RSS

Tag Archives: Epistle to the Colossians

Transquotation: Genesis 49:8

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Verses:

“Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down before you. (Genesis 49:8)

Transquotation:

Praise to God, Jesus has put His hand on the necks of His enemies! He has overcome, He has conquered! Let us worship Him! Let us, now called “His brothers, sons of God” worship Him!

Explanation of the transquote:

Jesus was the ultimate fulfillment of the promise that Jacob makes to Judah here: “Your brothers will praise you.” Just to give you a little reminder here, we are sons and daughters of God now; thus we’re brothers and sisters of Jesus. Thus, so long as we praise Jesus (which is something we should be doing all the time, ‘whether we eat or drink, we should do all to the glory of God’), we’re fulfilling Jacob’s blessing.

“Your hand will be on the necks of your enemies;” Through the piercing of Jesus’ hands (and feet, and heart), He destroyed His enemies; and saved us. — He has conquered! He has shown His dominance over His opponent, and has gained dominion over Satan and all He owns. I’d dare to say that’s He’s “put His hand on Satan’s neck”, wouldn’t you?

Now that we’ve explained the transquote, let’s verify it with the New Testament, and with its context:

New Testament confirmation:

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:15)

Context confirmation:

Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? (Genesis 49:9)

Jesus is the fulfillment of this blessing Jacob gave to Judah as well, as we can clearly see in this verse:

5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, (D)the Lion (E)of the tribe of Judah,(F)the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5)

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Cases, Contradictions, and Testimonies Presented Before God

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:7-11)

There seems to be a contradiction in Paul’s thinking here. First he says that Christ died and rose again, “to the end of” making us his, and we know from what Paul has written in the past that this means dying to self and living in Christ… So then, why does Paul bring out that everyone will have to stand before God and give a testimony of his/her life, as if it was some sort of threat that would make them work harder at being perfect. Which is it? Is Paul saying we are Christs’, or do we have to be perfect, because after all, we all will have to stand before God and tell him all our sins if we’re not perfect. It’s one or the other.

First, is the Paul contradicting himself? … If he is, how can we trust anything he says? After all, if he contradicts himself here, how can we be sure any of what he says in place, lines up with something he says in another place in the bible?

So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. (Romans 14:12-13)

First let’s look at what Paul says about the question of works or being saved in Colossians:

We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. (Colossians 1:28)

Do things make a little more sense now? Everyone will have to give a testimony of their life before God and they’ll say how they’re perfect in Christ, horrible without him. – But even so, Paul is saying ‘everyone will have to stand before God’ as if what we do will matter! In other words, the question now becomes, “Does Christs’ giving his life for us mean we no longer have to do anything, and basically have the right now to do whatever we want?”

Second, can we do whatever we want, or will we still have to answer for what we did even if Christ does cover us? …

Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. (Romans 14:18-21)

We’re covered in Jesus’ blood, meaning that now nothing will, as Paul puts it in Corinthians, “master” us. But because we still live in a body of flesh, we will fall. Paul’s point of view on the subject is clear:

2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:2-4)

My point being that Christs’ blood covers us yes, but that’s not an excuse to sin. We will all have to stand before God and give a testimony, yes also true, but Paul only uses this as a sort of reminder, not that if we don’t ‘shape up right this instant’ our salvation could be lost, but more towards in this way, “you’ve died to sin, don’t you remember that you’ll have to stand before God at some point?”. He’s reminding them that yes, they are in Christ and our saved, but that they should now quote, “live like it” now as well. Which in their case, meant not eating certain types of food, etc. In our case, this could mean almost anything. Depending on what your “case” actually is.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Inward Jews

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. (Romans 2:25-29)

What did Paul mean by all that? What’s did he mean by, ‘if someone is circumcised and yet doesn’t keep law it’s like he hasn’t be circumcised,’ and vise versa? And do you mind reminding me how again does this all applies to me today?

First, we have to understand what Paul meant. Paul is talking about physical and Spiritual circumcision here. More important than that however, is that here he is talking about how physical circumcision doesn’t mean a thing, unless you’re Spiritually circumcised; able to obey the law. Which, if you’re wondering, is impossible for anyone to do except for Jesus.

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (James 2:10)

 21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister[b][c] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’[d] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. (Matthew 5:21-26)

Second, we have to figure out how it’s possible to be circumcised inwardly in a way that’s not physical… In other words, we have to figure out how a person can be Spiritually circumcised, and we have to figure out what exactly that is.

