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Colour, Class and Culture Blind?

by Nathan Stewart last modified Feb 24, 2016 07:12 PM

colour blindIn Colossians 3:11, Paul wrote of the body of Christ that ‘Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.’ We know from the context of this and Paul’s other letters that the congregations of early believers were in fact composed of Greek, Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, slave and free (and within a short while the gospel made its way even to far flung Scythia and beyond.) Each came with their own very different background. They spoke different languages, wore different clothes, played different music, ate different food and moved in vastly different social circles. Yet Paul insists that those distinctions were not to be observed. After pleading for the Colossians to gain clearer ‘sight’ through greater knowledge and understanding was Paul now advocating ‘blindness’?

Not so, for Paul’s call to see that ‘Christ is all and in all’ flows out of his call for the body of Christ (those who identified with him) to put on their new spiritual clothing, namely their identity in Christ himself.

This is again about purity of spiritual vision. Here we see the foretaste of restored humanity, not in bland homogeneity but in the redemption of people from every tribe and tongue to the glory of new life in Christ. Rather than enforcing a mono-culture upon the believers, Paul was urging them to see past the superficial to the the spiritual truth of restored humanity depicted in the congregation of believers.

Opening our eyes to this reality will bring us a veritable foretaste of heaven. As the rich cultural delights of every clan and language under heaven is brought victoriously purified into the kingdom of Christ we may taste even now some of the spoils of his victory. Even now as believers sit around the Lord’s table sharing spiritually (though the elements of bread and wine) in the body and blood of King Jesus who was slain for them we have a foretaste of that great ‘marriage supper of the Lamb’ to be shared in the new heavens and earth.

In that glorious day, says Revelation, all the riches of the kingdoms of earth will be carried into the heavenly city (that is all of Christ’s redeemed people). So the feast will be composed of every kind of food and the libraries of that city will be filled with books in every language imaginable. How extraordinary then, that we can have but a taste of this city even here and now.

Of course, the spoils of Christ’s victory (that is his people gathered from every clan and language) can not begin to enter in until they have heard the victory cry, namely the gospel. So we have great incentive to take the gospel to the very ends of the earth and particularly to any peoples who have never or barely ever heard its joyful proclamation.