Keith Hunt - Bible Story, NT - Chapter Eighty-five: Epistle of Colossians - Part two   Restitution of All Things
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New Testament Bible
Story

Chapter Eighty-five:

Epistle of Colossians - Part two

                      THE NEW TESTAMENT

                         BIBLE STORY

                          Acts #39

                   Paul writes Colossians

                          Part Two

                             by

                         Keith Hunt



CHAPTER THREE

     In combatting the false philosophers  and teachers of the
commandments and traditions of men that had come among the
Christian Colossians, Paul goes on in chapter three point them to
the SURE way of remaining "on track" as we say - and that way is
to follow Christ. Jesus observed the weekly Sabbath, and the
Festivals of Leviticus 23, as well as agree with the Jews having
authority over the calendar and WHEN those festivals should be
observed. Paul tells the colossians to seek those things that are
from above, that are of Christ, who now sits on the right hand of
the Father in heaven. They were to set their minds, thoughts,
actions, on the Godly things above, approved and commanded of
God, and not men's commandments. 
     We have many things today in the popular form of
Christianity that are inventions and traditions of men. Christmas
observance did not even come into the large Roman Catholic church
until the FOURTH century A.D. Easter observance was much earlier
but even that did not take full root until well into the SECOND
and THIRD century A.D. Then we have Halloween (yes, even that
open pagan festival is observed by many churches and their
members) which does not hide the fact that it is all about
witches and demons and black-magic, the "other world" of the dark
evil forces of spirit beings. If one reads the book "Christian
Feasts and Customs" by the Catholic writer Francis Weiser
(probably your public library with have it or can obtain it for
you through their inter-loan department), one will clearly see
MANY MORE customs of Christianity that are far from "the things
above" and what is truly ordained and sanctioned by our heavenly
Father above.
     
     We need to be doing the will of Christ and the Father
because that is ONE important reason as to why we died with
Christ through the ritual of water baptism. We covered in some
detail all of the great meaning of water baptism when we studied
Romans chapter six.  We are in SAFE keeping spiritually, if our
life is with Christ. Then God the Father is well pleased with us,
and as Paul says in verse 4, when Jesus shall appear in His
glorious second coming to live on earth, we shall assure
ourselves of being in that resurrection that happens when He does
come again. we shall also be glorified and be like Him (see 1
John 3:1-3).
     Meditating on the mind-bending glory of all that, makes the
effort to do God's will and not man's will, all the easier. It
may sometimes seem hard to serve God in spirit and in truth in
our earthy lives, for we have to buck against so much of the
world's ways, thoughts, attitude, and wrong ways of living and
wrong observances of what man thinks is "religious" - but in the
picture of ALL ETERNITY in glory (that can hardly be imagined
by the human mind), it is well worth the effort to fully obey and
serve our heavenly Father and our elder brother Christ Jesus.

     Starting in verse 5, Paul tells us to kill all the evil
parts of our human nature. The section is so powerful it is worth
the full disclosure as given in the Amplified Bible:

