Colossians is a very important book in the Bible because it talks about the preeminence of Christ. How Christ is first place in the believer’s life or better still how He should be first place in the believer’s life and how the believer has a testimony that witnesses how he believes the Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
That Colossians is a letter of Paul’s is not disputed and in the early church all ascribe it to the apostle Paul. In the nineteenth century however, some thought the heresy refuted in chapter two was called second century gnosticism, but if you look at it carefully it’ll show that the heresy there is noticeable less developed than the gnosticism of leading Gnostic teachers of the second and third century. Also the seeds of what eventually became full blown, gnosticism that was prevalent in the second century were also present in the first century and already making inroads into the churches. Consequently it is not necessary to date Colossians in the second century at a time too late for Paul to have written the letter. Paul wrote the letter. He wrote it during his first imprisonment in Rome [Acts 28:16-31]. It was written about 60A.D. the same year as Ephesians and Philemon were written.
Several hundred years before Paul’s day Colossae had been a leading city in Asia Minor, which today is Turkey, it was located on the great east/west trade route from Ephesus on the Aegean Sea to the Euphrates river, by the first century A. D., Colossae was diminished to a second rate market town. It had been surpassed in power and importance by the neighboring towns of Laodicea and Hierapolis. What gave Colossae NT importance however was that during Paul’s three year ministry in Ephesus was that Epaphras had been converted and had carried the gospel to Colossae [Col. 1:7-8; Acts 19:10]. The young church that resulted from Epaphras ministry became the target of heretical attack, which led to Epaphras visit to Paul in Rome and ultimately to the penning of the Colossian letter.
Paul never explicitly describes the false teaching he opposes in the Colossian letter. The nature of the heresy must be inferred from statements he made and opposition to the false teacher. An analysis of his reputation suggests that the heresies were diverse in nature, in other words there were many heresies. Some of the elements of the heretical teachings were first of all, ceremonialism. It held to strict rules about religious festivals, foods, drink, religious rules and circumcision [Col. 2:11,16-17; 3:11]. A second heresy was asceticism [Col. 2:21], basically asceticism was being harsh on your body because your bodies no good they taught. Then they taught angel worship [Col. 2:18] and fourthly the depreciation of Christ [Col. 1:15-20; 2:2-3, 9] this implied in Paul’s stress the supremacy of Christ. Paul’s stressing how supreme Christ is because these Gnostics had depreciated Christ. A fifth thing was the secret knowledge. Gnostics boasted of secret knowledge and Paul refutes that in [Col. 2:2-3]. The sixth heresy taught reliance on human wisdom and tradition. These elements seem to fall into two categories when you get right down to it Jewish and Gnostic its likely therefore that the Colossian heresy was a mixture of an extreme form of Judaism and an early stage of gnosticism. The central teaching of gnosticism is that, the spirit is essentially good and matter is entirely evil. From this unbiblical dualism flowed five important errors.
#1 Man’s body which is matter is therefore evil it is to be contrasted with God
who is Holy Spirit and therefore good.
#2 Salvation is the escape from the body achieved not by faith in Christ but by
#3 Christ true humanity was denied in two ways first some said Christ only
seemed to have a body, this view is called ducetism and it comes from the Greek dokeo. Secondly they taught that the Divine Christ joined the man Jesus at his baptism and left him before he died. This view is called syrenthianism.
#4 Since the body was considered evil it was to be treated harshly and this is called asceticism.
#5 This dualism led to licentiousness. The reason was that since matter and not the breaking of God’s law was considered evil breaking God’s law was of no moral consequence.
The purpose and theme of Colossians:
Paul’s purpose is to refute the Colossian heresy and to accomplish this goal he exalts Christ as the very image of God, the Creator, the preeminence of all things, head of the church, the first to be resurrected from the dead, as the fullness of Deity and as the reconciler. Thus what Paul is saying is that Christ is completely adequate. The theme of Colossians is the complete adequacy of Christ as contrasted with the emptiness of mere human philosophy.
[Col. 1:1] – Paul refers to his apostleship because he is unknown by the Colossians and as he refers to being an apostle he refers to an authoritative title. That is he’s saying I’m equal with the original 12 apostles and the one who replaced Judas later on. He was an apostle because he was first of all, called by God. One of the qualifications of an apostle was they had to have seen the Risen Christ [Acts 1:22; I Cor. 15:8]. It is in this capacity that he is writing to combat error. Paul makes plain that he is the Lord’s ambassador given the power to perform miracles [II Cor. 12:12]. There are not any apostles in the world today in the strict sense of the word and it is foolish for a man to claim to be a successor of the original apostles. No one alive today has seen the Risen Christ and no one today can perform the miracles the apostles did [Rev. 16:14]. In regards to the false healing campaigns we see today and the preacher saying that so and so wasn’t healed because they didn’t have enough faith we need to see the Bible doesn’t teach that. [Mark 2:1-5] the Bible says when Jesus saw their faith and it is referring to the faith of the four friends and not the faith of the sick man. Therefore the so-called healing preacher should be able to heal on the basis of his faith and not the faith of the individual and the reason he can’t is because no man today can perform the miracles the apostles did. Now the apostles laid the foundation of the church and then the evangelists, pastors and teachers carried the church from the foundation the apostles laid as we see in [Eph. 4:11].
God quit speaking to man once the Bible was completed. If the Lord speaks to you today it must be consistent with His Word. God is not speaking today that would be adding to His Word. If God speaks to you today it must be through His Word and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. So God quit speaking to man once the Bible was completed He said what He meant and meant what He said. It’s enough for all time. Once the apostles built the church tongues stopped and as a matter of fact they are never mentioned again after I Corinthians 14.
Paul’s appointment was by the will of God. Our call comes from God and Him alone. God does not call women to preach in the pulpit [Rev. 2:20]. References for the role of women in the church as pertains to teaching are found in [Titus 2:3-5; II Tim. 3:15; I Tim. 2:9-12]. Paul never claims independent merit or personal power his call was by the will of God.
Timothy was not an apostle he was a brother and as an act of courtesy Paul includes this trustworthy brother in the salutation.
[Col. 1:2] – this speaks of their divine relationship with God and the word saints means holy ones who are born again and it means that they were separated to God, separated by God and separated to the world. The main idea is not excellence of character but separation to God for His purpose and His service. The words faithful brethren here refers to their human relationship they were full of faith, they were trustful and trustworthy and loyal to Jesus Christ. This refers to their lifestyle so Paul refers to them as faithful brethren it doesn’t mean they did not sin but that they were devoted to Christ. It is a reference to their spiritual nobility in Christ.
