JohnSWilson3 Blog

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Part 2
July 20, 2010, 9:43 pm
Filed under: N Letter to the Colossians

This second part of this section at the end of Chapter 3 of Paul’s letter to the Colossians is Paul’s first reference to specific members of the Greco-Roman society household listed together. In his other letters, Paul never really addressed households before, except on occasion and only in particular instances. I take that Paul probably wrote Colossians and Philemon before he wrote Ephesians, although having written all three during his Roman imprisonment I’m sure Colossians was fresh on his mind as he wrote Ephesians.

As mentioned in Part 1 God used the gathering of the church in households to bring His life into a mix of diverse ethnicity and lifestyles. Jesus’ life lived out together in face-to-face community in wives, husbands, children, fathers, slaves, and masters, putting to death the old man and putting on the life of Christ, resulting in a life of grace, love, forgiveness and peace in this mix blew away any pretense that this was something earthly or natural. It was wholly “other” and supernatural, by the Spirit of God!

Interestingly, Paul’s focus in Chapter 3 verse 18 to Chapter 4 verse 1 is generally on the man. The man was the one in control of his home according to societal rules. God must break this societal law, this “human tradition,” in order for Jesus Christ to be the head of His church instead of someone else. How totally against society, how totally counter-culture is it to have no human being “in charge” of a meeting! The church as it met in the households transformed men and women and children and enabled His life to become manifested, His light in a place of utter darkness! How we need His light in our households today! How we need the church to rethink having someone else as leader of the church instead of Jesus Christ. How we need the church to rethink having “church” in a “church building” instead of gathering in homes where the greatest life changing agent, the Holy Spirit, could bring His life to bear on culture and society.

“Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them…Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged…Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.” A husband, father, master (or manager in today’s sense) who have received Christ Jesus as Lord is to live by Jesus’ life. (In this part 2, I will only cover the husband and father role, not the manager). They have learned to live by His life in authentic relational community organically together with the church in his home or an others home. Jesus said that we are to love others as He loved us, who “became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” That’s the kind of love husbands show to their wives when they are living by Jesus’ life. We love because He first loved us. To cause your wife to become bitter because of being harsh to them, even though society says it’s okay, is forgetting that your flesh died with Christ, your life is no longer yours it is Christ’s. He is your life! Husbands, you do not own your wife, she is not your property, no matter what culture or society tells you! You belong to one another. Your wife, if she knows Jesus Christ, is now your fellow sister in the Lord who now belongs to Jesus Christ, and is in Christ! Even if your wife doesn’t know Jesus Christ, you are to manifest Jesus’ life, His grace and love to her so that she might see Jesus in you! God has never called a man to dominate a woman or vice versa, she is an equal heir to the throne of grace and fellow member of Christ and fully equal in functioning in the body of Christ, their are no human distinctions in the church!

This applies also to how father’s relate to their children. And if you are a mother or a single mom I think this would still apply to you as well. But for father’s in the time of the first century it most especially applied due to the harsh treatment they gave to their children, specifically to the boys. A father could use infanticide on a child if he so desired, or to make them a slave of a household if they did not want them. Father’s are called to live by Jesus’ life and encourage their children, not to provoke them and cause them to become discouraged or disheartened, to lose hope! Parents are called to manifest Jesus’ life to their children so that their children might received Christ Jesus as Lord! If their child knows the Lord Jesus, they are also a fellow member of Christ, who is one with His body! They are also a sister or brother in the Lord, no matter the physical age. We do not provoke a follower of Jesus to cause them to become discouraged, so to a child, for by so doing we provoke the Lord and grieve Him. May it never be so!

Wives in like manner were to sacrificially love their husbands as well, no matter if the husband knew Jesus Christ as Lord or not. They are called to voluntarily cooperate or support their husband, not in the sense of servitude but in service. It is what Christ calls each of us to do in His body, we are called to voluntarily by His life, not under force, to cooperate with Him, side by side. Christ came to serve not to be served. He came to give His life for us, we do so to one another. The church has been called to sacrifice itself for one another. The wife loves her husband, because Jesus loves her and He is love. The Bride loves Her Bridegroom because He first loved her, and gave Himself for her. Wives and husbands are called to mutually love one another, to sacrifice themselves for one another as would any brother or sister in Christ. This is manifesting Jesus’ life!

Children who know Jesus Christ as Lord, when living by Jesus’ life will listen to their parents and follow their instructions. They listen to their parents like the church together listens to the directions of their Lord and follow His instructions. It pleases the Lord for His children to listen to Him and follow what He says. Children who know the Lord are also members of the body of Christ and can function equally, by the same Spirit of God, within the gathering of the church. They too can learn Christ together in the gathering of the church! Perhaps the church, wives and husbands included, could also learn “humility” as they see Christ lived through the children. Are we not called to come to Him as little children? Perhaps as our children watch and listen to their parents as they live by the Spirit, loving their Lord, in the gathering of the church in our homes they might also learn Christ?

Wives, husbands, children, fathers, men, and women each have a role to play in the family, whether that family has two parents or one or if that couple has no children. Each are called to function so as to benefit the whole. Each person has gifts and talents meant for the functioning of the family. Each must function freely by Christ towards one another in love so that those gifts and talents can be manifested. If we know Jesus Christ we live by His Spirit in love, not by “human tradition” or the “basic principles of this world.”

How easy it is, when church life is removed from gathering in the household, to look at our homes as separate entities from the body of Christ, something earthly, and bring back into the family “again a yoke of slavery,” a life that squelches the Spirit of Christ. The church is called the body of Christ, but it is also called “the family of believers,” this is learned as we live life together in each others homes. Family is the closest of natural bonds in this world, a closeness that is meant in it’s ideal sense to be lived together in mutual commitment towards one another in love and respect, and who help one another. The same is true for the body of Christ, the family of believers. The family of believers can also bring back into it’s life “a yoke of slavery” that squelches the life of Christ from it’s gatherings, because of following human tradition and the basic principles of this world instead of Jesus Christ who is the head of the church. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

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