Summary: Jesus Christ is the basis of all our hope for knowing God’s will and worthy walking.
This morning we’re taking a short break away from John, and we’ll go over to the book of Colossians to read what Paul wrote to that little church about the glory of Christ. There’s so much we can say about him, but the main idea I hope to get across to you is that he is, first of all, sufficient for everything we need from creation to justification to sanctification and glorification and all the things in between, and, second, he is worthy of any worship and every accolade we can give him. To do this we’ll start in the first chapter of Colossians and the ninth verse:
[We] do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
The first part of his prayer is that these people will be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and that they’ll have spiritual understanding. God’s ways and thoughts are as distant from ours as the heavens are from the earth (Is. 55:9), so it’s going to take a miracle for this to happen, but that’s just the point. Pay close attention and see that the following verses glorify Christ as both the answerer and as the answer to the prayer. The Colossians aren’t supposed to find some hidden way or contemplate some deep spiritual truth; they have Christ and the mind of Christ: “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (I Cor. 2:16). Because of him this prayer is answered, and these people have knowledge, wisdom and understanding.
Now, there’s a purpose for this:
10That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work,
Not only are they supposed to understand God’s will, but they’re also supposed to be able to do it. This is a far cry different from their days when they considered themselves God’s enemies and when they perhaps suppressed the truth in unrighteousness. From other Scriptures we know that they now have a desire and the ability to walk in a way that pleases God (Phil. 2:13) which is “fruitful in every good work.” You can see how this isn’t far at all from where we are in John 15 where Jesus claims to be the vine, and it’s only in him that we bear fruit. So we see again that this prayer is about Christ and it depends on him for answering. Walking worthy and being fruitful is not about keeping a law or a moral code; as we’ll see beginning in verse thirteen, Christ is the source of all our fruit.
So, he wants them to be fruitful:
and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power,
There’s always more to know about God, and Paul wants them to learn it. Eternal life is knowing God (Jn. 17:3), and Peter says that growing in grace and knowledge is the cure for being led astray (II Pt. 3:18).
This knowledge is more than just having a few facts, and that’s demonstrated by what he says after: “strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power.” Now, the context of the passage is glory to Christ who answers this prayer, and it’s completed by his own strength. We don’t overcome sin and death and Satan by personal resolve or adherence to a moral code, but rather we are “strong in the Lord and in the power of his might” (Eph. 6:10).
This strength has a goal in mind:
unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 12Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
There’s a promise to all the saints that guarantees blessing and eternal life. We’re here in the earth waiting for it to finally happen, so we have need for strength to make us patient and able to endure the times. Now, we’ve received this strength, so we give thanks to God because he’s “made us meet.” We might also say that he’s made us fitting to receive the promise, and that’s good to understand because no swindler or drunkard or thief or sinner will inherit the kingdom, but in Christ we’re a new creation, so we’re “made meet to be partakers.”
Again, this is the reason we put so much emphasis on Christ. We believe that his request is impossible otherwise because we have no knowledge or wisdom or spiritual understanding except for Christ who is the answer to all these things. We cannot please God or walk in a way worthy of him because we’re broken and depraved and selfish and hostile; we’re so full of lust and envy and arrogance that there’s no hope of turning around and all we can do is bear the works of the flesh. In short, we are unworthy to receive the inheritance promised to the saints, but God has changed us in Christ!