Grace is God’s unmerited favor. God gives us what we do not deserve. Mercy withholds from us what we do deserve but grace gives us what we don’t deserve. Grace always precedes peace. Grace pictures God stooping down to sinful humanity in loving us with tender compassion.
Peace speaks of the calm tranquility of heart amidst disturbing circumstances. No matter what we face we can have the peace of God. Peace summarizes all that happens in the life of a person when he accepts God’s grace as a free gift. R. J. Little said, “Grace can mean many things and is like a blank check. Peace is definitely a part of the Christian heritage and we should not allow Satan to rob us of it.” The order of the words is important grace first, then peace. If God had not first acted in love and showed mercy toward us we would still be in our sins and on our way to hell. But because God took the initiative and sent His Son to die for us we now have peace with God, peace with man and the peace of God in our souls.
[Col. 1:3] – it seems as if Paul always began his prayers with praise to the Lord and is a good example for us all to follow. His prayer is addressed to the God and Father f our Lord Jesus Christ. Prayer is the unspeakable privilege of having audience with the Sovereign God of the universe. The One who is infinitely high is infinitely nigh because as believers in Christ we share His life and God is our Father also. Paul prayer continually for those who were on his prayer list practicing what he preached and we should do the same.
[Col. 1:4] – there are no secret believers and Paul having heard of their faith in Christ; shows us that the Christians at Colossae were Christ centered, they rested in Christ and had a vital spiritual union with Christ and they were anchored in Christ. This points out that if a person has truly received Christ has Savior then it is inevitable that he will make public profession of Christ. Love is a fruit of the Spirit and it is the evidence of faith. Love is the characteristic mark of Christianity. It is not superficial friendliness. These Christians were not isolationists they loved everyone no matter their disposition or position and this speaks of the depth of brotherly fellowship and the depth of brotherly concern. These people were not indifferent to the needs of, others, nor disapproving, or critical to the needs of others.
[Col. 1:5] – it is not an account of the hope but because of the hope this states the cause or reason for their love. Paul in this verse is listing the three cardinal virtues of the Christian life faith, love, and hope [I Cor. 13:13; I Thess. 1:3].
Lightfoot says this, “faith rests on the past, love works in the present and hope looks to the future. Here the word hope means the fulfillment of our salvation when we shall be taken to heaven and enter in to our eternal inheritance. They had heard the gospel from Epaphras, before Gnosticism had crept in. Knowledge of this hope came through the Word of God. Truth is the very essence of the gospel and Paul speaks of faith the beginning of the Christian life, which lays hold of Christ. Love lives in the present and links together faith and hope and hope looks toward the future and anticipates the crown. The gospel is true because it is God’s Word.
[Col. 1:6] – from the very time we got saved the Word of Truth has been present with us. The church must germinate or terminate. It must evangelize or proselytize. [John 15:1-5; 12:24] we must bear fruit for the kingdom. The gospel bears fruit in the salvation of souls and the growth of the saints and it also spreads from city to city and nation to nation. He says here since the day you heard. The fruit bearing and growing began the day you heard it and it continues to this day. The grace of God was fully apprehended and should have made them immune from Gnosticism, which is creeping unknowingly. These people needed to be rooted, grounded and established in the Word of God.
[Col. 1:7] – Epaphras was their teacher and a native of Colossae and a minister of Christ. Paul commends Epaphras for his work as a faithful minister of Christ.
[Col. 1:8] – Epaphras had made it known and it was from Epaphras that Paul had learned of the Colossians love in the Spirit.
[Col. 1:9] – having concluded with thanksgiving Paul now begins to make specific intercession for the saints. Paul did not pray in generalities but prayed specifically for the needs of the people. Here he makes four separate requests for the Colossians. He prays for their spiritual insight. He prays for a worthy walk. He prays for an abundant power.
He prays for a thankful spirit. Paul prayed daily and definitely. The knowledge here is in contrast with the Gnostics who were trying to teach them man made rules. It is full super, through knowledge that has a deep accurate comprehension. It is not theoretical but experimental and practical. We can live in the knowledge of God’s will. We are to understand His plan and His purpose for our lives. The cure for Gnosticism is more knowledge of and obedience to God’s Word. In all wisdom, this is a practical good sense statement that is the ability to use knowledge from the Word of God. Spiritual understanding is spiritual insight. Correct apprehension, inner perception and clear discernment and the only way you can know that it to know the Word of God [Joshua 1:8].
[Col. 1:10] – He prays for a worthy walk. Why did the apostle Paul want the Colossians to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will? Because the true purpose of spiritual wisdom and understanding is to enable Christians to walk worthy of the Lord, here we have a very important lesson on the subject of guidance. God does not reveal His will to us in order to satisfy our curiosity. Neither is God’s will to cater to ambition and pride. Rather the Lord shows us His will for our lives in order that we might please Him in all and everything we do. The result of knowing God’s will is that we will walk worthy. Knowledge is not an end in itself. Walk refers to our total conduct and total course of life right knowledge, issues and right conduct. Right conduct is never the product of wrong knowledge. God wants His children to walk worthy in conformity for His purpose for our lives. Our lives should be Christ centered and our walk should be worthy pleasing God in everything and in every way. Christians are to be perennial fruit bearers serving God faithfully and as we do these things we enter in to a deep knowledge of the Lord [Hos. 6:3].
[Col. 1:11] – He prays for an abundant power. We are empowered by His power because according to [Eph. 6:12] we are engaged in spiritual warfare therefore we need spiritual power from God. The word strengthen is in the Greek present tense and it indicates that God keeps continuously and progressively filling us with His dynamic power. The Christian life cannot be lived by mere human energy it requires supernatural strength therefore Paul desires that the believers might know the power of the Risen Son of God and he furthermore desires they should know this according to His glorious power. The request is not that this power might be out of His glorious power but according to His glorious power. His glorious power is limitless and this is the scope of the prayer. Why did Paul want the Christians to have this power? The power is needed so that the child of God might have all patience and longsuffering with joy. There is a greater miracle than all the sensational acts such as speaking in tongues, performing miracles, which we’ve already covered. The greater miracle is a child of God suffering patiently and thanking God in the midst of trials. In [I Cor. 13:4] longsuffering is connected with kindness and here it is connected with joy. We suffer because we cannot escape the groaning of creation to maintain joyfulness within and kindness to others requires God’s power and that gives us Christian victory. The difference between patience and longsuffering has been defined as the difference as enduring without complaint and enduring without retaliation. God’s grace has achieved one of the greatest objects in the life of the believer who can suffer patiently and praise God in the midst of every fiery trial. Patience is steadfast endurance and fortitude and the capacity to see things through. It means remaining under difficult circumstances without succumbing to them.
