"The Crown of Grace"; The Epistle To The Colossians
November 1, 2012

C. R. Oliver

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November 1, 2012

"The Crown of Grace"
The Epistle to the Colossians

Grace crowned the head of Jesus with glory and honor. Hebrews said it.
Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
Everything about Grace comes through Jesus and exalts Him above everyone (and above all other things). Grace could not have been extended to man without Him. (This truth cannot be stressed enough. This fact must bathe every message of the church. It must oversee and over-ride every consideration of its people. No greater fact can be stated, no greater truth repeated---It is Jesus alone who saves, redeems and restores). This is the message of Paul to the Colossians.

Much of the revelation found in Ephesians is repeated in this epistle. One must remember that Paul did not travel to Colosse. Epaphras, the pastor, visited Paul in prison and out of their interaction, the Spirit directed this message. Conveniently for the reader, it falls into two parts. The first two chapters exalt Christ and ascribe all matters of faith to be IN HIM. The second two chapters are more practical, but emphasize what must be the manifestation of Jesus' work in the saint. Colossians is the essence of what Jude wanted to write about-that which is common among all saints.

Again, Paul directed his comments to the saints (the Holiness Ones, the faithful ones, those who took to heart and banked on what was said in its message).
Colossians 1:2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you ...
This group of true believers (saints and faithful brethren) is Paul's target for the Colossian truths. These are the ones among whom it can be said:
Colossians 1:4-6
4 your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints
5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven
6 the truth of the gospel, which has come to you ... and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth;
Behold the primacy of Grace!

When the realization of, the understanding of, and the power of Grace entered them-everything changed! Epaphras attested to it and Paul underscored it.
Colossians 1:7-8
You also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, 8 who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.
Paul then burst forth with power punches about the work of Jesus. After praying over them (the identical things he prayed over the Ephesians [which work was read cyclically among the churches]), he engaged them in understanding the mystery of the gospel.
... the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
In other words, "Look what Grace has done!" It, undeniably, is a mystery.
Look now at the various underlined words found in the above passage.

Qualified: NT:2427 hikanoo (hik-an-o'-o); from NT:2425; to enable, i.e. qualify: KJV - make able (meet).

Delivered: NT:4506 rhoumai (hroo'-om-ahee); to rush or draw (for oneself), i.e. rescue: KJV - deliver (-er).

Conveyed: NT:3179 methistemi (meth-is'-tay-mee); to transfer, i.e. carry away, depose or (figuratively) exchange, seduce:KJV - put out, remove, translate, turn away.

Redemption: NT:629 apolutrosis (ap-ol-oo'-tro-sis); (the act) ransom in full, i.e. (figuratively) riddance, or (specially) Christian salvation: KJV - deliverance, redemption.

Forgiveness: NT:859 aphesis (af'-es-is); from NT:863; freedom; (figuratively) pardon: KJV - deliverance, forgiveness, liberty, remission.

Paul continued this theme and ended it with a huge "if" clause.
Colossians 1:21
And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight
Reconciled: NT:604 apokatallasso (ap-ok-at-al-las'-so); to reconcile fully:KJV - reconcile.
23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
(How long has it been since you heard an "If" message preached? Well, that's been too long.)
Later, Paul continued his treatise by increasing knowledge of the work of Jesus in the heart of the saint. (It is necessary to declare over ourselves these elements.)
Colossians 2:10 you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

Colossians 2:11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,

Colossians 2:13-15 He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
Paul wished to make sure the foundation of truth in Colosse. (If he were to return and look into the condition of Christianity today, he would again preach this message. He would ask the membership, "Am I describing you? Can you attest these truths are in you?")

Now Paul introduces the great "He / Him" passages. With these, he crowns Christ with grace- glory and grace-honor. After telling his readers the greatness of Jesus' work in them, the Apostle turns toward Jesus and says to the saints, "Behold, your King."
Colossians 1:15-20 and 2:9

1. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

2. by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

3. He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

4. He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence

5. in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

6. Col 2:9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;

Stand Up and Shout: JESUS!

Full to the brim with the glory of this mystery, Paul literally shouts to his audience, "Get these truths into your spirit, for they are the revelation of the great mystery of salvation and it has been revealed to the saints for their edification." No other religion has such a mystery. The Old Testament saints would have given everything to have this mystery. Angels desire to understand this mystery. (Paul could well have said, "Don't lose the power of this mystery, the privilege of the stewardship of this mystery---regale in this mystery!")
Colossians 1:26-29
26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.
27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.
The goal of Grace is to present "every man perfect in Christ Jesus." This is the power that worked mightily in the Apostle and which must be restored to pre-eminence in the heart of every man or woman who claims to represent the gospel. Trivia-Religio be damned!

