|Anciant Greek Colossians Manuscript|
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption,” (1:13-14)
There are two dominions, two kingdoms, in conflict with each other. The dark kingdom is led by the Prince of this World (Satan), and the white kingdom is led by the son of our good God. Humans are too weak to resist these power centers, and they will inevitably be controlled by one of them. There are no autonomous individuals acting freely in the world. Humanism claims to elevate man, but it rather enslaves him to the Prince of Darkness. Because we must serve, we might as well serve the leader under whom we gain redemption.
“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.” (1:15-17)
It might be possible to think of this passage in Platonic philosophical terms. Jesus is the form of God, and the more we conform to the ideal form the more real, permanent, and immortal we become. We gain more stable existence by reshaping ourselves into the image of God.
This system is necessarily hierarchical. Humans are not the center of existence; we were created in the image of something else. We might be compared to incomplete clones of a higher being, an imitation of the creator whose mind designed us.
If humans are decentralized (or recognized as non-central), our actions become meaningful only in so much as they align with the work of the true center (I might be talking about Eliad’s “center”). Humans are not free to define our own existence because we did not create ourselves, and our value is dependent on the “him” who holds all created existence together. All “rulers or authorities” are insufficient to displace the God form, Jesus, from his position as the designer, creator, and sustainer of ourselves and our identities. Any identity we adopt that’s against the mold he created for us will tend towards chaos and dissolution because it’s not being held together by the sustainer.
Humans can’t transvalue values in Nietzschean terms because the values radiate from the center of existence and life. Christian values cannot oppose life if they result in the formation of humans into the image of the model from which everyone was created (Jesus). Jesus rose from the dead and defeated death, and this fact makes him the ultimate life. Anything moving away from the one who rose from the dead is moving towards death and fighting life. There is no vitality in a corpse. Do you want to live, or do you want to die? These are the options Jesus offers you.
“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.” (1:23)
We can serve the gospel, but we have no right to define it. We can explain it, but we can’t deviate from it. We can’t create a new gospel because we ourselves can’t rise from the dead as Jesus did. Until we live, die, and resurrect for humanity we have no claim on men’s destiny. Until we overcome the fact of death in human life we’ll never have anything better to offer our fellow man.
“To them [saints] God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (1:27)
The saints are God’s emissaries to the nations. Our Christian duty is witnessing to our Gentile nations the truth of God’s will. Witnessing to our nations obviously negates the idea that we should abandon our ethnic identities. On the contrary, our ethnic identity is a crucial way we inspire our co-ethnics to adopt our faith.
As a Christian missionary in China, I can personally attest that Chinese people are more impressed to become Christians when they see their fellow co-ethnics accepting it. When they see fellow Chinese who are Christians they begin thinking differently about the faith. They stop seeing it as “some foreign philosophy” and start thinking they must personally contend with it in their lives. Ethnic and racial identity is a powerful tool we should use to spread the gospel among our people. Paul used his Roman citizenship and Hebrew ethnicity as tools to reach people. Paul never renounced his racial identity or imperial Roman citizenship, he openly identitified with them depending on his audience.
“I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine sounding arguments.” (2:4)
In many ways, reality is simple. God (or gods) created the world, we are God’s creations, and we are lower than God. The outgrowths of these assumptions have been interpreted to some extent by every traditional culture on the planet. Recently, however, the West, has been deceived by fine sounding arguments. Logicians and philosophers have been working especially hard since the “Enlightenment” to confuse everyone into believing humans are the center of existence.
The implications of various liberal ideas have had far reaching influence. The confusion has spread far, and even infected the sciences. The truth about racial inequality, for example, is manifest to any honest observer. There’s no evidence supporting the concept, and considerable evidence refuting it. But, with “fine sounding arguments” equality’s advocates have managed to make their ridiculous claims sound reasonable and moral. The truth is simple, just look at Africa.
“See that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of the world rather than on Christ.” (2:8)
Paul was probably writing about the pagan rituals and asceticism espoused in false religions, but his admonition might be expanded in the modern world. The false philosophy of modernity is built on lies and deceptions. Liberalism and cultural Marxism are the rotting foundational ideologies of the twenty-first century West. The true cornerstone of religion, and Western Civilization, is Jesus, God, and the revealed truth of Christ’s resurrection and hope. All philosophy should arise from this historical revelation.
“And having disarmed the powers and authority, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the Cross.” (2:15)
Although the passage is difficult to understand, most commentators interpret the “powers and authority” as being spiritual and demonic. Paul wasn’t suggesting Jesus was a proto-Marxist overthrowing the socio-political hierarchies of his day.
“Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (3:2-3)
How can we gain agency against this world without dwelling on another reality? A new reality can only come from a new dimension, and the things above are a new dimension breaking into our earthly one. Humans can’t regenerate ourselves. A new beginning is the product of revelation, and without meditation upon this new beginning our minds will be consumed with the worldview of a dying past.
C.S. Lewis: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.” (3:5)
The “earthly nature” should not be interpreted as God’s good creation. Christianity does not suggest the rejection of this world and it’s passions as Buddhism does. A Christian rejection of the world is a regeneration of the self away from the diseased aspects infecting God’s wholesome creation.
“Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on a new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” (3:9-11)
Among the biggest lies the modern church tells itself is that we’re separated by racist white people, and blacks are equal to whites in intelligence and moral character. How many times have I read in Christianity Today, or another “cucked” Christian source, that “Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in American life” because of racism? At this point it’s just a liberal cliché, a cliché bolstering the mythology of the liberal worldview in the church.
Colossians 3:11 (“no Greek or Jew, etc.”) is constantly cited by cultural Marxist and liberal Christians as a proof text for racial integration, equality, and the social construction of race by hateful white people. Some variation of this same argument is used by all of them:
“Christians should ignore racial differences because Christ erased them, it says so in Galatians 3:28 and Colossians 3:11.”If their interpretation of this passage is correct, it puts Paul in an awkward situation because he writes to slaves eleven verses later saying “obey your earthly masters” and “masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair.” Paul couldn’t have meant there were literally no “slave or free” in 3:11 because he wrote about Christian masters and slaves within the same chapter of the same epistle. Obviously, he meant something more than what anti-racist modern Christians perceive him to have menat.
Most modern Christians read the “here there is no” to mean “here in the church,” but Paul was probably speaking about the act of renewing oneself in the image of the creator instead of a physical institutional “here.” His words suggest that physical and social identity don’t mean much when it comes to moving closer to God and putting away one’s sin. Paul wasn’t suggesting there were literally no slaves and masters in the church, or that there were literally no Greeks or Jews. How is it rational to read the verse this way without claiming God supernaturally changed people’s genetic material when they entered Christ? It’s definitely not possible to read it this way while considering 3:22-4:1.
The verse might be read as having an almost opposite meaning of what the cultural Marxists and liberals say it means: In most other situations, one’s ethnic and social identity are deeply important, but “here,” on the issue of renewing one’s self in God’s image, it isn’t.
It’s unlikely Paul was attempting to tear down social and ethnic distinctions with 3:11 because the next section of his epistle divides Christians into identity categories. These categories include: children, woman, fathers, slaves, and masters. If Paul was using 3:11 as a way to disintegrate distinctions why would he immediately undermine his argument by addressing different categories of people?
Finally, it’s important to consider Paul’s parallel passage in Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The verse seems to carry a similar meaning as Colossians 3:11, but adds “male and female.” Obviously, Paul did not mean Christians should ignore sexual identity; he wrote elsewhere that he did “not permit a woman to speak in church,” and “wives, submit to your husbands.” Its unlikely God intended Christians to devolve into a trans-gender trans-racial blob.
“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” (3:18-19)
“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” (3: 20-21)
“Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it; not only when their eye is on you… it is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (3:22-24)
“Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.” (3:25)
“Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a master in heaven.” (4:1)
These five passages establish God’s approval of hierarchical unequal relationships between classes of people. God doesn’t expect the unreasonable abolition of all distinctions between socio-political statuses. God seeks to establish good spiritual energy between people, he doesn’t seek to overthrow social order in a Marxist sense. Jesus did not come to promote egalitarian revolution.
Authority with love is not an oxymoron, as the feminists and cultural Marxists would have us believe. God created hierarchy and inequality; he expects those at the top to serve those at the bottom. The husband is the head of the wife, fathers have authority over children, and the masters have authority over slaves.
Many modern liberal and cultural Marxist Christians use Colossians 3:25 to argue Christians shouldn’t recognize racial differences. They claim “no favoritism” means Christians can’t make distinctions or act upon the distinctions between individuals and groups. Within the context, however, this is a nonsensical interpretation. Paul included the phrase between two verses affirming the master/slave authority structure. Based on the order in which it was placed, it’s reasonable to assume the verse was written as a threat against slaves who didn’t obey their masters.
The phrase “no favoritism” should be interpreted as an aspect of God’s distribution of justice. The phrase has no relevance to a discussion about the recognition of distinct racial or ethnic identities. The ability to discriminate based on trends and general truths is a fundamental aspect of our ability to make logical social decisions. Without this ability, humans would be helpless to navigate the world.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message… Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” (4:3-4)
We should devote ourselves to internally communicating with God. Our connection with God gives us autonomy from the corrupt culture and society that surrounds us on a daily basis. We should pray for the bravery to proclaim God’s message of truth with zeal. Only God can open people’s hearts to receive his gospel, but we should be ready to speak to the hearts he’s prepared.
“Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders;” (4:6)
Paul embraced the in-group / out-group dichotomy of exclusion. The “other” is a class of people outside the faith family and categorized as an identity group by discriminating between Christians and non-Christians. Christians should act differently depending the group of people their dealing with. Discrimination against groups of people is endorsed in the Bible.
“Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me.” (4:11)
Paul wrote in 3:11 that “here there is no Greek or Jew,” but in 4:11 he identified Justus by his Jewish ethnicity and suggested this ethnic similarity to himself was a great comfort. Obviously, Paul didn’t mean 3:11 to be taken as a radical renunciation of all ethnic identity as radical modern Christians suggest it should be.