[Col. 1:12]- He prays for a thankful spirit. Giving thanks for three things that He made us meet, that He made us to be partakers of the inheritance, and that He made us in light. First the verse says that God has made us meet. This means that He has made us adequate. It doesn’t say we were worthy He just made us fit and adequate. He qualified us. He made us sufficient and this is true of every Christian there are no degrees for fitness. Fitness depends on privilege and position not character or experience. Secondly He made us partakers of the inheritance. We’re not purchasers. We have a portion and share as an unearned gift. We inherit because we trusted Christ blood. Thirdly in light, this marks the inheritance as future and heavenly. Light speaks of the realm where there is no darkness and no sin.
[Col. 1:13] – God delivered us and rescued us and liberated us from the power, dominion and authority and tyranny of darkness. Darkness speaks of a miserable horrible state of being held captive by Satan. Darkness is a symbol of ignorance, falsehood and sin. We have been delivered from the power of darkness He has translated us. This is an accomplished fact. God transported, transplanted and transferred us from the devil’s dominion to Christ control and the kingdom of His dear Son. The Son is the object of the Father’s love. Paul rules out the system of eons, which the Gnostics placed above Christ. It is Christ kingdom, which is sovereign. God removed us from the realm of darkness and God established us as colonists and citizens in the realm of light. The kingdom of Christ is seen in scripture in several different aspects. When Christ came to earth the first time Christ offered the Israelites a literal kingdom see notes from Matthew I & II. Christ can only reign over a people who are in a proper relationship to Him. When that was made clear to the Jews they rejected them and crucified their king. Since then the Lord Jesus has gone back to heaven and now we have the kingdom in mystery form. This means that the kingdom does not appear in visible form. The king is absent but all who accept the Lord Jesus Christ in this present age acknowledge Him as their rightful ruler and thus are subjects of His kingdom and in the coming day Christ will come and set up His kingdom and reign for thousand years. At that time He will put down all of His enemies and deliver up the kingdom to the Father.
[II Tim. 3:15] – Timothy was taught the scriptures from his grandmother and mother who taught Timothy at home. Women are not called to preach from the pulpit, certainly all Christians are called to preach and all Christians should preach but women are not to preach the Word of God from the pulpit. The Bible says the pastor is to be the husband of one wife.
[Col. 1:14] – Sturze says this “in this amazing passage which exalts Jesus Christ more than any other His name does not appear even once in any form. While this is remarkable in one sense, yet it is not to be marveled at, for who else but are blessed Savior ever fulfilled the blessed description given to us in this verse. The passage reminds us of Mary’s question to the gardener after she came to the tomb. She said sir, tell me where you have laid Him and I will take Him away [John 20:15]. She did not name Christ so in her mind there was only one person. Likewise in verse 14 Christ name is not mentioned. Now we have redemption because of our vital union with Jesus Christ. Redemption means deliverance, ransom, release, emancipation, redemption speaks of our release on the basis of a ransom and that’s what Jesus did for us. Since we have been purchased at so high a cost it should occur to all of us that we no longer belong to ourselves that we have been bought with a price. Therefore we should not live our lives the way we choose. If we take our lives and do what we want with them we are taking something that does not belong to us and therefore we’re thieves. We are redeemed, by the blood of Christ, and receive forgiveness of sins. Deliverance is exhibited by the forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness is remission the sending away and removal of sins.
[Col. 1:15] – here we are talking about the person of Christ and the image expresses Christ Deity in relation to the Father, it is the very stamp of God as He was before the incarnation [John 17:5]. The Word of God [John 1:1], John is talking about a Divine Person not a philosophical extraction. In the incarnation the invisible God became visible in Christ.
Some false teachers suggest that the Lord Himself is a created being that He was the first person God ever made. Some are even willing to go so far as to admit that He was the greatest creature ever to come from the hand of God. But nothing could be more directly contrary to the Word of God. The expression firstborn has at least three meanings in scripture. In [Luke 2:7] it’s used in a literal sense where Mary brought forth her firstborn son. In [Ex. 4:22] it is used in a figurative sense, God said Israel is my son even my firstborn. In that verse there is no thought of an actual birth having taken place. But the Lord is using this verse to describe a distinctive place, which the nation of Israel had in His purposes. In [Ps. 89:27] the word firstborn is used to designate a place of superiority, a place of uniqueness. Jesus Christ is God’s Son, all believers in one sense are God’s sons but the Lord Jesus is God’s Son in a way that is not true of any other person. He existed before all creation and occupies a place over all creation. The word firstborn here simply means He is God’s Son, by an eternal relationship. It is the title of priority and position. This verse speaks of His pre-existence what He was from eternity. He was before all creation not a part of creation but apart from creation He is not a creature but a Creator. Secondly, this speaks of His supremacy of position. Thirdly, this also speaks of Him being recognized as Messiah. So we have here the eternity, the sovereignty and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
[Col. 1:16] – Three prepositions tell the story of Christ. First of all in Him, He’s the sovereign source. Secondly, by Him, He is the divine agent. Thirdly, unto Him, we’re for His use and for His glory. The first word created in verse 16 is in the Greek aorist tense and it views creation as a definite historical act. The second word created in [v 16] is in the Greek perfect tense and it speaks of the resulting state. Creation stands created a permanent work. We have a Christocentric universe and this is complete denial of the Gnostic philosophy. The apostle says that the Lord’s created things, includes both the visible and invisible things. The things Paul says are included in the invisible are thrones, dominions, principalities and powers. We believe these terms apply to angelic beings although we cannot distinguish between the different ranks of these intelligent beings. The Gnostics taught that there were various ranks of spirit beings between God and matter and that Christ belonged to one of these classes. Now in our day the spiritualist claims that Jesus Christ is only an advanced spirit of the sixth sphere. Jehovah Witnesses teach that before our Lord came into the earth He was a created angel and none other than the archangel Michael. But here Paul vigorously refutes such absurd notions by stating that Jesus Christ is the creator of all things whether they, be visible or invisible.
[Col. 1:17] – Christ existed before all creation. The Jehovah of the OT is none other than the Jesus of the NT. He is before all things. Through Christ all things hold together. Christ is the personal sustainer and preserver.
