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The City of Colossae
Colossae or Colosse, was an ancient city of Phrygia, on the Lycus, which is a tributary of the Maeander River. Phrygia was a Roman Province of Asia which today is Turkey. It was situated about 12 miles South East of Laodicea, and near the great road from Ephesus to the Euphrates.
Some sources distinguish Colossae from nearby Chonae or Kona now called Honaz, which they attribute to the middle Ages; others say these were successive names for the same city.
In 396 BC, during the Persian Wars, the satrap Tissaphernes was lured to Colossae and slain by an agent of the party of Cyrus the Younger. Pliny tells that the wool of Colossae gave its name (colossinus) to the color of the cyclamen flower. During the Hellenistic period, the town was of some mercantile importance, although by the 1st century it had dwindled greatly in size and significance.
It does not appear that St. Paul had visited this city when he wrote his Epistle to the Colossians (Colossians 1:2 Colossians 2:1), since he tells Philemon of his hope to visit it upon being freed from prison (Philemon 1:22). It seems that Epaphras was the founder of the Colossian church (Colossians 1:7 Colossians 4:12). (Wikipedia)
The Colossian Church
The apostle Paul had spent two years planting a church in Ephesus, and in Acts 19:10 we learn that, radiating from that center, “all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.” Whether Paul himself fanned out in missionary activity throughout the province or whether some of his converts did so, a church was planted in Colossae. It is likely that Epaphras founded the Colossian church (Colossians 1:7), and from Colossians 1:21 we assume that the church was composed mainly of Gentiles.
Philemon was a citizen of Colossae and an upright leader in that church. He also was a slave holder whose slave Onesimus had escaped, had later encountered the apostle Paul and had responded to the gospel message about Jesus. In the letter to the Colossians, Paul addresses how our relationship to God through Jesus Christ affects us in the workplace. Specifically, he writes about how slaves are to do their work for their masters and how masters are to treat their slaves. The short personal letter to Philemon extends our understanding of Paul’s command in Colossians 4:1.
The Purpose of the Letter
The letters to the Colossians and to Philemon are two of the four so-called “prison epistles,” believed to have been written by Paul from prison in Rome sometime circa 60-62. At that time, Nero was the cruel and insane emperor of the Roman Empire who could ignore the claims of Paul’s Roman citizenship.
From prison, Paul had heard that the Colossian Christians who had at one time been strong in their faith, were now vulnerable to deception about the faith (Colossians 2:4,8,16,18,21-23). He wrote to refute each of the theological errors the Colossians were tempted to embrace. The letters, however, take readers far beyond these issues of deception. Paul cared deeply that all of his readers (today as well as the Colossians two thousand years ago) understood the context of their lives within God’s Story, and what that looks like in their relationships on the job. http://www.theologyofwork.org/
Historical and Theological Themes
There are several areas of theology taught in Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Six of these key teachings are the Deity of Christ, (Colossians 1:15-20 Colossians 2:2-10) reconciliation, (Colossians 1:20-23) redemption, (Colossians 1:13-14 Colossians 2:13-14 Colossians 3:9-11) election, (Colossians 3:12) forgiveness, (Colossians 3:13) and the character of the Church. (Colossians 1:18, 24-25 Colossians 2:19 Colossians 3:11, 15). Heretical teaching was threatening the Colossian Church and Paul addresses this thought in Chapter 2.
The Challenge of Interpretation
There were cults within the Church that denied the deity of Christ. Their argument was based up the statement of Christ as “the firstborn of all creation.” (Colossians 1:15). For these heretics this was proof that Jesus was a created being. Another problem was in Paul’s statement that believers will be “holy and blameless and beyond reproach” if they “continue in the faith.” (Colossians 1:22-23) This statement caused some to teach that a believer can lose his salvation. Some have even argued for the existence of purgatory based on Paul’s words, “I do my share in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.” (Colossians 1:24) Others saw in this statement for baptismal regeneration. (Colossians 2:2) There has also been some misunderstanding on Paul’s statement, “letter … from Laodicea.” (Colossians 4:16)
- Personal Matters (Colossians 1:1-14
- Paul’s Greeting (Colossians 1:1-2
- Paul’s Thankfulness (Colossians 1:3-8)
- Paul’s Prayer (Colossians 1:9-14
- Doctrinal Instruction (Colossians 1:15 – 2:23)
- About Christ Deity (Colossians 1:15-23)
- About Paul’s Ministry (Colossians 1:24 – 2:7)
- About Paul’s False Philosophy (Colossians 2:8-23)
- Practical Exhortations (Colossians 3:1 – 4:18)
- Christian Conduct (Colossians 3:1-17)
- Christian Households (Colossians 3:18 – 4:1)
- Christian Speech (Colossians 4:2-6)
- Christian Friends (Colossians 4:7-18
Paul begins this letter to the Colossians in the usual customary way of the day, it is also a salutation that was signature for all of Paul’s letters to the Churches. In his opening he follows the three steps that was the custom of the day and the general way in which Paul greeted all those to whom he wrote. First Paul identifies himself as the author of the letter. Second Paul addresses the letter to those who he is writing to. And third Paul gives a short spiritual greeting of wishing grace and peace from the Father which he did in all 13 of his epistles.
