Title: Judges 20. The second appendix: The Benjamite War; Coming to know Christ fully through complete devotion.
Complete devotion to Christ is commanded of us, and it will not come to us until we are enraptured by the beauty and profound love of the Lord Jesus.
Last time we discovered that COL 1:15-20 is actually a poem written by Paul in honor of the Lord of glory. It should be stated that some scholars deny that it is a poem, but some scholars are always denying something. My bias tends towards the conclusion that it is poetry, and not only for technical reasons (the poem fits a chiastic pattern consisting of two strophes of 55 words each) , but because so much of God's revelation is poetic, and the greatest OT revelation of Christ, Isaiah, is fully poetic.
And He is the image of the invisible God,
the first-born of all creation.
For by Him all things were created,
both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities —
all things have been created by Him and for Him.
And He is before all things,
and in Him all things hold together.
He is also head of the body, the church;
and He is the beginning,
the first-born from the dead;
so that He Himself might come to have
first place in everything.
For it was the Father's good pleasure
for all the fulness to dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile
all things to Himself,
having made peace through the blood of His cross;
through Him, I say,
whether things on earth or things in heaven.
The first thing that Paul writes in encouraging the Colossians to continue to walk in a manner worthy of their calling is for them to fully understand the Lord of glory as Creator and Redeemer. Paul puts it poetically, drawing imagery from Gen 1 and from the Psalms.
Something put in poetry is something worth singing. Something as important as the person of Christ put in poetry is really something worth singing.
EPH 5:15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise,
EPH 5:16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil.
EPH 5:17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
EPH 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,
EPH 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
Could Paul be saying that we should have the heart of a poet when it comes to the truth concerning Christ, and that we relate our love of Christ to one another is the joy that would be in song and beautiful poetry?
EPH 5:20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;
EPH 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
In light of this wonderful poem by the apostle, is there any good reason for any of us to hold apart from Him, any part of our lives?
He invites each believer to know and see Him fully, and for this, we must learn, apply, strive, diligently grope, and not quit.
Part of the person of Christ was the suffering He endured, and the love that He faced that suffering with. If we attempt to skip over or around this part of the plan of God, then we will not see Him fully in this life, and to the extent that we do not see Him, to that extent will be holding back His joy from our hearts.
In order for us to see Him fully, we must suffer for His name’s sake when predetermined by the Father, and we must face it with His love.
I emphasize that this suffering is predetermined by the Father. Remember, our good works have been predetermined in EPH 2:10. We do not create this suffering for ourselves, for we cannot. If we create it, then it is not Christ’s suffering. It has to come upon us and it has to come upon us because we are following Christ. Suffering for bad decisions is not a part of this.
When Paul writes to the Colossians, he is in prison, suffering for preaching that Jesus was the Lord and Messiah of all men. But rather than being shamed by this suffering, he rejoiced in it, and by saying something astounding; that he was "filling up that which is lacking in Christ's afflictions."
COL 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ's afflictions.
Paul goes further than suffering for Christ's sake, he actually states that he is doing his share in filling up that which is deficient or lacking in Christ's afflictions. He is no way is saying that members of the body are contributing to the salvation work of Christ. All the suffering for the deliverance of mankind had to come upon one individual. This is prophesied again and again in the OT.
In Isa 49 Jesus is called Israel. We would say that corporately, He is identified with Israel, but Israel, who was to be obedient and dedicated to God, was not.
And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For thus the Lord has commanded us,
'I have placed You as a light for the Gentiles,
That You should bring salvation to the end of the earth.'"