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Some people wonder how a virus so small we can’t even see it (except with an image created by an electron microscope) can cause illness and even death and so change the world in which we live. This unseen enemy is causing illness, sometimes severe and life-threatening, and wreaking fear and havoc upon our lives. Why?

While I hate to speculate into the unknown or try to understand the workings of the Divine Creator, there are certain things He has revealed to us and we would do well to take them to heart.

First of all, consider the words of Psalm 2: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” (verses 1-3).

It’s happening! Our people, our teachers, our leaders are raging against the LORD and His Anointed (Christ means anointed). They deny Him as their Creator, they reject His commandments and they do not look in faith to Christ Jesus. In fact, in so many ways we fight against God and His Word — neglecting to hear and learn His Word or worship and honor Him, killing millions of unborn children He is creating in the womb, rejecting His design for marriage between a man and a woman and flaunting our own wickedness on TV and computer screens.

But, as the psalm says (verses 4-9), “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

People reject the LORD God who created them and gives them life, and they reject God the Son who came into this world to pay the price for their sins and win for all pardon and forgiveness, and so they come under God’s judgment — Christ Jesus will be their judge!

I think of God’s warnings to His own people in Deuteronomy 28:15, 20-21: “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee … The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.”

There are the four horses of Revelation 6:1-8: “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.”

Think of how this has been fulfilled over the centuries and even in our own lifetimes. How many millions have died in wars and battles between nations and kingdoms? How many have died from crimes and violence? How many have died from famines and food shortages? And how many have died from disease and famine and other causes of death? Why? The Bible reveals to us that it is a part of the curse of sin upon this world and God permits it to bring us to examine our ways and look to Him for mercy and forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ, God the Son.

So, why the coronavirus and disease and death? I cannot tell you the specific reasons known only to God, but I can tell you from the Bible that God removes His hand of protection over us and allows us to suffer the consequences of our own sins and of sin in general in an effort to wake us up and make us see our own frailty and our need to repent of the sin and evil in our lives and then look to Him for mercy in the atoning sacrifice of Christ Jesus. And God does judge wickedness and disobedience — consider what happened to the wicked and unbelieving in the days of Noah, at Sodom and Gomorrah, and even to His own people again and again throughout the history recorded in the Bible.

If we do not repent, things will get worse and not better — the four horses will continue their work of vengeance and judgment in this world.

But God also gave this promise to His people: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14).

Even if the rest of this world continues to rage against the LORD God and His Christ, it is certainly time for all who call themselves God’s people to examine their ways in the light of God’s Word, humbly repent of their sins and disobedience and look to Him for mercy for the sake of Jesus and His blood, shed upon the cross.

“Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalm 2:10-12).

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“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins….” Colossians 1:9-14

Though the ancient city of Colosse no longer exists — the old east-west road was moved, causing the once-important city to wane — by the grace of God the believers who once lived there are now reigning with Christ Jesus in His glorious heavenly kingdom.

Paul — probably while he was a prisoner in Rome, along with Timothy — when they heard of the faith and love of these believers in the Roman province of Asia (in modern-day Turkey), prayed for them that they might continue in the true faith and grow in their knowledge of God.

Paul wrote to them in his letter: “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness….”

Paul and Timothy continually lifted up their fellow believers in Colosse, requesting that they be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, together with all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that they would use this knowledge of God rightly and live a life pleasing to Him, doing God’s will rather than following the whims of false teachers who held up another way of faith and life. They prayed that the believers there would continue to grow in the knowledge of God and be strengthened by Him so that they would endure in the true faith and rejoice in Him and what He had done for their salvation.

Paul and Timothy prayed for these believers that they too would give thanks to God the Father for graciously making them acceptable and fit to be partakers of the eternal inheritance of the saints in light — to partake of the blessings of heaven which God graciously gives to all who trust in Christ Jesus. It was God the Father who had delivered them from the rule and power of darkness — the kingdom of the devil — and translated them into the eternal kingdom of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. And, it was through faith in Christ Jesus, and for the sake of His blood shed upon the cross for the sins of the world, that they had been redeemed, forgiven of all their sins and made acceptable in God’s eyes.

What Paul writes applies to all of us who believe today. How important it is for believers — for you and for me — to learn and be filled with the knowledge of God through the study of His Word! And it is not enough to just learn facts about God. We need to know Him and His ways and so be strengthened in our faith in Him and rejoice in the salvation He has provided us in His Son. Then, as a fruit of our faith in Him, we will also seek to please Him by walking in His ways.

And, in all this, we have every reason to give thanks to God the Father; for it is He who has made us acceptable for His kingdom by sending His only-begotten Son to die for us and redeem us with His holy and precious blood shed upon the cross! It is through God-given faith in Jesus that we have pardon and forgiveness. It is through faith in Jesus that we have life everlasting and a place in God’s eternal kingdom. God rescued us from the rule and dominion of darkness by sending His Son to redeem us, and He translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son by bringing us to know and trust in Jesus for our salvation.