11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh[a] was put off when you were circumcised by[b] Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:11-12)

Being Spiritually circumcised is to have Jesus cut off your sinful nature; your “flesh”. Which is only possible through his death on the cross for us.

13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you[c] alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)

Third, we have to figure out what it means to be Spiritually Circumcised. In essence, this is pretty much like the question, “what it it like to be a Christian?, because in essence, there both the same thing. – Being Spiritually circumcised means that we are now a quote and quote “inward Jew,” instead of “outward Jews”:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. (Matthew 23:27)

… To put it another way, it means we have been saved by grace, and now live a new life in Christ. And it means we’ve realized that we can’t, in fact, keep the law perfectly and therefore we have realized we have to rely on Jesus for salvation.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– (Ephesians 2:8)

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Wrath of God Is Coming?!

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. (Colossians 3:3-8)

Wait a minute here Paul, what happened to Jesus’ death on the cross? I thought that all God’s wrath was poured out on his son for me, yet now you seem to be saying I need to shape up and live up to my new life in Christ, or God’s wrath will come and get me?

First, we need to understand what exactly Paul is referring to here. He’s not so much referring to God’s wrath coming and getting you if you don’t shape up now, he’s instead simply stating a fact.

Second, we need to understand what Paul is talking about. And as was afore-mentioned Paul isn’t talking about something that will happen now, he’s referring to when this Earth and Heaven is destroyed and replaced with the new Heaven and the new Earth.

 15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us[f] from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their[g] wrath has come, and who can withstand it?” (Revelation 6:15-17)

Third, we need to understand how it is that there can be any wrath left for us. Well I personally believe I understand how much wrath is left for me quite well, there is none. Hence the obvious question: “How can what Paul’s saying be true, then?” It can be true, because there is no more wrath left for us, I didn’t say anything about slaves, generals, etc. But now, there’s a new issue to address, as I’m sure everyone reading this is already gleefully picturing the comments they’re going to leave about how, therefore, God must be a cruel God if he will destroy everyone but only a select few.

Fourth, we have to understand who God is. God hates sin with a righteous fury, he hates it in the worst possible way, he even sent his son to die for us to cleanse us of it and make us sons of himself, co-heirs with Christ.

I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.'” (Hosea 2:23)

God will have mercy on who he will have mercy. The select few who will be saved, are saved through faith in Jesus, as anyone can be. It’s a very confusing topic, but I’ll put it this way:

You choose to follow God, yet all along it’s actually God choosing you to follow him. – God isn’t a cruel God, in fact, instead he’s an extremely unjust God, in that instead of destroying us, he gives us a means of salvation. Yet people who turn down that salvation, can’t really say God is cruel God.

Fifth and finally, we must understand how it’s possible for us to put to death all the things Paul mentioned. It is possible because God has made us to be a new creation in Christ; circumcised of the fleshy body and made new in Christ. Now Christ enables us to do all the things that Paul mentioned. Namely:

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Spiritual Circumcision

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, (Colossians 2:11)

A circumcision where the body of flesh is cut off. What can Paul possibly mean by that? Well, I believe he means an actual circumcision of the body of flesh. Not psychically, but spiritually.

 12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:12-13)

How is it that we can be circumcised Spiritually? “by the circumcision of Christ” is what the verse in Colossians says. Again in Romans where Paul talks again on the same basic subject, you see it again:

but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

It seems Paul isn’t simply talking about being circumcised Spiritually though, in fact, here it seems putting to death the “misdeeds of the body” is a matter of life and death! If I don’t put to death my sin will I die? – To be blunt, yes, you will. But spiritually, not physically. Christ can’t abide in a house that only partly serves him, while the other part serves Satan! A person can’t have two masters, you’re with one and against the other, or eventually your bluff will be found out and you’ll be exposed. – As you can see, being spiritually circumcised is obviously important, but now we must address the bit about what exactly “the circumcision of Christ” is and how it can affect my spiritual circumcision.

having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:12)

That, right there, is the circumcision of Christ; Christ died, and our sinful nature died with him before being raised back to life as a new creation in Christ through faith. That’s why Paul made it seem like a matter of either spiritually living or dying, because it is one!

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Point of Being a Christian

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. (Colossians 2:2-4)

How is it, I wonder, that knowing that in Christ are hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge, will help them not be persuaded by plausible arguments. Well first let’s identify what some plausible arguments would have been for them:

1. Perhaps they were like the Corinthians, and might be persuaded into believing “super-apostles (super-imposters).

2. Maybe they would be tempted like the Galatians were, to observe special days (the law) instead of believing that Christ is all they need.

