EVIL FORCES DISARMED

Scripture Reading: Colossians 2:11-15

“He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by trumping over them in Him.” (Colossians 2:15)

We must never underestimate the power of the cross. Our record of debt which we owed God was nailed to the cross and the debt was canceled. The result is that all of our sins have been forgiven (vs. 13,14). But there is more — through His work on the cross, Jesus disarmed the evil rulers and authorities, Satan and his host of evil spirits. He triumphed over them victoriously!

The cross of Christ marks the decisive defeat of Satan and his demons. By His work on the cross, Jesus stripped them of their power to accuse believers before God. Remember that the Greek word for the devil is “diabolos,” which means accuser. Satan is the great accuser of the people of God. While he cannot accuse us before God, he still bring accusations before us individually. But don’t listen to them! Remember that we are now holy and blameless and beyond reproach (1:21,22).

Satan is ultimately defeated but he still does all he can to discourage us, to tempt us and to cause us to doubt. He is the true “great deceiver.” He still has power to cause us trouble and to tempt us to sin. We are called to be on our guard for him and to resist him — “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith” (I Peter 5:8,9).

God has provided spiritual armor so that we can defend ourselves against Satan and his evil forces (Ephesians 6:10-20). We are “to put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). While we must still battle Satan, remember the words of Luther in his great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress” — “The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him — His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure; one little word shall fell him.” That little word is “Jesus!”

Lord Jesus, I know that You have disarmed Satan and his demons by stripping them of their power. I also know that Satan still attempts to deceive, accuse, and defeat me. He is seeking to devour me; but I know that he can’t because You have already defeated him. Give me power to resist him. Enable me to be armed for his attacks upon me.

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CANCELING THE DEBT

Scripture Reading: Colossians 2:11-15

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13,14)

Here is the miracle of salvation — “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him.” Paul is speaking of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. We were spiritually dead and incapable of understanding spiritual truth (I Corinthians 2:14). But God made us alive spiritually. He caused us to be born again. When this occurred, we were given new spiritual life and new abilities to grasp spiritual truth.

As a result of the redemptive work of our Savior, we have been forgiven of all our trespasses. The record of our debt that stood against us was set aside by God because He nailed it to the cross. Jesus took our bad record (all the sins we have committed and will commit) and bore the just punishment that is rightfully ours. He paid the debt so that our sins could be forgiven.

And the good news is that we get Jesus’ perfect record! His perfect righteousness is imputed to us when we are justified by God. As a result Christ is able to present us holy and blameless and above reproach before our heavenly Father (1:22).

Picture this –the record book of all your sins being nailed to the cross. Then accept the forgiveness God has granted you when He canceled the debt that you owed Him. Now there is no place for guilt and shame in our lives. The debt has been paid and we have been set free from all guilt and shame.

Lord Jesus, how can I ever thank You enough for taking on the debt that I rightly owe God and paying for it fully? I know that the record of debt that stood against me has been set aside because it was nailed to the cross with You. Now my sins are completely forgiven and Your righteousness has been imputed to me. I can stand before my heavenly Father as one who is holy and blameless and above reproach.

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UNION WITH CHRIST

Scripture Reading: Colossians 2:11-15

“In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:11,12)

Paul uses sacramental language in this passage to explain the new life we have in Christ. Circumcision was the Old Testament sign of the covenant and baptism is the New Testament sign. The point of this passage is that believers are now in union with Christ. As a result of this union, we have been set free from our bondage to sin and brought into a living, vital relationship with Jesus Christ.

In this passage the circumcision made without hands refers to the spiritual action of God that “delivers us from the domain of darkness and transfers us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption” (1:13,14). This circumcision is made without hands for it is the supernatural work of Christ. It is through His blood that we are redeemed.

The reference to baptism refers to our dying with Christ in His death. We were set free from our bondage to sin — “We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (Romans 6:6).