The Firstborn Over Creation: [Col. 1:15-17]
These verses agree with [John 1:1]. Now there are some who advocate an orthodox view saying that Jesus was the first person God the Father created and that Jesus was then used by God to create all other creation. They do so by arguing that the firstborn of all creation translating [v 15] over as of, they say that He was created by God therefore in all subsequent verses should be translated all other things have been created through Him and He is before all other things. The difficulty of this attempt to deny Jesus His stature as Creator is first of all is that all of creation in the Greek is in the genitive case. Secondly, the meaning of begotten and thirdly the fact that the Greek word for other does not occur in the text at all. Begotten is not the same as creation and the words are clearly distinguished in this passage. God begets the Son, but the Son creates the world. And when a man begets he begets a man when God begets He begets God and this from eternity. To say that Jesus was first created by God and then used by God to create all other things is simply an attempt to explain away the meaning of the text that Jesus as the Creator created all things.
[Col. 1:18] – He is the head of the body the church. He is emphatic, He alone and no one else. He directs, controls, guides and governs the church. The church is His body He is the churches source and its life. He unites members into one organism. The church is a living organism composed of living members joined together, an organism through which Christ works and carries out His purpose. The prince of life [Acts 3:15] the church is also a family composed of those who share in His resurrection life. The word beginning is used in three senses. First, of all, prior in time, secondly supremacy in rank and thirdly creative initiative. Christ is not the first of a series He is the source. Christ is the source of new creation and the Sovereign Head of that creation. He is to have first place, not angels or men. Christ has un-shared supremacy for He is eminent above all others.
Mays put it well talking about pre-eminence. He said “Christ could not be second anywhere He is the firstborn of every creature because He has created everything. He is also firstborn from the dead in connection with a redeemed and heavenly family. Thus creation and redemption hand the honors of supremacy to Christ because of who He is and what He has done that in all things He might have the pre-eminence.”
The Lord Jesus had a double pre-eminence. He is first in creation and then in the church. God has decreed that in all things He might have the pre-eminence. Does Christ have pre-eminence in my life?
[Col. 1:19] – Christ is a manifestation of God the Sovereign Creator and the Head of the church. The sum total of all the power and attributes are in Christ. The Gnostics distributed the divine powers among various eons. Paul gathers them all up in Christ. All of the fullness of the Godhead dwell in Christ, Gnostics taught that Christ was a kind of halfway house to God a necessary link in the chain so to speak but there were other better links on ahead they said. They urged people to go on from Christ to reach the fullness and Paul says here no Christ is Himself the complete fullness. The word dwell indicates temporary residence. Only a divine person could create a work be the head of the church and reconcile a world to God.
[Col. 1:20] – deals with the work of Christ; having made peace through the blood of His cross. This for the special benefit of the docetic Gnostic’s who denied the real humanity of Christ. The blood speaks of Christ redemptive work and the sacrificial aspect of His death. Reconcile means to change completely and in Christ nothing else is needed all barriers have been removed and God took the initiative. Religion is man, seeking God. Christianity is God seeking and saving man. See notes on reconciliation in Doctrine of Salvation for explanation of reconciliation.
[Col. 1:21] – alienated means we were estranged from God, enemies means we were hostile and at war with God and this came about in our mind, which is the seat of antagonism. The evidence and manifestation of our alienation is our wicked works. This indicates willful opposition and personal animosity toward God.
[Col. 1:22] – in the body of His flesh through death, this emphasizes the reality of His incarnation and His humanity. Death speaks of a real suffering not just a mere appearance there was an actual atonement not through His birth, baptism, miracles, teaching but through His death. The ultimate purpose of reconciliation is to present us holy before God. We were once enemies but now are unblameable, which is a sacrificial term it means without flaw free from defects and stainless in character and conduct because we’ve taken on Christ’s righteousness once He shed His blood at Calvary. Not only are we unblameable but unreproveable there’s no charge or accusation here or hereafter all of this through Christ’s blood.
[Col. 1:23] – the Bible says in [Acts 17:6] that Paul and the apostles turned the world upside down and in this verse it says which was preached to every creature under heaven it was talking about the eastern Mediterranean area. If you continue in the faith provided that and assuming that there is a firm position of faith that’s what it is referring to and the test of reality is the steadfastness in faith. No doubt insinuated or threat implied and Paul is absolutely sure that they will continue in the faith. Grounded in other words you have to have a firm foundation. Settled refers to the firm building in a solid fashion and the church is un-moveable it is firm. Be moved away the church has a stable position and it shall never be dislodged. Not moving away from what the hope given in the gospel. Hope in the Bible is something you should always know and if we have faith hope is something that is coming to pass.
When Paul says the word if on the surface the verse seems to teach that our continued salvation depends upon our continuing in the faith. If this is so how can this verse be reconciled with other portions of the Word of God such as [John 10:28-29], which declare that nothing can pluck us out of God’s hand? In seeking to answer this question we need to know that the eternal security of the believer is a blessed truth, which is set forth clearly in the passages of the NT. However the scriptures also teach as in this verse that true faith always has the quality of pre-eminence and that one who has been born of God will go on faithfully to the end. It doesn’t mean you won’t backslide but it means that you will have an overall lifestyle of continuing in the faith. Continuance is a real proof of reality. Of course there is always the danger of backsliding but a Christian falls only to rise again [Prov. 24:16]. He does not forsake the faith. The Spirit of God has seen fit to put many of these so-called if passages in the Word of God in order to challenge all who profess the name of Christ as to the reality of their profession. The gospel was spreading rapidly at that time. But, it had not been, heard by every person, so it was not a fact accomplished but a process that was going on.
The purpose of God reconciling us is to make us holy and blameless not blameless as others see us but blameless in the sight of God. By His grace we can be what he expects us to be and only by His grace. We have a new life based on Christ’s death and it is received by faith. One benefit of finding new life in Christ is called everlasting or eternal life they are synonymous and the character of this great reality may be summarized by carefully looking at each word. For example the word life stresses the quality of this new relationship to God. The word everlasting emphasizes life without end. Though it will not be completely fulfilled until our future bodily redemption it is still a present possession that can never perish [John 10:28]. Everlasting life must not be conceived of as an exclusively future possession rather it is a possession that is clearly seen in our actions. [II Cor. 5:17] – this means we have a new nature that comes from a spiritual transformation that occurs within the individual when a person trusts Christ as Savior. The new nature means we will have a desire to progressively grow in Christ. The message of the new nature is a message of supreme hope. The Spirit of God can accomplish a life changing transformation for all who will believe in Christ [Titus 3:5].
