Embracing Your Position “in Christ.” Colossians 2:8-15

Embracing Your Position “in Christ.” Colossians 2:8-15
“8) See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. 9) For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10) and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 11) and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12) having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13) When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14) having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15) When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.” Colossians‬ ‭2:8-15‬
I know this is a long paragraph, but the Bible student must stand back and look at it as a whole. It is filled with numerous transactions that happen for the believer either “in Christ” or “with Christ.” It can be illustrated by the hundreds of features on a smart phone or tablet. They are present, but only beneficial to those who learn to use them.
This context pivots on the claim in verse 9 that “… in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” Through ignorance or by default you and I can be looted by Satan and the world and be led into captivity; or we can step into the fulness of what it means to be “in Christ” and live victorious and transformed lives. If Jesus Christ is the God of Creation, His power and authority have no limit. Don’t minimize Him through ignorance.
This text postulates that because Jesus Christ is God the implications are unfathomable. We are absolutely complete in Christ, lacking nothing, heirs of His fulness and absolutely forgiven and set free from our sin and transgressions. Not only that, but on the cross Satan was totally defeated and rendered powerless against us. Read verses 13-15 over and over again until these truths permeate your soul. Paul states emphatically that Satan and his cohorts were disarmed through the public triumph of Christ on the cross.
So how does Satan have so much power and influence in the world and in the lives of so many people, Christians not excluded? The answer is: “through ignorance and by default.”
By not knowing the truth or standing in our position “in Christ”, we empower Satan’s influence in our lives. He rules our emotions and life circumstances because… we let him do it! We have failed to embrace the manifold blessings that are ours “in Christ.”
If this is true, every believer should launch into a study of the fulness of Jesus Christ and every benefit that accompanies salvation. We should embrace the ministry of the promised Holy Spirit and invite His full and complete work in our lives.
I challenge you to start with this paragraph and begin to compile a list of the benefits you have “in Christ” or “with Christ.” As your list grows so will your faith and your spiritual capacity. Don’t stay small through ignorance or default.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Stop Setting Yourself Up To Be Looted! Colossians 2:8

Stop Setting Yourself Up To Be Looted! Colossians 2:8
“8) See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” Colossians‬ ‭2:8‬
Paul now presents another graphic word picture that explains why it is so important to be “firmly rooted, built up in Him, and established in you faith… and overflowing with gratitude” from verse 7. I pray you never forget what you are about to learn.
Verse 8 starts out by saying; “See to it that no one takes you captive…” At first glance that seems trite and innocent, but it literally means “see to it that no one leads you away as loot!” This is a reference to ancient battles and wars. The victor army would “loot” the city of the defeated foe and lead the people and all their belongings away as loot.
They became slaves. They were captives won in the battle. Often they were stripped naked and humiliated. They no longer had a will of their own. They lost all freedom and personal autonomy. They were at the mercy of the victors. They could be sold, traded and human trafficked. It is a sad and tragic picture from human history, but it is still practiced today by groups like ISIS.
This is the tragic illustration behind Paul’s warning in verse 8. As Christians, it is our responsibility to make sure that Satan and the world does not defeat us and lead us away as loot. We need to protect our freedom and avoid being led into captivity. So how can we be defeated?
According to the verse, it is through philosophy, empty deception, the traditions of men and the fallen morals and accepted values of secular society. It happens by letting our flesh and soul be influenced and indoctrinated by the world, rather than according to Christ and biblical truth.
Many wonder why we have lost the 18-40 year old generation in the church? The answer is simple; “they have been looted by the world.” We have turned them over to be saturated with humanism by our secular education system. They consume hours of worldly entertainment every week that mocks Christianity and promotes every form of immorality as normal. Many Christian leaders secretly feed on pornography. Creationism has been bartered away by many seminaries and church denominations and replaced with various forms evolutionary thinking. More Christians seek secular psychologists or psychiatrists for treatment than quality biblical counseling. Western Christianity has been “looted” by Satan and the world for decades and we don’t even realize it.
So what is the solution? According to the context, every Christian needs to embark on a “journey to personal freedom” and become grounded “in Christ.” This starts with genuine salvation through faith in Christ. The next step embarks on a biblical truth encounter. It includes a thorough “putting off of the old self and putting on the new self.” (Colossians 3:5-11) According to the book of Colossians, every Christian is called to undergo a “total life makeover.” (Colossians 3:12-4:6)
This journey needs to be intentional and not casual. My daughter and son-in-law in Peru, South America have built their ministry around an in depth Encounter Weekend for every believer. It includes 14 sessions and helps people deal with deception, past abuse, demonic strongholds, sexual addictions and general life junk.
The results have been supernatural. People are being set free and the barriers and hinderances too spiritual growth that plague most Christians are being removed. As I read the books of Acts, Ephesians and Colossians, it appears that the early church had a process to lead people to freedom.
So what is the take away from this profound verse? Well, it starts with the question; “Are you setting yourself up to be looted by Satan and the world or are you intentionally being rooted and grounded “in Christ?” If you are being looted, admit it and take corrective measures immediately!
Jesus Christ has done everything to purchase and provide for our freedom, but every Christian needs to engage in the process. Stop being casual and haphazard with your spiritual life. Embrace, protect, value and enjoy your journey to personal freedom “in Christ.”
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Being Firmly Rooted and Built Up: Colossians 2:6-7

