Home Bible Study

"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible might not tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Friday, March 27, 2020

Colossians 2:16-17 (L 15)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
WWW. 2Tim215.Net

Established November 2008                                            Published: March 27, 2020

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
*********************************************************************************************** 
Hello and welcome to HBS.

Let’s begin with a brief review of last week’s Bible lesson.

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

When Paul wrote this letter around 62 A.D. subtle yet dangerous false teachings threatened to undermine the spiritual unity of the Colossian church.  In verse 2:8 Paul said, “Beware” which is both a command and a warning.  He’s strongly urging the Colossians to be ever vigilant because heretics were threatening to draw them away from the truth of the gospel.  But, as I pointed out last week, he didn’t prepare them for the “slippery slope” of heretical teaching by listing them one by one.  He taught them the truth re: Christ’s preeminence in all relationships and who they are in Christ.  Paul also taught them the Lord Jesus Christ is the Standard by which all things will be judged in righteousness.  Therefore, if you have trusted in Him as your Savior (plus nothing else), please know He has nothing against you presently and He will have nothing against you in the future for Christ paid the penalty for all your sins.  Furthermore, we learned Satan is a defeated foe.  When Christ rose triumphantly from the grave He conquered not only the devil but also sin and death “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory?  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).

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Please open your Bible at Colossians 2:16-17.

The Bible passage we’re about to study speaks of the Believer’s liberty (freedom) in Christ and instructs the Colossians to guard it as you would a valuable treasure.  I can’t speak for y’all but for me freedom is very important.  In fact, when I was told the freedom of others in Indo China was under attack by communist forces, I joined the military to help defend them against that threat.  Back home, I would like to think your view on the freedoms guaranteed to every American citizen by our constitution are worthy to be defended from all enemies foreign or domestic.  If someone were to intrude upon our personal freedom in some way, we ought to let that individual know their intrusion is unwanted and they need to back off.   If they ignore this warning, then perhaps we would seek legal assistance to help them get the message and if the situation warranted we would fight to protect our freedoms and those of our loved ones.  The defense of our home is one example.  Many dedicated service men and women have paid the ultimate price to ensure our freedoms remain intact.  However, many people today are ignorant of these freedoms having chosen not to become familiar with them, which means the very  freedoms men and women have fought and died for are taken for granted and in some cases walked under foot, that is to say, insignificant.      

Just as we ought to value, defend, and guard our personal freedoms, Paul is about to tell the Colossians (and us) we are to treasure our spiritual freedom in Christ and guard it.  The good news of the gospel message is that we have been set free from the Law and the power of sin and death to walk in newness of life by faith through God’s grace. Sadly, many Christians are unaware of the extent of their liberty in Christ.  Because of this they choose to live as though they were operating under the strict commandments and the covenants of God.  However, our apostle Paul addressed the issue saying, and I’m paraphrasing, “Don’t let anyone rob you, i.e., draw you away from the truth of the gospel, and don’t let any one judge you because God has annulled the Law” (2:8, 2:16).

Verses 2:16-17.

Let no man therefore judge you in meat (food), or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body (substance) is of Christ.”

Over the years I’ve witnessed and experienced a judgmental spirit within Christianity.  My earliest recollection dates back to when I was a child, but I came across it again and again over the years.  Permit me to explain.  I had the feeling people were looking at me and scrutinizing my behavior, mentally comparing it to some standard that they themselves were striving to live up to.  I’m not talking about how I looked, dressed, and spoke, although these things aren’t off the list.  I grew up in the radical 60’s so that in itself ought to explain much.  I overheard people gossiping in small groups which is a favorite pastime of many.  They were speaking negatively of others, including myself.  They were putting people down for something they supposedly did or didn’t do, and it wasn’t always the same people commanding the conversation.  The majority of the church, at times, acted this way.  There is a term for this it’s called legalism, which is defined as strict adherence to the law. 