Again, the point of it all is that our salvation is complete in Jesus Christ. Jesus died for us, paid the price for the sins of the entire world of sinful human beings and rose again in victory on the third day. God the Father, through the death of His Son, made a way for us sinners to be fit and acceptable in His sight; and He, by the gracious working of the Holy Spirit, brought us to faith in Jesus and thus rescued us from the doomed kingdom and rule of the devil and translated us — transferring and carrying us — into the eternal kingdom of His only begotten Son!

We thank You, dear Father in heaven, for graciously sending Your only-begotten Son to redeem us and for mercifully bringing us into His eternal kingdom through faith in His name. Grant that we might grow in our knowledge of You and walk worthy of Your gracious calling. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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Paul’s Letter to the Believers at Colosse

A Series of Devotions by Pastor Randy Moll

Colossians 1:1-8

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother, to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth: as ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.” Colossians 1:1-8

Though the Apostle Paul may never have visited the church in Colosse, when he heard of the believers’ faith in Christ Jesus and the resulting love they had for their fellow believers, he, together with Timothy, gave thanks to God for giving them the confident hope of eternal life in heaven through faith in Messiah Jesus.

The good news of God’s offer of pardon and forgiveness and the promise of everlasting life in heaven because God the Son became true man and redeemed mankind reached the ears of the Colossians through Epaphras (and perhaps others, too) and faith in Jesus was kindled in their hearts through the hearing of the Gospel.

As the good news of God’s gracious gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven for Jesus’ sake was used to generate faith in the hearts of the believers at Colosse nearly 2,000 years ago, so this same message generates faith in human hearts today. The same Gospel, that Word of truth, tells us of the certain hope laid up for us in heaven, not because of anything we have done or can do, but because God’s own dear Son, Jesus Christ, came into this world and suffered and died for the sins of all and rose again in victory. God’s Word tells us that His gift to us for Jesus’ sake is life everlasting in the mansions of heaven.

Such a gracious gift of God — the forgiveness of all our sins because of His own Son’s holy life and innocent suffering and death in our stead and the assurance that we have a place in His eternal, heavenly kingdom — will also move those who believe to selfless love for other believers and fellow heirs of eternal life in heaven, but this love is the result of God’s loving gift of salvation to us, not the cause of it.

What a comfort to know that, though we have sinned and come short of the holy demands of God’s good law, Jesus fulfilled it for us and then took our sins upon Himself, paying the just penalty upon the cross that we might have forgiveness and life everlasting through faith in His name! And this hope which we have is not an uncertain hope but simply waiting for the things assured to us by the promises of God.

God has offered and promised us a place in heaven through faith in His Son. That place has been made certain to us by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We await that day in confidence and assurance that heaven is ours for Jesus’ sake. And, when we face the end of our lives here in this world, we need not doubt and wonder if we will make it into heaven. Heaven is guaranteed to us because Jesus shed His blood for us and paid in full for all our sins. If our salvation depended upon us or anything we did, we could have no certainty and no hope; but because it depends upon Jesus and His atoning sacrifice for us, we have every assurance and hope of everlasting life in the mansions of our heavenly Father’s house!

Paul wrote this letter while he himself was a prisoner because there were those who were seeking to rob these believers of the assurance and hope they had in Jesus by placing other demands upon them — suggesting such things as the worshiping of angels, eating certain foods or observing certain days. Today, too, there are many false teachers who would suggest and say that to be true Christians people must exercise certain gifts, eat certain foods or observe certain days.

The apostle’s message, the true Gospel, is that we are complete in Jesus — our salvation and everlasting life are certain in Him — there is nothing we need to add to His redemptive work!

Dear Father in heaven, thank You for graciously bringing to us the Word of Truth, the saving Gospel of forgiveness of sins and life everlasting through faith in Your Son, Christ Jesus. By Your Spirit, move us to believe and take heart and be assured that, for Jesus’ sake, our sins are forgiven and, for Jesus’ sake, we have life everlasting with You in heaven. Amen.

[Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible]

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“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why behold you the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the mote out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5

These words of Jesus do not forbid us to judge another’s doctrine; for Jesus says, just a few verses later in His Sermon on the Mount, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits…” (15-16a).

They do not forbid us to judge between right and wrong and to admonish our brother when he sins; for Jesus also tells us, “Moreover if your brother shall trespass against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone…” (Matt. 18:15ff.).

So, what does Jesus mean when He says, “Judge not…”? A reading of the verses which follow will provide the answer. Jesus is warning against our propensity to pick out and condemn the faults in others, no matter how small, and to overlook our own sins and shortcomings, even if they are large.

Thus He says, “And why behold you the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the mote out of your brother’s eye.”

It is hypocritical of us to condemn the faults of others while, at the same time, overlooking or excusing our own.