[Is. 61:10] – we have a robe of righteousness that comes from Christ when we get saved and one of the most awesome requirements made by God upon men and women is that they be righteous. God is holy and cannot allow sinners in His presence. Sin all are sinners no can be saved without the supernatural intervention of God. God sent Christ to die for our sins [II Cor. 5:21; I John 3:2]. We see from Acts 1:8 that we were to receive the power of the Holy Spirit and the rest of the Book of Acts testifies to this fact that after the Holy Spirit came they and we receive the power to live the Christian from God. Christians who struggle to live the Christian life in their own strength will fail. They must by faith appropriate daily the power of the Holy Spirit in order to succeed. We must rely one the Spirit daily [Titus 1:2]. The basis of salvation is the promise of God and not the Christian’s emotional feelings. In fact the entire trinity is involved in God’s salvation. First we have the promise of the Father in our salvation. God has promised to accept in Christ all repenting sinners. Second, we have the work and promise of Jesus. He promised us eternal life [John 5:24; 10:10]. This covers not only our final destiny in heaven, but this abundant life and eternal life, is also present in our Christian service here on earth. Third we have the promise and work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is said to indwell the believer [John 14:16].
[Col. 1:24] – Paul was in chains and in prison when he wrote this and he said you can rejoice in my sufferings it is for you, I’m suffering for the saints. I’m not doing it in your place but on your behalf and for your benefit and advantage. Then he talks about the afflictions of Christ, which were sufficient for the atonement. The sufferings of Christ provided the gospel and salvation. The afflictions of Paul proclaimed the gospel and referred to servants. The afflictions of Paul are identified with the afflictions of Christ but are on a different plane. Paul’s afflictions could add nothing to the finished work of Christ. The proclamation of the gospel transformed sinners into saints and saints I martyrs as a servant of the Lord Paul was called upon to endure hardship and untold persecutions. These to him were a privilege the privilege of filling up that which was left behind of the afflictions of Christ. He goes on to say for his body’s sake not in the sense of the atonement but for the announcing of that atonement. Paul said he was suffering foe the church and Christ died for the church and I suffer for the church and I want you to rejoice. [Col. 2:11-15] tells us that Christ death was sufficient, Paul was not a co-redeemer he is saying that he was enduring the sufferings that Christ would suffer if He were still in the world.
[Col. 1:25] – Paul’s appointment made him a minister of the gospel a minister of God and a minister of Christ and as a result he becomes a minister of the new covenant. Paul was a steward in God’s economy, a trustee in God’s household and an administrator of God’s business. God’s purpose was Paul’s purpose and God’s Word was Paul’s message therefore Paul’s message was pure and uncorrupted by false teaching.
[Col. 1:26] – Paul says even the mystery that is a sacred secret. There is no connection here at all with mystery religions. It is going to talk about the Gentiles being a part of the body of Christ. The Jews taught that a Gentile couldn’t be saved unless he became a Jew. And so Paul says it is a sacred secret that was once concealed that is now being revealed by the Holy Spirit.
[Col. 1:27] – God was pleased to make this mystery known [Eph. 1:17-18]. It was God who willed this change from hidden mystery to manifestation. Christ in you is the indwelling Christ in us He is the answer the hope of glory we have a pledge for the future [Eph. 3:8-13].
[Col. 1:28] – Paul did not proclaim precepts he did not proclaim a creed or code of ethic or rules or regulations not a plan not a program but Paul proclaimed a Person. To present every man perfect is talking about a saved man. Paul says I warn every man. He’s addressing admonishing the heart reproving and convincing of error this refers to conduct and it leads to repentance. He goes on to say teaching this refers to the intellect informing and instructing in faith and morals it refers to doctrine. Why? So he could present every man perfect in Jesus, not sinless but perfect full grown in Christ [Titus 2:11]. The grace of God teaches us not to have a license to sin but how to live godly in this present world.
[Col. 1:29] – Paul says whereunto that was Paul’s goal to labor for Christ. He was striving and agonizing in strenuous effort striving according to His working that’s divine power and energy working Paul and through Paul. Paul was God’s instrument to do God’s work through God’s power and for God’s glory.
Colossians Chapter Two
In this chapter we will be talking about Paul’s loving care for the people he was preaching to in Colossae and he actually begins this in chapter one verse 28 and he carries this through chapter 2:3.
[2:1] – Paul desires that they would know how his life really was the seriousness of the situation and the perils that he withstood. Paul wanted them to know this so they would appreciate him a great deal more and pray for him a great deal more and share with him in this great conflict he was going through. The strain of Paul’s soul was in his pastoral concern [I Cor. 11:28; I Thess. 2:2]. Paul prayed earnestly for the converts and for their churches.
[2:2] – Paul wanted their hearts to be comforted, confirmed and strengthened. He doesn’t want them consoled but strengthened, not relieved but reinforcements. They were in danger of being shaken and Paul knew that now he said I want you to be knit together in love. Have a closer unity, a vital helpful relationship. This will safeguard against the corruption and the disruption of the false teachers. Paul asked again that they would have the full assurance of Christ.
[2:3] – We don’t have to look anywhere else in Christ we can find everything we need. The treasures spoken about here are available to all believers and Paul confronts the Gnostics with the fact that Christ sums up all knowledge and wisdom.
[2:4] – Here Paul begins to talk about the position of the church. The word beguiled literally means to reason alongside to elude to deceive and lead astray [Acts 20:30; Eph. 4:14; I John 4:1]. False teachers will lead anybody astray if they are not rooted and grounded in sound doctrine. These enticing words are attractive arguments, persuasive rhetoric, plausible speech, fast talk and a smooth line.
2:5] – This verse shows how intimately aware the apostle was of the problems and perils facing the Colossians. Order and steadfastness are military terms and the first describes the orderly array of a company of soldiers. Whereas the second, pictures the solid flank which, is presented by the soldiers. Paul rejoices as he sees in spirit though not in body how the Colossians, were standing true to the Word of God. Every man was in his place and they had a solid front against the Gnostics. Their ranks had not been broken and this is what we need in the church in the last days.
[2:6] – As ye have received Christ this refers to a personal appropriation of Christ not just believing a truth about Christ but a personal acceptance of Christ. By using this unique phrase Paul discharged both barrels at the same time to lay low the Gnostic heresy about the person of Christ. First of all the recognition of the historical Jesus in his actual humanity those docetic Gnostics they never recognized Jesus as God in the flesh. And secondly the identity of Christ was with this historical Jesus this took care of those syrinthian Gnostics who said we just don’t believe in this historical Jesus as the Bible proclaims Him. Our walk must match our talk and we cannot walk in the same place we either go forward or backward if we’re walking and so Paul wants these folks to walk in a way the will please the Lord Jesus.
