Summary: Which should take precidence - the mind or faith? Are the two mutually exclusive or can they get along together? Such are the questions out of Colossians 1: do you have the mind of man or the mind of Christ?

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In our world today there is a fight going on - which is more important, intellect, or faith? Especially amongst Christians these two ideas fight for preeminence. Some think the two are mutually exclusive - you either have blind faith or you have intellect - but not both. Others say that our minds are the most important - our faith must proceed from our understanding and if the two contradict then the mind must reign supreme.

This is especially born out of hundreds of years of rationalism in our western culture. If we cannot understand and explain something then it is simply not true.

Now I’m not going to argue for any of these points: in fact, I firmly believe that faith must precede understanding - that our goal should be to know Christ’s mind - not our own. And becoming more mature as a Christian doesn’t mean that we get smarter - it means that we think more like Jesus.

Now does that mean we throw away our minds? Certainly not - but we also don’t elevate the mind above our faith. Our faith must precede our ability to understand something completely - there are simply things we will not understand because God is too complicated for us - so he "dumbs it down" for us.

Isaiah 55:8-11

8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. 9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish,

so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Believing what God said should come before understanding the mind of God. After we believe, then we can understand.

1 Corinthians 2:13-14 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

So why say all of this? Because the book of Colossians is all about which is more important - the mind or faith. It involves an early form of a heresy known as Gnosticism.

8 heresies Paul addresses (see THE COLOSSIAN HERESYS)

2 of them are in chapter 1: That spirit is good, flesh is evil. 2: That Christ could not be both human and divine.

It is a form of proto-Gnosticism - that spirit is good, flesh is bad and that there is a special kind of knowledge available only to the initiates in order to know God.

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

2 To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints-

Paul had never actually been to Colossae - but it sure is nice when word of our faith and love gets passed on to others.

5 the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel 6 that has come to you.

Paul mentions faith, love, and hope - NOT knowledge. Our problem is that we put so much of a premium on our ability to understand and comprehend that when we don’t - we discount God instead of our intellect.

Faith and love spring from hope - not intellect. Notice how the hope has two components: "stored up in heaven" and "that you have already heard about in the word of truth."

Hope for Heaven - why bother becoming a follower of Jesus if this life is all there is? For the most part it’s a pretty sorry existence - surrounded by sin and temptation and the results of the fall. I certainly wouldn’t want to live forever in this kind of circumstance. But we have a huge hope that heaven awaits us where there will be no more sorrow or sin - only joy.

One of the points here is that there is more to heaven than we know about - Jesus talked more about hell than heaven - but trust me, it’s going to be great!

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