The Christ Of Colossians

I’ve spent the last month or so working my way through the first chapter of Colossians. Initially I thought, why in the world did I decide to tackle this rather difficult book? But that has changed to, How did I miss all these years what a great book this is?

So far I’d characterize Colossians as a book about Jesus Christ. What more can a Christian want? It’s sort of like a wife discovering her husband’s journal — the one he told her he’d written when they first met. She’d known about it before, but now, with his permission, she gets to read the thoughts he had about her in those early days.

In Colossians, it’s the Holy Spirit’s thoughts, given of course through Paul, about Jesus and ultimately about His relationship with me.

The first passage that really arrested my attention was actually one about the Father:

giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. (Col. 1:12)

First, the verb “qualified” reminded me of the Olympics. Athletes work and work and work for four years in their sport to qualify for the Olympic team. Then they have preliminary rounds or races through which they have to advance if they are to qualify for the medal round and a chance to win the top award.

In this verse, though, the Father has qualified us. I don’t have to work and work and work to share in the inheritance. In fact, I could never do enough.

I could never qualify to make the Olympic team in any sport, no matter how hard I try. Even more so, there’s no way I could qualify for a share of the inheritance of the saints in Light. But the Father did what I couldn’t. He basically said, I’ve got you covered. You’re in. Qualified.

As if that wasn’t enough, the next verse elaborates:

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Col. 1:13)

OK, qualifying me for the inheritance was awesome, but He went further. He rescued me. I wasn’t just unqualified, I needed to be rescued.

Here I’m thinking of a story I hear about a couple that went to the former Soviet Union, I think it was, to adopt. Their account of their visit to the orphanage was heartbreaking. At every turn were children who needed to be rescued.

That was me before God claimed me for His own.

I was in the dominion of darkness.

Now you have to realize what I as a fantasy writer see in this verse. This is the story I want to write. I am unqualified, in need of rescue, trapped in the dominion of darkness. Along comes the Hero who rescues me and transfers me to the kingdom of His beloved Son.

Now we start the focus on Jesus. I’ll just take two of the gems today:

in [His beloved Son] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:14-15a)

The Father rescues me, the Son redeems me. And that redemption is very specific: it is the forgiveness of my sins. Not just the big ones or the past ones or ones I feel really, really sorry about. He forgave me completely — even of sins I didn’t realize were sins when I first came to Him — because He paid what I owed, in total. I won’t owe again tomorrow, requiring a new payment. I’m now debt free.

Which brings up the next point. Jesus Christ could forgive in such a categorical, sweeping way because He is God. Paul brings the point home more than once in Colossians, so it’s apparently a truth he didn’t want the Church to miss:

1:19 – For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him

2:9 – For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form

Notice in that last verse that the verb tense is present. Jesus hasn’t ceased to dwell in bodily form. He has a new, glorified body, the first of its kind. But that’s a hint at what else Colossians has to say about Christ. The book is chock full of gems.

Published in: on September 6, 2011 at 6:38 pm  Comments (4)  
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