Monday, August 20, 2018

Colossians Words Day 20: Perfect/Complete

Day 20 ~ Perfect/Complete

We now come to our last word for our Colossians Words challenge. This word serves as a set of bookends for the whole book and is found in 1:28 and 4:12. The Greek word for the word perfect means that something is brought to its end; it is finished, complete, mature, fully grown.

"He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ." Colossians 1:28

"Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured." Colossians 4:12

In these two verses Paul describes not only his purpose (and that of his disciples), but the purpose of the gospel of Christ. The gospel is not simply a prayer to be uttered for eternal security, although it includes that. The gospel is the call of God to people to become His holy people through faith in Christ Jesus, and to become fully complete in Him as we live out a life of faith while here in this life, in preparation for eternity.

This is a theme in much of Paul's writing:
"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledgethat you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."Ephesians 3:16-19

"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." Ephesians 4:11-13

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.Only let us live up to what we have already attained." Philippians 3:12-16
Pastor and commentator, Bob Utley, says, "God's goal for the church is that every believer be mature in Christ."
So we see this message in some of the other words we focused on in this letter:
"For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives" Colossians 1:9
"..and in Christ you have been brought to fullness." Colossians 2:10
"But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—" Colossians 1:22
"Christ is all, and is in all." Colossians 3:11
To be filled and have the fullness of Christ has the sense of completeness, having completely all that we need to be God's holy (perfect and without fault) people, who are reconciled (have complete peace restored) with Him through Christ, who is all and is in all. He is perfect and complete and we are called to be like Him.

Look again at how Paul declares this complete message in 1:28:
"He is the one (He is all, complete) we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone (all people) with all wisdom, so that we may present (as holy) everyone (all God's people) fully (abundantly complete)  mature (complete, perfect, whole) in Christ." Colossians 1:28

You are complete in Christ!

I have studied Colossians many times over the past 20 years and each time it amazes me that I continue to see new things in it about God, about our identity in Christ, and about the gospel. This book holds such deep truths about Christ, not truths to be known simply in an intellectual manner, but truths to be known - Ginosko known, experiencially through our relationship with Christ - that results in changed lives that express who Christ is in the world around them. I continue to grow in my amazement over all that Paul fit in this small letter to the Colossians, and pray that we are each profoundly changed by the knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ in you the hope of glory!

Please do not feel that you have to be finished in this words challenge or in your creative responses to it simply because this is the last word presented. Please take your time in the Word and in connecting with it creatively. My motto in every study is not that you get through the book completely, but, rather, that the book gets completely through you. 
The complete list of words with their Bible study devotion is found here, which is also found under "Words Challenges" on the top menu. Continue to share your creative works in the Facebook group and on Instagram - #colossianswords. The Facebook group will remain open for sharing, conversation, and will be where I will continue conversations about future Words challenges. I also welcome any questions and dialog about the words and Bible passages we have gone through. I'm so happy we have gone through this journey together and look forward to staying connected with you through social media.
You can also join the other group I co-lead with Bernice Hopper and Valerie Sjodin, Everyday Journals - Living Your Word of the Year. Our theme for September will be " A Time For...". We will explore seasons and where we are at with our word for the year, as well as get into Ecclesiastes 3.

No comments:

Post a Comment