Paul qualifies his authority by stating that he is an apostle of Jesus Christ. As an apostle Paul is a sent one, which is the meaning of the word apostle. Paul was sent by God to lead the Christian believers. An apostle leads the believers through the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Being an apostle is not something that a man may choose to do but it is a calling from God. God chooses His apostles. In Luke chapter 6 we read how Jesus spent the night in prayer to learn who He should choose as His apostles. On the Road to Damascus Jesus appeared to Paul and chose him to be an apostle for Jesus Christ. (Acts 9) in Acts 22:1-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:1-11) Paul gives a description how God chose him and therefore this letter, and the letters of Paul, are written with the authority of God.
Paul also identifies Timothy who was with Paul at the time he wrote this letter. Timothy had spent several years traveling with Paul and working in the mission with him. A few years later after this letter was written Paul wrote two letters to Timothy. (1&2 Timothy) Paul identifies Timothy our brother. This is a true statement as believers in Jesus Christ we are children of God. (John 1:12) We are all brothers and sisters through Christ as children of God who is our heavenly Father.
This letter is addressed to the saints at Colossae. Believers in Jesus Christ are to be separated from those who are living for this world. The word holy and saint have similar meaning and both mean to be separate. It means that the believer has left the old sinful ways that they used to live while in the world and are now seeking the righteous life of Jesus Christ. The saint no longer belongs to himself but has been purchased by the blood of God’s Son Jesus Christ. Therefore the Saint has been redeemed and belongs to God. The saint is one who has been called to serve and worship God the Father almighty.
Grace is the unmerited favor that God shows towards his people. God shows his grace towards all people in that they receive gifts from Him regardless of their relationship with Him. All are given the day to live in, the sun shines on the unrighteous as well as the righteous, and so on. As believers in God through His Son Jesus, God displays a special grace even though they do not deserve it and cannot earn it. Grace then means that God the Father is loving, kind and generous towards His children. This grace comes to the believer through Jesus. God will give the Christian all that is needed for the Christian life.
In the Hebrew language peace is shalom. This word was the traditional blessing throughout the Old Testament. (Numbers 6:24-26) This is still true today amongst the Jewish people. Peace is more than the opposite of war and noise. Peace is a calmness in the spirit that only God can give by a right relationship with Him. The peace of God effects every aspect of the Christians life and their relationships with other people. A person cannot have God’s peace without God’s grace.
As is always customary with Paul he expresses his thankfulness to God for the people who read his letters. Paul prayed for the Churches that he had visited, he prayed for the Churches that he had heard about, and he prayed for the Churches that he wrote to. In this letter the word we is inclusive of Timothy who was with him. Paul wrote this letter while imprisoned in Rome and Timothy was there with him as an aid to the ministry.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the full title ascribed to Him by Paul. The use of the word lord means that Jesus had complete authority from the Father. (Matthew 28:18) The New Testament was written in Greek, and the name “Jesus” here means the same in Greek as the Hebrew name “Joshua.” “Joshua” means literally God is salvation. So the angel’s message to Joseph was “You shall call His name ‘God is salvation,’ for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) That name tells us of Jesus’ purpose in God’s plan which it is through Him that God saves humanity. The name Christ is a Greek word and in Hebrew the word is Messiah. Its meaning is that this is the one who God has anointed. To anoint is to mark a person in a special way as one to accomplish a special task. Often people were marked by the use of oil which was a sign that God had chosen that person for a special service. God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 10:38)
Epaphras was apparently visiting Ephesus and heard Paul’s teaching while there. As a result he was saved and returned to his home in Colossae. When returning to his home Epaphras founded the Church in Colossae. Epaphras told Paul about the Christians in Colossae and it could mean that Paul himself had never visited the Church at Colossae. There are people who believe the facts about Jesus but do not follow Him in faith and therefore they do not change their behavior. The Christians of Colossae believed and trusted in Jesus and as a result they truly loved other Christians. Love is more than an emotion or physical desire for another person it is a spiritual concern for the welfare of others. In (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Paul gives definition to what love is. Epaphras must have seen these qualities in the Christians at Colossae.
