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Colossians 1

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

MONDAY, MAY 21

SCRIPTURE:  COLOSSIANS 1

Today we start another book.  This book that we call Colossians is a rich book, full of theology and application.  Each chapter is full of incredible truth that deserves to drilled down into.  In fact, it would be more than possible for us to spend several days in each chapter.  But our promise was one chapter a day.  And the promise will be kept even though that means we will have to gloss over some pretty important stuff and basically ignore some other important stuff.

Colossians is one of Paul’s prison epistles.  He wrote it while in a Roman prison.  He opens the letter like he does all of his other letters: identifying himself (and in this case Timothy); and, identifying his audience.  He then offers a very typical Pauline greeting: grace and peace.  Don’t miss the importance of the order of that greeting.  Grace must necessarily precede peace.  We will never know God’s peace until we have first experience God’s grace.

If you will skip down to verses 15 and following, you will find the basis of this chapter.  In this section, Paul talks about who Jesus is.  He is the image of the invisible God (the God not seen) as opposed to idols made by human hands which could obviously be seen. 

He is the firstborn of all creation.  The word firstborn does not refer to a physical birth or a creation event in which Jesus came into being.  He is not a created being.  He is eternal.  He has always existed.  The concept of firstborn is about position not creation.  In the eastern culture, the firstborn male in the family had all the rights of inheritance and power.  That is the sense in which Jesus is firstborn.

Jesus is creator.  Of everything.  And He holds everything together.  In verse 18, Jesus is the head of the church.  In verse 19, He is preeminent in all things and in Him is the fullness of God.  In other words, Jesus is fully God.  In verse 20, He is the reconciler who made peace with God possible by His death on the cross.

Now let’s change direction just a bit.  Because of who Jesus is and what He has done, we who were totally opposed to God (verse 21) have been reconciled to God.  Verse 13 says we have been rescued from the domain of darkness and moved into the Kingdom of the beloved Son.  We have been given a forever relationship with God. 

This relationship is the basis for a lot of important things.  Way back in verse 9, we read about being filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.  The only way we can know about God and His plan is through Jesus.  Verse 26 says the mystery of God’s plan is being revealed to those who are in personal relationship with God.

In verse 10, we find where our relationship with God through Jesus is the basis and foundation of living a different life: a worthy walk.  Trying to live like that apart from God is the basis for self-righteousness.  Living like that in relationship with God through Jesus is the basis of an incredibly fruitful life and a deepening understanding of who God is (verse 10).

See, I told you there is a lot of stuff in theses chapters. By the way, I didn’t even scratch the surface.  But maybe I gave you enough to encourage you to read a little more and dig a little deeper.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Ruth 3

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

THURSDAY, MAY 17

SCRIPTURE:  RUTH 3

As the chapter opens, we find Naomi arranging a marriage between Ruth and Boaz.  As unusual as that may sound to us, even as wrong as that may sound to us, it was the cultural norm at that point in history for marriages to be arranged.  This story, however, continues to work on another level.  You might recall that yesterday I mentioned that Boaz is a Christ figure.  We see a lot of similarity between him and Jesus.  Today we can also see a lot of important issues related to our relationship with Jesus through this story.

For example, as Ruth prepared to meet Boaz the first thing she did was wash herself.  Although that might not seem like much to us, bathing was not as common when this story was taking place.  In those days, bathing was usually reserved as a precursor to a special event.  Since Ruth is going to Boaz to offer herself as his bride, this is a pretty special event.

It is also important to think about this in our terms.  While it is true that Jesus accepts us just as we are, each of us still have some responsibility in “cleaning up our lives”.  Jesus accepts us just as we are but He never leaves us just as we are.  He provides a spiritual cleansing that reaches into the depths of our soul.  But we have a responsibility when it comes to a physical cleansing.  In other words, we often have to take the initiative to “clean up our act” a little bit or a whole lot.  We have to make some conscious decisions that will lead to lifestyle changes.  This is not necessary for salvation.  Jesus does all of that.  But it is necessary for our fellowship with God.  There are times, like Ruth, that we need to wash ourselves.

The next example is found in the notion that Ruth anointed herself.  This would have been a reference to using fragrant oils or perfumes that would make her pleasant to be near.  Throughout the Bible anointing oil is often a symbol of the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:20, 27).  When we are saved we are given or anointed with the Holy Spirit.  One of the things this anointing does is gives us the “fragrance or aroma of Christ” to the Father. (2 Corinthians 2:15) which is part of what makes us acceptable to God.

The third example is seen in the fact that Ruth changed clothes.  She put off the garments of the grieving widow or even the servant in the field and she put on her “wedding dress”.  This would not have been what we think of as a wedding dress but it would have been her best clothes.  As Warren Wiersbe said, “Part of the Christian life is the act of taking off our ‘grave clothes’ and putting on our ‘grace’ clothes.

The final example is Ruth submitted herself to Boaz.  This is seen in the fact that she put herself at Boaz’s feet as well as the fact that she did what Boaz said.  Our relationship with Jesus is wrapped up in our submission to Jesus.  If we try to be in charge of our lives and do what we want instead of God has said, our relationship with Jesus will not be good.  But if we submit to Him and obey His Words, our relationship with Jesus will be stronger and more personal.

Boaz accepted Ruth.  In verse 9, the spreading of the corner of his garment (“his wings” as some translations say) was symbolic of Boaz accepting Ruth and protecting her.  His giving her the barley to take home is symbolic of his providing for her.  His going to talk to the other man who could have also been her redeemer is symbolic of his position over her.  All of that, of course, points to the good work of Jesus in our lives.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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