How could just knowing that Christ has treasures of wisdom and knowledge in him really help anyone with any problem? Surely it wouldn’t help them not believe in an imposter, or help them to realize that Christ is our (their) only hope of salvation. – Let’s look at one particular part of the verses in Colossians:

riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

As a Christian, we are Christ’s “temple” where he dwells. Paul is reminding the Colossians that Christ now dwells in them, and therefore Christ’s wisdom and knowledge also dwells in us. All that to say that with Christ dwelling in us, we can recognize one of Satan’s traps. Notice how exactly Paul phrases this:

riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.

God’s mystery is Christ. But let’s get more specific, what about Christ?

26(BP) the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27(BQ) To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are(BR) the riches of the glory of(BS) this mystery, which is Christ in you,(BT)the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:26-27)

More specifically, Christ, the hope of glory. – Christ can live in us, because he died for us. Hence giving us a ‘hope of glory’ as Paul phrases. But now there’s another question that we see, “So what’s the point?” Sure Christ living in me is pretty cool, and being able to recognize and bring to God a trap from Satan is amazing, but really, it’s not exactly what I had imagined becoming a Christian would be like. Where’s the unexpected quadrupling of my salary?

8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. (2 Timothy 2:8-9)

God promises to provide all our needs not necessarily our wants (salary raise, etc). In fact, it usually means hardship (what form of “hardship” I don’t know). – “But, what’s the point of being a Christian then?” Is another question that arises. The point of it, is that we have Christ living in us and hope of glory. The point of it, is that we’ve been saved through Jesus’ blood. The point of it, is how could anyone do anything but praise the very one who died so that they could live?

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Colossians – Qualification

Hello again!

Today we’re starting in the book of Colossians. – Here is what God gave me today in his word:

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. (Colossians 1:11-12)

The Question

Now this I’ve got to ask; how is someone “qualified” to share in the inheritance of the saints? To you have to pass some sort of test in order to become a son of God? I never had to take some sort of qualification test, does that mean I’m not a true son of God?

The Answer

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)

I’ll put it this way: In order to “qualify”, we must not qualify:

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)

In order to “qualify” as the church in Colossae apparently had, we must first realize that we don’t qualify. We can not be the perfection God requires of us in order to be his sons or (as the case may be) daughters. – Verses 13 and 14 clarify this. Right after Paul finished talking on the fact that were qualified, he tells them how it is that they were qualified; by God delivering them.

The Application

It’s the same today: we must first realize that we don’t qualify for God’s grace, before we can qualify. We have to realize we can’t actually do anything in order to save our self; it’s only by God’s delivering us that we can be saved.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Lamentations – Finish Your Sentences

Hello again!

Today I’ll be starting the rather sad book of Lamentations. – This is what God gave me today in his word:

Jerusalem sinned grievously; therefore she became filthy; all who honored her despise her, for they have seen her nakedness; she herself groans and turns her face away. (Lamentations 1:8)

Jerusalem sinned, she became filthy, she was despised. Shouldn’t that be our motto? You made your bed now lie in it. We all know of course that the only possible way to get into Heaven is to be perfect, therefore if someone isn’t 100% perfect shouldn’t they have to be treated like Jerusalem was treated? Granted there is a difference between an entire city and little old whoever, but even so, they should still get what’s coming to them, right? – If someone isn’t perfect, they should be despised.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)

Wait a minute here Paul (he’s the one writing this letter), we’re not supposed to forgive, look at what happened to Israel when they worshiped Idols, they were despised! Just because I’m apparently “forgiven”, why is it I should forgive?

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15-17)

But that doesn’t go along at all with what happened to Israel. Why should we have peace in our hearts? I mean I agree with admonishing one another, but doing it with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit? It sounds as if you want me to have joy in my life! How can I have joy in my life?

20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying,“This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. (Luke 22:20)

Ah, so it turns out that Paul was right after all! I suppose I might as well just go and burn all my Old Testaments, after all, they’re useless, revoked, totally irrelevant.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16)

So what’s the conclusion? Because Jesus Christ died for us, and in his blood created a new covenant and forgave us, we have the ability to forgive others. We now see that we are naked in our sins and guilt, but we must “finish our sentences” and read on to discover we’re clothed again in Christ Jesus.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: