Thursday, March 31, 2022

The Foundation Treasure of Prayer

I’m in a new adventure of prayer, and I am so encouraged! 

Partly, it gives me encouragement about the broken condition of the church, that God will help his children surrender to him and unite as commanded. But partly it takes care of me because it keeps my mind on what really matters. We all need to get our strength from the Lord, no matter what anyone else is or is not doing. 

The very first line of request in this prayer is like putting the compass on the map and immediately knowing which direction we are heading. I am going to take that first request and draw attention to each part, and how the parts work together to give us a way of praying that applies to everything in life. 

asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will 

The “you” is plural, meaning the whole Colossian church; the “his” is singular, meaning the one God and his will. 

Every Christian is brought into this to seek the one will of God for the one body of Christ, the one new man, the one holy temple in the Lord.[1] There is no room for us applying this to solitary Christian living, personal dreams and goals, or any of the other self-centered qualities of worldly culture that are so familiar, even in Jesus’ church. 

asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will 

The focus on “his will” is the central issue. Of all people, Paul knew what it was like to self-justify the very best of religiosity, only to suddenly discover God had a will he knew nothing about. He also realized that Jesus was going to do his will to get Paul doing his will. After Paul experienced the transformation of surrendering to Jesus’ will, he now wanted everyone to make God’s will the central thing in the body-of-Christ life of Jesus’ church. 

asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will 

God objectively having a will means very little if we don’t know what it is. This has been a long-standing quandary for me, that God has a will about things we go through, including divisions, and depression, and giving ground to the devil, but people don’t have knowledge of God’s will. When you add to that that many church-folk have no desire to know God’s will, prayer is certainly needed! 

asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will 

Paul did not want any dabbling in God’s will in the individualism that lets us think we can customize his will to our dreams and goals and self-protections. God’s will was not a smorgasbord from which we can pick our favorite interests. Paul was writing this letter from prison! It simply went with the territory of doing God’s will. And Paul wanted the whole Colossian church to be filled to the full with the knowledge of God’s will about everything for everyone. 

asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will 

Paul knew what God wanted. Paul knew that he wanted what God wanted. He was in prison and couldn’t go to Colossae and unite everyone to do God’s will. 

However, he could say that “from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you,” and then tell them what he was “asking” so they would be drawn to join him in both asking for the same thing and joining God’s work to make it happen. 

asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will

Each component of this request is like the colors of the spectrum giving us the wholeness of light. This whole prayer will be like that, different colors and nuances of what matters, but all shining this light of what can happen in a church if everyone together is filled with the knowledge of God’s will. Everything in this prayer IS God’s will, and praying it on a daily basis, memorizing it, hiding it in our hearts, will answer God’s prayer that the knowledge of us will fill our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 

Meditating on this prayer, and beginning to pray it in whatever customized ways apply to anything I am going through, or needs in the lives of others, makes me all the more encouraged to keep praying like this. I can always join with my “two or three” (of any number) who will pray like this with me. I know some personal ways that God is already speaking to us through this prayer and the sharing my prayer group is doing. God is already showing us what he is doing to make this real in our church, and that we have a start of seeing those who are joining him in this work together. 

The spiritual battle rages. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual enemy of our souls.[2] Praying like Paul is how we live as “more than conquerors through him who loved us and gave himself for us.”[3]And those of us who will unite to pray like this will be a huge blessing to those who are unable to do so because they are already defeated. Let’s see which POW’s we can rescue with our prayers while building up those who are praying together in Jesus’ name!


© 2022 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)


[1] This is developed by Paul in Ephesians 2, and then reinforced as a summary in Ephesians 4:1-6, including the application to the whole church in Ephesians 4:7-16.

[2] Ephesians 6:10-20

[3] Romans 8:37

Monday, March 28, 2022

The Joy of the Word of the Truth

I had lots of time to meditate on God’s word this morning, so it was a delight to focus on this expression, the word of the truth, the gospel”.[1] I love the gospel, and I love that everything to do with God, his word, his Word, and the good news of salvation, is truth through and through. In a foreign land that loves lies, the truth is such a wonderful security. 

For a while, I have been considering how churches are doing in taking our stand against the devil’s schemes by putting on the whole armor of God.[2] In particular, my attention has been on the significance of Paul beginning his description of our spiritual armor with “the belt of truth”.[3] With his focus on the church as the “one new man”,[4] I can picture what it should look like to unite as this one new man, or as the one body of Christ,[5] and surround the church with truth so we can face everything in the security of knowing and doing the will of God. 

