Season After Pentecost, 2019 Year C : The Epistle Passage – Living so that you are far from the edges of sinfulness

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6 -7)

Yesterday we talked about living next to or living in sinfulness – not sinning ourselves, but in contact with those who do or are sinning. It can be a tightrope walk not to get pulled into it.

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Verses 8 – 12)

In other words, beloved reader, tread carefully and keep on the protective side of the Divine. Of course, all side of the Divine are protective. Lot lived in Sodom/Gomorrah but was not tempted or tainted by it. Hosea lived with a woman who had no concept of fidelity. Be aware that these were special instances. We, beloved reader, would probably not be called to such a way of live . . . . probably not.

Paul’s audience, however, might have come from such a background.

“And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Verse 13 – 14)

Keep in mind, however, to Paul most everyone was living in sin if they were living outside of knowing Jesus Christ and not believing in the Lord God. Even those who were confirmed Jews would have been considered living in sin if they had not added Jesus Christ to their list of beliefs.

“He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.” (Verses 15)

Now, the Revised Common Lectionary ends it officially cited passage at verse 15. I think that is because Paul’s further reflections do not pertain to living wisely and well in light of the revealed Lord God Jesus Christ. The laws which prefigured faith in Jesus Christ (one assumes Judaism is meant) were only a preparation for understanding/the way of living that was truly meant.

“Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or sabbaths. These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.” (Verses 16 -19)

And strictly speaking, holding these “superficial” tenets of faith does not impact or determine a strong faith life. But allowing these “shadowy” beliefs derail your faith could be, according to Paul, a type of sin. That is the nature of Paul; the expectation of strong and unwavering faith.

It reminds me, beloved reader, of cancer treatment – something I am very familiar with. Cancer treatment, or more precisely being “cured” of cancer means the margins are clean. That the cancer has been removed and only healthy tissue remains. My hope and prayer for you, beloved reader, is that sin is far removed from you and that you remove yourself far from sin! Selah!

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