Why I Chose Colossians 1 For My Main Page

It has been a long time since I discussed this verse (passage) of Scripture so I just wanted to add a short post for the benefit of a few readers that I believe can use it most.

 

(Col 1:15) Who is the Image of the invisible God, Firstborn of every creature,

(Col 1:16) for in Him is all created, that in the heavens and that on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones, or lordships, or sovereignties, or authorities, all is created through Him and for Him,

(Col 1:17) and He is before all, and all has its cohesion in Him.”

(Col 1:18) And He is the Head of the body, the ecclesia, Who is Sovereign, Firstborn from among the dead, that in all He may be becoming first,

(Col 1:19) for in Him the entire complement delights to dwell,

(Col 1:20) and through Him to reconcile all to Him (making peace through the blood of His cross), through Him, whether those on the earth or those in the heavens.”

(Col 1:21) And you, being once estranged and enemies in comprehension, by wicked acts, yet now He reconciles”     Concordant Literal Version (CLV)

and compare a traditional version such as the ESV:

(Col 1:15) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

(Col 1:16) For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

(Col 1:17) And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

(Col 1:18) And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

(Col 1:19) For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,

(Col 1:20) and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

(Col 1:21) And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,

 

In Christ, verse 19, the fullness of God dwells, or the entire complement of God, all of God.  And, through Jesus, God reconciles to Himself ALL things, everywhere.  And as He does this, peace is made through the blood of the cross, peace between God and His creation (ALL THINGS).  For too many years I had blinders on and did not receive the truth that Paul was proclaiming here in these verses.  But, now the blinders are off and I see the glorious truth being proclaimed.  God will never settle for saving some, or in Paul’s words here, God will never settle for reconciling some to Himself.  No, this would never do for an almighty, loving God who said that He created everything at it was good.  Even in creations’ corruption, God still sees the good and has been executing His plan for reconciling back ALL things to Himself.  The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus has, is, and will save all mankind, AND all the rest of creation as well that needs to be saved and redeemed.  Why?  Because, it is God’s will that this happens.  How are we to be sure that Paul meant ALL THINGS?  In verse 20 Paul says that ALL will be reconciled to God, whether on earth or in heaven!

To me, and I hope to you, this passage brings an immeasurable hope fro the future of you and your loved ones.  If your Gospel lacks this inclusiveness, if it lacks even one person being ultimately reconciled to God, then the “good news” you have been proclaimed, or that you proclaim to others is not THE GOOD NEWS.  It is, in fact, terrible news, because it means that you cannot trust a word of the Bible, a word that proceeds from the mouth of God, so to speak.  Think deeply about these things and allow yourself to be transformed by the renewing of your mind with the truth of Colossians 1:15-21!

Blessings to you and love in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Craig

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A Quick Comment About Commenting

Anyone wishing to have their comments approved by me on this blog must interact directly with a post I have posted.  All comments that merely have links to other posts, are not directly interacting with words I have written, or merely want to espouse their own views without dialog concerning a post of mine, will not be approved but deleted.  This doesn’t happen very often, but it is prompted by a recent comment that I deleted.  I am not an advertising agency where other people can promote their views without meaningful interaction with my writings.

Thank you for your prayerful support!

Craig

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“New creation” Christians should never ask what Jesus would do!

No new thoughts here today from myself, but stunning truth from Martin Zender, who I am seeming to relate to more and more.  Here are some comments from him that totally resonated with me and make sense out of the Scriptures.  Martin talked about a passage from Paul’s writings, 2 Cor 5:14-17.

 

14 For the love of Christ is constraining us, judging this, that, if One died for the sake of all, consequently *all died.
15 And He died for the sake of all that *those who are living should by no means still be living to themselves, but to the One dying and being roused for their sakes.
16 So that we’, from *now on, are acquainted with not one according to flesh. Yet even if we have known Christ according to flesh, but nevertheless now we know Him so not longer.
17 So that, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: the primitive passed by. Lo! there has become new!

We are no longer living for ourselves.  We have been made completely new and compare more to Jesus’ resurrected state than we do to the world’s state, flesh, what we used to be.  Verse 17 says the old has passed away (the primitive).  What is the old?  The old is the world’s system, the Israelite system, everything Old Testament and everything pertaining to Jesus’ instructions to the Jews that He came predominantly to instruct.  Think about it.  We are so self-absorbed.  And no, I am not talking mainly about the unsaved in this life. I am mainly talking about those who should know better, believers in Christ.  We Christians are so self-absorbed that all we seem to think about is how much we sin, how badly we sin, how much more we need to be like Christ in our actions, how much better we are than other believers, how much less we are than other believers, and on and on, gag me!  The more we talk about, as Martin puts it, “surrendering the self”, the more we find ourselves having to dig out our old creation from the grave it was buried in with Christ and propping it up, and then abusing the old man (who is dead) and trying to make that corpse understand how bad it is, how much it is not following Christ, etc.  News flash!:  the old man is dead and CANNOT do anything  for he is dead.  He doesn’t hear nor understand your constant instructions to do better!