We have also been raised with Christ in His resurrection to a new life in Him. This is referring to our regeneration. We were dead spiritually (Ephesians 2:1), but God caused us to be born again (I Peter 1:3). As a result we are new creatures in Christ — “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature. The old has passed away; behold the new has come” (II Corinthians 5:17).

Paul’s point is that our salvation is fully the work of God. He delivered us from our sins and He made us alive with Christ. All this is possible because of our union with Christ.

Lord Jesus, I know that I have been buried with You in Your baptism and raised with You in Your resurrection. You have delivered me from my enslavement to sin. You have brought spiritual life to me and made me a new creature. I am so thankful for the union that I have with You which made my salvation possible.

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COMPLETE IN CHRIST

Scripture Reading: Colossians 2:8-10

“For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in Him, who is the head of all rule and authority.” (Colossians 2:9,10)

You and I are complete in Jesus Christ and we can find true satisfaction and fulfillment through our relationship with Him. Because we are in Christ, we lack nothing. All the fullness of deity dwells in Christ and He is in us. Thus, we have been filled in Him; we are complete in Him.

The problem is that we often try to find satisfaction and fulfillment in other ways. We attempt to find them in our work, or our achievements, or in other relationships, or in our appearance, or in our possessions. But none of these things can make us complete; they all fall short.

When we do not find our satisfaction and fulfillment in these things, we live in fear. Fear can paralyze our lives and rob us of the peace and joy that God wants us to have. We become afraid of not being accepted. We develop a fear of failure and of the uncertainties of life.

These fears lead to basic insecurities. We try to deal with them in ways that will never help us overcome our fears. We become critical of others in order to make us feel better about ourselves. We become over-achievers and put enormous pressure on ourselves. We become obsessed with our appearance. And we can become manipulative and controlling.

Why do we do these things? Because we have a misunderstanding of where our value lies. All human beings have a deep need to find security and significance. The message of the gospel is that both of these basic needs can only be fulfilled in a relationship with Jesus Christ — “You have been filled (satisfied, made whole, made complete) in Him.”

We are secure through Him because we are accepted by Him fully and we are significant through Him because we are loved unconditionally by Him. We are complete in Christ. Our value is found in our relationship with Him. When we realize this, we are set free from fear and from dissatisfaction. We can then experience incredible joy and peace because we are fulfilled in Christ.

Lord Jesus, I know that all the fullness of deity dwells in You. You are fully God and fully man at the same time. And I also know that I am valuable to You. You have accepted me and You love me with an everlasting love. I am complete in You and in You alone.

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WALKING IN CHRIST

Scripture Reading: Colossians 2:6-8

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6-8)

Sanctification is often described as a walk of faith, and, indeed, that is what it is. We are justified through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1) and we are sanctified through faith in Him as well. Thus Paul writes — “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” Our Christian walk is a walk of faith — every aspect of it. We must trust Christ for our sanctification just as we must trust Him for our justification.

Sanctification really means that we are being rooted and built up in Christ. God’s ultimate goal for us is that we will “be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). We must be well grounded in our faith in Christ, in order to grow into spiritual maturity. Christ is present in us (Galatians 2:20) and as we yield to His will, we will grow in godly character.

Notice that we are to walk IN CHRIST and we are to be rooted and built up IN HIM. Paul is referring to the union we have with Christ. Christ is in us and we are in Him. We are never alone for He will never leave us nor forsake us. We must learn to practice His presence. We must be aware that He is always in us and that we have His power available to us. This is what it means to walk in Christ. In every step we take, in every choice we make, and in every challenge we face, we must rely on Christ for the wisdom and power we need. When we do this, we become more established in the faith because we are being rooted and built up in Christ.

Lord Jesus, I know that You are present in me. I know that You will never leave me. Enable me to practice Your presence in my life. Give me the ability to walk in You every moment of every day. Let me draw off Your wisdom and power as I face the challenges of this day.

