The God Who is There

   Written by on August 10, 2017 at 10:50 am

logo-crotts-stephenAlister Begg observed, “Idolatry consists not only in the worship of false gods, but in the worship of God in false ways.” Such is the problem in our day. And it was a problem in the early church.

Witness Paul’s letter to the Colossians in the Bible New Testament. Colossae was a city in central Turkey.  And its inhabitants were Turks, Roman soldiers, Jews of the Diaspora, and foreigners from a dozen regions along the trader routes. Each of these people had their own ideas about God. So when a Christian church was started in town such people came to listen, to believe, but also to mix their own ideas of God with the Christian message.

Paul writes to warn them of departing from the faith by turning aside to follow “well-crafted arguments (Col. 2:4), “empty philosophies” (2:8 ), “high sounding nonsense” (2:8), and legalism (2:11).

You see, the church can diminish Christ by subtracting from who He is. “He’s not God. And his resurrections is a myth. But he is our good example.” We can also embellish Christ by promising more than He did. “Sow your faith and God will baptize the Great American Dream into your bank account.” We can even distort Christ by picking and choosing among His attributes according to our tastes. “Love and mercy—yes. Holy, Judge—No, I don’t believe it.”

What Paul does in Colossians is present a full length portrait of Christ to be held up to the city’s embellishments, subtractions, and distortions of God.

“But you must continue to believe this truth,” Paul argues. Do not manufacture a god of your own liking. Stick with His revelation of Himself.

“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.”  (Colossians 1:15).

“He existed before anything was created.” (Col. 1:15).

“He is supreme over all creation.” (1:15).

“He holds all creation together.” (1:17).

“Christ is the head of the church.” (1:18).

“He made peace by means of His blood on the cross.” (1:20).

Clearly, Paul is extolling the supremacy of Jesus Christ over legalism, philosophies, secret knowledge, and culturalism. Jesus is all sufficient.  One need add nothing to His gospel. He is the be all, end all of God’s provision for our forgiveness, our meaningful life here on earth, and our life with Him in eternity.

Yes, read the wee letter to the Colossians. And be the wiser for it.

About the authors: Stephen and Bryan Crotts are father and son, both ministers. These editorials are jointly conceived, researched, and written.

Bryan is pastor of First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Burlington. Stephen is a campus minister with the Carolina Study Center.

About Stephen Crotts

The Reverend Stephen Crotts is pastor of Village Presbyterian Church in Charlotte Court House, VA. He is also the director of the Carolina Study Center, Inc., a campus ministry, located in Chapel Hill, NC. Pastor Crotts may be reached at


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