If we are no longer supposed to live to ourselves, and we are not, vs. 15,  we are also not to know Christ any longer according to the flesh.  Craig, what do you mean?  I mean, we live to Christ, not self.  We live to Christ not in the flesh but in the Spirit.  Analyzing self all the time, like we are told to do in the traditional church today, is against what Paul said we should be doing.The pre-occupation with flesh goes back to the age-old problem the church has had.  The church believes that unless people’s sins (flesh and fleshly living in particular) are kept ever before the average church members’ eyes, they will forget how awful they are and simply do whatever they want to do and begin to think the church irrelevant.  They will leave the church for other things.  Then the church will not have money to pay for pastors’ salaries and buildings and you name it.  So, pastors must always preach sin rather than grace.  In all the churches I have been a part of, sin was always more prevalent than grace.  So, instead of Romans 5 and 6 ruling the day (especially “where sin abounds, grace does much more abound!), it is Satan’s stain of sin, Adam’s downfall casting all of mankind into sin and eventually eternal conscious torment in hell (which I don’t believe is true!), and then all the guilt we should feel about the fact that we are filthy sinners deserving of hell and torment, rather than new creations in Christ, enjoying the abundant grace that surrounds us at every moment.

Think more about it.  We say we stand condemned before God because we are sinners, and when we are saved do we feel any less condemned based on what you hear in church every Sunday?  Hell no!  Paul says in Romans 8:34 that Jesus is our condemner, yet He died for us, and He was resurrected for us, and He is pleading our case to the Father, and so, are we still condemned?  Hell no!  We are no longer acquainted with Christ in His flesh but in His Spirit and in His resurrection and we stand no longer condemned.  We are free in Christ to love Him more abundantly than ever.  It no longer is the desire of the Christian to align himself with the shoulds (i.e. I should follow the 10 commandments, I should go to church more, I should give more, etc.) but aligned with wants (I want to love God more because I am no longer under condemnation, and I want to love His creation more, and I want to show my love to others in Christ, and I want…).  Let me sum it all up this way.  No matter how much I may sin (though my desire to sin diminishes and really should not even be a concern), God’s grace is covering over that in such a greater way that it obliterates the sin and focuses my desire more and more on His grace and love rather than wrath that I will not experience!  Christian, quit analyzing your every behavior, which is self-focused, and focus on God’s abundant grace that comes in measures that would blow your mind!

Sorry for rambling on, and I hope this makes some semblance of sense (it sure does in my mind!).  But, as always, my comment box is open and I would sure love to hear what you have to say, questions, comments, etc., especially the newer ones coming to my blog.  Grace and peace to you!

In Christ’s love,

Craig

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Part 2 – What do you say when…

OK, back to the issue at hand.  Remember Romans 5:20, “Yet law came in by the way, that the offense should be increasing.  Yet where sin increases, grace superexceeds.”  In other versions, you may have read this verse to say where sin abounds, grace does much more abound, or something to that effect.  Let me now ask a series of questions for those who have been raised in the church and still defend the modern church business as it is.

1.  What was the purpose of the law?  (A. To increase sin Romans 5:20)

2.  Can we merit grace from God?  If so, what must we do to merit God’s grace?  (A. No, no answer because we cannot merit grace from God, meaning we cannot earn God’s grace by anything we do)

3.  Since we cannot earn God’s grace,  can we do something against people or God that would nullify God giving His grace?  What would that be?  (A.  No, we cannot nullify God’s grace.  Why?  Because where sin increases, and Paul does not say sin against whom, God’s grace superexceeds that sin.)

4.  Why does the modern church and its leaders continuously teach that we can sin against people or God and miss out on God’s grace, as if Romans 5:20 does not exist?

I think you are getting the point.  Here is what I think about NOW, versus what I used to think, which is that even the horrible sinners like Hitler and Stalin and others in recent history will receive God’s grace at a point in God’s history.  I even believe that the chief of sinners will receive God’s grace and will even tell us stories of how bad he was (oh, wait, that story has already been told by Paul in 1 Tim 1:15) that we would understand more fully how deep and wide and high God’s love and grace are!  Even if Paul does not tell this story, we will ALL find out one day how abundant God’s love and grace really are!

You see, the modern church is still hung up on the law rather than grace.  It is still about works and not grace.  No matter what any of them say, they all still rely on works (if they believe in an eternal conscious torment in hell) to keep them from hell and position them in heaven.  If they truly believed that sin isn’t the issue, but grace is (I believe Paul is trying to explain that we should not be focused on sin, ours, your, mine, whatever!), they wouldn’t try to scare people into heaven by thoughts of “hell.”  After all, what is scary about grace?  Nothing!  So many Christian leaders in the modern church MUST keep people scared and threaten them with eternal torment or else they wouldn’t do the things the modern church needs done (paying for buildings, pastor salaries, trips around the world, etc.).  If every Christian was hung up on grace, meaning they were given over to God’s grace and living in it, then there would be true unity in the Body of Christ and no need for all the materialism of the modern church.  We could simply get together with our neighbors next door and around the block and have grace-filled fellowship with them!  Wow, how cool would that be?

Anyway, I will close this now and save a little for the next article, possibly even finishing out my thoughts on Paul’s teaching of God’s grace .  Until then, may God’s grace be your focus and may your sin fade into the past, to the back of your mind and thoughts.  Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Craig

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What Do You Say When…

What do you say when someone quotes Romans 5:21, “Yet law came in by the way, that the offense should be increasing.  Yet, where since increases, grace superexceeds.”?  Do you truly believe what Paul wrote there?  If you say you believe it, does the belief only exist in your mind, or does it actually come out in your life actions?

My first question when I read this text years ago was this:  If grace increases when we sin, why not go out and sin a lot so we could see the grace of God in huge measure?  Under it all, I knew from my being raised in the church for a number of years, that sin was bad and there has to be something to deny this text, something to refute it.  And then I read into Romans 6 and was relieved to find the refutation for this dilemma.  In Romans 6:1-2 Paul says, “What, then, shall we declare?  that we may be persisting in sin that grace should be increasing?  May it not be coming to that!”

Have you ever had anyone ask the question from Romans 6:1?  I haven’t.  If anyone would, they would certainly be swiftly brought through the rest of the text without thinking, to stomp out the thought that we should sin that grace increase.  We would (and I have with some!) immediately scare them with the thought of what the wages of sin are (death) and that death includes eternal torment in hell forever if you don’t accept Jesus as your personal Savior and give up sinning as much as you possibly can!

But, the fact of the matter is still, where there is much sin, there is much, much, much more grace than we could imagine from God!  If I would have ever told my parents that Iwas sinning so grace could superexceed or super abound over that sin, I would have been shown what more sin really brings (pain in the backside!).  The problem for Christians is this; Romans 6:1-2 does not negate the FACT of Romans 5:21.  Does Romans 6:1-2 actually say that where sin excels, grace does not exceed it abundantly?  NO!

Since I want to split my thoughts on this topic into several posts, I will leave it to you the reader:  How do you answer these texts?  Does Romans 6 cancel Romans 5?  For Christians, should we sin for grace to abound?  Why or why not?  Does Paul go on in the succeeding texts promote legalism or grace?  Let’s talk about this over the next few posts.  I look forward to your thoughts.  There is an understanding of this text that is both biblical and stunning and I will reveal my thoughts and beliefs on these texts soon.  My view will shock the average Christian, but, I caution you to take it very slow and think before you jump to using the H-word (heretic)!  Until next time, keep the comments flowing as we dialog to find the truth.

In Christ’s love,

Craig

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Most Christians Deny the Power of God

4 I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom, 2 preach the word, be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all patience and instruction. 3 For there will be a time when they will not put up with sound teaching, but in accordance with their own desires, they will accumulate for themselves teachers, ⌊because they have an insatiable curiosity⌋, 4 and they will turn away from the hearing of the truth, but will turn to myths.  (2 Tim 4:1-4, LEB)

I have preached this text a number of times over 15 years of pastoring churches and preaching sermons.  In the beginning it was more toward those who spoke of a call to the preaching ministry (being a pastor as they call it).  I exhorted those men to always be ready to preach, never turn down an opportunity.  I also taught those same men to preach the whole counsel of God (the whole Bible, not just pet doctrines or passages) and not only the easy passages.  In these “last days”, I taught, people won’t want to hear the truth and will only follow after those they agree with.  They will even try to get rid of you as a pastor if you don’t preach what the congregation wants to hear (boy, did I verify the truth of that statement in my own ministry!!!).  The people in church, you know, the Christians, will even begin following after the likes of Joel Osteen, and Joyce Meyers, the feel good preachers of health and wealth.  The only way to combat this was to keep preaching the truth and God will change their minds when He is ready.  But, we pastors should not “go easy” on them but keep telling the Christians the hard truths, like turn from your sin and false teaching or burn in hell forever.

Well, here is my truth statement:  Most Christians deny the power of God!

Listen to what Paul says in 2 Tim 3:1-5:

3 But know this, that in the last days difficult times will come, 2 for people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, slanderers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 hardhearted, irreconcilable, slanderous, without self-control, savage, with no interest for what is good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God, 5 maintaining a form of godliness, but denying its power.  (2 Tim 3:1-5, LEB)

As I have been misled and deceived by one church leader after another , this list of Paul’s truly showed me that this is an apt description of many Christians today, not just people outside the church.  As I have been thinking lately, something struck me hard, right between the eyes, as they say.  Most Christians deny the power of God.  How, you ask?  Most Christians are trying to maintain a form of godliness, following the laws laid down before them (the 10 commandments, the by-laws of the church they are members of, membership rules, any other legalistic do’s and don’t’s church leaders can come up with).  And, on the outside they look and feel like godly people.  They look good, smell good, but they still deny God’s power.  Again, how, you ask?

They deny God’s power by saying or believing that God is not able to save all mankind (all people who have ever lived, past, present, and future).  They say that God is loving yet most of mankind will be consigned to an “eternal hell!”  They say that God is omnipotent (all-powerful) yet He can’t stop people from going to an “eternal hell,” forever separated from God and His loving presence.  My God is capable of saving all mankind and in fact will save all mankind because His Word says so.  Take a look at 1 Tim 4:10 for yourself (10 For to this end we labor and suffer reproach, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of believers.)  This is one of many verses supporting my claim, that God will save all His creation, including all His people, you know, His image-bearers.  Your challenge today, is to comment and ask me to supply you with further evidence of my claim.  Should you  accept my challenge, you may come to an understanding that the reason my theology changed was due to overwhelming evidence contrary to what I had been taught for so many years.

Let me know your thoughts on this statement and the supporting verses!

God’s blessings to you and His peace to you as well!

Craig

 

 

 

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If Hell Is Eternal Separation From God, Then…

God cannot be omnipresent.  The modern church believes that God is everywhere and there is no place where God is not.  David supported this teaching when he said,

“(Psa 139:7) Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?

(Psa 139:8) If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!”

(NOTE:  The whole chapter is worthy of your time and meditation!)

Yet, the modern church also believes that eternal conscious torment in hell is away from God’s presence.  They say, as I did for many years, that hell is eternal separation from God.  How can this be?  This is an oxymoron.  The term oxymoron is an oxymoron (composed of two words meaning sharp and dull, implied that one thing is both sharp and dull at the same time).  So, my question to the modern church is this; how can God be omnipresent yet be eternally separate from hell?  Is there anything God created outside His presence and control?  If you wrestle with these things let me  assure you that God is not a liar, nor is there anything He created outside His presence nor is the modern concept of hell as eternal separation from God true.  It is false and that itself should give you hope, and the knowledge that God is not  a monster but a lover of His creation who only has the best in store for it (them).

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What Must One Know To Be Saved (Inherit the Kingdom)?

I have given this question so much thought through the last decade, and I have an answer that many/most Christians would not/never agree with.  But, it is biblical and it is fully supported by Jesus and I pity those who would say I am wrong.  This is my 100th post and I thought that I would make it a thought-provoking question post.

“What must one know to be saved?”

Think long before you answer.  Think deeply before you answer.  I challenge you to remind yourself of the fruit of the Spirit as Paul mentions in Galatians 5  (22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self control. Against such things there is no law).   I also want you to place yourself back in the days of Jesus and imagine that you have laced up your sandals, pulled tight your robe, and are following after Jesus on His journey around Galilee and Capernaum in the biblical narrative.  Around you are many types of people; nay-sayers, questioners, believers, young, old, children, babies. Then Jesus stops and gets asked a question about who is the greatest in the Kingdom.  Jesus calls a child over to himself and says:

Matthew 18:3 (LEB)
3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you turn around and become like young children, you will never enter into the kingdom of heaven!

Now, what is your answer to my question?  Are you summoning up a long list of do’s and don’t’s?  Are you putting together the Sunday School /seminary answer of “you must repent, you must believe, etc.?”  Well, let me give you my take and I believe Jesus’ take on salvation and being IN Him, In Christ.

What did that little child understand about Jesus?  What could he have possibly known about Jesus?  What would/did Jesus require of that child to be greatest in the Kingdom?  Did Jesus require them to have a highly evolved and highly complex theology about “The Christ” and the Father and the Spirit, along with a detailed set of beliefs, details that have eluded and excluded most of the human race from God and Jesus according to the church, both throughout the Middle Ages up to and including the modern era?

Or, did this child, and Jesus’ expectations for entry into the Kingdom focus on Jesus’ love and how He loved people?  I believe the answer ot the question is simply “love!”  Jesus expects us to love as a child loves.  That is really all a child could understand about Jesus, that He is love and loves unconditionally!  I believe it is as simple as that.  The more light we are given the more we can love God and others, but I do not believe anyone has to have a developed understanding of Jesus beyond “God is love, Jesus is Gd, Jesus is love” and live in that belief and share that belief with others through our actions in life.

Reader, I love you with the love of Christ and am trying to live more of that love everyday.  I fail but I am striving to be more like Christ in this simple way since I believe it is the most important thing we could ever pass on to one another and help each other with.  Be blessed in the warmth of His love today.  I pray I have given you hope and help straight from the mind of Christ today.  As always, feel free to share with me the edification Christ has given you and the love He has given you that I too, may be blessed by it.  Let me know what your heart speaks regarding this issue.  And let’s praise God together for it!

Amen and Amen!

Craig

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If Evil Were Eternal God Would Be An Inexcusable Monster

I have been reading a series by Martin Zender on Romans 5 that I have found very interesting.  In this series, I have picked up little nuggets of truth that I have not heard before and they blow my mind (I know, small explosion, but still!).  I read the most recent article and wanted to comment on something he said that struck me hard.

“If evil were eternal, then its entry into the universe via God’s hand – Isaiah 45:7 – would be inexcusable.”

[My insert for the benefit of the reader] (Isa 45:7) Forming light, and preparing darkness, Making peace, and preparing evil, I am Jehovah, doing all these things.’ YLT – Young’s Literal Translation

“But evil is not eternal, it’s temporary.  The eternality of evil is the worst teaching imaginable…Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:26 that, “the last enemy is being abolished, death.”…If death is the last enemy abolished, then every other enemy – every other evil – will have gone before.  This is pure logic.  God created evil to do its nasty but necessary work of revealing all things good.  When all things goodare finally and fully bloomed, God dismantles forever the scaffolding – evil – used to produce them. 1 Corinthians 15:26 proves it.  Christianity knows nothing of this joy. They love evil too much.  The prospect of evil being forever abolished makes them sad.  They want their enemies to be eternally tormented.  They want to watch.”

Zender goes on and gives an example saying, “God’s use of evil can be likened to a human using fire to purify gold.  When the gold is purified, the fire is abolished.”  In other words, the fire (hell, evil) has a purpose.  If it had no purpose other than for retribution, it would deny its being formed and the form-er, God, the creator of all things, would be nothing more than a monster, a maniac, a murderer, a being worse than any terrorist walking the earth today.

Thankfully, the Bible denies that God is anything but a loving Creator with a purpose that defies our own logic and reason.  Paul explains that we see through a dim glass, an opaque glass, that only yields, at best, shadows of great things to come.  What greater thing than the salvation of all people could there be that is yet to come?  Friend, do you still want to cling to your traditional, anemic view of God that has Him saving less people than Satan brings destruction upon?  Is Satan greater than Jesus?  Did Jesus ‘ coming into this world truly lead to the destruction of death through His own death on the cross?  Was this good news of great joy for all people really so-so news for some people?

No, and thankfully no my friend.  Jesus defeated death and now we have nothing left to fear.  All people are in Christ, or will be in Christ, and because of Jesus’ own words, about saving all mankind in John’s writings especially, we can truly celebrate His birth as GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY WHICH WILL BE FOR ALL THE PEOPLE!  Blessings to you all on the Christmas eve.  Let me know what you think about Zender’s comments.  I agree with him, maybe you don’t  If not let us dialog lovingly about it.  Until then, be at peace in the joy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Craig

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Watch “That You Might Have Life 253 Air Date 12 12 14″ on YouTube

That You Might Have Life 253 Air Date 12 12 14: http://youtu.be/87U7ag92LjU

This is the last video in the series on Unraveling the End, by Dr. John Noe.  I hope you have been enlightened as to  a plausible explanation of biblical teaching and an understanding of the end times as the original hearers would have believed. To me, it makes a lot of sense.   It answers a lot of questions in a way that does not seem to have to contort Scripture to fit a theology and seems to also fit and conform to other Scripture on the same subject.  Thanks for tuning in here and as always, your comments are always appreciated. Again, blessings to you!

Craig

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