Epaphras taught the Christians in Colossae the true meaning of the gospel. The gospel is the good news about Jesus’ victory over sin and death by his work on the cross. The gospel, the good news, is for all of mankind. God can forgive people of their sin because of the work that Jesus did on the cross. Jesus lived a perfect life and was the unblemished Lamb of God who was sacrificed upon the cross to take away the sin of the world. At the writing of this letter to the Colossians false teachings had entered into the Church. Paul wrote this letter to remind the Christians at Colossae the true message of the gospel.
This Colossian is described in many ways. He was Paul’s “fellow-servant” and “servant,” his “fellow-prisoner,” and a “faithful minister.” He was also Paul’s representative at Colossae where he had founded the church (Colossians 1:7), and sought under Paul’s advice to combat prevalent heresies there. The apostle had affection for Epaphras, who ministered unto his need and the need of others.
It is in his prayer-ministry, however, that Epaphras is conspicuous. This giant in prayer knew how to lay all before the Lord, and laboring in secret, made the saints to be perfect and complete in their standing through his kneeling. He “strove earnestly in his prayers” for the Colossians. He wrestled in prayer that they might be perfect in the perfection of Christ, and “fully assured in all the will of God.” Paul also testified to the perseverance as well as the prayers of Epaphras. He knew how to toil on behalf of the saints of God. He was practical as well as prayerful.
His prayers for the stability and maturity of others were numerous, continuous and strenuous. Epaphras brought to Paul at Rome a report of the Colossian Church where he had ministered in Paul’s stead, an account that cheered his heart and resulted in the writing of the Colossian Epistle which Epaphras took back with him to his flock. Can we say that we are true successors of the devoted servant of God? Like him, do we know how to wrestle in agony of prayer? (Romans 15:30). Epaphras also manifested great zeal or properly “great labor of anxiety” for those under his care. Too few of us are concerned about the spiritual welfare of others. © 1988 Zondervan.
People who believe and trust in Jesus will come alive in their spirit. The Holy Spirit which indwells the believer brings new life to the Christian. Upon our departure and death in this world the spirit will live forever with God. The day is soon coming when Jesus will return to this world. (Acts 1:9-11) It is then that Jesus will take the Christians to live with Him in the home that He has prepared. (John 14:1-4) There are many good things that will happen for the Christian when they depart this world.
- They will be with Jesus in his glory. (Colossians 3:4)
- They will be like Jesus. (John 3:2)
- He will give them a new body for their new life, which will be in heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:39-45)
- He will reward them for what they have done on earth. (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)
- They will not die again. And they will not be sad or have any pain. (Revelation 21:4)
Jesus commanded His followers to take the message of the gospel to the uttermost parts of the world. (Acts 1:8) In this verse Paul did not mean that this had actually happened. Paul meant that the gospel message had travel to many places far from Israel and unto the known world. This work is still being done today as missionaries are carrying the gospel message to every country in the world. As a result more and more people are becoming followers of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom is expanding.
It was not possible for Paul to visit every place himself. Just as it was not possible for Jesus to spread the message Himself and chose disciples to be sent to do the work for the harvest. So Paul had disciples also as we are commanded to go and make disciples. (Matthew 28:19) Epaphras was one of those disciples of Paul who came for Colossae. (Colossians 4:12) Paul referred to Epaphras as a servant of Christ. Because of the false teachings that had entered into the Church at Colossae Paul in this letter emphasized that Epaphras had taught them the truth about Jesus Christ. The proof that Paul states in the lives of the Christians in Colossae is the fruit of the Holy Spirit which is love. (Galatians 5:22-23) Christians cannot demonstrate the love of Christ unless the Holy Spirit is helping them. Some of these false teachers had been Jews so in this letter Paul refers to Jesus as the true Christ. Paul emphases that Jesus is the Messiah.
