I know it’s an old and reasonably lame preacher’s joke, but it is still a very good interpretative rule when studying our bibles:
“When you see a ‘therefore’, you need to ask what it’s there for.” The word ‘Therefore’ at the start of our passage this morning serves to introduce a logical result from what precedes (so says the Friberg Lexicon).
What has preceded? A wonderful declaration of our full salvation won for us by Christ. We are completely forgiven by his death for us. He has completely triumphed over all spiritual hosts of darkness at the cross. He is competely God and Lord, and we are complete in Him.
Now what follows? A clear idenitfication of three kinds of spiritual enemies who would try to rob us of our completeness in Christ. We have full and complete salvation in Christ, now we are to hold our ground and guard our position, because there are those who would endeavour to move us off from this firm and secure position. Watch the way the apostle Paul exposes and undermines these three sources of attack and so helps us to remain firm in the gospel.
1. Holding our ground against invisible spiritual enemies.
- Created – 1:15,16
- Conquered – 2:14,15
- Crowned – 2:10 (Eph. 1:20,21)
- Under the power of His shed blood – 1:20
- Under the authority of His kingly rule – 1:13
We declare Christ’s lordship over every spiritual being; by virtue of the fact that He created them at the beginning, He conquered them at the cross, and He is now crowned over them in heaven.
And we declare our new position in Christ by the grace of God: we declare that we are under the redeeming, reconciling and cleansing power of the shed blood of Jesus, and we declare our glad submission and allegiance to the authority of the Lord Jesus in His kingdom.
2. Holding our ground against visible spiritual enemies
|Judge v16,17||Jewish legalism||Condemned!||High regard for OT Scriptures||Living in the old shadows, & not focussed on the reality of Christ|
|Umpire v18,19||Super-spiritual mysticism||Disqualified!||Awareness of the spiritual realm||Obsessed with angels & visions they have lost contact with Christ|
|Slave-master v20-23||Rule-imposing asceticism||Submit!||Hunger for holiness & self-control||Fixated on mastering the physical by rules, they don’t rely on Christ|
Don’t let anyone judge you.. disqualify you.. or enslave you!
Centred on Christ as our Focus, Head, and Master.
Hold our position in Christ, Keep our focus upon Christ.