August 6, 2017 – Colossians 1:1-14
Paul begins the letter assuring the members that the Good News they had heard is already bearing fruit. First, fruit is coming about in their own lives that are blossoming in faith and love because of the hope that is planted deep within their hearts.
Secondly, fruit is coming forth all over the world as the gospel goes to new people groups and regions of the world. It is the same gospel they had heard at the beginning of their faith and it is the same gospel that is going into the world.
In other words, the work has been done in Jesus Christ and the plan is in place to take the message to the world. It is important to notice the tense of the verbs and the source of the power that has made all of this come to pass.
God, Himself, has:
- Qualified Us
- Shared His Inheritance With Us
- Rescued Us From Spiritual Darkness
- Brought Us Into His Son’s Kingdom
- Redeemed Us By Forgiving Our Sins
Past tense. Completed action. Continuing effect. These are no longer goals for which believers in Christ must strive to achieve. They are already accomplished. Done. Complete. Finished.
When believers question whether or not they are saved they are basing upon whether or not they have done all they could, believed all of the right things, done everything the right way and avoided doing things that would push them over salvation’s edge into being lost. The problem with this kind of thinking is that you never really know whether you are in God’s grace or outside of God’s grace. The only way this person will know for sure will be after they die and stand before God’s judgement throne.
In a way this fear with which we are all acquainted, is pretty arrogant. To think that somehow it is possible for me to live in a way that assures me of my salvation is the result of thinking that the cross of Christ was insufficient in its power to save me. It must be a mixture of His work and my works that saves me.
This is when we become vulnerable to shifting winds of thinking, always looking for something that I may have missed, overlooked or been doing in error without realizing the error of our ways. This may be what is happening in Colossae as well.
Conversely, the fear of doing, believing or not doing things correctly can rob us of our freedom in Christ. Afraid of error we decide to play it safe, not rock the boat and keep things as they are. We become risk-averse and fearful. Our thinking begins to solidify and harden. Inflexibility, intransigence and closed-mindedness become the characteristics of playing it safe religion. We say ‘no’ to new, ‘come back later’ to those with initiative, ‘we’ve done that before’ to fresh thinkers and ‘we’ve never done that before’ to the young and inexperienced.
What a horrible way to live!
So, in case anyone is wondering if there really is any more to be done, Paul launches into the next section to make sure that everyone understands the once-and-for-all power of God’s rescue for those who believe.