Sunday July 26, 2020
The understanding of Christ dwelling in our heart is illustrated beautifully by Paul in Col 2.
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 [the great defense against false teaching], and attaining to all the wealth [ploutos] 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 [in 3:3, your life is hidden with Christ in God].
The same noun is used by Paul when referring to the confidence he had in the gospel, which gave him the freedom to speak it boldly.
for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
Full assurance of the truth provides freedom. Nothing gives freedom like pure confidence in God’s truth and purpose. It’s not just reciting words, “not in word only,” but being convinced in the truth and power of those words.
True wealth in life comes from the full assurance of understanding. “full assurance” - plerophoria [literally: full carrying] = fullness, abundance, entire confidence.
Therefore, it is vital that we know what it is that we need to understand [sunesis: to set together, to understand]. Paul reveals this immediately; it is the understanding that leads into a true knowledge of the mystery of God: Christ.
The mystery of God: the life of God in man revealed by the God/Man.
We recently looked at the phrase EPH 3:16 the riches [ploutos] of His glory, which is God’s glorious wealth to man. It is Christ Himself. And He is in you and the Father has so blessed us that all the truth concerning Him is to dwell at home in your heart.
In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. It is the wisdom and knowledge of life, the divine life in man.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence [spoude: make every effort], in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; 6 and in your knowledge, self-control [temperance], and in your self-control, perseverance [hupomone: bear up courageously], and in your perseverance, godliness; 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
If the life of the born-again believer is hid with Christ in the heavenlies and hid in Christ are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, then our lives are to be composed of all that particular wisdom and knowledge.
I say this in order that no one may delude you with persuasive argument. 5 For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.
6 As you therefore [in the same manner] have received [the] Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
“the Christ Jesus the Lord” - emphasis on His identity.
In the context of the passage [delusion with persuasive argument], as well as the words used in vs. 6, Paul is not talking about their receiving Christ at salvation, but receiving their instruction about Him.
“received” - paralambano = to take to one’s side. The context points to the true doctrines concerning the Person and work of Christ.
Take to your side, which reveals desire, the true doctrines concerning Christ. All that is revealed of Him, take them to your heart, meditate on them, delight in them, and never stop trying to learn the complete depth of them. And then… in the same manner, so walk!
This is important to our understanding of Paul’s prayer in Eph 3. All believers are indwelt by Christ, but not all believers comprehend the treasures hid within Christ. That is what is going to make for a strong walk through life in His image.
If Paul was emphasizing our receiving Christ at salvation, then “As you therefore received” Him, or “in the same manner as” [hos oun “As therefore”] you received Him would be indicating faith in Him as Savior.
“As therefore” - hos oun = in the same manner. In the same manner you have taken to your side the doctrines of the Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.
But as we know, not all who put their faith in Him have a great understanding of His Person. The Colossians are definitely believers, but they can be deluded by persuasively taught false doctrine, of which Paul is warning them.
The solution to that is faith, but faith in the true doctrines and not the false ones. False doctrines spread lies about the Person and work of Christ. Those lies began in the early church, and so the epistles to the Corinthians, Colossians, Galatians, and 1John; and they continued and grew in number and scope throughout the church to this day.