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THE TREASURES OF WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE

Scripture Reading: Colossians 2:1-5

“That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:2,3)

Jesus Christ is a treasure chest full of wisdom and knowledge. He is our treasure and we should value Him greatly. And as we get to know Him better and better, we will discover wisdom and knowledge that will enable us to face the vicissitudes of life. Every time I read the Scriptures, I find new insights about Jesus Christ and I find help and strength to face the opportunities and challenges before me.

Paul said that the supreme mystery is “Christ in us, the hope of glory” (1:27). Christ is the treasure who lives in us — “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (II Corinthians 4:7). We are called to explore this treasure so that we may “reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ.”

We need to spend time alone searching out this treasure; but we also need community so that “our hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love.” Such community enables us to find the riches of Christ that we have together. We are able to help one another discover the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that are found in Jesus Christ.

It is important that we pursue the wisdom and knowledge found in Christ so that no one may delude us with seemingly plausible arguments that are not in line with the truth of the gospel (v. 4). We need fellow believers to encourage us and to help us grow deeper in our faith so that we can discern error that could lead us astray from the truth.

Lord Jesus Christ, You are my treasure. When I spend time with You, I find the wisdom that I need to face the challenges and opportunities that You bring into my life. When I spend time with fellow believers, I am encouraged to grow deeper in my understanding of the gospel. Today may I be taken by You, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

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THE MYSTERY REVEALED

Scripture Reading: Colossians 1:24-29

“To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:21)

The word “mystery” used in this passage and in other passages from Paul’s epistles refers to something that was previously hidden or that was only vaguely known in the past but that has now been made clear. In this case, Paul is referring to God’s great plan of redemption that came through the one and only Messiah, Jesus Christ. In particular, he is revealing how the plan of redemption now includes the Gentile believers.

Throughout the Old Testament there are hints of this plan which God has unfolded through the ages. Now the mystery is clear — “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The central story line found from Genesis to Revelation is about God redeeming a sinful people to Himself through the work of His beloved Son. We see Christ all through the Old Testament but the fulfillment came with His incarnation and ministry on earth. It culminated with His death, resurrection and ascension into heaven.

The Gentiles were not privileged to the promises, covenants and Scriptures found in the Old Testament. But now in Christ, they have been ingrafted into the people of God. “This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6).

Paul in Colossians sums up the mystery that has now been revealed with these glorious words — “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Christ now lives in us (Galatians 2:20). We are never alone. His presence and power are always with us. His presence in us assures us of our eternal destiny — the hope of glory. Nothing and no one can prevent us from receiving our glorious inheritance. Christ in us makes it secure.

Lord Jesus, Thank You for making me part of Your family. Thank Your for grafting me into Your covenant blessings. I know that You live in me and that I am never alone. I also know that because You live in me my eternal destiny is secure. I rejoice when I think — Christ is in me and He is the hope of glory!

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HOLY, BLAMELESS AND ABOVE REPROACH

Scripture Reading: Colossians 1:22-23

“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him.” (Colossians 1:21,22)

It is amazing to think that Christ makes us holy and blameless and above reproach before our heavenly Father. We know that we are unholy and full of blame. We are sinners by nature and by practice. We “once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds.” But through the redemptive work of our Savior, we are made holy and blameless and above reproach. How is this possible?

In Christ, we have experienced a total cleansing from all our sins. We have been made pure by His blood. Now our record is blameless. There is not one defiling stain or blemish on us when we stand in the presence of God. Jesus did not just clean us up a little, He purifies us completely. Thus we are beyond reproach because there are no charges against us.

All of this is possible because we have been justified — “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). This means that we have been forgiven of all our sins. The guilt and shame of our sins have been removed from us and we are not longer at odds with God.

But there is more to our justification than the forgiveness of our sins; the very righteousness of Jesus Christ has been imputed (credited) to us. We are fully righteous because we now have the righteousness of Christ as a cloak. When God looks at us, He sees the perfect righteousness of His Son; He sees us in the same way He sees His Son. As a result of the work of Jesus, we are now holy and blameless and above reproach!

