..Reconciled - Colossians 1:21-23

21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Last time we examined how Christ is in everything preeminent. He is Lord of creation. He is Sovereign over the social order. And He is Head of the church. Verse 19 of Colossians 1 says God is pleased, “. . . through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”

The Apostle Paul follows the description of Christ’s pre-eminence with a discussion on what it means for the church to be reconciled to God in Christ. Verse 21 presents the “before” picture. We—not just the Colossians—were once alienated from God. And we were happy with that, as we were even hostile toward Him. Such a heart resulted in doing evil deeds. Of course, the very idea of reconciliation means that all of this has changed.

But reconciliation does not bring us from hostility toward God merely to a neutral position. No. We are in the process of becoming holy to the point of blamelessness, above reproach.

Thu, 05/15/2014 - 17:04 -- john_hendryx

In Everything Preeminent

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. - Colossians 1:15-19

Having thanked God for the church at Colassae and the Christian traits they exhibit, and having prayed for for further knowledge and power, Paul now turns to a passionate description of God the Son.  He gives us an example of what Christ means in his life, for Christ is no mere historical character or abstract category.  Paul mentioned Christ in his prayer for knowledge and power and it is as if, once he mentioned Him, he could not contain His enthusiasm for His Lord.

He praises Christ as God, the Creator of “heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them (Psalm 146:6)”.  The Psalmist seems to imply the heavens of the sky, filled with birds.  But in referring to the invisible, Paul is describing heaven where God dwells, surrounded by cherubim and seraphim, also created by Christ.  We might consider what an insult it is to this Almighty Creator to attribute his deliberate and marvelous work to random chance or natural laws on auto-pilot.  Rather than attempt to dethrone Him with naturalistic explanations about origins, we should be quick to praise Him in His work of Creation.

Wed, 05/14/2014 - 18:49 -- john_hendryx

Knowledge and Power - Colossians 1:9-14

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:9-14)

The last time we looked at Paul’s greeting to the Colossians, where he thanks God for their faith, love and hope. As he continues he prays for knowledge and power.

Tue, 05/13/2014 - 10:50 -- john_hendryx

Faith, Love, and Hope - Colossians 1:3-5

[This is the first installment in a new series in which we will be blogging through Paul's epistle to the Colossians]

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven (Colossians 1:3-5).

In his introduction to his letter to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul thanks God for their faith, their love, and their hope. Paul has not met these saints, as we can tell from verses seven through nine. But he has heard good things about them. And he knows what it means to be a Christian. So we can assume that he expects faith, love and hope to be part of the life of every believer.

The faith Paul mentions is faith in Christ Jesus, the means by which righteousness from God graciously becomes ours. As Paul says elsewhere, “in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last (Romans 1:17).”

The love the Colossians have demonstrated is for all the saints. In the early Christian church, the world did not marvel initially at the Christians’ teaching, but in the way they loved each other. In Philippians, Paul urges the believers there to be in unity, to be humble and to love one another because we have comfort from the love of Christ, Himself.

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 09:29 -- john_hendryx

Does Moral Inability Alleviate Our Responsibility? (Dialogue)

This is a short dialog that discusses our fallen condition as human beings and our responsibility to God. 

The following quote was the original post which is followed by a short discussion:


"It is the duty and responsibility of all people everywhere to repent and believe the gospel. But all men, in their willful blindness, plunge themselves into darkness and perdition. In other words, so-called "free will" is man's problem, not his solution... only Divine mercy can save him (Rom 9:16, John 6:63, 65, 37)."

Visitor: This statement is ridiculous. It can't be a duty and a responsibility if it is ONLY divine intervention and mercy. Totally self defeating and contradictory. Bro, its either God picks randomly, or everyone has a chance at salvation. If you never had a chance from the beginning and ONLY God gives the ABILITY to repent, then how can true justice be served? So you have a DUTY and a RESPONSIBILITY to do something you do not have the power to do? If you cant see how ridiculous that is, I really don't know what else to say.

Response: After the fall, God called you to obey the Ten Commandments? Do you? Given your reasoning then it is not our responsibility to obey the 10 commandments because we are not able to? Not only does this defy reason, but it defies the Bible. Paul declares the the purpose of God's commands are not to show our ability but to reveal sin (our inability).. .

"...whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin." Rom 3:19-20

Wed, 05/07/2014 - 20:25 -- john_hendryx

The Face of God

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

(Number 6:24-2

God is everywhere. So we are, literally, always in His presence. The thought alone ought to humble us and cause us to tremble for our lack of holiness. But in His mercy, the Lord veils His presence, so that we are not destroyed by the sheer magnitude of His glory.