Titles of Christ
|Name or Title||Significance||Biblical Reference|
|Adam, Last Adam||First of the new race of the redeemed.||1 Corinthians 15:45|
|Alpha and Omega||The beginning and ending of all things||Revelation 21:6|
|Bread of Life||The one essential food||John 6:35|
|Corner Stone||A sure foundation for life||Ephesians 2:20|
|Chief Shepherd||Protector, sustainer, and guide||1 Peter 5:4|
|Firstborn from the Dead||Leads us unto resurrection and eternal life||Colossians 1:18|
|Good Shepherd||Provider and caretaker||John 10:11|
|Great Shepherd of the Sheep||Trustworthy guide and protector||Hebrews 13:20|
|High Priest||A perfect sacrifice for our sins||Hebrews 3:1|
|Holy One of God||Sinless in His nature||Mark 1:24|
|Immanuel (God With Us)||Stands with us in all of life’s circumstances||Matthew 1:23|
|King of kings, Lord of lords||The Almighty, before whom every knee will bow||Revelation 19:16|
|Lamb of God||Gave His life as a sacrifice on our behalf||John 1:29|
|Light of the World||Brings hope in the midst of darkness||John 9:5|
|Lord of Glory||The Power and Presence of the living God||1 Corinthians 2:8|
|Mediator between God and Man||Brings us into God’s presence redeemed and forgiven||1 Timothy 2:5|
|Only Begotten of the Father||The unique, one-of-kind Son of God||John 1:14|
|Prophet||Faithful proclaimer of the truths of God||Acts 3:22|
|Savoir||Delivers from sin and death||Luke 1:47|
|Seed of Abraham||Mediator of God’s covenant||Galatians 3:16|
|Son of Man||Identifies with us in our humanity||Matthew 18:11|
|The Word||Present with God at the Creation||John 1:1|
As an apostles of Jesus Christ Paul had a deep concern for the Christians at the Church of Colossae. Here in these verses we hear the prayer of Paul for them. It would be a good prayer for each Church leader to pray for the flock that they lead.
The false teachers that had entered into the Church thought they had special knowledge and wisdom. It was then their purpose to teach this special knowledge and wisdom to the members of the Church at Colossae. But these false teachers did not believe in the true God and they were leading many Christians astray. Paul’s approach was not to try to correct the false teachers but to remind the Christians about the truth of God. There are several places in this letter that Paul does this. In Paul’s prayers he was praying that the Christians would learn more and more about God.
The knowledge of God is not an inner impression or feeling but a deep through knowledge of the will of God that is fully revealed in the word of God. This knowledge cannot be discovered by the people themselves. It is the Holy Spirit that teaches the Word of God. (Ephesians 1:17) God wants people to have a relationship with Him and to do this people must strive to know Him more and more. God wants everybody to hear the good news of the gospel that He can forgive sins. A person who knows God learns wisdom and understanding from the Holy Spirit. (James 3:13-18) Wisdom is the ability to accumulate and organize principles from scripture and understanding is the application of those principles to daily living.
If the Christian is led by the Holy Spirit then he learns to live in the right way. The Christian will know what God wants them to do. Christians who learn of Jesus and follow His teachings will begin to behave like Him. Paul tells them how the gospel is spreading and that it is producing fruit. Spiritual fruit is the by-product of living a righteous life. The Bible describes spiritual fruit as leading others to Christ. This is the role of the Christian to lead others to Christ. (Matthew 28:18) This is our commission and command from Jesus. If the Christian truly loves Jesus then he will obey His Word. (John 14:15)
The Christian cannot please God unless God helps him by giving the Christian the power to live in the right way. (Philippians 4:13) As the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, (Genesis 1-2:3) God is all powerful. Jesus died on the cross for our sins but the power of God made Him alive again. (Ephesians 1:19-21) The Christian can have that same power in their life as they trust Jesus more and more each day. Being a Christian does not mean they will not have troubles in their life and most Christians will suffer for the sake of their faith in Jesus. (1 Peter 4:12-16) Paul knew the power of God in his life because he had received it. (Colossians 1:29) When God’s people have this power they will have peace in their spirit. God wants the Christian to be steadfast and patient in their walk of faith. Patience has more to do with enduring the difficult circumstances in life and steadfastness looks to enduring difficult people.
