Aloha Friday Message – July 29, 2016 – All in All

1631AFC072916 – All in All, it’s all the same.

Read it online here, please. And please, when you visit there, use one of the social media links at the bottom of the page to share this post. Thank you! (I have temporarily deactivated my Facebook account, so I am hoping you will post this to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or whichever social-media apps you use.)

Colossians 3:11 [You] have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. 11 In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!11 In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

Happy Aloha Friday, Belovéd! I hope you’ve had a great week since looking at last week’s study in Colossians 2 where we learned that God changed the way sin is dealt with. In the Old Testament, it was “covered.” With Jesus’ New Covenant in his blood (See Luke 22:20, please.), it was obliterated. Today we are going to look at one of the most remarkable aspects of that New Covenant. To understand it better, we’ll first need to compare and contrast it with the Old Covenant.

What was the Old Covenant? To find out, we need to look at Genesis 9:12-17. I hope you will click that link so you can see it in context. This is the part of Genesis where God – אֱלֹהִ֗ים (elohim) {el-o-heem’} – makes what is often called The Covenant of the Rainbow. God promises that he will never destroy all life by water again. This is unique among Old Testament Covenants in that it applies to all earthlings as well as all living things. Later covenants apply mostly to people of God’s choosing – individuals or nations. For example, later, when God Almighty (El Shaddai) speaks to Abram he says in Genesis 15:17-2118 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I give this land, … (Click the link to see the whole description of “the Land.”) We also see this concept of covenant in Genesis 17:10-11 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. Many people think the Old Covenant was the Mosaic Law, and that Jesus’ New Covenant did away with Mosaic Law. Not so; Jesus fulfilled The Law, but it still stands at the Core of Christ’s Law of Love – Love of God and Neighbor.

OK, then, what is a covenant? It is a kind of contract that is based upon or creates a relationship between two parties. The conjoining parties agree to certain terms – sometimes the terms are transactional (if you give or do this, I will give or do that). Unlike a modern day contract, the transaction in a covenant is not for resources or services, but instead creates a personal bond between the participants. A covenant is sort of what we think of as a contract today, except that nowadays a contract is structured in and enforced by civil authority whereas the biblical covenant was structured in and enforced by God. In the Old Testament, “sealing the deal” often included animal sacrifice, written agreements, and official stamps or seals to protect the provenance or attribution of the agreement. The animal sacrifice was a visual reminder of what would happen if a covenant-participant broke the covenant relationship. Biblical covenants did not have a time-limiting component like a deadline or contract-termination date. They were considered to be “now-and-forever” agreements.

In today’s passage from Colossians 3, Paul does not employ that word – covenant – but it does mention one of the conditions of the Old Covenant – circumcised and uncircumcised. In this portion of Paul’s letter, he uses sharply contrasting pairs of words to make his point:

Greek and Jew
Circumcised and uncircumcised
Barbarian, Scythian
Slave and Free

All but the third example are “direct opposites.” Jews are the opposites of the gentiles (Greeks). Jews and gentiles are typified by circumcision and uncircumcision. Slaves are not freemen and freemen are not slaves. What about “barbarian” and “Scythian?” How does that comparison work? Well-cultured, civilized persons and nations considered earthlings who were primitive, lawless, violent, the antithesis of “who we are” to be “barbarians,” “utterly-not-us.” They are “the other,” “the treacherous outsider,” “the rude, wild, and unmannered foreigner.” In the time of Paul, the most primitive, violent, treacherous, rude, wild, and barbaric people in the world were the Scythians. “What’s a Scythian?” you ask? This word occurs only once in scripture – here in Colossians 3:11. It comes from the Greek word Σκύθης, Skuthes {skoo’-thace} or Skythēs. It describes a people originating in Scythia or what we now call Russia, and they were the badest, the meanest, and the roughest bunch of hooligans anywhere. The “Great Civilizations” – Roman, Greek, Persian, and so on – were subjected to invasion and raids from hordes of warriors – you might remember some of these names: Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Vandals, and the Mongols (and Genghis Kahn). More than any of these, the Scythians take the prize for being more inhumanely violent. They were the worst of the worst.

So, to sum it up, Paul was saying that whatever is opposite of your self-concept, you and your opposite are all included in the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. Huh? If you are in Christ because you believe in Christ, if your opposite believes in Christ, you are in Christ together as “new creatures in Christ.” In that renewal, there are no more opposites. All are equal under Christ’s Law of Love. Paul makes that point even clearer by naming Greek before Jew (in all other passages he lists Jew then Greek). He is showing the people of Colossae – and of course us as well – that even if these distinctions exist in the “natural world,” they utterly cease to matter in the Divine Territory of The Kingdom of God in Christ Jesus. If we are renewed in knowledge according to the image of its [the new self’s] creator, then we learn to see through and beyond those differences that normally divide us. The New Covenant in the Blood of Christ frees every possible opposite of you that you can possibly imagine from the bondage of sin and you are united together in the bond of that New Covenant, the Covenant of Love which surpasses – but does not replace or nullify – all previous Covenants.

In Galatians 3:12-18, we find this: My point is this: the law, [ … ] does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. God’s Law is one thing. God’s Promise in his Covenants is quite another. The promises of the Covenants are still now-and-forever promises, and The Law still abides, but in the renewal of our knowledge of God’s Divine Will, all of us is in all of Christ because Christ is all there is. He is all the opposites and is in all the opposites and all the opposites are in him because in Christ

THERE ARE NO MORE OPPOSITES! There is only Christ, the New Covenant. In the same way that our sins are obliterated, so also are our differences obliterated.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

Share-A-Prayer

C.R. – Lots of recovery ahead. Turns out the histology on that larger (4 lbs, 8″ across) was carcinoma. Pray for fully successful excision of that along with a perfect recovery.

PV – At the entry-way to her battle with breast cancer. Help her get through it with your prayers.

FC – Hanging in there with her family and friends (like you) praying for faith and medicine to work hand in hand to beat the metastases.

JE – Still full of great faith as one set-back after another clobbers him and his amazing wife. Just pray for his physical and emotional strength to remain as solid as the strength of his faith!

ItIsAllChrist

And he is all we need.

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Biblical languages inserts from Bible Hub (Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages) Visit at http://biblehub.com

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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