post sometime – maybe). So it is not a “feeling” of being like others or belonging with others but instead, a “knowing” in Spirit that because Jesus is in me, we are one with the Father and with every other believer. This comes from faith and believing the Word. It is a Spirit-truth that we can learn to “feel” as we trust our Lord more and more in working with other people.

This same understanding is in John 17:20-26. It is not about us making it so, it is about us receiving its truth as we embrace all He is in us and for us. Our primary fellowship is the Lord through Spirit and as we choose that as our source of strength, we discover real “oneness” and deep relationship that then can embrace others.

Thank You, Lord, for all you are in each of us. We choose this oneness and allow an openness in our being to respond in You and to You.

Thank you for reading – be blessed today in Him!

psalm19.org

God Was Pleased

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“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him…” Colossians 1:19 NIV

The heart of our Father is so open in this verse. It pleased Him to have His own fullness/completeness/fulfilment resident within His Son! As this portion of Scripture gives us more and more descriptions of our Lord Jesus, His placement with the Father, as He does His work on the Earth, this is one that solidifies the oneness of the Father/Son/Spirit relationship. All the “fullness” of God dwells in Christ.

When our Father gave the power-of-attorney to our Lord Jesus, He did so knowing that our Lord had all of the Father in Him as well as with Him.  John 13:3-5 reads,

“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” John 3:3-5 NIV

Jesus motive and ability to serve His Apostles in this way came from what He knew as He walked this earth. This was before the resurrection, before the exaltation, before the crucifixion – before it all. Yet, He knew what the Father had placed in His body of flesh to accomplish what was required.

So it is for us in Him. As He is the fullness of the Deity (Colossians 2:9), and He lives within us by the Holy Spirit, we present to the world the fullness of the Father in bodily form. We generally are so taken with ourselves, our own sins, and shortcomings, that we do not believe all the provision in us as humans infused with deity. We read the words and then apply them only to Christ, instead of seeing the reason we are told these things.

As we begin to worship Him, not in form or out of duty, but in Spirit and truth, the image of our possibilities and empowerments start to unfold in us. We begin to see what our Father did in and for Jesus, is the same as what He is what He has provided in us.

“In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.” Hebrews 2:10 NIV

The emphasis int hat verse today is for us to understand is that our Lord’s purpose was to “bring many sons to glory.” What Jesus did was to enable a reproduction of Himself, so the world would be filled with the glory of the Father – His Sons and Daughters all over the globe empowered as the holy ones in Christ to be and do according to the fullness of their Lord Jesus.

So our motivation for serving is not self-confidence, or a “wanting to do good.” It is instead the fact that we are uniquely empowered to serve one another and the world with the touch and substance of Almighty God.

Lord, we believe, help our unbelief! May we genuinely embrace the fullness of the Father in our Lord Jesus Christ so that we too may express who He is in every aspect of our being!

May this word bless and encourage you – especially in prayer – that we may rise and be and do in the power of Almighty God. Thank you for reading.

psalm19.org

The Beginning

“He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18 MEV

We have covered the first part of this verse in our last post, so you may scroll down and read if you would like. Now we are going to look at the rest of the verse as it is all tied together. “He is the beginning,…” The Greek word used for “beginning” both here and in John 1:1 is “archey” which does not really mean “beginning.” It is a bit like the “beresith” in Hebrew (Genesis 1:1), and they both mean “highest, source, foremost.” Our God is eternal and has no beginning and no end. We also discover that in Jesus we have eternal life, which means we have joined the ranks of the “eternal ones.” So it probably would be better to say “In the Source.”

So Jesus is the Source of all. We know this is credited to our Father, but remember there is no “they” only He. Oneness in the Godhead is the deep infusion of the reality of persons as One. This is a beginning step in reaching for an understanding of the Trinity. It is three in One; Father, Son, Holy Spirit. No division, no difference, what is true of one is true of all. So as our source, our Christ is the “firstborn from the dead.”

“He is the image of the invisible God and the firstborn of every creature. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they are thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers. All things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things and in Him, all things hold together.” Colossians 15-17

So He is also the firstborn from the dead – never to die again. There were people raised in the Old Covenant, but they all died again. He, on the other hand, lives never to die again! As such, He has first place over everything! Every knee will bow! He Is Lord!

Even though He is our best friend, He is Lord! He is the lover of our soul, and He is Lord of all. We have been included in the designer and creator of the universe! Now we can take a step forward into eternity with and in Him to accomplish what we have been born to do. Enjoy Him today.

The Gift of Oneness

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“He is also head of the body, the church; and  He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” Colossians 1:18 NASB

The verse above contains four separate concepts all rolled into one sentence in our English Bibles. The first one, “He is also the head of the body, the church;” reads quickly and we do a mental, “Of course” and travel to the next phrase. It is so easy to do in these packed verses. Yet, let’s slow down a bit and allow a small “unpacking” or “unfolding” of this verse.

The “body” has a head. The “body” is believers in Jesus Christ. The “head” is Jesus Christ. We need to really receive this, because it is a fact in the Spirit. When we become His, we are born into His Body. That Body is the church. (Not a particular organization but a gathering). When we remember this, we will be able to receive all the Lord says about us and our position in Him, such as co-heir, etc… without getting out of shape about being Him in our world. He is always the head; we are always the body! He is leading, we are following where the head leads.

Now we need to add to this passage another one that brings much joy and comfort to me every time I think and meditate on it.

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that you sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, (better translation – “into oneness”), so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” John 17:20-24 NASB

We are one in Him. The first acceptance dimension is very personal; I am one in Him; You are one in Him. We are in His body and one with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is the work of the new birth. Once “born from above” my entire being is now His. The Holy Spirit lives inside and there is no distance between the Father, Son, Holy Spirit and me. We are one. The emphasis of this passage of scripture is not what happens between you and me, but what happened between me and my Lord. The “you” and “me” part is a by-product of what He has done.

Then “…that they may be perfected into oneness.” The word here for perfection means completion, or finished, or consummated. In other words, everything I am is at peace and rest because I am one with Him. It is a bit different than our understanding of perfection. It is a receiving of all He is, as He has received all I am.

So embraced in His person, I am His body. Now go back and read Colossians 1:18 again at the first of this post. Huge!

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for all your love and inclusion. May each of us delight in this “oneness” and begin our days in the sweetness of your presence and peace.

Thank you for reading.