First danger & answer:
4b. The salvation received
In the previous article we saw that the first danger Paul highlights is that of beguiling words: being lead astray by teaching, and the sound bites that seem true yet are so deceiving, leading people off on a wrong track altogether. The answer to this danger is to walk simply in Christ as one has received Him.
So the question naturally arises: how did they receive Christ? We see the answer in chapter 1.
This is a key, for without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb.11:6). But what is this faith?
These Colossians had received Christ by faith in the same way all believers come into the life of Jesus. They accepted the revelation of Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection, even though they had not seen those events for themselves, and put their trust in the living Christ.
They did not doubt as Eve had done. She did not believe the unseen facts that God presented to her, namely that in the day she ate she would die. She, nor Adam we must not forget, did not have faith in God's word at all. These Colossians, however did and consequently received Christ.
In Chapter 1 of Colossians we see four things that they, and all Christians receive when their trust is truly in Christ.
The first result to be mentioned is that we have moved from one kingdom to another. Once we were in the kingdom of darkness but now we have been translated into the Kingdom of Christ.
This can be illustrated as follows. Imagine a person, with outstretched arms, holding a tennis ball in their right hand. At present it is in the right hand but not in the left. Someone comes and takes the ball from the right hand and places it in the left hand. It has been translated. It is now in the left hand and not the right hand. If this person keeps their arms outstretched the ball can not be both hands at the same time, it is either in one or the other.
Likewise on new birth God removes us from Satan's dominion and places us into Christ's kingdom. We are either in the one or the other but never in both at the same time. Whilst in Satan's kingdom he had authority over us, but now having being moved into Christ's kingdom Satan has no authority over us! We we once darkness but now light Eph.5:8 .
Since this is how we begun so we are to continue living in the kingdom of His dear Son: to walk in Him and worthy of Him Col.1:10. Even though we are in Christ's kingdom Satan will still try to get us to doubt God's word. Let us learn the lesson about Eve doubting and that led to her disobedience. Resist the devil believe God and walk by faith in the same way we started. Rom. 6:4; 8:4; II Cor. 5:7. I Pet.5:8-9; Jms.4:7
In whom we have redemption. This is the language of the Exodus. To understand this we will look at the story of the Exodus and see how it applies to us. A full consideration is outside the scope of this study, but a brief overview will be sufficient.
Consider the following passages: Ex.2:23-24; Ex.3:9-10 Israel was in bondage to the Egyptians. God promises through Moses that he will set Israel free. Pharaoh hardened his heart and utterly refused to let Israel leave. Ex.4:21-23; 6:6-8. In foreseeing Pharaoh’s stubbornness God said that He would slay the firstborn (that is: this was all planned by God beforehand!) and that He would rid Israel of their bondages, and bring them out of Egypt and REDEEM them.
This is a wonderful picture of our redemption in Christ. God in Christ has redeemed His people from the oppression of the devil (typified by Pharaoh) He has brought us out from the world’s system (typified by Egypt). Just as in Egypt God slew the first born so He has slain the firstborn (i.e. The old man,-- not the old self as some translations have it!). This was done by Christ being our Passover. I Cor.5:7. And as Israel was translated out from Egypt by that redemption so we are translated form Satan’s power by the redemption that is in Christ! The price of Israel’s redemption was the Lamb for each household, the price for our redemption is the precious blood of Jesus - the one Lamb for God's household! I Pet.1:18-19
Paul continues by saying even the forgiveness of sins! This forgiveness of sins depends entirely of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. We have done nothing to achieve it, nor can we. It is dependent completely on the finished work of Calvary. Rom.3:14; Eph.1:7; I Jn.1:7. This is only one of the benefits of Christ's redemptive work, but a vital one for all that.
There are three things about forgiveness that would be worth considering.
Firstly, look at Heb.8:12 this verse, apart from other truths, emphasises that God remembers our sins no more. This means that on forgiveness He deliberately, that is by an act of His will, puts the very record of our sin away from Him.
