Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | October 16, 2006

Colossians – Part 8

Did you ever think you knew what life is about and found out you were wrong?  What were the consequences of this? 

Colossians – Part 8:  True Knowledge in Christ 

1.  Where does the world think that they can find true knowledge and wisdom (there may be more than one answer)?

2.  Where did the Colossian false teachers think they were to find true knowledge and wisdom?

Freedom of True Knowledge (Ch 2:1-3):  For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

The Apostle returns to the theme of God’s mystery that has been revealed and expresses his desire for the Church to come to a deep understanding of the truth and richness they would possess in knowing it.  Never having personally met the Colossians, the Apostle after giving them a taste of his passion for the mission of the Church, gives them a preview of his longing for them.  He explains his intention for revealing this information to them, that they may be encouraged, knit together in love and attain true knowledge.  As the false apostle’s were placing so much importance on gaining new “knowledge”, they failed to realize they already possess the greatest treasure of knowledge in Christ.  He elaborates further on God’s mystery by stressing the incredible understanding they already could have in the fully revealed revelation from God.  Thus, he adds to the case against the false teachers by indicating they have totally misunderstood the purpose of knowledge. 

The true knowledge that comes from the Prophets and Apostle’s teaching is liberating.  Rather than experiencing liberation, the knowledge that was being revealed by the false apostle’s was enslaving its followers.  This human wisdom was a counterfeit that was putting an unnecessary yoke on the Church.  They had twisted and distorted the Gospel by blending other religious teachings with it (syncretism).  The Apostle here appeals to the Church to turn back to truth and experience the freedom that comes with it.   

3.  Last week we discussed the mystery that God has revealed, which is Christ bringing salvation to the Gentiles.  What are we (the Gentiles) saved from?

4.  What brought us into this situation that we need to be saved from it?  Does this apply to all humanity?

5.  What has Christ done about this situation?  (Maybe instead of WWJD it would be more appropriate to consider WDJD – (D=did))

6.  What was this mystery referring too?  Hint it starts with a “G” 

Since there is a perpetual and irreconcilable disagreement between righteousness and unrighteousness, so long as we remain sinners He cannot receive us completely.  Therefore, to take away all cause for enmity and to reconcile us utterly to Himself, He wipes out all evil in us by the expiation set forth in the death of Christ; that we, who were previously unclean and impure may show ourselves righteous and holy in His sight…But until Christ succors us by His death, the unrighteousness that deserves indignation remains in us, and is accursed and condemned before Him.  Hence, we can be fully and firmly joined with God only when Christ joins us with Him.  John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion p 506 

7.  Part of the Colossian false teaching was devaluing Christ, because He took on flesh.  Why did Jesus have to be a true man?

8.  When we studied versus 15-18, Paul assigned attributes to Jesus that lead us to conclude He is God.  Why is it important that Jesus also be God?

9.  What else does the Apostle Paul ascribe to Christ in verse 18?

10.  Are there any other offices or attribute that are ascribed to Christ? 

The mystery of God:  “Hence all that think they know anything of God apart from Christ, contrive to themselves an idol in the place of God; as also, on the other hand, that man is ignorant of Christ, who is not led by him to the Father, and who does not in him embrace God wholly.”  John Calvin, Commentary on Colossians. 

11.  What does much of the wisdom of the world have in common, especially as it relate to religion?  For example, God helps those who help themselves, do good to others and good will happen to you, or only the strong survive.

12.  Was this true of the Colossian false teachers?

13.  How does following Christ differ from these other ways of thinking?  What separates the Christian religion?

14.  What is the problem with these different ways of thinking? 

In whom are all the treasures:  “The meaning, therefore, is, that all the treasures of wisdom if we truly know Christ – by which he means, that we are perfect in wisdom if we truly know Christ, so that it is madness to wish to know anything besides Him.  For since the Father has manifested himself wholly in Him, that man wishes to be wise apart from God, who is not contended with Christ alone.” 

In conclusion, let’s ponder on the following statement: 

Belgic Confession – Article 22:  We believe that for us to acquire the true knowledge of this great mystery the Holy Spirit kindles in our hearts a true faith that embraces Jesus Christ, with all his merits, and makes him its own, and no longer looks for anything apart from him.   

For it must necessarily follow that either all that is required for our salvation is not in Christ or, if all is in him, then he who has Christ by faith has his salvation entirely.  Therefore, to say that Christ is not enough but that something else is needed as well is a most enormous blasphemy against God – for it then would follow that Jesus is only half a Savior.  And therefore we justly say with Paul that we are justified “by faith alone” or by faith “apart from works”.  However, we do not mean properly speaking, that it is faith itself that justifies us – for faith is only the instrument by which we embrace Christ, our righteousness.  But Jesus Christ is our righteousness in making available to us all his merits and all the holy works he has done for us and in our place.  

And faith is the instrument that keeps us in communion with him and with all his benefits.  When those benefits are made ours they are more than enough to absolve us of our sins

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