Monday, October 08, 2007

Fully Christian?

Three ways to know you're a Christian, as penned by Paul to the Colossians. They were being assaulted by the fullness teachers who said they needed more ritual, experience or knowledge. Paul the apostle of Christ responds:
1. Experience. (Colossians 1v3-5a)
Paul gives thanks for the faith and love of the Colossians which have sprung from the the hope that is stored up for them. There is evidence that they do have genuine Christian hope. Is there faith and love in evidence in my life? If so, I am a Christian!

2. History. (Colossians 1v5b-6)
Paul appeals to the Colossians that the gospel that they believed is this gospel that is bearing fruit globally. Likewise let us look through the history of the church and see that the gospel that we believed is this gospel that they have believed. We can find this gospel in the creeds and confessions of the church through the centuries. Is that the gospel I believed? If so, I am a Christian!

3. Bible. (Colossians 1v7-8)
The Colossians are encouraged to stick with the gospel they first believed. Not because every first experience of Christianity is correct but because in their case they believed the gospel from Epaphras who is a faithful minister of the gospel. Can I be so sure of the person who taught me the gospel? No. But I can ask if they like Epaphras believed the apostolic teaching of the gospel. In essence - is the gospel that I have believed the gospel I can find in the Bible? If so, I am a Christian!
Is there anything lacking for such a person? Only growth in the gospel (v9-14). Only depth. As David Prior says in his 1 Corinthians BST commentary: we never move on from the cross, only into a deeper understanding of it. We need growth and strengthening and this is what Paul prayed for the Colossians. To be deep rooted and built up is what's needed. Rooted in Christ. Built up in Christ! The Christ in whom our hope is found. The Christ believed by the church for millenia. The Christ revealed in the apostolic teaching.

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