Just so you know legalism is the human attempt to gain salvation, favor, or prove our spirituality by outwardly conforming to a list of religious do’s and don’ts.  It’s often disguised in Christian phraseology and behavior.  When Christians or churches become legalistic in their approach, they will become judgmental in their attitude, and it is so easy for people to adopt a legalistic attitude and people can succumb to legalism without trying to do so.  Let's say you discover a discipline that really aids you in your daily walk with Christ.  This activity helps you so much that soon you begin to wonder why others aren’t doing the same thing.  From here you begin to feel self-righteous because in your mind you are doing what everyone else should be doing.  That’s how subtle legalism is?  Discipline in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing, but if it becomes the standard by which you judge other people’s spirituality then you’re treading on thin ice, scripturally speaking, for we are not under law but grace:

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).  

But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:6).

But if you obey the Spirit, the Law of Moses has no control over you” (Galatians 5:18).

In this section of Scripture, Paul issued three appeals starting with verse 2:8, “Beware lest any man spoil (rob) you;” “Let no man judge you” (2:16); and “Let no man beguile you” (2:18).  We’ll be looking at Paul’s second appeal today in verse 2:16.

If you’ve trusted in the shed blood of Christ for forgiveness of all your sin, then you have a standing before God.  Paul said you are now in Christ and He has pronounced you “complete in him” (2:10).  There is no such thing as being almost saved or almost an adopted child of God.  My friends you are either in Christ or you’re outside of Christ.  If you’re unsaved (outside of Christ), God sees you just as you are and He knows everything there is to know about you.  That’s not my opinion or church-speak it’s taken right from Scripture:  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:12-13).

Once again, you might choose not to know God, but God knows everything about you. You’ll have to stand before Him one day future in judgment to answer for your unbelief, unless you choose to be saved by faith (alone) in Christ’s finished work of the cross.  He died a horrible death to pay the penalty for all your sins and put them away, to such a degree that they’ll never be used against you again.  If you trust in Him as your Savior, God said you are accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6), and God sees you in Christ; you have a standing before God in Christ, therefore you are “complete in him.”  That’s why Paul said, “Beware lest any man rob you” or carry you away from the truth of the gospel by false teaching.    

Paul expounds on this instruction in verses 2:11-13 to show the Colossians they were crucified with Christ and were buried with Him in baptism, and raised with Him unto newness of life (Romans 6; Galatians 2:20).  This naturally leads us to verses 14 thru 17:  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.  Let no man therefore judge you in meat (food), or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body (substance) is of Christ.”

Paul makes it clear that when Christ died on the cross He abolished for us all the demands of the Law and this includes anything someone might demand of us, that is, certain things we must do to be saved or retain our salvation.  These things contradict what God has clearly said re: your acceptance in the Beloved and your present standing for you are complete in Christ.  Christ has “blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” or those things He said must be done to be accepted by Him.  The first example of this teaching is found in Cain and Abel’s sacrifices.  The LORD God had told Cain and Abel to bring a blood sacrifice before Him.  We read the LORD accepted Abel’s sacrifice and him because he did as he was instructed.  His brother Cain’s response to this command was to devise a plan all his own.  He offered the LORD fruit, the work of his own hands, as a sacrifice which demonstrated he was destitute of faith in what the LORD clearly said, so both he and his sacrifice were deemed unacceptable (Genesis 4:1-7).

I mention Cain’s lack of faith because throughout the scriptures you’ll find it was the obedience of faith in what God had said that determined whether or not a person was considered righteous (See Genesis 15:6; Psalm 106:31; Romans 4:2-4; Galatians 3:6).  But then came our apostle Paul saying I have the greatest message of all, that is, the preaching of the cross; that Christ died to pay the penalty for all our sin that we might be saved by grace through faith and not of works of any kind (Ephesians 2:8-9). 

In Romans 4:3-5 Paul said, “For what saith the scripture?  Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.  Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith (his believing) is counted for righteousness.”
That’s why Paul said in Colossians 2:14 the Lord Jesus Christ “blotted out the handwriting of ordinances which was against us…  All these laws and commands could only condemn us.  Even if we could do them we would never be sure we had done enough and there’s the question of whether or not we performed them in the right spirit, that is, the right frame of mind.  In short, the Law revealed our sin:  Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:19-20).    

So, Paul said that list of things to do and not to do known as the Law or those things “that were against us” Christ “took out of our way, nailing it to His cross.”  But here’s the thing, when was this truth revealed?  You don’t find the message of Christ’s all sufficient work of the cross in the O.T., the four gospels, or in Acts chapters 1-8.  It wasn’t until Saul/Paul “the chief (first) of sinners was saved by God’s grace alone (Acts 9).  It wasn’t known until Paul proclaimed the message of the mystery to both Jew and Gentile:  But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” (Romans 3:21-22).

