JohnSWilson3 Blog


“…as members of one body you were called to peace.”
July 10, 2010, 2:54 pm
Filed under: N Letter to the Colossians

In his letter to the Colossians Paul has made it quite clear that followers of Jesus have “died with Christ” and are now “alive with Christ” because of His work on the cross. The glory, wonder, and supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ has been proclaimed with the purpose of presenting “everyone fully grown in Christ.” In Christ we have been made fit “to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he rescued us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” We must keep Jesus Christ, our Lord, as “the Head (of) …the whole body” in order for God to enable its growth! We “have been co-raised with Christ” and so must “set (our) hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set (our) minds on things above, not on earthly things.” For we have “died, and (our) life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

When the church gathers it is meant to be a glorious thing, a precursor of our life with Him in eternity, “in glory”! Our lives will no longer look like they use to, in this flesh. It will begin to look more like Jesus life, as He lives through us, “being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” Love and unity pervade the Christian experience in the body of Christ if it truly has Jesus as the head of the church. We are “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved”! Christ is now are all in all! He is now our everything! Because “our life is now hidden with Christ in God” we are holy. The Lord sees only His Son when He sees us! And oh how we are dearly loved! He has loved us since before the beginning of creation. In his second letter to the church in Thessalonica Paul writes: “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ”! How we could go on about the amazing love of our Lord for us! This should move us to love Him more, to love His body!

Paul made a point early on, even as part of his prayer “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.” So that “they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Paul always made sure that Christians gathering together would learn to live by the indwelling Lord Jesus Christ by His Spirit for the purpose of displaying the glory of Jesus Christ!

In this section of Chapter 3 I believe Paul gives them a taste of what they should expect to see from living by the life of “Christ, who is your life.” It will be like learning to put on clothes, putting on Christ, learning to live by His life. When we are gathering together learning to live by Jesus life, we are sharing Christ with and to each other. The Lord Jesus Christ is on display! We will know His life is being manifested in our shared life together when we see being demonstrating to one another: “Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” We will see His people being compassionate towards one another. We will see kindness displayed towards one another, not anger, rage, or malice, which is self on display. We will see humility, doing “nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,” but we are considering “others better than ourselves.” We will speak and act in a gentle way towards one another, not in arrogance or pride. And we will be patient towards one another, realizing that not everyone is at the same level of faith. Some have just started learning about who they are in Christ, others are more mature, still others are self-righteous, and perhaps others do not know our Lord Jesus Christ at all and have found their way in our gathering (for them they are here to see Jesus put on display to be drawn to His grace). Patience with others means we will need to “bear with each other” for their misunderstandings, their immaturity, or even with ourselves etc. Obviously the flesh will pop up its ugly head, things will be said and done that will not be helpful in building up the body, which means we will need to “forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another” because “the Lord forgave you.” How important it is to see the love involved in the giving of forgiveness and the acceptance of forgiveness towards one another in our gatherings!

We are called to learn to live by Jesus life, to display His sacrificial love to one another. That kind of love brings a unity in the body of Christ that is beyond words. It binds us all together in a way that only God knows. Can we learn to keep Jesus as Lord in us and in our meetings as we relate to one another? Only when we see each other as being “in Christ” “who is your life.” Paul earlier mentioned that the things of the flesh, due to the fall is the reason for “the wrath of God” that “is coming.” The flesh is under a curse, it is already condemned and the wrath of God will be displayed on all ungodliness, and in Christ we are no longer under the curse, we are no longer condemned “for God did appoint us to suffer wrath”! What love the Lord God has for us to deliver us, rescue “us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins”!

Whenever there is conflict in the body of Christ, whether it be of “motives or impulses or reasons, the peace of Christ must step in and decide which is to prevail.” (1) The “perfect unity” of the body of Christ must prevail if we are to go forward in the Lord, “God has called us to live in peace.” We “do not repay anyone evil for evil” and are warned to “do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” If there is conflict we must allow the life of Christ to be demonstrated, He is peace, He is good. He rules and makes decisions in our hearts about what is good and true and must decide over the body of Christ in her gatherings and He will show forth peace. We are called “as members of one body,” unity must be preserved in our gatherings, peace and love do that! And brothers and sisters, “be thankful”!

All of us need to die to something, that is the putting off of the old man, that is crucifixion, it is part of life in our gatherings, it is sharing in the fellowship of His sufferings. But we are also to live by His life and so find the power of His resurrection! Let us be thankful that we truly can as one body live by His life, let us be thankful when we see His life demonstrated in the lives of each other, let us be thankful that He desires to live in us and through us to each of us, you and me!

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

(1) Lightfoot, J.B., “St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon: J.B. Lightfoot’s Commentary on the Epistles of St. Paul, Third Printing, Hendrickson Publishers, 1995, 223.

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