For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christâ€™s blood on the cross.
21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Donâ€™t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as Godâ€™s servant to proclaim it. Â Â Â Colossians 1:19-23 (NLT, my emphasis)
Lectionary texts: Amos 8:1-12, Psalm 52, Colossians 1:15-28, Luke 10:38-42
The texts this week are some that are wonderful, scary texts. They remind me to stay the path because the alternative is a trip out to God’s woodshed! There are consequences to rebellious behavior.
There are many who may not want to read passage like Amos 8 and Psalm 52. God speaks bluntly and harshly that if I choose to do evil, then God will not â€œwinkâ€ and pat me on the head. Amos, like many of the prophets, had a difficult message to give to Israel who was worshiping gods other than Yahweh. They, at best, were trying to straddle the fence and claim their birthright as one of God’s children while appeasing their neighbors or the king and living a life contrary to God’s commands. That did not fly with God.
I believe the important point here is that in Amos and the psalm and even here in Colossians, when I know the truth and choose to disobey and go my own way, there will be consequences. In all these passages, the Word says that we have been given knowledge of what God wants from us, expects from us. Unlike when I first committed my life to God, I thought the Father was sitting up there on His throne just waiting for me to mess up and then He would smack me down! God is a good Father and He teaches me and shows me the Way through Jesus and His Word and Spirit. He is just.
Luke 10 passage is such a precious passage because I can just hear Jesus say, â€œJody, Jody. You are fretting about many, many things but your friend here has chosen the best and I am not going to stop her and tell her to make you feel better. She’s listening to me. You need to do the same!â€ Discipline is so much better when it comes with a time of teaching and listening instead of digging my heels in and not listening and I end up taking a trip to the woodshed.
It is so important that we read all of Scripture. All of it is good for teaching, correcting, rebuking and training (2 Timothy 3:16). But we must always read in context with the chapter, the book and whole of it, including our experience which helps us to understand who God truly is. When I read passages like today, I read about discipline but I read it within the context of God’s eternal and extravagant love.
Alabastar Box written by Janice Sjostran and sung by Cece Winans