God’s Word for You
Colossians 3:15 the peace of Christ
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, July 27, 2019
15 Let what rules in your hearts be the peace of Christ, to which you were also called as one body. And be thankful.
The sinful heart tends to let sin or unbridled emotion reign, to listen to the advice of Emily Dickinson: “the heart wants what it wants” (letter to Mary Bowles, 1862). But what should rule our hearts is the peace of Christ. How does that peace reign? When we apply our gratefulness and joy over the peace we have through Christ, we will act differently toward people.
What do we do when a friend or a co-worker behaves badly? The peace of Christ teaches me to be patient as opposed to the sinful nature that urges me to do the opposite. The peace of Christ chalks up a question in my mind when someone acts selfishly and sinfully: What would be best for the kingdom of God? The same is true when I seem to have time free: What would be best for the kingdom of God? What would be best for that kingdom right in my own home?
The ancient Gnostics believed that they had a secret knowledge, a knowledge often based on inner feelings and impulses. Two of their teachings were (1) Gnosticism does not deal with sin, but only ignorance, and (2) to achieve salvation, one needs knowledge (Greek gnosis). I see these ideas rising up today in teachers and preachers calling themselves Christian but really just trying to challenge Christian doctrine and replace it with their own world-view. Entire books are being written about religion that never address sin; entire ministries are being spent without any mention of sin.
What peace can anyone have when the problem of sin is never addressed? Think of a teenager who spills pop on his rug. If he tries to impose his immature world-view onto the spill, he will ignore it, but the stain will still be there; it will still attract ants and perhaps worse, and it will never go away. This is what a minister does who never talks about sin. The stain is there; it’s just being ignored. He doesn’t accomplish anything good by telling his people that their lives should be “lived” any more than a teenager should glorify an apartment that looks “lived in.” There is a spiritual side, after all, to the old adage that Cleanliness is Next to Godliness.
When we address our sins and confess them, and when we have a responsible, truly Christian pastor who absolves our sins, we have true peace. This is the peace to which we were called, and for which we are thankful. If your life is cluttered but generally clean, and your spirit is scrubbed and scoured after many confessions and absolutions, then you know that it is to be given peace. Pass it along to the people you love, and to everyone around you.
Pastor Timothy Smith