Being Firmly Rooted and Built Up: Colossians 2:6-7
“6) Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7) having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” Colossians‬ ‭2:6-7‬ ‭
Paul now admonishes the believers to walk in Christ just as they received Him. So what does that mean? Well, we are saved by grace through faith, so it must mean we should walk daily as Christians by grace through faith. We need to develop a daily walk of dependency on God.
This is where I saw a need to modify my personal definition of “grace.” Many define grace as “Gods unmerited favor or undeserved kindness.” That is true in evangelism and when sharing the gospel with a non-Christian, but it falls short of the definition of grace needed for daily living.
I look at daily grace as “Gods Divine enablement made available to help me do what in and of myself I could not or would not do.” Grace helps me live a life glorifying to God. It is the daily draw on the inner Helper. It is walking in the Spirit. It is relying on God.
But Paul does not end there. In verse 7 he gives three word pictures of what is needed to grow in the Christian life. First, we are to be “firmly rooted.” This means we intentionally drive our roots deep “in Christ.” Psalm 1:2-3 is a great example of being firmly planted by streams of water. The result is reliable and abundant fruit bearing.
Second, we are to be “built up.” This actually means “to be built upon a solid foundation or superstructure.” It points more to the foundation we build on than the actual building process, though both are implied. It is reminiscent of 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 where Paul talks about the foundation we are to build upon and the materials we use in the building process. Jesus ended His Sermon on the Mount with this same figure of speech.(See Matthew 7:24-27) Many people work hard at building, but they are building on a worthless life philosophy. As a result, they crumble when the storms come.
And finally, Paul mentions being “established in your faith.” The word “established” has the idea of “making firm or reliable so as to make secure or inspire confidence.” It is to “strengthen, make true and fulfill.” We could use the indium “tried and true” to understand what it means to be “established.” This happens over time.
Paul ends the verse by saying; “just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” The early church leaders evidently had a formal approach to disciple making. They gave instruction that most likely included life mentoring. They taught with the purpose of building people up in Christ so they would stand, become fruitful and build others up as well.
But wait, don’t underestimate the importance of the phrase “overflowing with gratitude.” You and I are responsible for our daily mindset and attitude in life. A negative attitude will work against you. It will stop the flow of the springs of life from your innermost being and block the overflow of the fruit of the Spirit through you.
If you want your life to change… you must work diligently and consciously at changing your attitudes. You will never mount up with wings of eagles and soar for the glory of God when weighted down with stinking attitudes. A change of attitude pays some of the biggest dividends in the Christian life. Great attitudes are twice as important as aptitude when predicting success in life. Strive to be attitude smart and not merely book smart.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Daily Routine Makeover: Colossians 2:4-5