It is not known until Paul said, “sin shall not have dominion over you for you’re not under law but under grace.  So, the Law of sin and death was done away with by the cross of Christ, but this message wasn’t revealed immediately thereafter.  The message of salvation by God’s grace through faith was not made known until the risen and glorified Lord raised up Saul of Tarsus as the apostle to the gentile nations (Acts 9).  In Ephesians 3:1-6, according to Paul, the revelation of this present dispensation, or program, was something God first made known and committed unto him:

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:” (See 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

This present dispensation is something which was a “mystery” before Paul.  God kept it secret unto Himself in ages and generations past.  It wasn’t known about before or even anticipated until God raised up the apostle Paul and revealed to him the mystery of  God’s grace through the Christ’s finished work of the cross.  Therefore, the dispensation of God’s amazing grace began with a revelation the Lord made known to our apostle Paul:  Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:” (Romans 16-25-26; Acts 20:24).

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners;  of whom I am chief (first).  Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” (1 Timothy 1:15-16).

Verses 2:16-17.

Let no man therefore judge you in meat (food), or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days; which are a shadow of things to come; but the body (substance) is of Christ.

If someone says you have to do this or that to please God, remember who you are in Christ (2:10).  Whomsoever the Son sets free he or she is free indeed.  In the Grace Age we are to live for Him out of sheer gratitude for all the things He has done for us (Romans 12:1-2).  Therefore, don’t let anyone rob you; don’t let anyone judge you.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to be water baptized, you must attend church on certain calendar days, or perform some sort of self-sacrifice such as those that are done during the Lenten period; all these things are shadows of things to come (2:17).  Paul said, “but the body (substance) is of Christ.”  All the do’s and don’ts contained within the Mosaic Law were a shadow of things to come in that they foreshadowed or foretold of coming spiritual blessings in Christ.  But the substance of these blessings or divine benefits themselves come, not after the Law, but from Christ.  The Colossians, therefore, should not permit anyone to judge them, or enslave them to legalistic regulations and rituals.    

(To be continued)

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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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Friday, March 20, 2020

Colossians 2:13-15 (L 14)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
WWW. 2Tim215.Net

Established November 2008                                            Published: March 20, 2020

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
***********************************************************************************************

Welcome to HBS.

Let’s review:

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”  (Colossians 2:8-12)

In verse 2:8 Paul presented Christ Jesus, His teachings, His commands and His humanity as The Standard by which all things will be judged in righteousness.  This will take place in the future for the Body of Christ first at the Bema Seat Judgment and then the ungodly at the Great White Thone Judgment:

In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Romans 2:16).

For we (true Believers) must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;” (2 Timothy 4:1).

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them (unbelievers).  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened,  which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books,  according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15).

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Please open your Bible at Colossians 2:13-15.

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” 

When Paul wrote this letter there were subtle yet dangerous false teachings threatening to subvert the spiritual unity of the Colossian church, i.e., drawing some of them away from the doctrines they had been taught.  In certain circles it’s known as “the Colossian heresy."  In verse 2:8 Paul said, “Beware” which is both a command and a warning.  He’s urging the Colossians to be ever vigilant because the heretical teachings were threatening to take root.  But here’s the notable thing, he didn’t prepare them for the “slippery slope” (dangers) that lie ahead by listing the false teachings.  Instead, he taught them who Christ Jesus is and who they are in relation to Him:

For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without (human) hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:” (2:9-10).

You see, they didn’t need to study the counterfeit teachings of these men, they simply needed to understand the truth because when truth is compared with false teaching the counterfeit is easily recognized.  However, many people are either unaware of the truth of God’s Word, dispensationaly speaking, or they choose to circumvent it.  I have a recent example I’ll share concerning the forgiveness of sin.  I received a message last week from a Christian friend saying they pray routinely for God to forgive them.  Please know this person is dutifully obeying the teachings they received from their church; I know because I attended the same church long ago.  In fact, we used to show up weekly, usually on Friday, to confess our sins to the parish priest and receive from him absolution, that is, forgiveness for you non-Catholics.  But is there any truth to this?  Not so much.  According to God’s Word, (in the dispensation of grace) all sin (past, present, and future) has been forgiven.  Let’s review a few Bible passages on the subject:

And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15)

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” (Ephesians 1:7).