What is the primary thrust of the gospel if it is not to bring all believers to the same power that possessed Paul? Seminaries and Seminars struggle through every machination imaginable to train and prepare their patronage to receive their several forms of identical deadness. Paul detested such deception. Listen as he reiterates his goal.
Colossians 2:2-3
2 Attaining(advancing) to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,

3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Attaining: The translators injected the meaning of "eis (unto)" and used this word instead. (Here are some of the uses: NT:1519 a point reached or entered, of place, time, or (figuratively) purpose. expressing motion (literally or figuratively, advancing).
          (This is why I continually say, the goal of grace is to bring man from where he is to the place of the perfection in Christ.)

Paul wished that every saint would advance to the same place he was in the knowledge of the mystery.
Colossians 2:6-8
6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
8 Beware lest anyone cheat you
Notice verse 8. The vast majority of church members have been cheated! The goal of every message and every lesson session ought to be the advancement of the participants to the perfection of the mystery in them!

Doctrines and theologies pale before Paul's impassioned appeal:
2:17 the substance is of Christ.

2:19 holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.
Writer Paul discerns forms of trivia that divert attention away from Christ:
1. Attention to the "principles of the world."
Col 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
2. Judging another by religious standards.
Col 2:16-17 let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come

Col 2:20 do you subject yourselves to regulations -21 "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," 22 which all concern things which perish with the using - according to the commandments and doctrines of men?
23 These things indeed have an *appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
          *(Much of the modern church exhibits this trait)
We must examine now the famous "Put On" passages. These trail the restraints to religious "do's and don'ts" which Paul denigrates. Notice how each of these "Put -On's" is like a step leading to a high altar.
Colossians 3:10, 12-13, 14-15
10 put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him

12-13 as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another,

14-15 put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
Clothed in the "Put On" garments, one is able to come to the place of High Praise. Here, Paul examines the elements comprising what is pleasing to God. Notice the mixture of elements and how each of them must have a place in praise and worship or it isn't acceptable praise and worship.
Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Grace-Singing is just different than what most worship teams and congregants attain.
In Romania, at a church dedication among Gypsy believers, I witnessed a purity of music seldom reached in the U.S. They sang the Psalms and old hymns spontaneously. Seemingly without program or agenda, first one, then another, pitched a melody that touched the spirit of one who did not know their language. Similarly, I witnessed another occasion, when Keith Moore led a New Year's celebration by incorporating these elements and calling for "singing in the Spirit." Although everyone had a different "tongue," the music rose from grace-filled hearts and sounded more like a heavenly choir than anything I had witnessed in the past. There is a higher place than we are experiencing today.
Paul, after asking prayer for more opportunities to preach the Word, touches a true "Grace Note." It is in the form of a Spirit led desire.
Colossians 4:5-6
Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.
Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
"Grace Speech" issues a different sound.

"Grace Speech" surrounds the listener with edifying love. It comes from one's lips with a different tone than the world can emulate. It ushers grace to the hearer and incorporates every aspect of this epistle into the spirit of the recipient. It feels good on the tongue and swells up inside like some spiritual nourishment, some manna of unspeakable satisfaction. Within its scope is interpretation which can be received before the word is spoken (I have witnessed this on mission fields). Its essence is a fragrance like that of the Song of Solomon (which is a book laden with grace talk). It is effortless from a heart full of the knowledge given by Colossians. It is self edifying both to the speaker and the hearer. It reaches into the psychological and physiological and touches hurt and infirmity even without defining the issues. It brings its healing balm with it. It surgically removes the sources of all the maladies of a lifetime, painlessly. "Grace talk" wells up inside to such a degree that it must be expressed, all the while checking itself by the measure of faith within its occupant. Oh, that pulpits would preach with such grace. Oh, that we could hear it just this once more, flooding our ears using a palette with colors of grace to sooth our spiritual eyes and end the tired clichés of a thousand sermons. Rising from the ashes of a former day would come a conquering force called God, Jesus, the Holy Ghost, Grace!

Grace, Grace to it!

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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In Spanish:

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In German:

Die Sohn Zadoks

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