7/28 Readings: The Fullness of Christ

7 Pentecost

Hos. 1:2-10 [Gen. 18:20-32]
Ps. 85 [Ps. 138]
Col. 2:6-15, (16-19)
Luke 11:1-13

Jesus teaches persistence in prayer.  He instructs his disciples to ask, search, and beat upon the door as if to wake up a drowsy God unwilling to be shaken from the rest of eternal peace.  Beg and plead and ask again and again.  Call your neighbors, your relatives, your church-friends, and ask them to join you.  The whole country is praying for you!  Is God sitting, waiting, evaluating?  Is this the divine mind:  “Unless I hear from South Dakota, I won’t give even a drop of my goodness?”  By no means!  “If you, then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13).  Persistent prayer keeps the human heart open to what God willingly gives: God’s very life and energy.

The Epistle to the Colossians is bold in asserting what God in Christ has already given.  In the gift of Jesus Christ, God has given the one in whom “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col. 2:9).   Remarkably, this mystery is transferred from Christ, the head of the Church, to the members of his body, and without the customary qualifications which show the members to be subordinate to Christ, the head.  While it is proper to say that we are sons or daughters of God by adoption and grace, by participation in sacramental mysteries, it is also right and good to assert the present reality of our life in Christ as a complete ascension into the life of God.  “Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).

Thus, the fullness of Christ is unreservedly given to disciples.  “You have come to fullness in him” (Col. 2:9).  “From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (Jn. 1:16).  In the present moment, and from moment to moment, we are receiving nothing less than God.  Commenting on Colossians 3:10, John Chrysostom remarks, “What then does it mean?  That ye have nothing less than He.  As it dwelt in him, so also in you” (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 13).  There is a lifetime of meditation in this comment.  As the fullness of God was in Christ, so it is in you.

All the mysteries of Christ are at work in the whole Christ, head and members.  Already, then, we have been buried with Christ in baptism and “also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:12).  Legitimate theological qualifications regarding the not-yet character of our transformation in Christ should not mute or dull this important emphasis.  We are in Christ.  “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).

The members of Christ hold fast to their head, “from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with growth that is from God” (Col. 2:19).

You find this hard to believe.  How can you be the home of God and yet be such a sinner?  “God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands.  “He set this aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Col. 2:14).  The dead body of Jesus is the cost of all your sins laid upon him who knew no sin.  Nailed there, your sins are forgiven, erased, and set aside.  We are bold to pray.  Are we bold to live the life of Christ?

Look It Up:  Col. 2:6

Think About It: Continue to live your life in him.


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