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:" (Colossians 1:12-14).

Forgiveness for all our sin and the world’s for that matter was realized when Christ died on Calvary.  This good news wasn’t proclaimed until much later, but I’m getting ahead of this lesson in saying that.  The Bible clearly says that without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22).  Now some folks teach blanket salvation for all, which means you’re automatically saved.  There’s no need for you to do anything including altering your current lifestyle.  But that is another example of false teaching in this age.  Salvation is not automatically applied to one’s account.  The world’s sins have been forgiven, that’s true, but to appropriate God’s free gift of grace you must believe new and eternal life comes only by trusting Christ as your Savior, “For without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6): 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled (past tense) us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of
reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ,  reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19; Romans 5:8-11). 

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile (to restore harmony and/or peace) all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:20).

Thus, my Christian friend doesn’t need to continually ask God for forgiveness and neither do we.  The sins of the world were purged by the shed blood of Christ Jesus.  This doesn’t mean we no longer sin, as some teach, because we most certainly do.  However, it does mean we are no longer enslaved to sin:

For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.  What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.  But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:20-23).   
With all that information in mind I believe we’re ready for verse 2:13:

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him (Christ), having forgiven (past-tense) you all trespasses;”

Here we see again the message of forgiveness which our apostle Paul communicated to the Colossians and every “new creature” eternally positioned in Christ Jesus.  All” means all my friends.  There isn’t one sin left uncovered by the shed blood of Christ.  I remind the group verses 2:10-13 speak of the Believer’s present standing before God the Father.  He doesn’t see us as we once were, enemies, destitute of faith, i.e., outside of Christ, and spiritually “dead in our sins…,” He sees us as we now are and that is eternally positioned in Christ Jesus and clothed in His righteousness:

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” (1 Corinthians 1:30).

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” (Romans 3:21-22, 4:11, 5:1-11, 17, 19; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9).

Verse 2:14.

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

If something is blocking your path, logic dictates it has to be removed in order for you to proceed.  What was against us?  Paul said it was “the handwriting of ordinances.  Both the Law and sin itself was against us.  The perfect Law of God wasn’t added because it could be kept in its entirety.  Scripture says the Law was added because of mankind’s  transgressions (Galatians 3:19).  The Law revealed God’s righteousness to mankind, and our inability to keep it because sin ruled over us.  So God sent His Son to do what mankind could not.  The Bible says Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to all them that believe (Romans 10:4).

That thought brings me back to my wayward Christian friend.  Over the years I earnestly tried to show them what God has said re: forgiveness, among other things, but they couldn’t or wouldn’t come to terms with it.  They couldn’t shake the notion they had to do something to maintain or retain their salvation.  This is true for many people.  They’ll tell you they believe Christ’s shed blood paid the penalty for their sin, but then say, “Now that I have a clean slate I need to keep it clean.”  Please take note of the usage of the word “I” in that statement; God is not found in it. 

That mindset reminds me of Chapter 11 bankruptcy because it works much the same way.  People experiencing financial hardship can file for bankruptcy which wipes their slate clean and provides them a fresh start or what I call a “do-over.”  In the game of golf I believe the term is a “mulligan.”  Now that they have a clean record, they operate on the notion they have to strive to keep it clean.  Their view on the shed blood of Christ is much the same.  They acknowledge their sins were wiped from their account once they believed on Christ Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, but here’s the thing, now that they have a clean record they feel the need to keep it clean by doing things for God.  So, I asked them at what point do you realize you’ve done enough good on your own to satisfy God.  Where do you find that number?  They didn’t know the answer and nobody does., but they keep on keeping on despite what the Scriptures, rightly divided, clearly say.

Verse 2:15:

And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

How were the principalities and powers spoiled?  The answer: by the resurrection of Christ.  Verses 2:12-14 helps us understand the operation of it.  Verse 2:15 clearly says Christ Jesus is the Victor, but when was He proclaimed victorious?  We find the answer in 2 Timothy 2:7-8:

Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.  Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to (what exactly?) my gospel:”

Christ was victorious over sin and death the moment He rose from the dead.  But His victory was not proclaimed until the risen and glorified Christ revealed the mystery to Paul (Ephesians 3:1-9).  He, as the apostle to the gentiles, proclaimed the necessity of the Cross of Christ and that it is wholly sufficient for one’s salvation in the Church Age not one thing needs to be added to it.  I mention this because if you’re denying Pauline doctrine then you’re denying the teachings of Christ Jesus and that’s an affront to God.   

