For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 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, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Colossians 2:1-3 ESV
Paul heard of the challenges the church in Colossae and Laodicea were going through. They were troubled by the false teachings. The Colossians were mostly Gentiles, and they were being pressured to follow the Jewish laws. It didn’t seem like the Jews and Gentiles were living in harmony within the church. Therefore, in chapter 1, Paul drew their attention to Jesus, and what Jesus had done was to bring reconcile between man and God, Jew and Gentile. Paul cared deeply for these brothers and sisters that he had never met face to face, and he wanted their hearts to be encouraged. Paul did not tell them to just let it go and things will be OK; or neither did he tell them to just follow the Jewish laws because he was very familiar with the laws and they can’t go wrong with following them. Instead, Paul wanted them to be encouraged by “knit together in love, and to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ.” Allow me to translate it into simple terms — Paul wanted the church to be encouraged by having unity in love and in truth.
Unity in love is a command and prayer from Jesus. – “Love one another” (John 13:34) and “all of them may be one” (John 17:21). Unity does not mean uniformity. We don’t need everyone to look alike, talk alike and act alike to love one another. One of the beauties of church is that we are all different – God did create each of us unique and special. Every different individual brought together by One God in One Spirit. Jesus set a perfect example for love. The body of Christ should possess this attribute of His. May the Lord show us how to embrace the differences, and help us to love one another just as He had loved us.
Unity is not just a matter of love, but also of growing together in the truth of God. Paul pointed out that all wisdom and knowledge are hidden treasures in Christ. The true wisdom of Jesus would bring the church together, while the false teachings and wisdom would divide them. With access to the internet, it’s much easier to gain knowledge and information nowadays than in Bible time. But not all information and knowledge we gained from the world are good for us and the body of Christ. It’s important for us to attain the full understanding and knowledge of the truth, the word of God, so we may have the full assurance in our heart. The truth sets the foundation of unity.
Look up “love without truth” or “truth without love” on the internet, and you will find many dangerous results. Love and truth are like our left and right hands; or left and right foot. You can’t choose or favor one over the other. To allow for full functionality of the body, let’s bring unity in love and truth. The Lord will be pleased, and the church will be blessed.
Dear Lord, you are the the truth and love! You’ve also set the best model for us to follow. Help me to love as you have love us, and give me the wisdom to seek and understand the truth and bring unity to the church.