Colossians 2:6

Verse of the Day Devotion: Colossians 2:6

“Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,” – Colossians 2:6  

Paul here is encouraging the church in Colossae to live life as it is intended as followers of Christ.  He specifically says, ‘as you received Christ Jesus the Lord walk in Him’.  Not as you received the doctrines of God, walk in them.  He is being very explicit here.

When we accepted Christ as our savior, we received the Spirit of Life in Christ.  This is His spirit residing in us.  We will have this Spirit in us if we are truly saved.  Paul says later in a letter, “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” Romans 8:9 If we are saved, we do not live in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in us.  If He does not dwell in us, then we are not truly Christians.

So, if we have received the Spirit of God in us, then we are saved, so we must walk in Him.  To walk in Him means in this context, to conduct ourselves in the way Christ did and desires us to live.  The Law does not save, but it shows us the character of God and thus how we should live.  In the same faith, love and holiness He did.  Now we will occasionally fail in this, but when we do, we confess it to God and turn back to the life we should live.

The proof of our salvation is the life we live as a result of it.  Do we live totally committed to God, or not?  Paul is telling us that Christ gave it all for us.  We should desire, because of the Spirit that lives in us, to do the same for Him.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

John 1:16

Verse of the Day Devotion John 1:16   

“For of His fulness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” – John 1:16 

John chapter one speaks of the promised Messiah coming into the world.  First, He is the Word who was from the beginning with God and in fact was God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1.  And he eventually came into this world as the promised Messiah. “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14. Therefore, this one who has come to us is God in the form of man. John the Baptist spoke of Him saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.” John 1:15. Now remember that John was born before Jesus was, therefore, his reference to Him having existed prior to himself must refer to ‘from the beginning’.

Then we see our focus verse. “For of His fulness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” John 1:16. What does this mean? There are many interpretations as to what this means.  But after much time looking into this, I want to present this viewpoint. But we must first go into the Old Testament for some background.  First, God created the heavens and the earth.  Then He created all the animals and plant life, and ultimately man in His own image. “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:26-27. But man, disobeyed God and was then removed from the Garden of Eden and not allowed to return. Note, He did not kill them, but promised a way of reconciliation. “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” Genesis 3:15.

Then God, as recorded in Genesis twenty, gave the Law to His people.  However, again they broke His Law. However, they were given the means of repentance by way of sacrifices.  There were two mandatory sacrifices regarding sin. The first was the sin offering. The purpose of the sin offering was to atone for sin and cleanse from defilement. And the other mandatory sacrifice was the trespass offering, and this sacrifice was exclusively a ram. The trespass offering was given as atonement for unintentional sins that required reimbursement to an offended party, and as a cleansing from defiling sins or physical maladies.

In all these instances, both regarding Adam and Eve and the Jewish people, God provided grace to His people. Adam and Eve were not killed, but they were removed from the garden. And with the sacrifices, He provided a means by which they could be forgiven. But only past sins, not future also.

And now back to our focus verse, “For of His fulness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” John 1:16. In verse fourteen we read, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14. We see here the Jesus, the Word who became flesh, was full of grace and truth. And it is through this truth that we understand God’s grace as exhibited by Jesus. Grace used to come via the works of the law and the sacrifices they made for sin, however, Jesus took on the work of salvation for us, and we do not need to do anything but believe and become Jesus’ follower.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.

The primary focus is on this grace, as is evident in what follows the parenthetical reference in verse 15 to the Baptist’s witness. The Son is not simply full of grace; he has a fullness from which he shares with others. The verse reads literally, “For from his fullness we all (have) received even grace upon grace.” In part the image may be of an unending supply of grace like the water he will offer the Samaritan woman. The grace within the law was a grace that came through works. However, Jesus brings a grace that is a gift from God, which is infinitely greater than the former grace. This is a grace that we accept from Him which, in essence, replaces or ‘covers’ the grace that was offered before. This grace was technically offered from before creation for He knew we would fall. And remember what God spoke to Adam and Eve. “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” Genesis 3:15. The Christ will address the enemy and defeat him, and because of this, He will provide the grace we need through His death.  This is grace upon grace we now have access to grace that goes beyond what we do, and through His death and resurrection, we can receive grace unimaginable; the grace which covers all sins, past and future, through His work which completes the overall work of grace.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

1 Peter 4:10

Verse of the Day Devotion:  1 Peter 4:10   

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” – 1 Peter 4:10

In this verse, Peter is telling Christians that God has given each of us at least one special gift for us to use in His service.  He does not list the types of gifts so we cannot tell if he is speaking of a specific gift or simply the gift of the Holy Spirit, which we know all Christians receive.  But whatever that gift is, it is given to us in order to serve the Church, meaning those who are Christians. 

And it is important though to remember we cannot control how God has distributed them out.  We can pray that God will give us certain gifts, but ultimately He is the one who decides how they will be disseminated.  And there are various spiritual gifts.  Paul said, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-5.  God chooses which gifts we will receive and what we will do in ministry.  What is important is that we all are given gifts for the purpose of serving God and the church.

And there are two different type of gifts.  The first, as seen in 1 Corinthians are the spiritual gifts.  These are stated as manifestations of the Spirit.  These being the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and the word of knowledge through the Spirit.  To some the working of miracles. To others the gift of faith, which is the special gift whereby the Spirit provides Christians with extraordinary confidence in God’s promises.  An example of this may be those in places of persecution in countries which are adamantly against the Christian faith. And to some prophesy and  distinguishing of spirits, to some speaking in tongues, and to some the interpretation of tongues.  And these are needed gifts, or God would not give them today.  Some believe that tongues has ended, however the scriptures do not say anything like this, therefore we must be careful here.  God will provide any gift He deems necessary within the Church.

And second, some gifts He gives us are not any of the above but are important in His service.  For instance, the gift of public speaking or of  organization.  Maybe the gift of consolation or being able to understand what people are going through more than others.  These can be gifts that He gives us through interactions with people He has put in our path.  Sometimes He will give us natural gifts in order to serve His people, such as the gift and desire to cook, or clean, or caring for those who need care from another. Or possibly physical things such as Bibles to spread throughout the world, or food to give to Christians who are starving. Sometimes the gift can be a desire given to us for filling God’s peoples need. And in Ephesians, we see He gifts the Church with what is needed for the Body of Christ to grow in the Lord.  These gifts include but are not limited to prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. 

 In closing, God disperses His gifts as He chooses, for the benefit of the Body of Christ, and to help them be a witness to those who are not Christians, helping them become followers of Christ.  And the purpose of these gifts is to serve God and the Church  according to His calling to us.  Use the gifts you know God has given you.  If you are not sure what your gifts  are, pray that God will show you and follow His guidance.  As we get closer to the return of Christ, these gifts will become even more important in order to reach the lost and strengthen Christians in their walk. 

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.