That being said, I continue to encounter this mentality frequently what’s more I lived with it for years in my own home.  My ex-wife who believed more in leaving than cleaving had her mind set no matter what I showed her from God’s Word.  One day she looked at me and stubbornly said, That’s not the Jesus I know (or have been taught by my church), so I don’t want to hear any more and that goes for the phrase “rightly divided!” A few months after our divorce was finalized she told me one of the main reasons she filed for divorce is because I was an ultra-dispensationalist (this is a denominational church label applied to someone who rightly divides the Scriptures – 2 Timothy 2:15).  Said differently, I place too much emphasis on Paul.  I responded by directing her attention to Scripture:

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.  But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:37-38, 1 Corinthians 11:1).

Many religious people (my ex-wife included) take the Lord Jesus Christ as their pattern in life.  He’s their great example.  When difficulties arise, they ask themselves: “What would Jesus do?”  They also seek salvation by “walking in His steps.”  One of the popular verses they lean heavily on is the one that reads, “Deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me…” (Matthew 10:38, 16:24; Mark 8:34; and Luke 9:23) among others.  You’ll never hear me say the Lord’s moral and spiritual virtues aren’t worthy of our attention and emulation, but our apostle Paul wants us to know we cannot be saved by following Christ, or striving to live as He did (2 Corinthians 5:16).  His perfect holiness would only highlight our unrighteousness and serve to condemn us.  He came to save us, not by His life, but by His death:  Christ died for (all) our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3), and lost sinners are “reconciled to God by the death of His Son” (Romans 5:10). 

God has given us a pattern to follow in the Church Age for salvation and how to live a godly life.  Most of you know what I’m about to say before I get the words down on paper.  It is none other than the apostle Paul, “the chief of sinners” saved by God’s grace alone.  He was divinely inspired to write the following truth for our benefit:

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief (the first)” (1 Timothy 1:15).

In the next verse Paul tells us why God saved him: “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting” (verse 16).

Saul/Paul of Tarsus was a religious zealot or traditionalist, but even with all his earthly accomplishments he had nothing to commend himself to God (Philippians 3:3-8).  He dedicated himself to arresting, persecuting, torturing, and killing those Jews who believed Jesus was the promised Messiah.  To him they were akin to a virus that needed to be eradicated.  From a perspective of divine justice, he deserved death.  But God did not take his life; He saved him.  And in saving him God commissioned him to be “the apostle to the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13) to preach the “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:241 Corinthians 15:1-4) in which one is saved by faith alone apart from the Mosaic Law.  In addition to revealing this gospel by faith alone, God revealed several other doctrines to Paul He had kept hidden.  Paul called them secrets

Paul’s salvation and the revelations he received from the risen Lord were what Paul had reference to when he spoke of himself as “first.”  He was the “first of sinners” in the sense that God saved him to inaugurate a whole new program, in which he is the pattern for all them that follow.  As the “first,” Paul was God’s prototype.  To Paul, God revealed the “gospel of the grace of God” in which one is saved by simply believing that Christ died for one’s sins, was buried, and rose from the dead.  This gospel was entirely different from the “gospel of the kingdom” inaugurated by John the Baptist and Jesus (Matthew 3:1-24:179:35).  Consider the following: how was Peter saved?  Was it by believing Christ died for his sins, was buried, and rose from the dead?  Not so much.  Peter was saved by believing Jesus was the promised Messiah (Matthew 16:16-17; Acts 8:26-36).  Peter knew nothing of Jesus’ death and resurrection (Luke 18:31-34John 20:8-9) with respect to its eternal significance.  Martha was saved the same way (John 11:25-27).  

Compare that with how you are saved today?  Is it by believing Jesus is the Messiah the Son of God?  No.  People are saved today by believing Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 2:16, 16:25-27).  Who better to proclaim the grace of God to the then known world then Paul the one who first received it (Colossians 1:25-29).  Although people might only walk in accordance with the Light they’ve been given, once the Light of the gospel has been revealed to them to continue walking as before is, plainly said, an affront to God and His revealed will. 