In verses 9-11 we have described how God helps the Christian each day. Verses 13-14 reminds us what God has done for us in the past. In verse 12 we see the promises of the good things in the future. But none of this can be received without Christ. It is Christ who makes us holy so that we will be able to receive His gifts.
The Scriptures refer to light as God’s divine truth. (Psalm119:130) God lives in the light, God lives in truth, and the truth of God is too pure for us to be in the presence of God. God’s light is too bright for us to look at. (1 Timothy 6:16) Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world.’ When we trust him, we shall have his light in our lives (John 8:12).
Darkness is the opposite of light and refers to Satan and his deeds. Darkness also refers to time that people do not know God. Satan has power over the lives of people until they turn and trust Christ. The Kingdom means the place where Christ rules as the King of kings. When people are living in darkness are they under the rule of Satan and in his kingdom. When people turn and trust Jesus they are transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Satan no longer sits on the throne of their lives as Jesus now sits there. Satan no longer has power over the Christians life. Christ now rules in their life. Christ has forgiven their sins and helps them to live holy lives. We can also read an explanation of this in Romans Chapter 6.
As mentioned before there were false teachings within the Church of Colossae. One of the heresy’s threatening the Colossian Church was the denial of the deity of Christ. Paul combats this element of heresy with an emphatic defense of Christ’s deity.
Nobody has seen God the Father because He is a Spirit. (John 1:18) We cannot see God because He does not have a physical body as we. Jesus said, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9) Jesus has the same nature and character as God so as we learn more of Jesus we learn more of God. Jesus was before the creation and has the honor over all that God has created. Paul made emphases of this many times in his letter. Jesus existed before He had a physical body, as God created all physical things by means of Jesus.
He also created all things that are not physical and this includes angels and spirits. In this verse heavens refers to the expanse above us rather than the dwelling place of God. Christians believe that the heavenly host are the holy angels that serve God. But there are also evil angels and spirits that serve Satan. The false teachers worshiped the angels. (Colossians 2:18) The false teachers also believed that there were many ranks of angels and spirits. Paul list 4 of these ranks in the angels and spirits but this does not mean that Paul agreed with the false teaching. These four ranks are Thrones, Dominions, Rulers, and Authorities. The emphases of Paul in this letter is that Christ is greater than all the angels and spirits, as God in Christ created them. Jesus has power over them as they are creatures of His creation. God created everything for Christ and for this reason everything exists.
Through Christ all of creation remains on its true course. Christ maintains all that is physical. It has been said that if the sun, moon and stars varied even one degree from their course the universe would fail to exist. Christ also maintains everything that is not physical. Christ is the ruler of everything that He created.
Christ is also the head of the Church. The Church means all the Churches in all the world. The word Church does not refer to buildings or grounds but to the people who make up the congregation of the Church. Christ no longer lives in a physical body but lives in all the Christians by means of His Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:9-11) Today Christ lives on earth in His Church, the Christians. The body of Christ is His Church and He is the head, the ruler of His Church.
Others in the Bible have come back from the dead only to die again. Jesus was resurrected from the dead never to die again. Christ is the first born of the dead and has a new body. The Church began when Jesus became alive again and the Christians, Christ body, will have eternal life also because of Christ. Each Christian will receive a new body that will never die.
Jesus is referred as the God-Man. Jesus was fully man and He is fully God. God lived in Christ body and will continue to live in Christ forever. God put everything He had into Christ and put everything that He is into Christ. Christ was the fullness of God. (John 14:8-10)
Adam and Eve sinned because they did not obey God’s Word. Because of this they no longer were friends of God and they became God’s enemies. God sent them away from the Garden of Eden, the paradise He had created for them. Since that time everyone has sinned and sin separates man from God. Sin also affects the physical world that God had created. (Genesis 3) Christ’s death also affects people and everything He created. One day the physical world will be free from the effects of sin. (Romans 8:19-21) One day there will be a New Heaven and a New Earth. (1 Peter 3:13) There will no longer be the effects of sin there.
Sin has caused God to be angry. (Ephesians 5:6) Sin brought death into the world just as God had warned Adam and Eve. (Romans 6:23) God sent His Son Jesus to live a perfect life and die on the cross to pay the sin debt of the world. Instead of God punishing us He punished His Son Jesus. Here Paul reminds the Christian of Colossae that Christ has made them clean from their sin. Through Christ they were holy in the eyes of God and therefore God is not angry towards the Christians. The Christians were not separate from God as through Christ the relationship between man and God had been restored. This is the Love of God that He has united people with Himself through His Son Jesus Christ. All of this is the good news of the gospel message.
