Life-Study of Colossiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
We have pointed out a number of times that Paul’s ministry was a ministry of completing the word of God. In 1:25 he says, “I became a minister according to the stewardship of God, which was given to me for you, to complete the word of God.” If the Epistles of Paul were removed from the Bible, there would be a great gap. The word of God simply would not be complete. The divine revelation was completed through the ministry of Paul.
Of all the books written by Paul, the ultimate book, the consummate book, is Colossians. This book is filled with matters which are high and profound. We may compare it to a gold mine filled with riches to be dug out.
In the book of Colossians, Christ is revealed not only as the all-inclusive One, but also as the extensive One. He is universally extensive. This is indicated by the fact that in 2:16 and 17 He is presented as the body, the substance, of all the shadows. Christ is the reality of all the positive things in the universe. This makes Him extensive as well as all-inclusive.
According to the revelation in the book of Colossians, the extensive, all-inclusive Christ is everything to us. Although Christ is universally extensive, He should be our daily experience. We should experience Him in our daily living and in our daily walk. The extensive, all-inclusive Christ must become real, practical, and experiential to us day by day. On the one hand, in Colossians Paul presents the revelation of the extensive Christ. But on the other hand, he speaks of our experience of such a Christ in a detailed way.
Concerning the revelation of Christ, Paul uses terms such as “image of the invisible God,” “Firstborn of all creation,” “Firstborn from among the dead,” “the mystery of God.” But concerning our daily experience of Christ, Paul speaks of such common, ordinary matters as eating and drinking (2:16). Even in such matters we need to experience Christ. For example, you may experience Christ as you are enjoying a cup of tea or even a glass of water. If we ask ourselves whether or not we enjoy Christ in the small matters of our daily living, we shall realize that we are short of experience. If you do not enjoy Christ in your eating and drinking, and if you do not enjoy Christ as the real clothing while you are dressing yourself, you have been defrauded of your prize of the enjoyment of Christ. This is an extremely serious matter.
Colossians 2:16 says, “Let no one therefore judge you in eating and in drinking or in respect of a feast or of a new moon or of Sabbaths.” In writing these words Paul wisely refers to matters related to our daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly enjoyment. Eating and drinking are daily matters, keeping the Sabbath is a weekly matter, observing the new moon is a monthly matter, and enjoying certain feasts is a yearly matter. In referring to these matters, Paul indicates that whatever we enjoy daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly should be the enjoyment of Christ. Otherwise, we are being defrauded of Christ and carried away from Him. For example, when you eat your lunch, you need to realize that your physical food is a shadow of Christ as the real food. Christ is the body, the substance, of this shadow. We should know this not only doctrinally, but also experientially. When you are invited to go to a restaurant for a meal, you should not go there only to enjoy the shadow, but go to enjoy Christ.
According to 2:16-17, material things are a shadow of Christ. The “things to come” in verse 17 are the things concerning Christ as our enjoyment. Thus, Christ is the body, the substance, the reality, of all the shadows. As such, He must be the reality of our daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly enjoyment.
It is significant that after speaking of Christ as the body of the shadows, Paul goes on to say, “Let no one purposely defraud you of your prize” (v. 18). According to the context, the prize is the enjoyment of Christ as the body of the shadows. The enjoyment of Christ is truly a prize.
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