Secondly, Heb.9:14 the blood of Christ purges our consciences from dead works. Heb10:2 tells us that the OC sacrifices could not purge them. If they did then there would be no more need of repeated sacrifice. If God has forgiven us then we should have a clear conscience from past sins, we should be able to forgive ourselves! If we drag the past up we are allowing Satan’s lie of:” Hath God said?” to take root. There is therefore no condemnation, and that means self-condemnation too!
Finally, Eph.4:32; Col.3:12-13, we are to forgive each other as God has forgiven us. That is to forgive and remember no more. There is no such thing as: ‘I have forgiven but not forgotten’. Take note of the parable in Mtt.18:23-35. The debt we owed was impossible for us to repay, but God freely forgave us; the debt our brothers and sisters ‘owe’ us is nothing in comparison to that we owed God-- we have to forgive and let go.
The third aspect of this salvation is that we have received is peace and reconciliation. We were once enemies of God, yet Christ died for us to reconcile us to God, Rom.5:1-10. Jesus has removed all the barriers between us and God. Through the once and for all sacrifice of Himself, Jesus has brought peace and reconciliation between man and God, Rom.3:21-26; II Cor.5:17-19; Heb.9:18-24; Eph.1:10; 2:12; 4:18
One of the teachings of the Gnostics was that matter was evil and so that God could not have been manifested in the flesh; this lead to the logical conclusion that Jesus’ death was not redemptive in any way. But Paul emphasises that Jesus was God in the flesh (hence the description of the person of Christ in Ch.1) and that His death on the cross was for our redemption, thus demolishing the Gnostics beliefs convincingly. For if Christ's death was redemptive then He must have been God in the flesh, and hence the Gnostics premise of 'spirit good, matter evil' collapses.
The Colossians in receiving Christ were reconciled to God, and so had to continue and abound in that. Now the question naturally arises: how do we abound in that?
One of the big themes of the NT is that of Christians being at one with each other as the following scriptures show: Gal.4:13-15; Eph.4:1-3; Phil.2:1-4; From time to time there may be issues between the believers, and scripture shows how we are to handle such situations.
In the sermon on the mount Jesus makes it plain that there is no point in offering anything tot God unless one is reconciled to the brethren; we must first be reconciled before offering up anything Mtt.5:23-24. Further Jesus gives us how He expects us to be reconciled Mtt.18:15-20.
Is there something between us and a brother or sister? Then first be reconciled to them, for that is our Head's command.
The Gnostics taught that one can only achieve salvation by having special secret knowledge (hence the word gnostic) imparted into them. Not everyone could have this, and it could only be gained by special initiation rites.
The gospel is totally the opposite to this way of thinking. Paul emphatically states that the true secret is Christ in you, not secret knowledge. We began by receiving Christ, and so we need to continue and abound in it. Eph.3:17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, and we read that greater is He that is in you than He that he who is in the world. I Jn.4:4. This salvation is open to all who call one the name of the Lord, Rom.10:13. Further He is the hope of glory, it is Christ alone who is our hope I Tim 1:1; I Cor.15:19; ; Eph.2:12.
In Christ all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge reside. Note the adjective 'all'. This word means the whole, without exception. The inference is clear enough, there is no true wisdom and knowledge outside of Christ. They are not to be found in the philosophers of the world, nor in the any of the religions of the world, nor in the passing fashions and fads of the world.
But all is in Christ, and if we have received Christ and He dwells is in us then we have all what else do we need? We have everything in Him .
We have seen then something of the salvation that we have received if we have received Christ.
1) been translated FROM Satan's kingdom to the Kingdom of His dear Son
2) been redeemed and have the forgiveness of sins
3) peace and reconciliation with God
4) Christ in us the hope of glory.
Reader have you received this salvation? If not then it can be yours now, for whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved Rom.10:13. Seek Him now whilst He may be found.