The Perfect Measurement (Colossians 1:15-23)

Over the years I have on many occasions bought cords of wood. Who knows if I got a legitimate cord or not? Some suppliers would advertise and deliver wood based upon an amount in a pick-up truck, but there are many varied sizes of truck beds. I was never really sure what I was getting, and I was never sure those guys knew really what they were selling me.

For serious commerce to be successful, there has to be a determined standard of measurement that is agreed upon.  In the early American colonies, measurements were highly diverse – even though drawn upon English origins. The colonies measured by the firkin, kilderkin, strike, hogshead, tierce, pipe, butt, and puncheon. Even when the same unit was used from colony to colony or locality to locality, it often was not assigned the same value. A bushel of oats in Connecticut weighed 28 pounds, but in New Jersey it weighed 32 pounds.

The federal government got involved with the fixation of standards for weights and measurements. Fixed object artifacts were made and sent to the states to objectify and enforce standardization. But it was still very imperfect. With the industrial age, a piston made in one location needed to be exactly right in order to work within cylinders somewhere else. Eventually a national laboratory was established to more accurately fixate exact measurements. And now, with the advance of physics, more precision is available. For example, the length of a meter is now officially established as the distance light will travel in a vacuum for 1/299,792,458th of a second as determined by iodine stabilized lasers. And physicists are still arguing about what constitutes a final measurement for volume and weight.

There is no such ambiguity when it comes to God’s perfect standard. He is perfect and holy, and the Scriptures say we must be also in order to be in eternal relationship with him. Throughout this series on the cross words we have talked about that lack of perfection (righteousness) as the problem we have … but as the problem that has been reconciled by the cross.

The reading today teaches about how Christ is the perfect Son of God. It reaches a pinnacle of definition in verse 19 where it says that God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him. The Greek word for fullness is one that speaks of the sum totality of something. Jesus was the sum total of God – in human form. And in that form, through the cross, Christ changed everything. And in terms of those who trust in this work, that person is reconciled to God by having a change to a new perfect status. We are no longer enemies, and we have nothing against us that can be charged to us to separate us from the Lord’s love.

The Supremacy of the Son of God – Colossians 1:15-23

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

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The Way it was; the Way it could have been; the Way it is! (Colossians 1:9-14)

Being adopted is a weird sort of internal reality that is always with you. I can report this to be true from about 50 years of my own life experience. Yes, it was about 50 years ago at this exact time of year that I was told by what I knew as my parents, that they were actually NOT my birth parents at all. THAT.WAS.WEIRD!  I had never once considered that there was any other circumstance. The news hit me like a brick! I went into an immediate meltdown emotionally. This lasted, as I recall it, for about 60 seconds at the most. That is about how long it took for me to realize that, wow, what I had in reality – versus what could have been my reality – was a pretty sweet deal.

As I write this, I saw just today a picture someone had posted on Facebook. It was of a man who had written his date and location of birth, stating that he was searching for his birth parents – asking also for others to re-post his picture in hopes of locating his lost family. My heart went out to him. I knew about my birth parents – know one of them personally, as she is still alive. And I miraculously learned information about my father just this past year – a totally amazing story of even meeting a lost relative.

But spiritually speaking, there is no confusion about our past and where we have originated. We were by sin connected to the Kingdom of Darkness and enslaved to such. But in his love, the Lord has rescued us from that and brought us into a new kingdom – the Kingdom of Light – the Kingdom of His Son. The text today says that it is through the Son that we have REDEMPTION – the forgiveness of sin due to the payment that Jesus Christ has made. What a great cross word!

My own adoption set up an inheritance powder-keg with a 51-year-long fuse before it exploded. A certain part of the biological family of my adopted parents had never accepted the fact that I had been adopted and thereby did not believe I stood in line to receive the inheritance of my parents upon their death. Their inquiry into this was an exercise in futility, as the legal ground of the adoption and will was indisputable … and so it is for us spiritually speaking, as we will see this even more graphically expounded tomorrow.

The knowledge of these blessings should indeed fill us with a desire to more significantly know our adoptive Father and to live a fruitful life worthy of the love of someone who has reached out to rescue us from a horrible condition. Over the years I’ve looked around at the friends and families I have known who have traveled, in some cases, literally to the other side of the world to adopt a child. That little one was, in most circumstances, rescued from a desperate situation in an orphanage and civil system where their very life may have been lost. But someone they did not know and did not seek out came to get them and essentially rescue them out of a hopeless circumstance. THAT is exactly what Christ has done for us spiritually. This should lead us to know – in the words of today’s devotional – “joyful thanks.”

Colossians 1:9-14

9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Cross Words:

Evil – the reality that Satan brought sin to mankind, and Satan worked in devious ways to attempt the destruction of Christ and his work on the cross.

Veil – the curtain that separated the most holy place from the rest of the tabernacle/temple.

Nails – (think “spikes”) the human objects that held Christ to the cross – though it was really love and obedience.

puzzle day 14