All cultures have structured relationships. Details of the rules or lack of rules vary with time and place. In this part of Paul’s letter to Colossian Christians he asks them to so set their mind upon Christ that they can demonstrate his grace in all their relationships. This grace not only subverted the relationship structures of first century Asia Minor but also challenges the spirit behind the power structures, outrage and cancel cultures of Melbourne today. [Audio | Notes]
For further thought
Q: Discuss how we organise our lives in our close friendships? Our intimate relationships? Our work places? Our social networks? Why do somethings work and other things do not?
Q: How does Paul asking the Colossians Christians to set their mind on Christ (to imitate him) in their different situations, help them to demonstrate grace in their relationships? What effect could that demonstration of grace have had in the different relationships Paul describes?
Q: What difference would it make in your relationships? What limitations does Paul’s description of the grace of Jesus Christ set on those with power or authority?
Q: What other Biblical texts/stories can you think of that warn us away from abusive people, teach us to expose or confront abuse with grace or teach us to fight justly against the misuse of power? (eg. Proverbs, the sermon on the mount, Psalms).
Q: How can grace put power into the hands of people you know who may be in a vulnerable situation? How will imitating Jesus Christ change how you use your own authority in your relationships?
Colossians 3:18-4:1 | Let God Work in Our Relationships (talk outline)
How should we read and apply passages like this one (‘household codes’)?
The principles of the Christian life
Challenges for people under the authority of others
Challenges for people in authority over others
How then shall we live?