     "So kill (deaden, deprive of power) the evil desire lurking
     in your members (those animal impulses and all that is
     earthly in you that is employed in sin): sexual vice,
     impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed
     and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self
     and other created things instead of God). It is on account
     of these (very sins) that the (holy) anger of God is ever
     coming upon the sons of disobedience (those who are
     obstinately opposed to the divine will). Among whom you also
     walked, when you were living in and dedicated to (such
     practices). 
     But now put away and rid yourself (completely) of all these
     things: anger, rage, bad feeling towards others, curses and
     slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from
     your lips! Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped
     off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices. And
     have clothed yourselves with the new (spiritual self), which
     is (ever in the process of being) renewed and remolded into
     (fuller and more perfect knowledge upon) knowledge after the
     image (the likeness) of Him Who created it (Gen.1:26). 
     (In this new creation all distinctions vanish). There is no
     room for and there can be neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised
     nor uncircumcised, (nor differences between nations whether
     alien) barbarians or Sythians (who are the most savage of
     all), nor slave or free man; but Christ is all and in all
     (everything and everywhere, to all men, without distinction
     of person).
     Clothe yourselves therefore, as God's own chosen ones (His
     own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and
     well-beloved (by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked
     by) tender-hearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly
     opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, (and) patience (which is
     tireless and longsuffering, and has the power to endure
     whatever comes, with good temper). Be gentle and forbearing
     with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance
     or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other;
     even as the Lord has (freely)forgiven you, so must you also
     (forgive).
     And above all these things (put on) love and enfold
     yourselves with the bond of perfectness (which binds
     everything together completely in ideal harmony).
     And let the peace  (soul harmony which comes) from Christ
     rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts (deciding
     and settling with finality all questions that arise in your
     minds, in that peaceful state) to which as (members of
     Christ's) one body you were also called (to live). And be
     thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].
     Let the word (spoken by) Christ (the Messiah) have its home
     (in your hearts and minds) and dwell in you in (all its)
     richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in
     all insight and intelligence and wisdom (in spiritual
     things, and as you sing) psalms and hymns and spiritual
     songs, making melody with God with (His) grace in your
     hearts. And whatever you do (no matter what it is) in word
     or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in
     (dependence upon) His Person, giving praise to God the
     Father through Him."

     What a pregnant passage of Scripture, in many ways it is the
sum total of what a Christian is all about, or certainly should
be all about in thoughts, words, and actions. 
     We do need to realize that when Paul said there is in Christ
no Jew or Greek, no free or slave, no circumcised or
uncircumcised,  he is speaking of the SPIRITUAL life in
Christ Jesus. Paul did not mean to say that a Greek should run
out and do whatever was needed in a physical way to become
UN-Greek, and so likewise the Jew should not take off as swift as
the eagle and try to become a none Jew in the physical state of
things.
     After all if you are born a Jew how do you become a none
Jew? If you are born as a white or black American, how do you
become a none white or black American? Paul was not talking about
denouncing your citizenship, trying to erase where you were born,
or changing the color of your skin. You cannot really change
where you were born, nor can you become a neutral in the color of
your skin (what would be neutral color anyway?). If you are
circumcised you should not try to become un-circumcised (and
believe it or not there are groups of men who have devised long
and unpleasant ways to try and regain their foreskin on their
penis).

     Paul was simply saying that on the spiritual platform of
God's grace and calling, every person is equal, one color or race
or physical form of mankind, has no extra brownie points with
God, just because they have that physical form or color or were
born into a certain race or nationality. And think of it, what a
blessing it is that way with God. 
     If God took into consideration our looks, form of body,
color of skin, and what part of the world we came from, then
millions would be "out of luck" with God, from a physical point
that is. But fortunately our heavenly Father does not look on
appearance but the heart, our inner being, and with the help of
the Holy Spirit we are constantly being renewed each day, to be
more spiritually mature and ever more like our brother Christ
Jesus.

     From verse 18 through to the end of this chapter three, Paul
speaks about certain types of physical relationships, we all have
some part in, one way or the other.

     From the Amplified Bible:

     "Wives, be subject to your husbands (subordinate and adapt
     yourself to them), AS IS RIGHT and fitting and you proper
     duty IN the Lord."
     
     I give emphasis to certain words. First, it is right and
proper for wives to be under the leadership and guidance of their
husbands. I know this is not the "politically correct" teaching
and mind-set of the present western world's idea in the thoughts
of most of its women. But then the western world has by and large
disregarded God and throw His word and teachings and commandment,
out the window. But here, if you do believe in God and do want to
follow His ways and His instructions, then these words are
straight-for-word enough. It does not take a college degree to
understand them.
     Secondly, you will notice carefully, "as is right" and "in
the Lord." Which simply means a wife obeys God FIRST, you submit
and adapt (I like that word "adapt" - look it up in a dictionary
- meditate on it, think about it all, and think about what ways
you may have to adapt to your husband) AS LONG AS it is correct
and righteous to do so, so you do NOT have to disobey God. That
is the key here. Wives CAN DO many things, in actions, words, and
how to be "in sink" as we say, with their husbands, WITHOUT it
having to be contrary to any command of the Lord, or contrary to
the basics of His way of life. 
     There are times in any couple's marriage where someone has
to make the final decision on something or other that effects
both partners and their whole family, if they have children. I am
not talking about life or death matters, but things in everyday
life, where it may be quite possible to go in two or more
directions, but trying to go in two or more directions would only
being confusion and chaos.
     There are things and times when a woman has the opportunity
to just want to please her husband, like wearing a certain dress
he particularly likes, for a certain special dinner or outing or
event.