In the same way as the Roman soldier’s belt held his equipment together, the “belt of truth” is to unite the church so that everything is done according to the truth. This is because a church is already united in faith, hope, and love as the effect of “the word of the truth, the gospel”. To Paul, this is foundational. Wrap the belt of truth around the church and we will know what to do about all the devil’s schemes. Lose the truth and a church loses everything, one lie at a time. 

I ended up going through one of the sections of Psalm 119 where David testifies to his love of God’s word of truth, his delight in God’s word of truth, and his certainty that he would never be ashamed of obeying and honoring God’s word of truth.[6] The fact that he was talking about the old covenant, a temporary measure to guide God’s people until the Christ arrived,[7] makes it all the more convicting to us who now have “the word of the truth, the gospel”. We have a new covenant, with new commandments directly from Jesus Christ, and we have every reason to delight in the “word of the truth, the gospel” with at least as much heartfelt reality as David expressed. 

The Pastoral issue for me is, why is it that people who profess faith in Jesus Christ so often do not express joy and delight when we talk about “the word of the truth, the gospel”? Why are we not overflowing with the faith, love and hope that are inherent to the good news? 

Last night I was watching a teaching video where the speaker was addressing two essentials to growing in our capacity to handle negative emotions. One thing that stood out was that we have two different sources of negative emotions. One comes from our brain interpreting a genuinely scary or painful situation and triggering the Fight-Flight-Freeze component of our response. In this case, there is an objective situation causing the negative emotions, and our brains are doing what they were designed to do to protect us. 

The other source of negative emotions comes from our beliefs attributing them to situations when our brain isn’t even telling us anything is scary or painful. This would include implicit memories where we attach past trauma to present experiences. It explains why can face accusations of things going on to cause someone else to feel negative emotions when there is no objective evidence that anything has happened. The negative emotions are real, and the reasons for them being there are real, even though they do not belong to the situation that is presently unfolding. 

How does this answer my question about why so many church-folk do not attach to the “word of the truth, the gospel” as if it is “good news of great joy”[8]? 

Paul says that the reason the Colossian Christians emulated faith, love and hope in response to what they “have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel”, was because they “heard it and understood the grace of God in truth”.[9] 

That is such a rich statement, but the essence of it is that these believers understood the good news that the grace of God had given them their salvation. They did not filter the good news through a works-based mindset. They did not deny the grace of God by claiming God couldn’t have loved them. They weren’t constantly believing that God was disappointed in them as if they were a different class of Christian who didn’t quite qualify for the super-abounding-grace of the Plan A gospel. They simply heard the good news of great joy that there was a Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. They understood the grace of God expressed in this good news and trusted that God had said what he meant and meant what he said. 

Which means that the reason so many church-folk do NOT emulate faith, love and hope in response to what we “have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,” is because we have NOT “understood the grace of God in truth”. 

Which is exactly what we find when people claim to have received the gospel but without ever feeling like it is “good news of great joy”. It always comes back to not understanding, or not believing, that “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”[10] Because there is a denial of grace towards sinners, there is no joy in how thoroughly they have been saved. 

David’s example of delighting in God’s laws and precepts and commandments under the old covenant directs us in how we can return to joy under the new covenant in Jesus’ blood: by letting God change our minds FROM (repentance) any lies Satan has convinced us to believe about the grace of God in salvation, and to change our minds TO (faith) renewing our minds with “the grace of God in truth” that is revealed in the good news of great joy, the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. 

If churches would invite their people to come together exactly where they are at, including honest admission of struggles to understand the grace of God in the good news, and everyone unites to put the belt of truth on around everyone, God would turn the divisiveness of negative emotions into a return to joy that would glorify God and shame the devil for his deceptively divisive work. 

And it only takes two or three people doing this in Jesus’ name for the truth to do its transforming work, so ask God to give you a couple or few people to unite in the belt of truth, and help each other understand the good news of great joy that we have a perfect Savior who has pronounced his, “It is Finished!” over God’s gift of grace. Receive it; believe it and let yourself “rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,” because you know in your heart of heart that you are “obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”[11]


© 2022 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)


[1] Colossians 1:5

[2] Ephesians 6:10-20

[3] Ephesians 6:14

[4] Ephesians 2:15 in context of Ephesians 2:11-22

[5] Paul makes a strong emphasis on the “one” dynamic of our calling as he calls us to live worthy of that calling in Ephesians 4:1-6

[6] Psalm 119:41-48

[7] Galatians 3:23-29

[8] Luke 2:10-11

[9] Colossians 1:5-6

[10] Ephesians 2:8-9

[11] I Peter 1:8-9

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

A Comforting Surprise of Attachment

One of the greatest wonders of my life is the way the all-knowing God works on me so I can know him. And one of the most consistent ways that he works on me is by leading me to feel my weakness so I can experience his strength. 

Today, my physical side is very tired because of a lingering battle with a cold. 