Principalities and powers” are two names or titles given to spiritual forces, along with authorities and rulers, depending on how they are used in the context.  Here Paul’s saying Satan and his evil hordes were defeated by the Cross of Christ.  In Genesis 3:15 the LORD God said, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”  In other words, the day is coming, said the LORD to the devil, when you (not just your offspring) will be defeated and removed from the earth.  The offspring of the woman will bruise thy head (this speaks of a mortal wound) – Romans 16:20.  That decisive blow was struck by the Perfect offspring of the woman, Christ Jesus, when he died on the cross and rose again.  This is one of the reasons why God’s Son had to become a man; it was the offspring of the woman who would bring about Satan’s utter defeat.

Colossians 2:14-15 describe what God did for those who trust in His Son’s perfect sacrifice: 

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”  

The resurrection of Christ spoiled principalities and powers what’s more He shamed them openly when He rose victoriously from the dead on the third day, according to the Scriptures.   At that moment in time Satan was disarmed and defeated.  Disarmed of what?  Satan’s weapon of mass destruction was his accusation before God that mankind is guilty and deserves the death penalty.  When Christ rose victoriously that charge was nullified.  All those who trust in Christ’s shed blood for the forgiveness of sin are positioned eternally in Christ and have eternal life.  And Satan cannot separate them from the love of God, in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37-39).  He’ll try, but he can’t.

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written,  Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory?  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:54-58).

(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved






     











 




















Friday, March 13, 2020

Colossians 2:8-12 (L 13)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
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Established November 2008                                            Published: March 06, 2020

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
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Welcome to HBS.

In Colossian chapter 1 we read, “To the saints and  faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse:  Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we (what) heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;” (1:1-5).

In what way were the Colossian saints faithful?  Paul commended these Believers for holding fast to their faith in Christ Jesus, the love they had for all the saints, and the truth of the gospel.  God’s Word was maligned by Jewish legalists and an early form of Gnosticism.  This isn’t an oddity for similar problems were occurring elsewhere in the grace churches Paul had established.  One example that stands out is the divided Corinthian church.  They too suffered from false teaching, so Paul put the following question to them, “What value is the world’s wisdom when compared to the wisdom of God?”

For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.  For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.  Where is the wise?  where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world?  hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.  For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified,  unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;”
(1 Corinthians 1:17-23).

Paul defended the gospel of grace by reiterating  the preeminence of Christ in all relationships.  Said differently, in a chain that links God the Father to man Christ Jesus is every link in that chain.  For instance, He’s linked to the Father as One of the Persons of the Godhead, He’s linked to creation not only as the power that brought all things into existence and maintains its existence He is the purpose for its existence; Christ is also linked to mankind as their only hope for salvation from sin and death, and then He is linked to the saved as the Head of the body into which each Believer is placed by the Holy Spirit, and that body is the Church.  So, you see, Christ is the connection between every one of these realities.  So, Paul shows Christ Jesus has the credentials to not only be the Firstborn of every creature He’s the preeminent Person at every point of contact.
 (See Colossians 1:3 thru 2:7).

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Please open your Bible at Colossians 2:8-12.

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”

Verse 2:8.

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Here our apostle Paul outlined a new thought which he goes on to explain in some detail.  The phrase that stands out here, in my opinion, is his declaration at the end of it, “and not after Christ.”  Our apostle Paul presents Christ Jesus as The Standard.  He means to say not just the Person of Christ, but his teachings, His commands, and His examples; this is The Standard by which all things are to be judged. 

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit” - the underlying objective of the false teachers in Colosse is control; the bible uses the word slavery.  Slavery to their doctrine and slavery to their religious authority.  However, all those in Christ Jesus have been set free from the yoke of slavery:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”(Galatians 5:1)   

The tactics these false teachers used were the teachings of concepts and ideas from a variety of sources other than The Standard Paul mentioned above, that is, Christ Jesus who will judge the world in righteousness.  Philosophy (or human concepts) is a deception based on the lofty notions about man-made rules concerning the way the world is supposed to work.  Not all philosophy, of course, but that particular thinking that explains the way the world works but without God and His beloved Son in it. 