     Yes, there will be many times when a wife can be subordinate
and can adapt to her husband, all in the correct manner and all
still being within the law and general way of life that is
pleasing to God. The Lord has given us MANY things that we can be
different upon, yet all still be part of His family. We do not
all have to wear the same type of clothing, or shoes. We do not
all have to play the same type of musical instrument, or enjoy
the same sports, or belong to the same club or associations. Then
we all also know that in some situations (like the members of a
club going away for a week-end together) we adapt to others for a
while, simply to be nice and accommodating, to people we like
or love. It is all a part of at times, being able to get along
with people, and showing we do not always have to be selfish and
have it our way, every time and in all situations.
     So it is then for the wife to learn how to live this way
with her husband. History is full of broken marriages - either
divorced couples or very unhappy couples - because the wife could
not follow this instruction from the Lord. It was God that
invented and created marriages, surely He knows the basic rules
and format to make those marriages happy and successful.

     Then a happy marriage is NOT all ONE-SIDED, a woman cannot
all by herself deliver a marriage that is looked up to by their
children and friends and community. Oh, it may on the outside, on
the surface, look "just fine and respectable" to others (because
the husband puts on a "front" when in public - I'm supposing here
that the wife is indeed doing what God wants her to do) but
inside closed doors and behind four walls, the husband is a mess
and not at all doing the instructions of the Lord in how to be a
good husband and father to his children. Those instructions Paul
immediately speaks concerning in verse 19.

"Husbands, LOVE your wives (be affectionate and sympathetic with
them) and do NOT be HARSH or BITTER or RESENTFUL  towards them."

     Husbands, take some time and look up all those words I've
capitalized, in a dictionary.
     Men are too often taught by parents or society to be
"strong, powerful, and never to cry." There are times to be
strong and even powerful (Jesus was at times as we have
seen from the Gospels) but it is also written "Jesus wept."  A
lot of men need to learn to be affectionate and sympathetic and
loving, towards all people, not just their personal buddy male
friends or the cat or dog. 
     I will say that men are making good strides in the correct
direction on this matter, and more "TV interviews" (for whatever
the subject) are showing men who can cry and shed a tear, and in
some very disastrous situation (from a grave calamity etc.) 
openly WEEP.

     If husbands are courteous, kind, loving, affectionate,
considerate and sympathetic, towards their wives. If they are
acting like Jesus would act, and did act, in word and
thoughts, towards people, as He lived on this earth for nearly 34
years. If wives are following the instructions of verse 18. If
BOTH are serving the Lord with all their hearts, mind, words,
life, then Christian marriages would be an example to all the
world of what God truly desires a marriage to be.

     Paul does not leave out the children. Verse 20, "Children,
OBEY, your parents in everything,  for this is pleasing to the
Lord."

     The rest of the Bible makes this clear that Paul is using a
GENERAL statement here. Children of accountable age, who know the
word of the Lord, righteousness as opposed to unrighteousness,
should not obey their parents IF their parents tell them to
go kill this or that person (as is done in societies where
different ethic groups or racial groups or religious groups hate
one another)  because  they are "evil." 
     The context is also the context of "Christian" marriages -
hence Christian parents would be conducting themselves in a Godly
manner towards their children, and so Paul instructs children to
then obey their parents. All in the proper framework, children
will not to asked to do anything directly against a command of
God, and hence children should have the knowledge and the
encouragement, to be assured that in obeying their parents it
would be a safe and happy way to live.

