A Soldier’s Discipline

When we consider how the church should stand in the midst of a world constantly on a downward moral spiral, Paul gives some great insight when he is commending the church in Colosse. In Col. 2:5 he says, “For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.”

The Colossian church was a good church. It had apparently been started by Epaphras and had never met Paul. The church was functioning as it was designed to function and was not in chaos like the church at Corinth. Paul was not coming to rescue them because they were in error, but he is commending them for their growing faith in spite of those who wished to do them harm.

Although there are a number of things Paul mentions in this section to commend them, the two things in verse 5 impressed me today. Paul said he was rejoicing because of their “good order” and their “firmness in faith.”

The significance of these descriptions are captured well by Barclay when he says,

“These two words present a vivid picture, for they are both military words. The word translated order is taxis, which means a rank or an ordered arrangement. The Church should be like an ordered army, with every man in his appointed place, ready and willing to obey the word of command. The word translated firmness is stereōma, which means a solid bulwark, an immovable phalanx (a body of troops in close formation). It describes an army set out in an unbreakable square, solidly immovable against the shock of the enemy’s charge. Within the Church there should be disciplined order and strong steadiness, like the order and steadiness of a trained and disciplined body of troops.”

What a picture of the church as it is to be ready to stand up for and follow Christ and his will. So often the church hides and endures rather than stands fast and resists the moral decay that surrounds us.

Father, thank you for the example of the church at Colosse. They have modeled how we all should be arm and arm in your service ready and willing to do your will at a moments notice. May you help me to live such a ready a yielded life for your service.

Following Jesus with you,

Jeff

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