Author: Keith Truscott
Author Bio: Keith Truscott is the Pastor of Mount Zion Aussie Indigenous Church of Belmont, Western Australia.
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The Apostle Paul was writing to the young Church at Colossae, who were troubled by two legalistic belief systems of the day. These were Gnosticism and Judaism.
Gnosticism followers had strict practices and beliefs and often lived in the wilderness and in caves, separate from mainstream society. They believed they had gained a ‘special knowledge’ from God. So, there was no need to keep any of the Old Testament laws. They also believed that Jesus Christ did not actually die and rise again from the dead. It only seemed that Jesus had died and rose again.
On the other hand, Judaism believed that to really please God, a person had to keep all the Jewish feasts, traditions and holy-days and seasons that Moses had given to the Hebrew people on Mount Sinai. Even when a Jewish person became a Christian, the ‘Judaisers’ believed that such new converts still had to be circumcised and still had to keep the Jewish Sabbaths and traditions.
In conclusion, both Gnosticism and Judaism did not accept that Jesus the Nazarene was indeed ‘God come in the flesh’.
But the Apostle Paul tells the young church at Colossae to trust in the ‘simple’ knowledge: that Jesus Christ was indeed God and that he was the latest and fullest revelation of God’s purposes for all mankind. Furthermore, Christ Jesus had obeyed all the Mosaic law and lived a blameless and sinless life. Once a person freely and humbly believed in the power of the literal death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to save them from their sins, then they would be saved.
That is, they would be forgiven of past wrongs and have the power to live a victorious life. Oh, there would still be testing times and temptations, but these challenges could be overcome by God’s Holy Spirit living inside that believing person’s heart. The Holy Spirit would be their Guide, Comforter and Helper every minute of every hour of every day of every week. Hallelujah!
Heavenly Father, thank you for the sufficiency of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to save us from our sins and live a life that overcomes. There is no need to live in isolated groups in caves in the wilderness and follow extra so-called ‘special knowledge’ and practices. There is also no need to be circumcised into the Jewish faith and follow religious traditions and practices. Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection and His Holy Spirit with which He empowers all believers to have, on a free confession of faith… this is sufficient to become and live and persevere as a true Christian. Again, In Jesus’ precious Name I give thanks. Amen.