Tuesday, September 26, 2006

For the last several days, I have renewed my interest in Paul's letter to the Colossians in advance of our Spiritual Growth Workshop. Colossians is an easy read -- just four chapters -- but its message is life-altering.

The message of Colossians in a nutshell is this: What you believe must affect how you behave!

In the first two chapters of Colossians, Paul paints one of the most exalted pictures of the deity of Jesus Christ in all of Scripture. He makes clear that his deity did come to earth in human form (1.22; 2.9) to debunk the false teaching of Gnosticism that was running rampant in Colosse.

In chapters three and four, Paul builds on those two realities to show the Colossians and us that believing and receiving the deity of Jesus and the blessings of the gospel must make a tangible difference in the way our lives are lived out.

What we do must affect how we behave.

"What matters (to Paul and to Christ) is that the behavior which marks so much of our world -- lust, anger, lies and so on, which split up families and communities -- is being replaced by kindness, gentleness, forgiveness and an acceptance of one another as members of the same family, even where there were major differences of race, background, and culture. This, as far as Paul is concerned, is the true sign of God at work" (Tom Wright, Paul For Everyone: The Prison Letters, Westminster: John Knox Press, 2004, p. 143).