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that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ,
(Colossians 2:2 – ESV)
(Colossians 2:2 – ESV)
Their hearts may be encouraged, reaching all the riches, full assurance, etc. This isn’t talking about material prosperity but spiritual prosperity. Spiritual well being, not physical well being. The more intimate our communion with other believers, the more spiritually rich we will be.
Look at the previous verse in Colossians 1:28 – warning everyone, teaching everyone, maturity for everyone. Now then you can clearly see the context here, warning and teaching for maturity in every person, struggling so that they all might be on the same page, strengthened (encouraged, confirmed) by being instructed in love (a good rendering of “knit together”), and coming to a more full understanding of just how marvelous Christ is.
Now being instructed in love doesn’t just mean instructed as to how to love, but also instructed as to what to love, or actually who to love. Of course this means Christ. Now they already had a love for Christ and for one another, but Paul knew that this must continue to be solidified, not just for individuals, but for the group as well. We need each other, and if one is struggling with their faith and doctrine, it serves to bring us down. Paul had been praying and persevering for their pressing on to maturity in the mystery of Christ. Everybody needs to grow up, and we need to help each other grow up, and we need to grow up together as a unit. In the battle against heresy, we need all the soldiers following the same battle plan.
You see, Paul is not speaking primarily of unity for the sake of peace but unity for the sake of the gospel, unity so as to ward off deception, knit together and encouraged as to the truth about Jesus. Building one another up in the truth. Division in doctrine causes division in the body. He is speaking, as he usually does, about being of one mind and in one accord. This is accomplished as to primary doctrine first, which would lead to correct practice and eventual understanding in secondary doctrines, a full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery. To have right practice without right doctrine is to love leaven, to court corruption, to suffer with sin, and this is what Paul was warning against. The Colossians had a right practice (1:4) and a right passion (1:8), and he wanted to make sure they had a right perspective on Christ. His strong desire is that they would have strong doctrine (1:9). As we have said before, what we need is unity with verity, togetherness with truth, and fellowship in the truth, and around the truth, not just fellowship for friendship’s sake.
The result of this being knit together is to be able to reach a full, or wealthy assurance. Again, this is not a worldly wealth, but a spiritual wealth, something far more to be desired by those who know. However, to reach these riches, to reach a full assurance you must be knit together, can’t you see that? As an individual, you can have an assurance of your salvation, of course, but it reaches its fullness in the context of community. Even John the Baptist lost his assurance of who Jesus was when he was isolated (Matthew 11 / Luke 7).
Some lack an assurance of God and His character. Is He really good and loving? The answer is in knowing God as He is revealed in His Word. Some lack an assurance of their salvation. Is my Christian life for real? The answer is in knowing that the bottom line is that our salvation rests in God, not in us. Being around the Body ought to give us an assurance of God’s character and of our salvation, and frankly, this is an assurance we simply cannot give to those who would stay away from church. How can we give it to those who won’t hear it? They aren’t here at church to hear it from us!
The church that is growing in Christ, and that is the key of course, a church like that provides a measure of protection against heresy. Now you might say that you cannot find a church like that and use that as an excuse to not go to church. Well, no church is perfect, and heresy is always at the door waiting to be let in; however, consider this fact. The fact that you are ignoring parts of the Bible that are so clear proves that you have already drifted into heresy. If you really know the riches of Christ in full assurance, in understanding and knowledge, you will want to share it with others; you will want to be knit together.
It cannot be otherwise. Believe me, and more importantly, believe the Bible, to think you can avoid being knit together and still be made whole is heresy. You’re coming apart at the seams.