At the same time, my emotional side is weak with the weariness of grief. 

However, my spiritual side is overwhelmed with wonder at how Father would strike the darkness of my dull-minded heartbrokenness with the light of his revelation and show me a level of attachment that has had me in tears of a whole other kind. In my weakness, his strength has opened my heart with worship. 

The essence of this transformation is a personal invitation into the realities of the Triune God revealing a triune salvation that is so uniquely a work of God but in a way that absolutely demands attachment with me for it to be fulfilled. 

In other words, the work of salvation is all of grace, not of any works, totally a gift of God.[1] And yet, the first act of this salvation was to make me alive in Christ so I can be fully active in what God is doing. On one side, I can’t contribute to my own salvation. On the other side, there is no salvation without me since I am the one being saved! 

Think back to when Jesus first formed dirt into the body of a man. That dirt had no life in and of itself, but when he breathed the breath of life into it, Adam immediately, “became a living creature.”[2] Adam did not contribute to his life, but once he was alive, he was fully engaged in whatever happened next. 

In the same way with our spiritual rebirth, “even when we were dead in our trespasses,” unable to contribute anything to our salvation, God “made us alive together with Christ”.[3] We could not make ourselves alive, but when God made us alive, we cannot be separated from everything else that happens. 

To be clear, the giving of life is completely a work of God in either case, but the moment that life came into Adam’s body, and the moment that life came into my spirit, everything is about union with God. Everything is a testimony of the interactions between God and his child. 

This morning, I can genuinely say that I am sick and tired. That is a very important part of what God did to bless me from his word. But there is this strange spot, like being in the right place at the right time with God, where he surrounds me with the work that only he can do while making me feel fully myself exactly where I am and in exactly what I am going through even though I am clearly a work in progress. 

The triune nature of our salvation is described as justification by grace through faith, which leads to the ongoing work of sanctification by grace through faith, which leads to the certain hope of our glorification by grace through faith. The past is a settled issue in our justification; the present is a settled continuing work in our sanctification, and the future is a settled and certain work of our glorification. It all rests on the fact that, “that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”[4] 

My justification by grace through faith is what makes it possible for God to attach to me so that all the rest of his work can be accomplished. It is this work of justice whereby God’s wrath against my sin has been poured out on his Son in order that God’s righteousness could be poured out upon me.[5] Paul described it like this, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”[6] Only by Jesus becoming sin for us could we become righteousness in him. 

My sanctification by grace through faith is the ongoing work of God in which, “we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”[7] Notice the wonder of our transformation into the same image as our Lord Jesus Christ comes as we are constantly “beholding the glory of the Lord”. To whatever degree we do or do not behold our Savior’s glory affects the degree of transformation that can happen on any given day. Some Christians will receive great rewards in heaven, while others will experience their works being “burned up” so that “he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”[8] We can’t escape this, that we are participants in our own growing up in Christ, and we can affect our spiritual growth as we can affect our physical growth. 

My glorification by grace through faith is my certain hope for the future. The “faith” we have in the present “is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”[9] “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”[10] The faith we have in Christ at present includes our certain hope about the future that God will reward those who seek him. 

While this only touches on the three dimensions of our salvation, the point for me this morning was the state I was in. In the weakness of sickness and grief, God led me to an inner awareness of my place in Christ. His work of working all things together for my good is an active work that activates me. God accomplishes his work by bringing me into it. He does things by getting me to do things. 

My model in this is, of course, our Lord Jesus Christ who said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing.”[11] Jesus related to his Father’s work so that there was no distinguishing any differences except that one was the Father, and the other was the Son. 

We may marvel at the mindboggling reality of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as the One God of the Scriptures. However, we are encouraged to let ourselves relate to them as little children who can know them in this wonder of who they are without needing it all defined and explained to our satisfaction. And when we let ourselves do that, to relate to them as little children, we discover that all three dimensions of our so-great salvation call us to walk in fellowship with God and their people the way the Triune God fellowships together.[12] It is part of being made in their image and likeness, and we have our part to live out as we continue growing to be like them.


© 2022 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)



[1] Ephesians 2:8-9

[2] Genesis 2:8

[3] Ephesians 2:4-5

[4] Philippians 1:6

[5] The word “propitiation” used in the better English translations refers to this work of God where Jesus bore God’s wrath against our sins. Without Jesus propitiating God’s wrath, fully satisfying God’s justice against our sins, there could be no forgiveness.

[6] II Corinthians 5:21

[7] II Corinthians 3:18

[8] I Corinthians 3:15

[9] Hebrews 11:1

[10] Hebrews 11:6

[11] John 5:19-20

[12] Jesus clearly prayed for this in his High Priestly Prayer of John 17.