[2:7] – Paul uses an expression from agriculture and then from architecture. The phrase rooted refers to what took place at the time of our conversion. It’s as if the Lord is the soil and we find our roots in Him and draw our nourishment from the soil. This implies to having our roots deep so that when opposing winds blow we will not be moved. The phrase from architecture refers to a building and being built up in Him. Now here the Lord Jesus is suggested as a foundation and we’re being built up in Him the Rock of Ages. We were rooted once for all but we are being built up everyday if we stay true to God’s Word. The word stablished can be thought of as the word confirm and the thought is that this is a process that goes on continuously through the Christian life. Staying on the Christian path allows these precious truths to be continually confirmed in our hearts and lives. Conversely [II Peter 1:9] indicates that failure to progress in the spiritual life results in doubt and loss of the joy and blessing of the gospel. Paul does not want Christians to be coldly doctrinal but wants their hearts to be captivated by the marvelous truths of the gospel so that we will overflow in thanksgiving to the Lord.
[2:8] – Paul says beware; stand guard, be watchful, be alert because the enemy is lurking in darkness. The Paul says lest any man spoil you, that is, carry you away captive carry you off as a, booty, as a prize. The picture here is of kidnapping you for the purpose of seducing you from faith in Christ. How? Through philosophy false philosophy and this philosophy is knowledge falsely named [I Tim. 6:20]. How do we get it, this false philosophy? Through the vain tradition of men and here it refers to the foolish theories of the Gnostics. After the rudiments of the world refers to the contrast between the outward and material versus the inward and spiritual. Gnosticism stood in the way of Christ and weakened faith in Christ and took men away from Christ. Such heresy is best met not by detailed discussion, not by bitter denunciation but by the declaration of truth.
[2:9] – In Him nowhere else dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. The incarnation was real.
[2:10] – The apostle is still trying to impress on his readers the all sufficiency of Jesus Christ and the perfect standing, which they have in Him. What this verse teaches is that the believer has in Christ all that is needed for life and godliness. We don’t need the emptiness of the Gnostics. Spurgeon says four things about our completeness. Number one, we’re complete without the aid of Jewish ceremony. Secondly, he says we are complete without the help of philosophy. Thirdly he says we’re complete without the inventions of superstition and fourthly he says we’re complete without human merit.
[2:11] – Paul says you’re circumcised and this points to conversion as it says in [Rom. 4:1; 2:28-29; Phil. 3:3]. The character of this circumcision is spiritual not physical the Bible says it is without hands. It is inward not outward and the extent of this circumcision is the whole body not just one organ and the author of this circumcision is Christ. It is not Moses. This circumcision that Paul speaks of is not a right but a reality. Putting off the body the sins of the flesh that means to take the sins and strip them aside like you would a filthy garment that’s no longer any good. The flesh is removed from the throne and the Christian is set free from his sinful nature. The evil nature is not eradicated but its power is broken Christ is now on the throne but the flesh lurks about seeking to take the throne. Our members are to be yielded as righteous unto to God [Rom. 6:11-14].
[2:12] – Buried with Him in baptism that means you have been jointly entombed in Christ sharing in His experience. Baptism is an act of obedience in confessing our faith. Baptism symbolizes our experience of death to the old life and resurrection to the new life [Rom. 6:3-5]. Baptism is an outward expression of an inward experience. Without saving faith baptism is an empty meaningless ceremony through faith we receive Christ [John 1:12-13] and we experience the new birth.
[2:13] – Paul now makes the application of all this to the Colossians before their conversion they had been dead in their trespasses this means that because of their sin they were spiritually dead toward God. It does not mean that their spirits were dead but it does mean that there was no motion in their spirits toward God and there was nothing they could do to win God’s favor. Uncircumcision is used often in the NT to speak of the Gentiles and the Colossians had been Gentiles not a part of God’s chosen people Israel. Therefore they had been in a position of distance from God and had been given full rein in the flesh and its lusts. But when they heard the gospel and believed in Christ they had been made alive together with Christ and all their sins and trespasses had been forgiven. Now because they were living on the resurrection side they should say good-bye to all that characterized them as men in the flesh.
[2:14] – Blotting out that means those sins and trespasses had been wiped away and cancelled, this explains the forgiveness. The handwriting of ordinances this consisted of a handwritten document consisting of rules, ordinances the bond here is the certification of debt the instrument of condemnation, the indictment drawn up against a prisoner, and a signed confession of indebtedness. Three expressions describe the law; first it is written in ordinances expressed in degrees and commandments. Secondly it was against us and thirdly the law was contrary to us because we couldn’t meet the demands of the law. So Paul states the law was blotted out and taken out of the away and nailed to His cross [II Cor. 5:21; Eph. 2:15-16; Gal. 3:13] this was a once for all sacrifice. In the East a bond is cancelled by nailing it to the post our bond of guilt was nailed to the cross of Christ and He has cancelled the debt.
[2:15] – By His death on the cross and His subsequent resurrection and ascension the Lord Jesus also conquered evil powers making a public spectacle of them and He triumphed over them [Eph. 4:8]. His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, was a glorious triumph over hell and Satan. As He passed through the atmosphere on His way back to heaven He passed through the very domain of the one who is the prince of the power of the air [Eph. 2:2]. For those who were once under demonism and have been converted there is nothing to fear from evil spirits because He has disarmed principalities and powers.
[2:16] – The Colossians had died to all efforts to please God by the flesh. They had not only died but they had been buried with Christ and risen with Christ to a new kind of life therefore they should be done forever with the Judaizer’s and the Gnostics who were trying to draw them back into the very thing to which the Colossians had died. All human religions place men under bondage to ordinances, that’s laws, rules and regulations and a religious calendar. This calendar usually includes annual observances like holy days, monthly festivals like new moon, or weekly holidays like the Sabbaths. So Paul says let no judge you. That means that a, Christian cannot be justly condemned by others if for instance he eats pork or if he fails to observe a religious festival or holy days. The Christian is not under ordinances for a fuller treatment of the law [Matt. 5:18; 12:8; Gal. 6:18].
[2:17] – A shadow is not the real thing there is a difference between a shadow and the substance. Symbols and types may stimulate thought may awaken emotions, may convey divine truth and may even strengthen faith but beyond this they are meaningless and dangerous and these shadows may replace the living Christ. Why look to shadows when we can look to Christ? Since Christ has come we no longer need the symbols.
