Pause: “…he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;” Psalm 103 : 10, 11
Reading: Colossians 2 : 9 – 15 “ For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the Head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
We could probably have spent a week reflecting on these seven verses, however we only have today, so I am just going to pick out two thoughts to share, and leave you to re-read the verses and ask the Lord to speak further to you from them. When I was a fairly new Christian I was really blessed by our Minister, a very good Bible teacher, who loved pointing out the importance of many of the small words in the Bible, such as “But”, “Yet”, and, as you will see in these two paragraphs, “All.” (The emphasis is mine!)
Firstly, in verse 9, Paul writes, “in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” In the early years of the Christian church, and indeed throughout the ages, various heresies have arisen denying the divinity of Jesus. Some have said that he wasn’t really on earth in a human form, some have said that he only showed godly characteristics, and more modern ones, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, have claimed that he was nothing more than a great teacher. Paul leaves his readers, and us, in no doubt that what Jesus claimed for himself is absolutely true. In John 14 verse 9 Jesus is recorded as saying, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father,” and throughout his time on earth he left his followers, and his opponents, in no doubt about the truth of his divine nature. We can trust Jesus completely, because he was far more than a mere man; he truly was God the Son, come to reveal the love of God to all.
Secondly, in verse 13, Paul writes, “When you were dead in your sins…God made you alive with Christ.” The Colossian Christians may well have been facing opposition from those who claimed that in order to be a “true Christian” one had to be circumcised, and also those who said that other rituals were necessary before they could call themselves Christian. Our salvation does not depend on rituals, good works or anything other than the death and resurrection of Jesus our Saviour, and anyone who teaches otherwise should not be listened to.
Paul continues, “He forgave us all our sins,” and we can be absolutely assured that our relationship with our Father God is perfectly restored through Jesus. We know, from our reading of other parts of the Bible, that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s standards, yet at Calvary Jesus took upon himself the punishment for the sins of the whole world. Paul knew this, rejoiced in it, and wanted all those who had to put their trust in Jesus to share in his joy, which is why he wrote, in the verse Rosemary look at on Thursday, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
Reflect: “…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103 : 12
Prayer: Almighty God, whose love extends to all, look mercifully upon us as we acknowledge our sins, and create in us pure hearts and steadfast spirits, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, AMEN.
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