But at certain times in Scripture, the Lord made His presence known. He spoke to Abraham several times and appeared to Jacob at Bethel and at Penuel. He appeared to Moses at the burning bush, and again on Mount Sinai. But the Lord told Moses on the mountain that He would show him His goodness. “But you cannot see my face,” He said, “for man shall not see me and live (Exodus 33:20).” So Moses, whom the Lord spoke to, “as a friend (Exodus 33:11),” whose own face shone after being in God’s presence, was unworthy to see God’s full glory.

Wed, 05/07/2014 - 08:27 -- john_hendryx

The "Justification Only" Model of Ministry

In an effort to avoid moralism as well as protect and preserve the gospel of grace alone in Christ alone, some leaders use a "justification only” model of ministry which has a tendency to avoid the topics of obedience, holiness, law and morality from the pulpit. Any call to obedience, they fear, is legalistic so such passages are skimmed over so as to go directly to the gospel. But this is an over-reaction to the moralism many of these pastors may have came out of.  I think the problem arises mostly out of a lack of understanding of the biblical doctrine of regeneration.

Notice the apostles seem to have no issue speaking boldly about obedience. The apostle John declares:

"No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God." 1 John 3:9

Tue, 05/06/2014 - 17:51 -- john_hendryx

Can God Be Trusted?

The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
    and faithful in all he does (Psalm 145:13).”

The spirit of our age is all about desire. Our desires determine our goals and dreams. For many, desire even determines right and wrong because, if we desire something strongly enough, it must be legitimate. Nothing should stand in the way of our desires, and if our wishes are not met, we have a right to be upset. And our frustration becomes further proof of the legitimacy of our wants.

God speaks His word even into this age, but we must hear Him with the ears of disciples, and not as the world. The Lord makes promises, and as the Psalmist says, He is faithful to those promises. But He doesn’t promise us whatever we want. He promises what is good for us, and what will bring Him glory. The world can sometimes even agree to that, until we get to the details. But for His followers Christ also promises trials and persecutions. At that point the world turns to run the other way. But Simon Peter answered Christ, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life (John 6:68).”

Even believers, influenced as we are by the world in which we live, are frustrated when we don’t get what we want. We can even blame God. Why would He not grant our wishes? Satan takes advantage of this disposition as he did with Eve in the garden and provokes us to ask, “Is God really powerful? Does He really have my best interests in mind? Is He really good? Can He really be trusted?”

Tue, 05/06/2014 - 08:03 -- john_hendryx

If there is no objective morality ...

I often receive notes from atheists declaring how evil they think the God of the Bible is.


If there is no objective morality (any real, universal right and wrong) then all the continued talk of morality to me, as if you were trying to persuade me of something, is utterly irrelevant... it is just a personal preference like cooked eggs rather than raw. Why waste your time so passionately trying to persuade me of something so banal as how you like your eggs cooked? I don't care. Your moral declarations of how evil the God of the Bible is carries about the same weight with others as your preference for cooked eggs. If there is no truth to right and wrong then speaking with passion to others about it is absurd. Honesty and dishonesty, doing evil and doing good are all equally consistent with an atheistic worldview, and therefore, equally meaningless.

But humans are irresistibly drawn like gravity to be moral beings. We can't help it and know deep down there is a moral Lawgiver because God has written it in our conscience. Each time you tell others that they are following evil and therefore obligated to obey your morality you reveal your true colors: that you affirm objective morals - morals that are true for you and me regardless of personal opinions. That you believe your morals are better than others... and to be better you need some standard outside yourself to measure it by. Every time you make moral declarations about the evil in the Bible to me, you are not just telling me a personal opinion but want to persuade me... obviously you think you are right. And right means there is a wrong - for everyone ... in reality not just like which flavor of ice cream you like -- for you would never spend time here trying to convince me how vanilla is better than strawberry ice cream .... since that IS a subjective preference.

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 15:27 -- john_hendryx

The Blessed Hope in the Last Days

by Dean Davis

The following is the introduction to the book The High King of Heaven

Knowing that the Passover was at hand; knowing that his hour had come to depart this world to the Father; knowing that he must leave his disciples behind to continue his work; knowing that they, like him, would face terrible opposition in doing so; and knowing that they would need an unfailing source of courage and strength to fulfill so difficult a task, the Lord Jesus Christ—faithfully loving his own to the end—left them with this unforgettable promise: 

      Let not you heart be troubled: Believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am there you may be also.  -- John 14:1-3            

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 14:08 -- john_hendryx


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