This morning, I woke up to the smell of natural gas. It had my husband and I confused because the smell was stronger on the main floor, but non-existent in the basement where the furnace and water heater are. As we were airing out the house, we noticed that one dial on our stove was turned just slightly and was allowing a slow leak of gas. It struck me how such a little gas created such a smell - the smell was added to give us a warning. It worked - we were warned! As soon as I turned the knob on the burner, the leak and threat was gone. Last week, when I began looking at Colossians I wrote about the fact that the church in Colosse was struggling with Gnosticism. Gnosticism was a mix of different beliefs and combined into a idea that knowledge was salvation. Gnosticism brought the debate about whether or not Jesus was God, and some even felt He was evil. Those who held to Gnostic beliefs felt that God was too pure to create anything material, so He created lesser deities to create the universe and these deities were inherently evil. You can see how this would cause a lot of confusion in the church of Colosse and this letter was written to help set the record straight. It was as if Paul was smelling the warning scent that Gnosticism was creating and he was turning the knob off. So, as we read through these verses, please read it in mind that Paul was refuting the Gnostic belief system. Please read Colossians 1:15-20.
Yesterday, I looked at the first few verses where Paul highlighted that the universe was created through Jesus. This was important to establish and remind the Colossian church so that there was no question who Jesus is - He is God and all things were created through Him. Notice how Paul highlights the fact that He is the visible image of the invisible God; Gnosticism believed that God was so pure that He could only be invisible. In a sense Paul was turning around their theology. In Ephesians, Paul explains how the church is a totally new creation of Jews and Gentiles united through Christ who is the head of the church, which we see mentioned in these verses. Paul reminds the church that God was pleased to have His fullness in Christ and this once again refuted the belief that the lesser deity that created the world was evil. How could a perfect God be pleased to have His fullness in something evil? But not only was God pleased to have His fullness in Christ, He reconciled us to Him through Christ and made peace with us through Christ's sacrifice on the cross.
This was culture changing information! This was going against the common belief in the city of Colosse and in the surrounding areas. But it makes me wonder where we as the modern church may struggle with the beliefs we are surrounded by in our culture. Where are we not accepting the full authority of Christ? Paul knew that Jesus had all authority because Jesus told His disciples this very thing. Please read Matthew 28:18-20. This was after Christ's resurrection. Christ is over all things! Are we as a church reflecting His authority? James warns us in James 1:27 where He writes, "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God is caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." Wow! Are we as a church refusing to let the world's corruption to enter in?
How could the culture around us cause corruption in our lives? How can it cause corruption in the church? How can accepting Christ's authority keep us from becoming corrupt in our faith?
This post is linked with iFellowship Blog Hop and Word Filled Wednesday.