Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Presenting Everyone Perfect

Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. (Colossians 1:28)

The first thing to note here is that “Him” is in the emphatic position. It emphasizes Jesus as the content of Paul’s preaching, in distinction from angels, principalities, powers and dominions. The Greek word for “preach” means to declare or proclaim. Paul proclaims Jesus above all else, for only in Him does all the fullness of God dwell, only through Him were all things created, only in Him do all things hold together, only by Him are all things in heaven and earth reconciled.

Paul’s preaching is all about Jesus the Messiah, and by it he constantly “warns” (admonishes or exhorts) and teaches every man. Exhortation calls for action or response, which in this case is repentance, turning to God through faith in Jesus the Messiah. Teaching has to do with instruction concerning the content of that faith, the truth about who Jesus is and what that means in God’s plan for the world.

Notice that Paul says “every man” three times (the Greek refers to every human being, whether male or female). He exhorts every person and teaches every person so that he might present every person perfect in Jesus. Gnostic teaching was not intended for everyone, only for those who attained a certain level of understanding. But Paul’s gospel, the truth about Jesus the Messiah, is for all.

Paul exhorts and teaches everyone “in all wisdom.” This is not the wisdom of the world, nor the wisdom of the Gnostics, whose secret teachings were limited only to some, but the wisdom of God.
Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:20-24)
The wisdom of God is available to everyone in Jesus the Messiah. “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Nothing is held back, for in Him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).

In Colossians 1:22, Paul spoke of how Jesus came to present us holy, blameless and above reproach in the eyes of the Father. In verse 28, Paul desires to present everyone perfect in Jesus, through faith in the gospel. The Greek verb for “present” in both verses is in the aorist tense, which speaks of completed action, as distinct from ongoing or progressive action. Jesus does not have to present us over and over again as holy and blameless before God. Once He has presented us, it is a done deal. Likewise, Paul does to seek to present everyone over and over in Jesus, but to present everyone in such a way that has enduring effect, and that is by faith.

The Greek word for “perfect” is teleios and refers to something that is mature and complete, fulfilling the purpose for which it was made. Here again, Paul counters error without even mentioning it by name, simply by teaching the truth. Teleios was another word used by the Gnostics, but only of those who attained complete understanding of their doctrine; it was a perfection only a few would attain. But Paul preaches the gospel to everyone, exhorting and teaching everyone about Jesus so that everyone might be found perfect and complete in Him.

The Focus of Our Faith
The Focus of Our Faith
Paul’s Letters to the Jesus Believers at Colosse
Bite-Size Studies Through Colossians
by Jeff Doles

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