October 19 Epistle Reading

Colossians 2:20 – 3:3

20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations– 21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” 22 which all concern things which perish with the using–according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. 1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

St. John Chrysostom in his Homily VII on Colossians II said:

“You are not in the world, he says, how is it you are subject to its elements? How are you subject to its observances? And mark how he makes sport of them …He has taken down the puffed up stance of the many, and added …It is only a doctrine of men …so even though they have a show of wisdom, let us turn away from them. For he may seem to be a religious person, and modest, and to have contempt for the body …They dishonor the flesh, he says, depriving it, and stripping it of its liberty, not giving leave to rule it with its will. God has honored the flesh …This is not your life, he says, it is something else. He is now urgent to remove them, and insists on showing that they are seated above all this and are dead to both considerations: establishing the position, that they are not to seek the things that are here. For if you are dead, you ought to seek them, or if you are above, you ought not to seek them…”

“When will we live? When Christ will be manifested, Who is your life. Then seek glory, then seek life, then seek enjoyment. This is to prepare the way for drawing them off from pleasure and ease… If we should be treated with insult, let us not grieve, or whatever it is we suffer, for this life is not our life; we are strangers and sojourners …Our first man is buried: buried not in the earth, but in water, not destroyed by death, but buried by death’s destroyer, not by the law of nature, but by the governing command that is stronger than nature. For what has been done by nature may perchance be undone, but what has been done by His command, never. Nothing is more blessed than this burial, at which all are rejoicing: angels and men, and the Lord of Angels …Would you like to see the symbol of this? I will show you a pool wherein the one was buried, the other raised; in the Red Sea the Egyptians were sunk beneath it, but the Israelites went up from out of it; in the same act he buries the one, generates the other. Do not marvel that generation and destruction both take place in Baptism.”

Origen in his Homilies on Genesis said:

“But he who keeps the commandments not in perfect love, but in dread of future torment and in fear of punishments is indeed also himself a son of Abraham; he too receives gifts, that is, the reward of his work …nevertheless he is inferior to that person who is perfected not in slavish fear, but in the freedom of love …’Leaving the word of the first principles of Christ,’ he is borne to perfection. ‘Seeking the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, not the things that are on the earth,’ he ‘looks not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.’ In the divine Scriptures he does not follow ‘the letter which kills’ but ‘the spirit which quickens.’ From those things he will doubtless be one who does not receive ‘the spirit of bondage again in fear, but the spirit of adoption, whereby they cry, Abba, Father.'”

 

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