One notable example of their worldly thinking is the concept of worshipping angels.  In 2:18b we have Paul’s response to that notion, “(These men are) intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed by his fleshly mind. These men claimed to have witnessed visions and had new revelations.  Because of this they believed angels should be worshipped and they, the false teachers, should provide some oversight (control) in the way this is done.  But Paul warned the Colossians about anyone who professed to have special knowledge saying, “Let no man beguile you of your reward…” or that which should be cherished by you, namely, all you have and all you are in Christ.      

That’s a fair description of the mindset of those false teachers.  They weren’t educated men, per se, but they were putting forth new ideas based on man-made philosophies involving angels, and other things.  So, from this so-called new world-view the false teachers were inventing new rules for living, which had the tendency to “spoil” (rob) the Colossians of their heavenly reward along with their liberty in Christ.  This teaching re: our freedom (liberty) in Christ Jesus is one of the great teachings in this letter.  If you know Colossians, if you truly understand it, no one will ever enslave you intellectually, or religiously.  They might try, but it won’t work because you are grounded in God’s Word, i.e., the truth; and the Truth will set you free (John 8:36). 

Verse 2:9-10.

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Here Paul gives the Colossians four reasons why they should not ascribe to any other teachings than that of Christ Jesus, dispensationaly speaking (1 Corinthians 14:37-38):

Christ Jesus is divine (2:9).  If anyone asks where in the Bible does it say Jesus is the Son of God, or divine, show them this scripture passage, “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily…”   You can’t make this verse say something else.  Therefore, the teaching of Christ is the teaching of God.  Why?  Jesus is God in human form: “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the father…” (John 14:9).  To follow the teachings of Christ Jesus is to follow God’s teachings (1 Corinthians 11:1), and it shouldn’t be replaced by the false doctrine of these men no matter how persuasive and spiritual they might appear.
 
They are complete in Christ (2:10a).  Because the Believer has access to Christ Jesus they have access to all divinity offers.  What does it offer?  Every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies, eternal life, salvation, revelation, wisdom, and on and on.  These saints have no need of additional teachings and/or new revelations they have all they need in their spiritual relationship with Christ.  At the risk of hurting some people’s feelings, this is why we don’t need Confucius, Buddha, Mohammed, etc.  None of them brings anything new to the table.  Here Paul, not I, means to include anyone else who claim they had a vision, special knowledge, that is, a new revelation they want to share.  The Word of God, a.k.a. the Bible is complete nothing is to be added to it or taken away from it (Deuteronomy 4:, 12:32; Revelation 22:18-19).  People around the world promote a multitude of false religions.  They say Mohammed has more than 2 billion followers, but what of it?  Even though false religions attract billions of people, this does not imply there is safety in numbers.  Jesus Christ said, and I’m paraphrasing, “the path to salvation isn’t broad it’s narrow; and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14; John 14:6). 

Jesus is the Head and ruler of all authority (2:10b).  Do you understand what Paul means to say?  He’s inferring the Emperor Nero, his nemesis, will one day answer to the Creator God.  And that standard applies to every authority figure that has ever lived or died on earth for “(He) is the head of all principality and power.  Said differently, Christ Jesus is the Lord of Lords and sovereign over all authority and rule.   Since this is true, there is no need for someone else to assume His divine position, which is exactly what the Judaizers were attempting to do.

Christ Jesus is the Savior.  Here Paul explains why the Colossians should follow only the teachings of Christ; He is their Savior.  The Judaizers and false teachers were boasting that circumcision and their adherence to strict laws re: feast days, dietary restrictions, etc. made them superior to their gentile counterparts who simply trusted in Christ’s finished work.  Thus, they were worthy to be obeyed and followed.  Paul shows the salvation the saints in Colosse have in Christ has far greater value than circumcision and the Law.  Circumcison is of God (See Genesis 17) that’s an undeniable fact.  It was the sign imposed by the LORD God on Abraham and his offspring.  But it was only a shadow of something far greater that was to come and that is Christ: “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24). 

Verses 2:11-12.

