Grace For The Journey
In our yesterday’s post we considered a number of teachings that are “not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8) teachings such as Judaism, Islam, secular humanism, Darwinian evolution, and many “spiritual” books or philosophies. The Apostle Paul issues a clear warning regarding teachings contrary to the gospel: “Beware lest anyone cheat you (or rob you) through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” In the verses we will look at today, God gives us some very good instructions on how we respond to this issue . . .
1) Be Watchful For What Captures You.
Christians must beware of any teaching or any human reasoning that suggests one needs something more than that which Christ provides. The word “capture” means “to pull you away,” from the life and freedom you enjoy, enslaving you to a form of reasoning or religion that is not according to Christ.
What other teachings are “not according to Christ?”
- “There are many paths to salvation.”
his is a teaching that is not according to Christ. Jesus Himself says in John 14:6, “I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life. No one comes to the Father except by Me.”
- “Become a Christian and you will never have any problems.”
This too is a teaching that is not according to Christ. Jesus says in John 16:33, “In this world you will have tribulation.”
There are many other teachings that are not according to Christ, teachings that go against the full biblical message of Christianity.
- “You have a right to kill a baby inside your womb.”
- “You can define marriage any way you choose.”
- “God does not mind if you act-out your sexual desires outside of the confines of biblical marriage – He made you that way, whether you are a heterosexual adulterer or a sexually active homosexual.”
These are all teachings that are according to the tradition of man, and not according to Christ.
This cautionary statement of verse 8 leads to the second principle found in verses 9 and 10:
2) Be Grateful for what Completes You.
Again, the stress in this letter to the Colossians is the Christian’s completeness in Christ. In Christ Jesus, the Christian has everything he or she needs for forgiveness, for salvation, for satisfaction, for purpose, for meaning, for real identity. Completeness.
Verse 9 declares, “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” The very essence of the One True God is that which dwells in Christ. Put another way . . .
“Whatever it is that makes God
‘God’ is found in Christ.”
It’s not just that Jesus has supernatural powers and is a wonder-working prophet. He is God in the flesh.
Jesus is not just a good example for us;
Jesus is not just a great dispenser of heavenly wisdom;
Jesus Christ is not just a good moral teacher.
Christianity is not just the teachings of Christ.
Christianity is God in the flesh for us.
Verse 10 states, “And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” In describing Jesus as “the head of all principality and power,” Paul is countering false understandings of Jesus as one who is merely equal to other heavenly beings, namely angels.
In essence Paul says . . .
“No, Jesus is the head of
All principality and power.”
Jesus is the preeminent one,
First and foremost,
The one who is
“Large and in-Charge!”
He is Lord.
Here is the point . . .
Don’t allow yourselves
To be captured by
A teaching that causes you
To become enslaved again to sin.
You are complete in Him.
The word “complete” actually means “to be filled to completion.” Like a 5-page essay that is complete only when the writer “fills” the 5 pages with content. You are filled fully in Christ. You lack nothing. You are complete in Him.
You are filled full, or even better, you are “full-filled” in Him. You are fulfilled in – and only in – the all-satisfying Christ!
Nothing else and no one else
Can or will complete you as Christ.
You are filled to the full in Him.
The false teachers were trying to capture weak, uninformed Christians, trying to seize upon them and kidnap them away by telling them that they were lacking something. These false teachers were saying that Christians needed more than just Christ to be filled to the full. But Paul says we are “full-filled” in Christ alone.
In Christ alone our hope is found;
He is our light, our strength, our song;
In Him we have everything we need for forgiveness, for salvation, for purpose, for meaning, for life. Peter teaches a similar truth in 2 Peter 1:3, “[Christ’s] divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,”
We are completely SAVED
Completely SATISFIED in Him
In Him, we find our sense of identity. We do not find our identity in anything else. How would you respond if someone asked you . . .
- “I’m a teacher.” No, that’s what you do; who are you?
- “I’m a dentist.” No, that’s what you do; who are you?
- “I’m a plumber.” No, that’s what you do; who are you?
- “I’m an electrician.” No, that’s what you do; who are you?
- “I’m a minister.” No, that’s what you do; who are you?
- “I’m a laborer, a student, a mother, a father.” No, that’s what you do. Who are you?
- “I’m an adulterer, I’m a sinner.” No, that’s what you did, who are you?
(Are you seeing a pattern here?!)
Christian identity is not based upon
What one has done, but who one is:
I am a Christian.
I am “in Christ”
And He is “in me.”
We should find our identity not in our job, our vocation, our successes, our failures! Those are things we have done, but they do not define who we are. We are “in Him,” complete in Him.
Be watchful for what captures you.
Be grateful for what completes you.
I will never get over the fact that in Christ I am completely forgiven of all sin. Our complete forgiveness in Christ is not only something for which we thank God in our praising Him, but it something for which we thank God in our sharing of Him – in our sharing the gospel with others.
There are a lot of people in our communities who are searching, people who are looking for completeness. There are many people in our neighborhoods, at school, at our workplaces, and in the marketplace this week who may be captured by some other teaching, people who are searching for meaning; people yearning for completeness.
Let’s share this good news about being “full-filled” in Christ!
This is God’s Word …
This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”