And Jesus warns, “For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

It often happens in life that we end up being treated in the same way that we have treated others. Thus, if we have been overly critical and judgmental, we are likely to learn what it is like at the hand of others.

But, of far more serious consequence, is God’s judgment. If we condemn the sins of others and are unwilling to forgive them, our Father in heaven will condemn us for our own sins and not forgive us, either! As Jesus says, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:14-15).

Rather than being overly critical and judgmental of others, we should first look at ourselves in the light of God’s Word; for when we compare our thoughts, desires, words and actions to God’s commandments, we all come far short of God’s holy expectations.

Again, it is as the Scriptures say, “For there is not a just man on earth, that does good, and sins not” (Eccl. 7:20; cf. Rom. 3:23).

Rather than look at the sins and shortcomings of others, we ought to agree with God that we are sinners and acknowledge and confess our sins before God, trusting that He will forgive us and cleanse us for the sake of the holy life and innocent sufferings and death of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, in our stead (cf. 1 John 1:7 — 2:2).

“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures … he was buried … he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3,4).

Rather than being judgmental and unforgiving toward our fellow sinners, God’s Word tells us to “be you therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36); and “be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32).

O dear Jesus, forgive me for being quick to judge and condemn others when I myself am a sinner and full of faults deserving of Your just punishment. For the sake of Your holy life and innocent sufferings and death upon the cross for the sins of the world, forgive me and cleanse my heart and move me to love others and seek to bring them to You that they too may know Your love and forgiveness and walk with You unto life everlasting. Amen.

[Scripture quotations are from the American King James Version.]

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Paul’s Letter to the Believers at Colosse

A Series of Devotions by Pastor Randy Moll

Colossians 1:1-8

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother, to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth: as ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.” Colossians 1:1-8

Though the Apostle Paul may never have visited the church in Colosse, when he heard of the believers’ faith in Christ Jesus and the resulting love they had for their fellow believers, he, together with Timothy, gave thanks to God for giving them the confident hope of eternal life in heaven through faith in Messiah Jesus.

The good news of God’s offer of pardon and forgiveness and the promise of everlasting life in heaven because God the Son became true man and redeemed mankind reached the ears of the Colossians through Epaphras (and perhaps others, too) and faith in Jesus was kindled in their hearts through the hearing of the Gospel.

As the good news of God’s gracious gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven for Jesus’ sake was used to generate faith in the hearts of the believers at Colosse nearly 2,000 years ago, so this same message generates faith in human hearts today. The same Gospel, that Word of truth, tells us of the certain hope laid up for us in heaven, not because of anything we have done or can do, but because God’s own dear Son, Jesus Christ, came into this world and suffered and died for the sins of all and rose again in victory. God’s Word tells us that His gift to us for Jesus’ sake is life everlasting in the mansions of heaven.

Such a gracious gift of God — the forgiveness of all our sins because of His own Son’s holy life and innocent suffering and death in our stead and the assurance that we have a place in His eternal, heavenly kingdom — will also move those who believe to selfless love for other believers and fellow heirs of eternal life in heaven, but this love is the result of God’s loving gift of salvation to us, not the cause of it.

What a comfort to know that, though we have sinned and come short of the holy demands of God’s good law, Jesus fulfilled it for us and then took our sins upon Himself, paying the just penalty upon the cross that we might have forgiveness and life everlasting through faith in His name! And this hope which we have is not an uncertain hope but simply waiting for the things assured to us by the promises of God.

God has offered and promised us a place in heaven through faith in His Son. That place has been made certain to us by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We await that day in confidence and assurance that heaven is ours for Jesus’ sake. And, when we face the end of our lives here in this world, we need not doubt and wonder if we will make it into heaven. Heaven is guaranteed to us because Jesus shed His blood for us and paid in full for all our sins. If our salvation depended upon us or anything we did, we could have no certainty and no hope; but because it depends upon Jesus and His atoning sacrifice for us, we have every assurance and hope of everlasting life in the mansions of our heavenly Father’s house!

Paul wrote this letter while he himself was a prisoner because there were those who were seeking to rob these believers of the assurance and hope they had in Jesus by placing other demands upon them — suggesting such things as the worshiping of angels, eating certain foods or observing certain days. Today, too, there are many false teachers who would suggest and say that to be true Christians people must exercise certain gifts, eat certain foods or observe certain days.

The apostle’s message, the true Gospel, is that we are complete in Jesus — our salvation and everlasting life are certain in Him — there is nothing we need to add to His redemptive work!

Dear Father in heaven, thank You for graciously bringing to us the Word of Truth, the saving Gospel of forgiveness of sins and life everlasting through faith in Your Son, Christ Jesus. By Your Spirit, move us to believe and take heart and be assured that, for Jesus’ sake, our sins are forgiven and, for Jesus’ sake, we have life everlasting with You in heaven. Amen.

[Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible]

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