Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Plato and Jesus

The church at Colosse had several heresies that had taken root in it.  One of which is what I would call Platonic thinking.  You all remember Plato, not Play-Doh, from philosophy or history class.  Plato was a Greek philosopher that reasoned that what we perceive on Earth is not real and could not be perfect.  He theorized that what we saw on Earth was just a shadow of what he called "forms" in heaven.  You may remember his allegory of the cave that illustrated this.

I'm not writing this to school you on Plato and his philosophy, but you must understand that basic idea to understand what some of the people in Colosse where thinking.  They supposed that Jesus could not have been really physical or He could not really be God.  They thought that what was spirit was good and all matter was evil or at least less than good.  Now, everything that you and I see on Earth today is tainted by sin and less than good, but it did not start that way.  In the beginning God created all matter and it was good.

Paul wrote his letter to the church at Colosse in part to address this heresy.  Paul knew that Jesus was fully God and fully man.  Jesus was really a physical human being and Jesus really was/is perfect.  He was born of a woman and He is God who has always existed and will always exist.

Keep this heresy and Paul's attack on it in mind when you read this passage:

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  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.  For God was pleased to have all His fulness dwell in Him, 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."  Colossians 1:15-20

You can see that Paul stresses that Jesus is the image of the invisible God, not a shadow of Him.  Jesus created ALL things, in heaven and on earth.  Jesus holds all things together.  All things were made by Him and for Him.  The people in Colosse that mixed Platonic thinking in with Christianity were wrong and Paul showed them that clearly.

Before we say, "Silly Colossians, how could you believe this?"  Let's take a look at ourselves.  Much of what we modern Christians have done in the last few centuries has brought us back to Platonic thinking mixed in with Christianity.  This is being combatted but how many of us long for heaven and forget that earth is being reconciled by Christ?  Jesus died on the cross to forgive our sins, amen, but He did so much more than that.  The cross of Christ did pay the penalty for sin but it did more than that, too.  Colossians chapter one says that the cross of Christ was to "reconcile to Himself (God) all things whether things on earth or things in heaven."  Jesus redeemed all of creation on the cross.  Let's not forget that lest we take on Platonic thinking and lessen the victory accomplished on Calvary.

Jesus was fully man and fully God.  Jesus forgave your sins on the cross and He reconciled all things to God on the cross, once again everything will be good.  Think about the great victory that Jesus won on the cross and anticipate what a redeemed world will look like, today.

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