JohnSWilson3 Blog

“…so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father…”
June 18, 2010, 2:59 pm
Filed under: N Letter to the Colossians

In his opening letter to the Christians in Colosse, Paul describes why he thanks God for them and then tells them how he prays for them. How often we say to one another how much we think of them and thank God for them but how many times do we tell them how we are praying for them and actually pray for them? How encouraging it would be for each of us to share how we are praying for one another and pray for one another when we are together!

I kind of like Paul and how he writes sometimes because like myself Paul had a tendency to write run on sentences! So if you can excuse Paul for doing it, please excuse me. This section of Paul’s prayer for the Colossians is actually one long sentence! Here is Paul’s first part of his prayer: “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” This is the crux to our praying for one another! How much do we know Jesus? To the Philippians Paul wrote saying “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.” In his first letter to the Christians in Corinth he told them that “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” He continues in his letter to the Corinthians that “We speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began…We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.” From the beginning of this letter Paul is now about to describe in wonderful detail this “secret wisdom” from God! How we need to grow in knowing Jesus! Life in the body of Christ would dramatically change!

The original sentence being a run on sentence is somewhat hard to follow but I think Paul is intended on doing so to make a point. The life of the body of Christ is all about the life of Christ! There is a connection in the spiritual life that we like to split apart into separate programs, sequences, steps, and so forth to a detriment to the whole thought of God. I know when teaching middle schoolers a key part of teaching is to teach in steps or “chunks” so all students can carefully get what they are asked to learn. But this has a tendency to make things seem separate and not connected. And so we have to repeat the instruction using different strategies so the students get the connections. Perhaps this is one reason why the writers of the Scriptures wrote in “chunks” but at the same time they, like in Paul’s case, wrote a lengthy discourse (with Paul and his run on sentences) to show the whole big picture! How we need a big picture of our wonderful Lord!

The first part of this section Paul says: “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” What a wonderful mouth full! Based on our knowing “the surpassing greatness of” “Jesus Christ and him crucified” we will bear fruit and grow in knowing Him more! It is by His life that we are to live by, not our own. And this life is not in isolation, but life in His body! “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Bearing fruit is done organically by Jesus life, like Paul mentioned earlier that “this gospel is bearing fruit and growing” or to the Philippians: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.” But the fruit cannot be born without the the death of the seed. We must decrease so that He might increase. Humility must be the hallmark of our life with Jesus and His body, our “attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!”

We will bear “fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God” because we are living by His life, “being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might.” This fruit will be shown as having “all endurance and long-suffering” (1) or “great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father”! This is the “life worthy of the Lord and” what pleases “him in every way”! When we live by His life, He empowers us to literally “to walk worthy of the Lord, pleasing him always, in every good work” (2). Man what a life God has given us! But it is not something, this life is Jesus Christ! It is His life not ours. He is our precious treasure the One who is “more precious than silver, more costly than gold, more beautiful than diamonds.” “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” We are “a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come”! Praise God! My life is not dependent upon me, it is dependent upon Jesus Christ and Him alone! My responsibility is to know Jesus, humble myself before Him and let Him do His work and produce His fruit in His strength! This is organic! He does it! It is a mystery, a secret mystery of God! And at this point Paul gives one of his greatest descriptions of the glorious Jesus Christ of all time! And then when he is done later in Chapter 2 he goes right back to this thought from his earlier prayer and brings out again the fruit born of knowing our awesome God! How we live by His life is the result of growing in knowing Jesus Christ. It is about being and knowing. Let us refrain from speaking so much about things and speak of the One and Only! Let us know Him together and in so doing we will know Him better and live by His life! And how joyfully we will give “thanks to the Father”!

Paul now begins his wonderful description of Jesus Christ and what He has done for us and who we are now because of Him! “The Father…has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” Do you know that you “have been made fit,” that you have been made a “part,” or now “share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light”? (3) It is a done deal! We are now a part of the body of Christ, you are now in Christ and share in the life of Jesus Christ! We have been made fit because of what Jesus did for us on that cross! Jesus is our life, He is our inheritance, we are a part of the family of God, not just in the future, but right now! “For he rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us (literally “transferred us”) into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins”! And here Paul is just warming up! What an awesome God that we have! Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life! He is the light of the world! He is the kingdom of God! He is now our life, our inheritance for all those who believe, who call on His name! We no longer are of this world!

“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Let us not just thank God for one another, let us pray for one another and share our prayers with each other as well; let us encourage each other and in so doing express or manifest Jesus’ life, His life of “great endurance and patience and joyfully giving thanks to the Father”!

(1) Alfred Marshall, The Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, 1975, The Zondervan Corporation, 587.
(2) Ibid. The KJV and the literal translation of the word “live” in the NIV is “to walk.”
(3) Ibid. This is an interesting section of the letter and reads literally “having made fit you for the part of the lot of the saints in the light.” Perhaps Paul not only has our present condition in Christ reflected here in his use of the words “of the saints,” but also is considering all of those who belong to God since the beginning.


3 Comments so far
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I didn’t know you had a blog… I’m on lunch right now so I can’t read this post now. But I will def read it tonight or tomorrow! Just droppin by to leave some ‘blog love’ as i call it 🙂

Comment by Michael Young

Okay brother!

Comment by John Wilson

thans for great sharing

Comment by engin

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