Welcome to Week 25 of the Higher Hope Church 2018 New Testament Reading Plan! If you haven’t already, go pick up your 5x5x5 Reading Plan and join our private Facebook group for daily interaction and discussion. This week we finished Philippians and started Colossians!
Paul warns against putting confidence in things of the flesh. He himself had every reason to have confidence in the flesh but now considers it a loss for the sake of knowing Christ. His righteousness comes through faith in Christ and not a righteousness of his own that comes from the law. He is forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, the goal to win the prize to which God has called him to in Christ Jesus. We must remember that our citizenship is in heaven and not of this earth.
Paul ends his letter by exhorting the Philippians to stand firm in the Lord. Rejoice always in the Lord. Do not be anxious about anything but pray. Think about whatever is pure and noble and true. Paul thanks them for their gifts.
Paul opens the letter to the holy and faithful people of Colosse with thanksgiving and a prayer. He tells them that they have heard of their faith in Christ and their love for all of God’s people. Paul says that they have not stopped praying for the Colossians, asking God to give them complete knowledge of His will and spiritual wisdom and understanding. He prays that they will be strengthened with the power of God so that they will endure and have patience.
Paul continues the letter by discussing the supremacy of Christ and how He existed before anything and is supreme over all creation. Through Christ, God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. Everything was created through him and for him. He holds creation together. Christ is also head of the church, which is his body. Through Christ, God reconciled everything to himself, including those who were once far from God. But they must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it.
False teachings had infiltrated the Colossian church, specifically the combining of ideas from other philosophies and religions with Christian truth. In this chapter, Paul stresses that believers have freedom from rules. Christ has set them free from the spiritual powers of this world.
Now that Paul has spoken against false teachings, he moves on to how the believers are to live in their new life in Christ. He tells them to focus on heaven, not on the things of earth. He tells them to put to death all of their sinful, earthly things because they have stripped off their old sinful nature and put on their new nature. They must now clothe themselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. He ends the chapter with instructions for wives, husbands, children, and slaves.
Have a great week!