Categories
Theology

The Supremacy of Christ in Colossians 1-2

Colossians 3-4 is filled with practical exhortation for Christian living. But before Paul lists imperative after imperative, he sets forth the supremacy of Christ as the foundation for Christian experience. It’s beyond a doubt that the big theme of Colossians is “Jesus is Supreme.”

  • It is through Christ that believers have been delivered from the domain of darkness into God’s kingdom (1:13).
  • It is in Christ that believers have redemption and forgiveness (1:14).
  • Everything exists through Christ and for Christ (1:15-16).
  • Everything is held together by Christ (1:17).
  • The church exists because of Christ’s resurrection from the dead and the entire cosmos will be reconciled to Christ (1:18-20).
  • In Christ the fullness of God’s presence dwells (1:19; 2:9).
  • Personal and corporate reconciliation to God only comes through Christ (1:21-23).
  • The glory of the mystery of God’s inclusion of the Gentiles in his redemption is Christ, the hope of glory (1:27).
  • Christ is the subject of Christian proclamation and instruction (1:28).
  • Christ himself is actually the substance of God’s mystery (2:2), and in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (2:3).
  • It is by faith in Christ that believers are to walk and be built up and established (2:6-7).
  • Believers are filled in Christ (2:10).
  • Christ is the head of all rule and authority (2:10).
  • In Christ believers are spiritually circumcised (2:11).
  • As evidence of this spiritual circumcision, believers are baptized and raised in Christ through faith by God’s power (2:12).
  • In Christ believers are made alive (2:13).
  • In Christ God has triumphed over and crushed and put to shame his enemies (2:15).
  • Christ is the substance of all Old Testament shadows (2:16-17).
  • Christ is the head of the body, and the body grows only through its union to him (2:19).
  • Believers have died with Christ to rules and traditions influenced by demonic and pagan forces and man-made religion (2:20-23).

Christ is supreme, indeed.

Categories
Ministry

God Works on His Own Scale

We just had eleven American students come to Joburg for a month long mission trip.  Perhaps the most important thing they learned is that God works in his own time and for his own purposes in the salvation of people.

It would be a delight to tell you that we saw a hundred conversions to Christ in a month.  It would also be a lie.  Let me tell you how many we saw after literally hundreds of gospel conversations.

Zero.

In The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World, Don Carson provides some comforting words for guys like me who lead mission projects like the one we just had.  During a panel discussion, he said:

There are people who went to Korea in 1900, planted churches, and saw the church grow to a quarter of the world’s evangelical population today.  There are people who went to Japan about the same time — and no place on God’s green earth did the church grow more slowly than in Japan.  What are you doing to do?  Say, “All the ones who went to Korea are spiritual — particularly loved of God?”  The ones in Japan aren’t blessed of God?  God works on another scale.

South Africa is a de-churched culture on the brink of European-like post-modernism.  The soil is hard, and cultivating takes work.  Seeds have been planted.  And if they grow, God is glorious.  If they don’t sprout anything, God is still just as glorious.