[2:18] – Paul says let no man beguile you of your reward that means to rob you of your prize. The word means to act as an umpire denying your claim defrauding you and declaring you as unworthy. Then he says with a voluntary humility this is a self-imposed mock humility, which is expressed in the worshipping of angels. These Gnostics were trying to get the Colossian church to engage in these things. Paul says they are intruding into things, which they have not seen. This refers to the alleged visions, imagined and invented revelations and living in a world of hallucinations and Paul says they are vainly puffed up with conceit. They are vainly puffed up by the mind of the flesh dominated by his un-regenerated nature and he is devoid of spiritual enlightenment because he does not know what God expects from him. So Paul says don’t let this man fool you and deny your claim and defraud you. [I Tim. 2:5] The Gnostics professed to have deep secret mysteries and in order to learn what these mysteries were a person had to be initiated. Perhaps the secrets included many so-called visions. Supposed visions are an important element in such present day, heresies, such as Mormonism, Spiritism, Catholicism. Much of this is characteristic of the secret fraternal organizations of our day. The Christian who is walking in fellowship with his Lord will have neither time nor sympathy for these fraternal organizations of our day. The important point to note in this verse is that the various religious practices of these men were performed according to their own will. They had no scriptural authority. They did not act in subjection to Christ. They became vainly puffed up by the mind of their flesh because they were doing exactly what they themselves wanted to do yet their conduct appeared to be humble and religious. [Ps. 1:1]
[2:19] – And not holding the Head this false teacher lacks a connection with Christ and he never has been a part of the body. The figure of the body emphasizes both its unity and its diversity. For example Christ supplies the body with life and energy. He supplies unity and growth and we need this nourishment moment by moment.
[2:20] – This is talking about the rules and regulations of the world not the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper that we enjoy in the NT church today. Since you died at the time of your conversion and death means separation and the Colossians were to be separated from the rudiments of the world. What were the rules and regulations?
[2:21] - Touch not, handle not and taste not, that’s asceticism that we talked about. Denying the flesh thinking that if you punish the flesh enough you will be pleasing to God. The Christian stands liberated from these things.
[2:22] – These rules and regulations and commandments and doctrines of men are going to perish with the using they are destined for corruption in their own consumption. They had a human origin and were based on the will and word of men [Matt. 15:8-9].
[2:23] – These practices of man’s religion all create a seeming show of wisdom in will worship, false humility and severity to the body. You see self-imposed religion that’s will worship means that these people adopt a form of worship according to their own ideas of what’s right rather than according to the Word of God. They seem to be religious but its not true Christianity. Neglecting the body, is referring to, asceticism and that’s a belief that through self-denial or self-torture man can achieve a higher standard of holiness. This is referring to Hinduism and other religions of the East. What is the value of all these practices? Not in any honor to the satisfying the flesh. All of these things put on a fine appearance outwardly but they do not succeed in checking the indulgence of the flesh. Every false system fails to make men better. While creating the impression there’s something the flesh can do to merit God’s favor they are unable to restrain the passion and lust of the flesh. The Christian attitude is that we died to the flesh with all of its passions and lusts and from now on we live to the glory of God. We do this not out of fear of punishment rather out of love who gave Himself for us. A. T. Robertson said, It is love that makes us really free to do right. Love makes the choice easy. Love makes the face of duty beautiful. Love makes it sweet to keep up with Christ. Love makes the service of goodness freedom.
In Colossians chapter three and four we have the believer’s duty to the preeminent Christ.
We’ll begin with the practical things the Christian is supposed to do with his inner life. If we’re, risen with Christ, we are bound to heavenly principles.
[3:1] – Since you are jointly raised up and have been risen with Christ what are we supposed to do? The word if implies that there is no doubt they have been risen with Christ and so they are to seek those things which are above. Be active in seeking those things above. [II Cor. 4:18; Phil. 3:14; Matt. 6:20] In this verse Paul gives heavenly motives for earthly duties.
[3:2] – Set your affection this is inward active keep on thinking about and directing your thinking toward heavenly things. We should seek everything in the light of eternity. The Christian must be heavenly minded and not worried about earthly things.
[3:3] – When Paul says that the believer has died he is referring to position and not to practice because of our identification with Christ and His death God wants us to consider ourselves as having died with Christ. Our own hearts are always ready to dispute this fact because we feel so very much alive to sin and temptation. But the wonderful thing is that as we by faith reckon ourselves to have died with Christ it becomes a moral reality in our lives. If we live as those who have died then our lives will become increasingly conformed to the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our life is hid with Christ in God the things that concern and interest the worldly man are found on this planet in which we live. However the things that are of concern to the Christian are all bound up in the person of the Lord Jesus. Since our lives are hid in Christ with God, we should not be, bound up by the things, of this world and especially the religious world about us.
[3:4] – When Christ appears then we will also appear with Him in glory [John 14:6] and when it talks about us appearing that is we will be made manifest [I John 3:1-3]. We can easily see that Christ gives us the power to live right now and He gives us hope for the future because we know He is coming again. In the rest of this chapter Paul tells how the believer is to live right now. At the present time we’re raised with Him and we enjoy a life that is not seen or understood by any man other than a Christian. But the day is coming when the Lord shall return for every one of His saints and then we’ll appear with Him in glory and then men will understand us and realize why we behaved and lived the way we did.
Principles For The Inner Life
[3:5] – The Bible says, mortify that is the flesh must be kept in the place of death and nailed to the cross. We should consider ourselves dead and unresponsive to evil desires. We’re to mortify our members that could cause us to sin and it names the evil desires. See notes on Galatians for a description of the listed sins here.
[3:6] – God does not regard sin with indifference people are going to experience the wrath of God and it is coming with certainty. If we look to [John 3:18, 36] we see that we are condemned already unless we accept the blood of Christ and try to live a life pleasing to God. Now we’re not condemned if we don’t live a life pleasing to God if we accept Christ we’re going to heaven but we’ll go by the skin of our teeth saved yet so as by fire [I Cor. 3:15]. Christians will be robbed of rewards at the judgment seat of Christ if they commit such sins. The wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience who think they can get by with such things just because the heavens are silent. But God will not be mocked and people will reap a terrible harvest of judgment in a day yet future.
[3:7] – In the which, you also walked, now these Colossians were once addicted to and practiced these vices. People get addicted to these vices and they live in them and the Greek imperfect tense implies constant conduct. In their past lives, they did these things all the time before their conversion so this was a chapter in their life that was covered by the blood of Christ.