Daily Routine Makeover: Colossians 2:4-5
“4) I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument. 5) For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.” Colossians‬ ‭2:4-5‬
Paul took strong measures to write those in Colossae to prevent someone from coming along and deceiving or beguiling them. There are people who make sport of undermining the faith of Christians. They want to “delude” them.
Many today are college professors or school teachers. They use persuasive arguments and often appeal to fleshly appetites. Their goal is to shipwreck the faith of Christians. The list of these stumbling blocks is to long to mention. They target Christians, especially young believers. Paul did not take these enemies of the cross lightly.
Though he was physically absent and a prisoner in Rome, he was “with them in spirit.” He prayed for them and wrote to them. He did everything possible to send messengers and communicate with them. His goal was to build them up in the faith. Paul poured himself into the task of strengthening believers. (See 2 Corinthians 11:28-29) He was the ultimate Disciple Maker. He took the Great Commission seriously.
Epaphras had brought good news to Paul about the faith and love of the believers in the Colossae church. (See Colossians 1:7) He noted that they had good “discipline” in their Christian lives. (Colossians 2:5)
The Greek word for “discipline” that Paul uses in verse 5 means “to arrange things in proper order in a regular routine.” Things like prayer, reading the Word and assembling with other believers for worship, instruction and fellowship was part of their routine. They built their lives around their faith and walk with God. Acts 2:42-47 most likely became a pattern in the early church.
I remember as a young believer hearing the phrase “godly disciplines.” It was not part of the usual Christian lingo. A godly and seasoned saint shared the concept with me. He challenged me to make daily devotions, Scripture memory and meditation, prayer, fasting, tithing, witnessing and corporate worship priorities in my Christian walk. He encouraged me to make them as crucial to my regular routine as eating, drinking and sleeping. This was revolutionary to my thinking.
At the same time he warned me against legalism. He said, “Jesus didn’t die on the cross to establish a new class of Pharisees. He died to set us free, but He wants to be the central part of our daily lives. He wants us to make a daily priority of seeking Him.”
It didn’t take me long to discover that the word “Disciple” comes from the same root word as “discipline.” The connection should not be missed. The Christian life takes personal discipline. Walking in the Spirit is not a purposeless ride on a daily emotional roller coaster that flitters around like a sparrow in flight. It is not haphazard! It should have order, priority and daily structure built into it.
Look at the end result of godly discipline in verse 5; it was “stability.” The false teachers and secular philosophers of the day didn’t rock the boat of their faith. Why? Because daily godly disciplines like those mentioned above drove the roots of their faith very deep and did it very fast. These early Christians had structure, substance and foundation under their faith.
Ok, so what’s the take away from these two verses? I believe God wants us to build godly disciplines into our daily lives. He wants us to prioritize our daily routine around seeking Him. You need to work out with Jesus what that means in your daily life and schedule, but if you fail to plan these disciplines into your daily life… you plan to fail!
This text indicates that the early Christians were intentional about seeking God daily. They ordered their daily lives around biblical priorities. God wants us to do the same! Maybe you need to invite the Holy Spirit to help you undergo a “Daily Routine Makeover.” Be flexible, your routine will change over time, but set things in order for this season of your life. Purposefully take control of your schedule for the glory of God!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

The Battle for Truth: Colossians 2:1-3

The Battle for Truth: Colossians 2:1-3
“1) For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, 2) that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3) in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians‬ ‭2:1-3‬
Paul wanted the believers in Colossae and Laodicea to know about his struggles in the gospel so that they might better value their salvation. I met a wounded veteran one time who had lost an arm and a leg serving our county in war. He was wearing a teeshirt that said, “Freedom is not free!” It got my full attention. He had made his point! Colossians 1:28-2:1 was Paul’s teeshirt.
In the same way, salvation is not cheap. It cost Jesus His life. Neither is the spread of the gospel free. Many have sacrificed much and even given their lives for the spread of the gospel. Learning these stories remind us that we have something invaluable “In Christ.” It is worth more than life itself.
Every Christian shares a common heritage in Christ. Reading what others have done for the sake of the gospel is an encouragement that knits us together in love. The Spirit of God creates a unity among us.
But it is more than just a shared heritage. We are part of a mystery “in Christ.” Verse 3 says, “In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 1:12-27 unpacked some of the mystery of the true identity of Jesus Christ, but growing in knowledge and relationship with Him literally opens the door to liberating truth in the spiritual realm.
Why is this important? From ancient times people have been trying to unlock secret knowledge in what can be called “the Mystery Religions.” These include all forms of pagan religions from ancient Babylon to Greek Mythology. The common thread in all of these religions has been the search for hidden or mystery knowledge and enlightenment.
This has led humanity down some dark and devastating paths of demonic deception. Many of these religions and sects revolve around sadistic practices including sexual perversions, people control and suppression, human sacrifice, various forms of the occult, serving evil spirits and outright Satan worship. (See Revelation 17-18)
This quest for secret knowledge and enlightenment dominated every pagan religion of Paul’s day. These religions filled a void but left people intoxicated with deception and hopelessly entangled in sinful bondage. They become enemies of Christ and the truth. New age religions of our day are little more than a resurgence of these ancient religious rites and practices.
Part of Paul’s motivation for writing the book of Colossians was to expose and counter these secular and spiritistic practices that were creeping into the Christian church. Paul wanted the Christians to know that Jesus Christ was sufficient and they were complete in Him. More of this will come into focus as the book of Colossians unfolds.
The main point of Paul’s message was that the gospel is complete! The Bible is true! We don’t need Jesus Christ plus secular psychology, humanistic philosophy or borrowed religious spiritism. These things distort the truth and pervert Christianity.
In the book of Colossians, Paul pressed the point that Christians are not only “complete in Christ”, but knowing Him in His fulness is far superior to anything the world or the kingdom of darkness has to offer. Every Christian must resolve the battle for truth and decide the foundation they will build their life on.
This battle for truth within the Christian church has never been greater than today! Much of what is being marketed as Christianity today is little more than repackaged humanism or pagan spiritism. It is void of biblical truth. Do not be deceived.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Embrace Your “Agon”: Colossians 2:1

Embrace Your “Agon”: Colossians 2:1
“1) For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face,”Colossians‬ ‭2:1‬
It would be a mistake and an oversight to try to understand this verse without connecting it to the final two verses in the previous chapter. In the context Paul was talking about the intense labor he embraced for the sake of spreading the gospel. It was an “agonizing process” despite that fact that the power of God was working through him. This underlines the fact that ministry is not easy.
He opens chapter two by describing the great “struggle” he had on behalf of the believers in Colossae and Laodicea. The Greek word “Agon” that Paul uses here describes the all out effort of competing in the Greek games of running, boxing or wrestling. It was a continual agonizing process for the athlete to compete at a peek level. It was far from easy.
Paul was saying that ministry and the Christian life takes the same kind of effort and resolve. They require commitment and focus. The Holy Spirit mightily worked through Paul, but he was constantly vigilant and on guard against his own flesh and the unseen enemy. Let’s look at a few of his challenges.
Chapter one started with him agonizing in prayer for the believers. Don’t expect prayer to be easy. He also struggled with daily trials as a prisoner in Rome. He had manifold restrictions and heart aches to contend with in his daily routine. He also fought against many false teachers and against the Jewish leaders who sought to destroy him. Beyond these, he also had a physical handicap or thorn in the flesh to contend with daily. (See 2 Corinthians 12:7-10) Life and ministry were not easy for Paul. He suffered much for the sake of Jesus Christ and the gospel.
Yet the tone of Colossians 1:28-2:1 is not that of complaining. Paul was merely laying out the facts. He exemplified the truth that the Christian life has hardships and is challenging, but is worth any trail or sacrifice. The love of Christ constrained him to go the extra mile for the faith and progress of others. He joyously carried his cross for Jesus and others.
The modern church is conditioned to think that trials and hardships in the Christian life are abnormal or possibly even some form of discipline. But the testimony of Paul and the early church was much to the contrary. They welcomed the daily struggle and agonizing as part of the cross every Christian is called to carry. What they found in Christ far out weighed what they gave up in the world. (See Philippians 3:1-16)
It must be noted that life for everyone in Rome was difficult. Non-Christians suffered and carried heavy hardships as well, but they had no hope, agape love or Christian support network. We must never forget that sin is a terrible taskmaster. The kingdom of darkness is often cruel and merciless. Many endured miserable lives.
But the early Christians understood there were also normal struggles associated with the Christian life. For them, “Agon” was part of the turf of life. Embrace your “Agon.” Don’t deny your struggles. Ask God for the grace to help carry your daily cross.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

An Intriguing Discussion: Colossians 1:28-29

An Intriguing Discussion: Colossians 1:28-29
“28) We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29) For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” Colossians‬ ‭1:28-29‬ ‭
This text begs another discussion. I woke up this morning with a question churning in my spirit. According to this text, Paul labored to “present every man complete in Christ”; does that mean that apart from Christ a person cannot reach their full potential or that they are somehow “incomplete?”
In one sense, it is not a fair question because I know plenty of Christians who are lazy and never apply themselves in the area of personal growth and development. On the other hand, I have met some extremely talented and gifted non-Christains. I am not comparing one person to another.
I am asking a far more provocative question. Does any given person applying full diligence have more potential as a Christian than a non-Christian? In other words; “How much difference does the indwelling Holy Spirit of God make in a persons life?” That is the main factor that separates a Christian from a non-Christian.
In the above two verses Paul mentioned “the power” that mightily worked within him. What difference did walking and working through the Spirit rather than the flesh make in Paul’s life? Did the Holy Spirit add to His potential and capacity or diminish it?
I maintain that God created people to be filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit and anything short of that is a tragic loss. This also applies to the Christian who grieves the Holy Spirit and choses to live through fleshly effort. They fall far short of their designed potential.
It is like a car engine designed to add a turbo charger or numerous other performance boosters but never has them installed. It does ok, but it falls far short of its designed potential. I know this illustration has limitations, but it expresses my intrigue with this discussion.
In fact, the more I study the Bible and ponder the full potential God created within mankind, the more intrigued I am by this discussion. Is it a valid discussion? Does this kind of conversation make a difference? Does God want us to stretch and explore more of what He has for us “in Christ?”
I am very moved by the way Paul prayed for Christians in Ephesians 1:15-23 and 3:14-21. He went so far in Ephesians 1:19 as to ask that they might know “the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe”; and in 3:19 to ask that they might be “filled up to the fulness of God.” Wow! That captures my imagination.
So how does this conversation apply to you and me? I cannot answer that for you, but I am seeking, asking and knocking more than any time in my life. I am stretching my thinking, expanding my understanding, studying and pursuing God more now than any time in my past. I yearn to explore the depths of what God has for me “in Christ.” I also have the awareness that I am merely scratching the surface. I am convinced that God has for us unfathomably more than we could ever imagine.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

The Final Exam: Colossians 1:28-29

The Final Exam: Colossians 1:28-29
“28) We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29) For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” Colossians‬ ‭1:28-29‬ ‭
Paul had one goal with people, he labored to present “every man complete in Christ.” The early church focused on making sure people were acceptable to God. The modern church has changed everything. We are preoccupied with making God acceptable to man. This is extremely problematic.
In the process, the modern church has taken God off the throne and put human reason and emotion on the throne. We have made people the judge of God… rather than God the judge of people.
Whenever that happens, the gospel is distorted and human religion replaces a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. The church becomes a social club and the Bible is scrutinized by mere human reason and set aside in favor of philosophical conjecture and worldly values. As a result, the modern church produces people who are religious but lost. We feed and promote agnosticism.
The same pressure was there in Paul’s day, but he refused to water down the gospel or yield to humanism. He kept Jesus Christ as the center of his message and labored to “present every man complete in Christ.”
These two verses changed the focus of my life and ministry. I switched from living to please self and others to sincerely seeking to please God. I switched from approaching the Bible rationally to reading it devotionally. I invited the Holy Spirit to use the Word of God to teach and transform me. I stepped down as the authority and yielded to the authority of Scripture.
That was a monumental change in my approach to God. My entire Bible College experience was rational and placed little emphasis on the Holy Spirit or life application. Without realizing it, a disconnect developed between my soul and Spirit.
Human reason sat on the throne of my life and the Holy Spirit was often marginalized and grieved which resulted in a religious veneer masking my carnality. It took a long time and conscious effort to fix this sinful disconnect in my life. I was the byproduct of the modern church.
I also switched my approach of ministering to people. Instead of having a fear of man, I developed a conscious fear of God. I was more concerned about what God thought about my preaching and teaching than what people thought about it.
My new goal was to reach people with the power of the gospel and force them to wrestle with God and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I also stopped counting “decisions for Christ” and started looking for “genuine conversions.” I wanted to see people encounter Jesus Christ and be transformed by His power. God used 1 Corinthians 2:1-16 to champion my metamorphosis.
The takeaway from these two verses is monumental. God will not one day stand before us to judge whether or not He is acceptable to our human reason and value system. Not at all! Rather, each of us will one stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ to determine whether or not we are acceptable to Him. (See 2 Corinthians 5:9-10) At that moment the burden of proof will be on you and me. The one question you must resolve before that day: “Are you complete in Christ?” Are you ready for the final exam!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

The Greatest Mystery: Colossians 1:26-27

The Greatest Mystery: Colossians 1:26-27
“26) that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 27) to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians‬ ‭1:26-27‬
Let’s start with a little background on how God revealed truth to mankind over time. The concept is called “Progressive Revelation.” This means that God revealed Himself and His will for mankind in an orderly and progressive fashion over time from Genesis to Revelation. The book of Genesis lays down many foundational truths, but many mysteries about God still remained. As the Old Testament unfolded, more details were colored into the picture.
A major revelation came with the New Testament. Many hidden mysteries from the foundation of the world were suddenly revealed. The coming of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross was a major revelation of formerly unknown truths. They were hinted at in the Old Testament, but Jesus removed the mystery. They suddenly became clear.
The rest of the New Testament fills in the full application of many doctrines. For example, the doctrines of grace, Justification by faith, the church age, the sealing and filling of the Holy Spirit and many more details about heaven and hell were addressed in greater clarity in the New Testament Epistles.
In Colossians 1:26-27 which we are looking at today, Paul brings up one of the greatest mysteries in the Bible, he simply calls it, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
This concept is mind bending to imagine, but at the moment of salvation, Jesus Christ actually takes up residence in the new Christian. Galatians 2:20 also alludes to this same fact. (See also John 14:23). Admittedly, there are many components to this mystery, but let’s stick to the basics in this post.
Most Bible scholars agree that this happens through the indwelling Holy Spirit. But the fact remains, if you are a born-again believer, God dwells within you through His Spirit. He has taken up permanent residence in your spirit.
But you say; “How can this be possible?” Great question! Paul calls it a mystery. I can’t explain it, but I can accept this biblical teaching by faith. This mystery is part of what Jesus was trying to explain to Nicodemus in John 3:1-21. Jesus called it being “born again” or “born of the Spirit.”
Now there is an important truth you need to understand; this event did not happen in the Old Testament. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit started at Pentecost and accompanies acceptance of Jesus Christ and the gospel. It is for all believers and not merely the nation of Israel.
I would argue that this mystery fundamentally changes people. The indwelling presence of God within a born-again Christian changes the very makeup of the person.
They have both a new identity and new life within. Instead of having mere biological life common to all people, they suddenly also have what the Bible calls “Zoe” life. The idea is “Spirit life.” They have “God within.” They still retain their personality and individuality, but there is a new source of love, peace, power, strength and illumination within. The presence of the Holy Spirit changes them over time.
This may be the greatest mystery in the New Testament. It is what separates mere religion from a born-again experience and what distinguishes a genuine believer from a non-Christian. This mystery of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” is the pivot point of the whole Bible and all of human history.
The end result is the potential for total freedom and a new life. Old thing pass away and new things come into the life of a born-again Christian. (See 2 Corinthians 5:17) This process is wonderful to experience personally and amazing to watch in other people. I pray it is happening in your life.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Be Willing To Do Your Part: Colossians 1:24-25

Be Willing To Do Your Part: Colossians 1:24-25
“24) Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. 25) Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,” Colossians‬ ‭1:24-25‬
Verse 23 closed by Paul stating that he was a minister of the gospel. Indeed, he spent his life both defining and defending the gospel message. (Philippians 1:7) For the pure message of the gospel he suffered much, including imprisonment in Rome.
In verses 24 and 25 he makes some shocking statements. First, he shared that he rejoiced in his suffering for the faith of others. Indeed, he paid a high price for the gospel, even to the point of eventually being beheaded in Rome. Paul counted it a joy to be considered worthy to suffer for Jesus Christ.
But second, he finished verse 24 by saying that he did his share for the body “in filling up that which was laking in Christ’s affliction.” Certainly he was not implying that Christ’s work on the cross was insufficient for the salvation of humanity. Not at all! So what was He saying?
I believe he was willing to pay the price to spread the message. The personal sacrifice and suffering endured by some to fulfill the Great Commission can be huge. Many have left family, home, country, wealth and comforts to bring the gospel to the regions beyond. Paul was on the top of that list.
In Philippians 3:7-11 Paul’s tells his story. He turned his back on everything the world had to offer because he found a surpassing value in knowing Christ Jesus as Lord. Verse 11 includes the statement of finding “the fellowship of His suffering.” I believe this is knocking at the door of what Paul was saying in Colossians 1:24. He was willing to put his life on the line and be totally spent to spread the gospel.
Finally, in verse 25 he talks about the stewardship that was entrusted to him on behalf of Jesus and His church. He understood that the faith of many hinged on his fully carrying out the preaching of the gospel.
I believe Acts 20:24 is a parallel verse to Colossians 1:25. In this verse Paul says; “24) But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.”
These two verses convict, challenge and inspire me. I recognize God has entrusted a significant stewardship on my life for the sake of the gospel. I sincerely desire to fulfill that calling while fulling enjoying my walk with Jesus. Both sides of the coin are important. Paul had such a deep relationship with Jesus that any service for Jesus was a joy. What he gained in knowing Jesus made all that he lost while serving Jesus seem like rubbish. That was his testimony back in Philippians 3.
So, what about you? What call does God have on your life? I encourage you to sincerely step up and answer that call. Be willing to do your part. Step into the gifts and service God has for you.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global