Saturday, November 2, 2013

Colossians: Riches, Mystery, and Our Union with Christ

I haven't written or posted as I would have liked these last few months (been dealing with my own health issues that have limited my computer time, unfortunately!). So, I apologize for that. Hoping to be better soon!

Lately I've been thinking that life is disappointing. I see what could be, what I want...and it just isn't that way. Sometimes I think heaven sounds great because it will mean the absence of all the things we dislike in this life! And then I think...what a sad, shallow view of heaven. I would be content with so little! (My grandpa used to say that we use less than 10% of our brains...I think I'm definitely using less than 10% of my imagination here!)

Do we devalue God? Do we fall far short of understanding even a tenth of Christ's glory?

As I've been preparing for a Bible study in Colossians (such a meaty, wonderful book!), the theme of riches, fullness, completeness comes up over and over. And juxtaposed against these treasures are the "hollow and deceptive philosophies" that this world offers us. Paul was so concerned about these counterfeit treasures that he struggled even from prison in prayer, in conversation with believers who could visit them, in writing--to share the incredible riches and treasures that we have in Christ. The crowning verse, of course, is "Christ in you, the hope of glory."

Someone so holy, righteous, supreme...has chosen an intimate relationship in being made one with us. Christ IN you.  A relationship compared to the vine and the branches--our very life and sustenance comes from him. To a house--he our foundation. To a body--Christ our head. We can live without a finger or toe, or even without an arm or leg if we must, though it affects all other members of our body...but we can't live without a head. To a marriage--two become one. What a mystery. What riches. Do we contemplate and search out this mystery? Do we dig for buried treasure?

I started looking in Colossians...what are these riches he keeps talking about? As God began to open my eyes, I realized how much we belittle the treasure!
1:2 Grace. Peace. union--"in Christ."
1:4 faith. love for the saints
1:5 hope stored up in heaven. The word of truth. The Gospel
1:10-12--he enables us to live lives worthy of the Lord! He strengthens, he fills us with knowledge of him, he is the vine that lets us bear fruit, he qualifies us for inheritance in his kingdom!

Imagine an earthly king who suddenly decided not to just give out gifts and be generous--but to allow multitudes of people become heirs, to share in his kingdom, his treasures, his glory? Unheard of! And God, so far above us...makes us children and heirs.  A vast mystery. An incredible treasure. Riches we underestimate.

1:13 rescued, bought
1:14 redemption, forgiveness
1:20 reconciliation to the Father, peace through Christ's blood
1:21 no longer alienated from God, no longer enemies
1:22 presented holy, without blemish, free from accusation. Hope in the Gospel
1:24-25 the word of God in it's fullness, saints like Paul who are messengers
1:26 the mystery revealed
1:27 glorious riches, Christ in you, the hope of glory!
1:28 we become perfect in Christ.

I could go on. Almost every verse in this book contains some richness, some meaty morsel that feeds our souls, some treasure that lifts us up. Read through a chapter each day for a week and ask God to open your eyes to the bountiful treasures he offers.

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