[3:8] – Paul tells them to rid themselves completely of the things mentioned in this verse. See notes on Galatians 5 for a description of these sins. Be done with your old morals and commit yourselves to those that Christ teaches. This is an appeal to the commitment believer’s make a baptism.
[3:9] – We are to stop lying for there is no such thing as a little white lie. All lies are big and black. The old man is the unsaved nature and is not converted or renewed or improved he is corrupt and therefore we are to put off the old man. Lying to one another disrupts unity and trust and it tears down relationships and open war.
[3:10] – Paul has told us to take off and put on as one would take off dirty clothes and puts on clean ones. So the Christian is called to renounce his old ways and live in accordance with the rules of Christ’s kingdom [II Cor. 5:17]. The Christian is in a continuing education program. We are continuing to be remodeled and rebuilt. The more we know of Christ and His work the more we are being charged to live and being changed to be like Him. Because this process is life long we must never cease learning and obeying. It takes practice and concentration to keep in line with the will of God and it is not an easy thing you have to work at it. The new man is not yet matured and he is forever in the state of development.
[3:11] – Jesus Christ died for everyone that’s ever lived and barriers of race, education, social standing, wealth, religion and power should not apply in the Christian church. Those barriers should be removed. Christ breaks down all barriers and accepts all people who will come to Him and accept Him as Savior. Nothing should keep us from telling people about Christ or accepting into our fellowship any and all believers. Christians should be in the bridge building business and should not be in the business of building walls. All believers are on the same level when it comes to standing before God.
Bishop Riles states this truth very boldly. He says three words Christ is all. They’re the essence and substance of Christianity. If our hearts can really go along with them it is well with our soul. Many give Christ a place in their religion but not the place, which God intended Him to fill. Christ alone is not all in all to their souls. No. It is either Christ and the church or Christ and the sacraments or Christ and His ordained ministers or Christ and their own repentance or Christ and their own goodness or Christ and their own prayers or Christ and their own sincerity and charity on which they practically rest their souls. And this is a shame for people are depending on themselves to get to heaven or to please God and it’s just not going to work that way. In the new man there is an obliteration of distinctions, Christ is all and nothing else if a man is going to heaven.
[3:12] – In this verse Paul is about to give us a strategy to help us live for God day, by day. We are to imitate Christ’s forgiving attitude [v 13]. We’re to let love or charity, guide our life [v 14]. We’re to let the peace of God rule in our heart [v 15]. We’re to always be thankful [v 15]. We’re to keep God’s Word with us and in us at all times [v 16]. We’re to live as Christ’s representatives here on this earth [v 17].
We are to clothe ourselves completely with this. We now have a characterization of believers we are the elect of God that is we are chosen of God and we ought to be holy because we are set apart by God and for God. Not only are we the chosen of God and to live holy we beloved that is we are loved by God. These are the attire of the new man his spiritual wardrobe of practical righteousness. We are to be mercy in action. We are to be thoughtful of others and gracious. This refers to an inner attitude. And then we are to have humbleness of mind this refers to an outward expression of that inner attitude. Humbleness is modesty that places self last and it regards self as the least of all [Eph. 3:8]. We are to be meek having a delicate consideration for others because pride has no place in the Christian live.
[3:13] – If Christians apply this verse there will be no problems in their homes or churches. The key to forgiving others is to remember how much God had forgiven you. We are to put up with those things we dislike and get along with those who disagree with us. Christians can disagree without being disagreeable. The Christian is to always treat the offending party graciously by forgiving and forgetting. A quarrel is a cause of blame and a ground for complaint.
[3:14] – Love is the basis and cloak of all the graces.
[3:15] – Christians should live in perfect harmony that would be perfectness. This does not eliminate all differences in opinion but loving Christians will work together despite their differences. Such love is not a feeling but a decision to meet others needs. Love leads to peace between individuals and among the members of the body of believers. The word rule comes from athletics and Paul says to let the peace of Christ be an umpire in our hearts. Our hearts are the center of conflict because there our feelings and our desires clash. Our fears, our hopes, our distrust and our trust, our jealousy and our love, how can we deal with these constant conflicts and live how God wants? We must decide between conflict and elements by using the rule of peace which choice will promote peace in our souls and in our churches. This is the heart peace that Christ demonstrated while He was on this earth. It is the tranquility of soul that is not ruffled by adversity or destroyed by fear. This peace [Phil 4:7] passes all understanding and is given by Christ [John 14:27]. We are to be thankful for what God is doing for us, through us and in us.
[3:16] – The Word of God is to be at home in us and it is to be a part of us permanently [Joshua 1:8].
[3:17] – Whatever we do we are to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. In all relations of life act as the Lord’s representative, obey His Word, trust in His power and devote yourselves to His service. We should like Christ-centered lives. Belief relates to behavior. Creed issues in conduct and doctrine relates to duty. As a Christian we represent Christ wherever we go and in whatever we do or say. With that in mind what impression do people have of Christ when they see or talk with you? This verse is an all-inclusive rule by which to judge our conduct as Christians. Young people today especially have a difficult time deciding whether certain things are right or wrong. This verse if committed to memory can be the key to unlocking many of these problems. The great test should be, can I do this in the name of Christ? Would this be to His glory? Can I expect His blessing to rest on it? Would I want to be doing it when He comes again? This test should apply to the words we speak and the deeds we do. Obedience to this command ennobles all of life. It’s a precious secret when the believer learns to do all for the Lord’s glory.
Appropriate Behavior For Members Of The Christian Household
God considers the Christian home to be a very important force of the Christian life. The well-known statement the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world has truth in it that appears beyond the surface. The family unit, was, designed by God for the preservation of much that is worthwhile in life. Has less and less attention is devoted to the home even so our civilization deteriorates and it deteriorates very rapidly. One’s fitness for leadership grows out of his proven character in the home. In the verse to follow we have some of the fundamental verses to guide in the establishment of the Christian home. In studying this section we should be aware of the must. First of all there must be a family altar a time each day when the family gathers for the reading of the Holy Scriptures and prayer. Secondly, the father must have his place of authority in the home and he must exercise that authority in wisdom and in love. Thirdly, the wife and mother should realize that her first responsibility to God and the family is in the home. In general it is not wise for the wife to have an outside job. Fourthly, the husband and wife should present a godly example to all their children. They should be united on all matters including the disciplining of the children. Fifthly the family unit should be maintained. It is possible to become so engrossed in business and social life and even in Christian service that the children suffer from lack of affection, companionship, instruction and discipline. Sixthly, with regard to the discipline of children three cardinal rules have been suggested. First, never punish in anger. Second, never punish unjustly. