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Remembering the circumstances of the Colossians to whom Paul was writing - people who had come out of all sorts of pagan religions. It becomes abundantly clear in the letter to them that having faith in Jesus is a totally different matter from believing in some man made tradition.

"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." (Col 2:9-10 NIV) Three massive points in one sentence:

- Christ was fully man and fully God,
- we become part of that same Christ (His Spirit dwells in us, He is Lord and Head of the Body of which we become part),
- He has authority over all (spiritual) principalities and powers - we share in that authority.

Stuff in one sentence to provide the basis for a whole book of theology.

"Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence." (Col 2:20-23 NIV)

Big warnings here against slipping into man made traditions in the way we do church - dress codes, eating codes, behaviour codes, building codes, leadership hierarchies, liturgy traditions, worship styles can all give an appearance of wisdom, piety and holiness. But if we forget that we are dead to the world and alive (only) in the fulness and freedom of Christ all these rules and traditions are dead wood.

Jeremiah 6 (NKJV)
19
Hear, O earth! Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people—
the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not heeded My words nor My law, but rejected it.

NOTE:
We always have to be listening for the Spirit. We generate our own thoughts, as we are each individuals created in the image of God.

Part of that image— part of being like God under His authority— is to have a mind.
~~~

Romans 8 (NKJV)
27
Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
34
Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Notice just from Romans chapter 8 that the entire Trinity reveals God’s mind:
a.
There is “the mind of the Spirit”
b.
God the Father “searches the hearts” and “knows” – God the Father has His “will”
c.
Christ “makes intercession” for us.

I Corinthians 2 (NKJV)
16
For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” [Isaiah 40:13] But we have the mind of Christ.

Notice here reference to “the mind of the LORD” and “the mind of Christ”.

And the devil and his deliberately rebellious and deceptive minions also have their own mind:

2 Corinthians 2 (NKJV)
10
Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one [or: For indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it] for your sakes in the presence of Christ,
11
lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Ephesians 6 (NKJV)
11
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

“Satan chosen devices”; and there are the “wiles [schemes] of the devil”
~~~

We must be very careful of the thoughts that we accept or reject. My thoughts will bear fruit. What fruit it will be will depend on whether I “heed God’s Word” or heed another word.
~~~

Jeremiah 7 (NKJV)
8
“Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit.
9
Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know,
10
and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’?
11
Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the LORD.

NOTE:
We are NOT delivered from sin to simply do whatever we want. We are called to do God’s will.

In our many failings, may we seek the Lord quickly and early.

May our lives not be characterized as “a den of thieves”. We will be called “thieves” because who we are and what we do is to be offered to our Master and Savior.

We are not to “steal” from Him as if we are our own master.
~~~

Jeremiah 7 (NKJV)
23
But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’

NOTE:
God is interested that things “go well with us”. Even suffering that is allowed by God, that the enemy brings against us
will not stop God's Will for our well-being from coming to pass.

That is, we will not be detracted if we sincerely love and obey the Lord “that it may be well with us”.

The enemy always brings this lie: “God is not good. If He were, He would take better care of you. He does not care about you.”

Rather, the devil who promises instant gratification and who seeks to undermine patience and trust— he is the one who does not care about us.

He is the liar.
~~~

Jeremiah 8 (NKJV)
5
Why has this people slidden back, Jerusalem, in a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast to deceit, they refuse to return.
6
I listened and heard, but they do not speak aright. No man repented of his wickedness, saying, ‘What have I done?’ Everyone turned to his own course, as the horse rushes into the battle.
7
“ Even the stork in the heavens knows her appointed times; and the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the LORD.

NOTE:
May we learn from nature. All the creatures in the world know their appointed way and their appointed times, and we marvel at the harmony and structure of it all.

May we learn from birds and animals that there is a way— a good way— that is appointed for us. That way is the way of Love— to love God with all of my heart and to love my neighbor as myself as I depend on the Love of God.

Currently, because of sin, “that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now” (Romans 8:22). Someday, all of nature and creation will be free from the effects of man’s sin.
~~~

Colossians 2 (NKJV)
8
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
9
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
10
and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

NOTE:
These verse stand alone, and yet are also an excellent comment on all of the verses from Jeremiah.

THANK GOD that, through the work of Christ, “we are complete IN HIM”.

Colossians 2 (NKJV)
11
In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,
12
buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
13
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
14
having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
15
Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

NOTE:
In these verses, the Lord has chosen to provide insight into HOW “we are complete in Christ”:
a.
On the Cross, our sin nature was literally “circumcised. . .by the circumcision of Christ [Himself]”
b.
We are “buried with Christ in baptism” – our chosen participation into the work of Christ
c.
We were “raised with Him—Christ” and “made alive with Christ”
d.
God has “forgiven us all our trespasses” because Christ took all of the offenses upon Himself in our place—as our Substitute and as our Representative. In this way, the “handwriting of requirements that was against us”—that is the certificate of debt with any accompanying condemnation—has been “taken. . . out of the way, having nailed it to the cross”.
e.
Thus the “principalities and powers” of the devil’s forces have no power over us—AS LONG AS WE ABIDE IN CHRIST.

Again, the thoughts you and I chose to accept will determine our outcome.
~~~

PRACTICALLY, this means that when we find our humanity being attracted by the sin nature, we can depend on the ABILITY OF CHRIST WHO OBEYED to strengthen us and help us to obey.

WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST since Christ Himself, by His Spirit, literally indwells within true believers who have sincerely repented and trusted in Christ as Savior and Lord.

MAY WE TRUST IN THE ABILITY OF THE MIND AND PRESENCE OF CHRIST. . . so that our weaknesses are transformed into testimonies OF HIS GRACE!
~~~

Psalm 78 (NKJV)
29
So they ate and were well filled, for He gave them their own desire.
30
They were not deprived of their craving; but while their food was still in their mouths,
31
The wrath of God came against them, and slew the stoutest of them, and struck down the choice men of Israel.

NOTE:
I must always be careful for what I desire—and so should you. If we intensely and persistently desire for something, God may give it to us.

That is what “craving” means—desire all out of proportion. “I must have this. I must have that”.

Then, once we get that “thing” or that “person”— if it is not God’s chosen will for us— we experience the results that come from getting what we wanted.

OH MAY WE CULTIVATE AND LIVE IN THE BLESSEDNESS OF THE FEAR AND LOVE OF THE LORD!

Vance

Hey, I love that verse from Jeremiah too. It is a real challenge. It unspired me to write a song a few years ago. The first part goes like this:

Lord, you're looking for faithfulness
For hearts that are faithful and true
When you look my way, what do you do?
Sometimes I'm faithful, sometimes I'm untrue
When you look my way, what do you do?
And the Lord said:
Stand at the crossroads
The ancient path you used to walk in days long ago.
Tarry there, and you'll find rest for your weary soul.

I think that we have the tendancy to both want to run away from and run towards God at the same time. Thanks for the encouragement to walk that ancient pathway again towards deep relationship with our maker.

WOW! Did these verses from Psalms 78 ever smack me this morning!

“2 I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old- 3 what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.”

My son David has my four-year old granddaughter Maddy from Friday night through Sunday, and she is with her mom Cindy and step-dad through the week. David and Cindy have joint custody and get along beautifully where the little one is concerned. He is taking lessons to get his pilot’s license and the only regularly scheduled flying time he could get was early Sunday mornings. He brings Maddy to me on Saturday evenings and she spends the night with me and then he picks her up around 11:30 on Sunday mornings. We have been on this schedule for the past three months, which means that I go to church on Wednesday and Sunday evenings but not on Sunday morning.

This morning I felt like God was speaking directly to me and telling me that I need to get Maddy into Sunday School and church on Sunday morning. When I am keeping her it is my responsibility to see that her generation is in church just like I saw that my son attended church. I contacted both parents and let them know that starting this week Maddy and Nanny will be going to church on Sunday mornings from now on.

All day I’ve felt surrounded by the love of God and what a glorious feeling that is. Just thought I would share that little personal experience with you. I have had so many blessings through this Bible study. Yes, our Lord has truly blessed me!

God Bless!
Pat

Anonymous

Thanks for the link to Lewis' autobiography. Honestly, I have always been uneasy regarding not so much his writings, but what Christians(?) I know grab on to in his work.

The link helped me pinpoint my concern. Thanks again.

Andrew,

Liked your comment and glad to see you back posting.

Two things:
1)It was not just the fact that people came out of pagan religions, but there were false teachers coming in after Paul. Primarily the Gnostics - who taught you could not be "complete in Christ". That is why Paul is driving so hard at teaching the "completeness in Christ" in this letter. For a quick 5 minute summary of Gnosticism (about halfway down the page)this link seems to be pretty good.
http://biblia.com/christianity2/3b-gnosticism.htm

2)I would point out that in your list of man made traditions - there is teaching in the bible regarding leadership. I think it is important to note that regarding "church" positions - very little is said about what to do - and most of the emphasis is to the qualifications of the leader. It seems to me that the qualifications essentially go to character and exhibiting the fruits of the spirit.

Whenever the "church" seems to get in trouble in this area - it is usually because the offender has either turned from God, or was never there (IN Christ)in the first place.

Of course, rigourous structures of leadership with pomp, ceremony, court ritual, fancy garb, infallability, or extraneous layers of administration - would appear to stray from the intentions of the Bible instructions on leadership. In that sense - you are exactly correct.

Everything is a danger when the source of reasoning is man's.

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