This does not mean that everyone will be saved from the wrath of God. The Bible makes it very clear that many will refuse to become friends with God and will remain God’s enemies.
The Christians had heard the true message of the gospel and they had believed it. Then they began to listen to the false teachings and fall away from the truth. In Paul’s letter to the Colossians Paul urged the Christians to continue to believe in God’s truth. The purpose of Paul’s letter is to further explain the truth of the message of the gospel. Only the truth found in the gospel of Jesus Christ would cause Christianity to spread and produce good fruit.
One heresy that was threatening the Colossian Church was the denial of the deity of Christ. Here in these verses Paul combats this heresy with an emphatic defense of the deity of Jesus Christ. The purpose of Paul is that the more the Christian knows about Jesus the better he can defend his faith in Jesus.
In John 1:18 we read that no one has seen God the Father. That God the Father is a Spirit. We cannot see God because a Spirit cannot be seem by the physical eye. Jesus said that “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9) Jesus has the same nature and character as God. When we learn more about Jesus we also learn more about God. Jesus was before creation and God put Jesus in the position of honor over all of creation. Many times in this letter of Paul this truth is emphasized. Jesus is the first born of all creation. This verse here is the cause of some of the false teaching in the Colossian Church. The false teacher stated that Jesus was a created being. This view grew out of the misrepresentation of the use of the word firstborn. The Jewish hierarchy of the family gave the firstborn male the right to inheritance. In most cases this is true. This word in most cases refers to preeminence in position or rank. The word firstborn is used of Israel (Exodus 4:22 Jeremiah 31:9) but Israel was not the first nation but was the preeminent nation of God. Therefore, in this context firstborn means highest in rank, not first created. (Psalm 89:27 Revelation 1:5) Jesus existed before creation and is exalted above creation.
Jesus also existed before He had a physical body. All things physical were created by God through Jesus. God also created all things that are not physical through Jesus. This includes the angels and the spirits. Both God and Satan have angels as one third of the heavenly host fell with Satan. (Revelation 12:4) The teachers of the false doctrine were also worshipping angels. This is something we are not to do as the angels are created beings also. (Revelation 22:8-9) They also believed that the angels had ranks and Paul listed four of these ranks. Thrones, dominions, rulers and authorities. Paul listed them in order to say that Jesus was greater and had authority over the angels. God through Jesus created the angels. Everything was created by God for Christ and Christ is the reason that everything exists.
The physical creation is held together by Christ. The sun, moon and stars maintain their course through the power of Christ. The universe is ordered by Christ and every day that we live is a gift made possible through Christ. Christ is also the creator and maintainer of the unphysical as well. Without the hand of Christ nothing would exist as He is the ruler of all His creation.
It was Christ that created the Church and He is the head of the Church. The believers in Christ, the Christians, are the body of Christ and He is the head of the body. Christ lives in the body of His Church by means of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:9-11) Christ lives and rules here on earth in His Church the Christians.
Jesus died on the cross but rose again from the dead and is alive this day and forever more. There are some people in the Bible who died and became alive again. (2 Kings 4:32-37 John 11:38-44) But they were only resuscitated but Jesus was resurrected and will never die again. Christ was the first to become permanently alive again and was given a new body, a glorified body. The beginning of the Church of God was when Jesus was risen from the dead. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that Christians will also become permanently alive again because of Jesus Christ. The Christian also will receive a glorified body.
Jesus was not just a man but also He was God. God lived through Jesus’ human body and continues to live through Christ forever. God put all that He had into His Son Jesus Christ. God placed His character, nature and power into Christ and He was full of God the Father. (John 14:8-10) No part of God was missing from the life of Christ. (Colossians 2:9)
Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s Word and therefore sinned against God. As a result they were no longer friends of God as the fellowship had been broken by their sin. They became enemies of God and therefore God sent them away. Everyone bears the sin of Adam and Eve as well as their own sin. This sin in man separates us from God. Not only man is affected by sin but also the physical world as well. (Genesis 3) The atoning work of Christ on the cross affects people and it also affects the physical world too. Someday the physical world will be free from the effects of sin. (Romans 8:19-21) There is a new heaven and a new earth ahead in the future. (1 Peter 3:13)
God is righteously angry about the sin in the world. (Ephesians 5:6) As God had warned Adam that sin causes death. (Romans 6:23) God sent His Son Jesus into the world to live a righteous life, a life without sin. Jesus died on the cross as the Lamb of God, a perfect sacrifice for our sin. The wage of sin is death but God did not punish us but punished His Son for our sin. Paul reminded the Christians at Colossae that Christ died on the cross to take away their sin and to redeem them. Jesus had made the Christian holy unto God, separated from the world. God is no longer angry at the Christians as they are not enemies to God. The fellowship the Christian has been restored with God through Jesus Christ. This is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This does not mean that everyone will be saved from the wrath of God. The Scriptures make it clear that many people will refuse the free gift of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. They will remain God’s enemies.
