CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY
By John C. Carpenter
 
The apostles Paul and Timothy wrote the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colossae, For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 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 unreproveable 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; 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: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which isChrist in you, the hope [elpis; i.e., to anticipate with pleasure] of glory [doxa; i.e., dignity, honor, magnificence; i.e., honor of eternal life]: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus (Col 1:19-28).
 
In their letter to the Colossian church, Paul and Timothy outlined two significant problems they had with the church: the church was committing gross sin, and the church had been seduced into committing heresy [opinions, doctrine, and behavior contrary to accepted and/or revealed truth]. The Colossian church believed, mistakenly, that the heretical things they were doing would give them hope, a relationship with God the Father, and eternal life. Paul and Timothy intended to address the sin and the heresy, and clarify to these struggling believers that the true and one hope of eternal glory and life is found only in Christ.
 
BEWARE LEST ANY MAN SPOIL YOU
 
Holy Scriptures tell us Paul and Timothy offered both words of praise and criticism. The apostles praised the Colossian believers for their faith in Jesus Christ (Col. 1:4), the love which they had for fellow believers (Col 1:4), the hope the Colossian believers had as a result of hearing and acceptance of the word of truth of the gospel (Col 1:5), and the fact that the believers in Colossae had borne much fruit as a result of hearing the gospel of Christ (Co1:6). Paul and Timothy also praised the order and structure of the church at Colossae as well as the steadfastness of their faith in Christ (Col 2:5).
 
But there were also numerous criticisms of the Colossian believers that Paul and Timothy mentioned in their letter. Much of that criticism centered around the heretical seduction and manipulation, by self-serving men, of the Colossian believers away from true Christian faith and doctrine which they had previously received. The two apostles noted that the Colossian church was allowing certain individuals, who were using enticing and persuasive words, to beguile [delude or deceive] them (Col 2:4). Just four verses later, Paul and Timothy added specifics: “Beware lest any man spoil [to lead away or seduce] you through philosophy [philosophia; i.e., that is, deceptively subtle reasoning or argumentation, vain deceit, deceitfulness], after the tradition [methods of transmission] of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ [revealed by Christ and His Holy Spirit]” (Col 2:8). Some, with subtlety and cunning, and teaching doctrinal error, had influenced the Colossian believers to give undue attention to outward observances regarding what they ate, what they drank, and their behaviors pertaining to holy days, new moons, and Sabbath days (Col 2:16), while others, had seduced the Colossians into the heresy of worshipping angels (Col 2:18). Colossian believers were even allowing false teachers to influence them into following specific ordinances, commandments and doctrines directing them as to what they could touch, taste, or even handle (Col 2:20-23).
 
The Colossian believers were also committing gross sin. The church was focused on temporal and worldly things (Col 3:2), was committing serious sins of the flesh including adultery, incest, sex involving pain, evil and forbidden lust, and was full of greediness and idolatrous image worship (Col 3:5). They were also full of anger, vengeance, malice, blasphemy, lying, and evil communication (Col 3:8), as well as unmerciful, unkind, arrogant, impatient (Col 3:12) unforgiving and quarrelsome (Col (3:13), and ungiving (Col 3:14). The gospel of Christ was not fully dwelling in them (Col 3:16). In short, the Colossian church was being seduced and manipulated away from Christ, and therefore, their one true hope of eternal glory.
 
WALK WORTHY OF THE LORD
 
Paul and Timothy responded to the heresy and sin in the Colossian church with loving compassion and encouragement, as well as firmness; with spiritual, as well as practical instructions. The apostles began their letter, For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye mightwalk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light (Col 1:9-12). Paul and Timothy also expressed their desire that the Colossian believers’ hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ (Col 2:2), and that the church would be complete in him [Christ], which is the head of all principality and power (Col 2:10). Paul and Timothy further instructed the believers in Colossae, If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth (Col 3:1-2), Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry (Col 3:5), and put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds (Col 3:8-9). In an effort to encourage the Colossian church, Paul and Timothy wrote, Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the [gospel] word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him (Col 3:12-17). In greater detail, the apostles instructed, Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men (Col 3:18-23). The apostles Paul and Timothy completed their instructions to the church in Colossae by writing, Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without [the faith], redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man (Col 4:1-6).
 
IF YE CONTINUE IN THE FAITH GROUNDED AND SETTLED
 
In short, due to sin and heresy, the Colossian believers in Christ were turning away from true faith in Christ, but Paul and Timothy wanted to encourage and exhort them to continue in their struggles: And you [Colossian believers], 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 unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded [return to the foundation]and settled [immovable, steadfast], 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 (Col 1:21-23). They added, As ye have therefore [earlier]received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted [become stable] and built up in [to build upon] him, and established [confirmed] in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil [lead away, seduce] you through philosophy and vain deceit [worthless deceivableness], after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete [full, perfect, supplied] in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it (Col 2:6-15).
 
Referring to Christ, the apostle Peter told the rulers and elders of Israel, This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:11-12).
 
When the Galatian believers were having similar heretical problems with their faith, the apostle Paul wrote to them, I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (Gal 1:6-9).
 
There is only one hope [to anticipate with pleasure] that man has for glory [magnificence of eternal life]. That hope is not found in false doctrine, intellectualism, works, materialism, money, men, leaders, nations, religion, or church attendance, but only in an individual, intimate, daily, reverent, obedient, and loving relationship with Jesus Christ. Paul and Timothy told us exactly who that hope is, and where He is found: Christ in you, the hope of glory.  AMEN.
 
 
THE CHRISTIAN HERALD
                                                           A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
 
"For the bread
of God is he
which cometh
down from
heaven, and
giveth life
unto
the world"
(John 6:33)



 
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