Lord Jesus, I know that I am unholy, full of blame and full of reproach. Yet You have made it possible for me to be holy, blameless and above reproach by Your suffering and death on the cross. I now stand before my heavenly Father clean, pure and spotless. Thank You for making my justification possible by reconciling me through Your death.

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RECONCILING ALL THINGS

Scripture Reading: Colossians 1:18-20

“For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.” (Colossians 1:19,20)

After the Fall (Genesis 3), all of God’s good creation was corrupted. Man’s relationship with God was broken. Conflict and division characterized human relationships. And the entire created order was affected by the sin of Adam and Even. This explains why we face the difficulties of living in this fallen, broken world.

But the good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ is reconciling all things to Himself. This is possible because of His work on the cross. He made peace by the blood of His cross. Thus, reconciliation is possible now and one day all things will be reconciled to Christ.

Through Jesus’ work on the cross, it is possible for human beings to be reconciled to God — “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10). Christ made peace with God possible by His atoning work.

Through Christ human relationships can be restored. We can be at peace with one another because of the work of our Savior — “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that He might create to Himself one new man in place of two, so making peace and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” (Ephesians 2:14-16). We have the ability to live at peace with one another because of the blood of the cross.

The entire created order eagerly awaits the return of Christ when all things will be restored by Him — “That the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).

The day is coming when all things will be reconciled to Jesus Christ. There will be new heavens and a new earth in which only righteousness dwells (II Peter 3:12). Then death will be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain (Revelation 21:4). All things in heaven and on earth will be reconciled to our Savior. I long for the day when Christ comes again and all things will be restored.

Lord Jesus, You are the fullness of God in every way. You are reconciling all things to Yourself. Thank You for reconciling me to God through the blood of the cross. Thank You that you make it possible for me to be reconciled to those with whom I have conflict. I eagerly await Your return and the recreation of the heavens and earth. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

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THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH

Scripture Reading: Colossians 1:18-20

“And He is the head of the body, the Church. He is the beginning, the first born from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent.” (Colossians 1:18)

The Church is the body of Christ. With all its imperfections and shortcomings, it remains His body here on earth. Of course, the weaknesses and shortcomings we see in churches are there because of each of us. We have to be realistic about the Church — it is made up of sinners like you and me.

However, in the eyes of Christ, the Church is beautiful; it is His bride. And He alone is the Head of the Church. He is the supreme leader and sustainer of His Church. Christ nourishes and cherishes His Church (Ephesians 5:29). Christ has made His church holy and without blemish by the redeeming work He accomplished for the members of His body.

Occasionally I meet people who say they are followers of Christ, but do not believe in “organized religion.” The Church is not “organized religion,” it is the body of Christ and we are expected to be a part of a local body of believers. When we confess Christ, we become a part of His covenant community. It is in the body of Christ that we grow most spiritually.

While Christ is the one and only legitimate Head of the Church, He has provided elders and deacons as officers to serve under His authorities. The elders are charged to “shepherd the flock of God” (I Peter 5:2). They are responsible “to care for the Church of God, which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). The deacons are called to be servants and ministers to God’s people, by taking care of their needs (Acts 6:1-4). Thus elders and deacons have a huge responsibility that Christ has assigned to them and they are accountable to Christ for their calling and ministry as elders in His Church. We should pray regularly for the elders and deacons of our churches.

The Church is precious to Christ. He purchased each member of it with His own blood. Therefore, we are to love the Church and are to participate in its worship and ministry. We are to pray for the growth of the Church and we are to serve Christ in and through the ministries of His Church.

Lord Jesus, I know that You love Your Church. You are the Head of the Church and You purchased those who belong to it with Your own blood. I pray that I will serve Your Church to the best of my ability. I pray for the growth of Your Church around the world. I pray for the elders and deacons of my church. Protect Your Church and may I be a faithful servant of Yours through the ministries of the Church.

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