The Christians of Colossae had heard the true message of the gospel and they had believed it. False teachers had entered into the Church and they had begun to believe what they were teaching. Paul was urging them to return to the true message of God. Paul wrote this letter to the Church at Colossae to give a redefinition of the message of God. Paul, and other Christians, preached the true gospel in all areas around the known world. Only the true gospel message would cause Christians to continue to spread and produce the good fruit.
Christ had suffered and died upon the cross for the purpose of the forgiveness of sin. The work of Christ on the cross was complete. (John 19:30) The meaning of this verse is not that Christ has to suffer again for the sin of the world. When the Christian suffers the Lord Jesus Christ suffers with them. Paul used to persecute the Christians and by doing so he hurt the Lord Jesus Christ as well. (Acts 9:4) Paul wrote this letter while in prison and was suffering because he preached the gospel message of Jesus. Paul was not discouraged as he was happy to preach the gospel for Christ.
|The Secret of the Good News|
|In Paul’s letters, the word secret (sometimes translated mystery) is applied to the Good News. Sometimes secret is used as an abbreviation for the Good news itself. (Colossians 2:2 Colossians 4:3 1 Corinthians 2:1 Ephesians 1:9 Ephesians 6:19) Frequently, as in Colossians 1:26, Paul claims that the secret had been hidden in the past but now has been revealed. (Romans 16:25 I Corinthians 2:7 Ephesians 3:9) Paul does not mean by this that the Good News is a secret that has to be probed. He adapts the term from Jewish apocalyptic teaching. (the tern apocalyptic is from a Greek word that means “uncovering” or “revelation”; the same word is used as the name for the book Revelation) In the apocalyptic perspective, the plan God has mapped out for all of history already exist in His mind but is hidden from human eyes until God choses to disclose it. For Paul, the secret plan has now been disclosed in Christ, and is broadcast through the word by His apostles.Through the Old Testament prophets, God foretold many elements of the Good News, but He kept some aspects of it hidden until He revealed them in the New Testament era. These include the full participation of Gentiles as fellow-heirs with Jews: (Colossians 1:27 Ephesians 3:1-9) the indwelling of Christ in believers (Colossians 1:27 Colossians 2:2); and the union of Christ and the Church, as illustrated by the union of husband and wife. (Ephesians 5:32) But some elements of God’s plan are still hidden and await further revelation, such as the salvation of all Israel (Romans 11:25) and the transfiguration of Christians at the time of Christ return. (1 Corinthians 15:51)|
Paul served the Church of God as an Apostle. Ephesians 4:11-13 tells us how an apostle served in the Church. Paul here declares that he had given the Church in Colossae the complete message about the gospel. The Church there did not need the secret information that the false teachers pretended to possess. The past message from God was complete and the Jews had that message in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament some of God’s plan was revealed to them. Their interpretation was that God’s plan was only for the Jew. The compete plan of God was made known when Jesus Christ came. The mystery was that Christ lives in the Gentile Christian and the Jewish Christian. (Ephesians 3:7-12) At the second coming of Christ every Christian will live with Him and share in His glory.
There are five parts of this mystery that we can look at. The truth of this mystery include the incarnate God, (Colossians 2:2-3,9) Israel’s unbelief, (Romans 11:25) lawlessness, (2 Thessalonians 2:7) the unity of the Jew and the Gentile made one in the Church, (Ephesians 3:3-6) and the rapture of the Church. (1 Corinthians 15:51)
Paul’s message was that of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul also taught Christians how to grow in their spiritual maturity. Paul did not want them to remain stagnate. (Hebrews 5:11 Hebrews 6:3) The false teachers in the Church had said that they had secret wisdom and power. True wisdom that comes from God helps every Christian and enables them to know Christ more.