Thursday, March 03, 2005

Colossians 1:16 Light

A day of contrasts.

Spent most of the day deciphering tales of the happy adventures of 甲方 and 乙方 gallavanting through several lands of 合同 and 协议, accompanied by their loyal friends, 购房人, 借款人 and 委托人 (who would at odd moments merge into one and the same person due to illogical drafting by the Chinese government). My life would be better employed reading OT Greek than the dodgy shannanigans of this lot.

Lunchtime bible study was a wonderful oasis in this hieroglyphic desert. One of the great joys of reading the bible with another person being allowed to observe that look of amazement and awe on their face when something hits home, echoes their experience and blazes suddenly and marvellously to illumine the way ahead in what was a previously dark, murky and unknown place.

DD had become interested in Christ because he'd thought what the bible said seemed quite reasonable. Many years on, today over garlic mash, we read in Paul's letter to the Colossians that Jesus created all things: "things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities" (Col 1:16a).

  • The reason Paul seemed to have written Colossians was to encourage them to stand firm in Jesus and Jesus alone, and not to move on to rituals or festivals or works. Jesus is all and Jesus is sufficient.
  • If Jesus created all things, we would be silly to move from the Creator to any one else. Only the Creator himself would best know how we are constructed to live and the purpose for which we are to live. Only the Creator can tell us what we are made to find satisfaction in and how we can find this happiness.
  • We were made for relationship with him (Col 1:16b) and so satisfaction and happiness can only be found in fulfilling our purpose and having relationship with him! Since we were all enemies of God, without any relationship with him, the only way to get into a relationship with him is of course through the death of Christ on the cross. That paid the penalty, to change us from God's enemies to his friends (not equal to God, just no longer his enemies and under his wrath) (Col 1).
  • If the Creator does indeed speak to us through the words recorded in Scripture, then of course it all makes sense! The 10 commandments, the imperatives in the NT, are all ways that we were constructed to live and relate to each other; an instruction manual written by the inventor himself. What would be a better guide?
DD had a face=light bulb, duh! moment. Of course the bible is reasonable! It has to be considering whom its author is! Great stuff. He put it this way: we are taught the bible faithfully and clearly, we know these truths (like Jesus = Creator, Jesus = God, Jesus = Saviour, Jesus = Sustainer etc) but to really see all these things together, to see what it all means in our lives (eg. that Jesus = Sustainer means that the world doesn't actually operate on its own. It's not a machine that God set up and now runs independently of him. On the contrary, Jesus is working every second to keep everything from disappearing into the nothingness from which it all came), man...mind-blowing... "How not to be single-minded about Christ?", he asked. No need to be forced or co-erced. No need for human pep talks and threats of on-judgment-day-God-will-ask-you-to-give-an-accounting-for-what-you've-done. The truth read plainly is more than compelling.

Was thankful and grateful to be permitted to share that with him. That was definitely worth at least a thousand romps of 甲方 and 乙方.

If only it were that easy...

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