EXCERPTS FROM THE MINISTRY
LIFE-STUDY OF COLOSSIANS
THE APOSTLE’S PRAYER
The subject of the book of Colossians is the all-inclusive Christ. In his introductory word (1:1-8) Paul indicates that Christ is our hope, reality, and grace. In his prayer and thanksgiving (1:9-14) he gives further indications that Christ is the all-inclusive One. Let us first consider Paul’s prayer (vv. 9-11) and then his thanksgiving (vv. 12-14).
I. THE APOSTLE’S PRAYER
FOR THE SAINTS TO BE FILLED
WITH THE FULL KNOWLEDGE OF GOD’S WILL
Verse 9 says, “Therefore we also, since the day we heard of it, do not cease praying and asking on your behalf, that you may be filled with the full knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” God’s will here refers to the will of His eternal purpose, of His economy concerning Christ (Eph. 1:5, 9, 11), not His will in minor things.
A. Concerning the All-inclusive Christ
as Our Portion
Years ago, when young saints asked about things such as marriage or employment, I referred them to this verse in Colossians. I told them that they should seek spiritual knowledge in order to know God’s will. But the will of God here is not focused on things such as marriage, jobs, or housing; it is concerned with the all-inclusive Christ as our portion. The will of God for us is that we know the all-inclusive Christ, experience Him, and live Him as our life. To know Christ in this way is to have the full knowledge of God’s will.
B. In All Spiritual Wisdom
To know and experience the all-inclusive Christ requires all spiritual wisdom and understanding. The words “all” and “spiritual” modify both wisdom and understanding. Spiritual wisdom and understanding are of the Spirit of God in our spirit in contrast to Gnostic philosophy, which is merely in the darkened human mind. Wisdom is in our spirit to perceive God’s eternal will; spiritual understanding is in our mind, renewed by the Spirit, to understand and interpret what we perceive in our spirit.
Wisdom is the intuition in our spirit, whereas understanding is the realization in our mind. Through the intuition in our spirit, we sense something concerning Christ. Along with this, we need our mind to interpret what we sense in our spirit in order to have understanding. Then we shall have the utterance to speak forth what we sense and understand. This requires the exercise of all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
The will of God is profound in relation to our knowing, experiencing, and living the all-inclusive Christ. In verse 9 Paul was not praying that the Colossians would know whom to marry, where to live, or what kind of job they should have. His heart was not occupied with such trivial things. In this verse God’s will refers to Christ. It was not God’s will for the Colossians to follow Judaistic observances, Gentile ordinances, or human philosophies. Furthermore, it was not God’s will for them to practice asceticism, to treat the body severely in order to bridle the indulgence of the flesh. God’s will for the Colossians was to know Christ, to experience Christ, to enjoy Christ, to live Christ, and to have Christ become their life and their person. God’s will for us today is exactly the same. It seems as if Paul was saying, “Colossians, you have been distracted, misled, and defrauded by Gnosticism, mysticism, asceticism, observances, and ordinances. You need to be filled with the full knowledge of God’s will. God’s will is that the all-inclusive Christ be your portion.”
If we know that God’s will is for us to be saturated with Christ, then we have the proper knowledge of God’s will. Whatever we do should be done in the will of God. We should marry in Christ, work in Christ, and move in Christ. Christ should be our life and our person. This is the will of God.
(Life-Study of Colossians, Chapter 3, Section 1)
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