     The importance of fathers (mother also of course, as God is
no respecter of persons)  being the head and leader in the home,
doing their correct part of child-rearing, is not overlooked by
Paul, as we see from verse 21. 

     "Father, do not provoke or irritate or fret your children 
     (do not be hard on them or harass them), less they become
     discouraged and sullen and morose and feel inferior and
     frustrated. (Do not break their spirit)."

     Nothing can be worse for a child to have a parent or father
who is DOING all that Paul says a parent should NOT do towards
their child. Breathing down the neck of a child with cutting
remarks, constant scolding, belittling, nagging, and plain
negativity, will surely break their spirit. Correcting a child,
when correction is needed, doing it in a right positive way, that
also corrects with encouragement, is not anywhere near the same
as the negative ways that Paul is referring to. It is an art, to
be a good parent. There are some fine Christian books out there
that can help you become the good Christian parent that God wants
you to be. 

     Paul is not through yet. He has some advise for all those
who work for others.

     "Servants, obey in everything those whom are your earthly
     masters, not only when their eyes are on you as pleasers of
     men, but in simplicity of purpose (with all your heart)
     because of your reverence for the Lord and as a sincere
     expression of your devotion to him. Whatever may be your
     task, work at it heartily (from the soul) as (something
     done) for the Lord and not for men. Knowing (with all
     certainty) that it is from the Lord (and not from men) that
     you will receive the inheritance which is your (real)
     reward. (The One Whom) you are actually serving (is) the
     Lord Christ (the Messiah). For he who deals wrongfully, will
     (reap the fruit of his folly and) be punished for his
     wrongdoing. And (with God) there is no partiality (no matter
     what a person's position may be, whether he is the slave or
     the master)."

     Here is another one of those lessons on how to correctly
read and understand the Bible. If this passage is taken out of
context, some could use it to say a servant should do anything
righteous or unrighteous, that he is required to do by his
master. A kind of "Well the servant is not responsible, it all
falls on the head of his master" attitude or theological belief.
The context of the WHOLE Bible teaches NO such idea or theology.
Righteousness, the doing of it, or not doing of it, is ALWAYS the
responsibility of the INDIVIDUAL. You may remember, as we went
through the first chapters of the book of Acts, Peter once said,
"We are to obey God and not man." The ways and directions and
commandments of God MUST ALWAYS come first. Once the righteous
ways of the Lord they are revealed to you, they, observing them,
must come FIRST, before any commandment of men. Never, is a
Christian permitted to DISOBEY the laws and commandments of God,
because some human master over you in some physical work or job,
tells you to obey his command, which could mean that in obeying
that master, you will disobey the way God instructs you to live. 

     Individual responsibility of doing righteousness and not sin
or unrighteousness is always the responsibility of the
individual, as clear shown from Ezekiel 14. 

     So the context that Paul is speaking in is the context of
servants obeying the wishes and directions of masters who are
"hard to work for" (unpleasant masters, hard nosed ones, always
on your back ones) or just trying to do the least you can for
them while getting the most pay you can get from them. The
context has nothing to do with obeying unrighteous orders, but it
has everything to do with being a faithful, giving all you've
got, doing the best work you can do, servant. For as Paul said,
you really are not doing it towards human people per se, but
towards God, who will indeed eventually render just payment to
all people, whether they were servants or masters. It is all to
do with being the best servant you can be or the best master you
can be, as God would want the best servant or master to be. 

     The context and thought of Paul also has nothing to do with
leaving a job, or finding another one, with kinder masters, or
better pay for the abilities or talents you have.
     All those things are well within the laws of God, and well
within being the best you can be in this physical life with what
God has given you. That truth was all brought out by Jesus in
many parables He gave in His Gospel ministry, as we covered those
chapters.

     Paul's context is the PRESENT job you have. If that job does
not conflict with God's laws and commandments (no Christian
should be working for a master who demands he work on the Sabbath
day etc.) you should be the very best servant you can be, doing
the best job you can do, all the time, not just when the "boss"
is next to you. For it is really God you are working for not some
man. And it is God who will reward you in due time.

                ............................

TO BE CONTINUED

March 2005


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