“(Christ) In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Physical circumcision, what we call minor surgery today, was the sign of the covenant between the LORD and Abraham and his offspring, that is, the Israelites (Genesis 17).  This religious rite distinguished God’s chosen people from the wicked gentile nations among whom they lived.  But here’s the thing, they soon began to boast about this distinction, believing it made them not only different, it made them better than the gentiles.  But it did not.  Physical Circumcison had no effect on their behavior, but circumcison of their hearts most certainly could (Deuteronomy 10:16).

We read in Romans 4:11 about Abraham and circumcision; it was merely a sign, “a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had. But his offspring began to boast in the rite itself, just as many churched Christians boast in water baptism today believing Acts 2:38 is addressed to them.  I attended one such a church many years ago because the woman I was dating attended that church.  That minister boasted about the number of people that were baptized (saved) at such and such event, as though water baptism did anything at all for anyone, other than making them wet and in some cases soaking wet.  However, Paul is not speaking about water baptism here; he’s talking about Spirit baptism.  Getting wet no matter what form it takes, and this includes being dunked in the River Jordan, does not save anyone and it does not place anyone into the Body of Christ.  I base this teaching on what the scriptures, rightly divided, say:  For by one Spirit (this word is capitalized so it’s referring to God the Spirit) are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).

Getting back to verse 2:11, Paul declared that in Christ we have what circumcision was intended to signify.  First, he said we have been circumcised with Christ, that is, the putting off of “the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.”  When Christ Jesus was cut-off at Calvary, “by wicked hands” (Acts 2:23; Psalm 2:1-3), “the body of our sins” was “put off” by the cutting off of Christ.  Said differently, the Believer has been “crucified with Christ:”

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is dead is freed from sin.”  (Romans 6:6-7)

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God,  who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20-21).
 
This in no way implies the Believer no longer sins – some folks teach this as truth; but it does mean in Christ we are perfect for this is how God, by grace, now sees us.  So, let no one “rob” you of this.  I mention this, again, because some people are constantly telling their audience they have to do this or that and one of those things is submit to water baptism.   They have gone so far as to teach the phrase “buried with him in baptism” (2:12) means baptism by immersion but again that’s not biblical.  They mean to say water baptism is a saving ordinance, but Paul makes it quite clear we are saved by God’s grace, through faith, without works of any kind:  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration,  and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus 3:5).

Every Baptist, and every church that believes in immersion would agree the moment I accept Christ as my personal Savior, I am crucified with Christ and I am raised to walk in newness of life.  I am given new life; “he that hath the Son of God hath life” (1 John 5:12).  Furthermore, God’s Word tells us we are complete in Christ, meaning everything that needed to be done for our salvation has been done by Christ.  Not one more thing needs to be added to that, including being totally immersed in water.  As for church membership rolls, that is, the need to undergo water baptism in order to become a member of a church group, that’s entirely up to you.  Please know God only requires one thing and that is that you trust in His Son’s shed blood for all your sin.  The moment you do that you become a saved member of His Church (Colossians 1:20).
 
Verse 12.

Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 

Or, in 1 Corinthians 12:13 our apostle Paul said, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles.” 

Here Paul broadens his explanation re: the preaching of the mystery to show how Christ Jesus, willingly died not only for us, but as us.  Plainly said, He identified Himself with mankind in yet another act, that is, the Cross, in order that He might become sin for us thereby setting us free from the penalty of sin and death (Romans 8:2; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:4; 1 John 3:5). 

That thought serves to take us back to a declaration I made concerning our standing before God as true Believers.  As Christ took our place and died in our stead on the Cross, we now stand before God the Father in Christ, not in ourselves, but in His beloved Son.  That’s a glorious treasure and one of the reasons why Paul said, “Let no man spoil (rob) you…” of appreciating and appropriating this great truth.  For God no longer sees each Believer as they were, a destitute sinner unable to save themselves, but as a new creature, perfect in Christ Jesus or the very same way He beholds His Son.  The Colossians were being told something else entirely (See 2:13-23). 

Take note of the fact that all is Christ He alone is preeminent regarding “all things.”
Nowhere in the Bible does it mention Baptist, Catholic, Luther, Methodist, Presbyterian, etcetera put your trust in these.  To you God asks the most important question of your life in saying, “What have you done with my Son?  Have you trusted in Him alone as your Savior?” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)  If that’s not the case, if you’re trying to approach God in any other way, then please know you are outside of God’s expressed will: 

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:” (Ephesians 2:6-9).

(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved