Completeness in Christ
Devotional Reading: Romans 8:31-39
Lesson Scripture: Colossians 2:6-15
Lesson Aims: To explain the lesson; recognize how the world presents false doctrines; accept Christ’s gift to humanity; and remain grounded in Him and no one else.
Background: Can you remember accepting Jesus as Lord in your life? There was, in one form or another, excitement, relief, hope and unspeakable joy. A need to feel like a full fledged member of the body compelled us to “do the right thing.” At first, we looked at the Bible and were immediately overwhelmed. Where do we start? How do we study? Who can we talk to? These were a few of the questions that popped up for me. There were/are individuals within the body who want to mentor you to spiritual maturity. Sometimes those mentors add to or subtract from the Word of God. Intentional or otherwise, we must depend on God for direction. Such was the case for the Colossians and the same is true for believers today.
The false doctrines that the early churches faced were explained in previous lessons this quarter. They come in many forms, shapes, and sizes. Paul’s aim here was to dispel them. According to Aristotle (384-322BC), there are three modes of persuasion – ethos, pathos and logos. “Ethos is based on the speaker’s character. The speaker’s reputation, wisdom and goodwill determine if they are convincing. This is like endorsements today. Pathos, on the other hand, depends on the speaker’s ability to get the listener in the right frame of mind. Pathos evokes empathy and/or sympathy. They make you feel! Logos involves proof provoked by the examples used” (The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary, vol. XI). Paul used these modes as he turned the gnostic’s words against them. Ethos was prominent in 1:24 – 2:5
Lesson: After identifying himself and his role in proclaiming Jesus, the apostle exhorts his readers/listeners to be faithful to the Gospel (2:6 – 3:4). He now employs the two other modes of persuasion. “Walking in the Lord” means to imitate Jesus. This is a process that takes time, study and application. Recognize that growth happens by the grace of God through faith! He cautioned them to be on guard for deception. According to David C. Cook’s Echoes Adult Teacher Commentary, false doctrines are based on either lies about human nature or lies about the nature of God.
Human traditions and worldly standards don’t measure up to God’s truths! Once a person accepts Christ, he or she has all they need to be complete. It is not about the individual anymore. They are authentic! The truths of God don’t bind; they liberate. Christ’s circumcision of the heart far outweighs physical circumcision. No longer bound by sin, the believer is empowered to live a life that pleases God! Rituals and asceticism are not required. Paul points out that forgiveness came through Jesus’ death on the cross. Needless to say, His death and resurrection made the believer complete; there is nothing else to do to be in the family.
Application: When we accept Christ, we are complete (whole)! Our physical nature has trouble wrapping its worldly mind around the simple Gospel. The longing in us should be to know Him better; not to search for some hidden message or strange practice. Recognizing spiritual maturity is a process based on study, prayer and a commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t get caught up in “who is the holiest.” None of us are! Concentrate on your relationship with Him as He molds you into His will. False doctrines live today; don’t be fooled and get distracted! You are complete when you accept Jesus. AMEN!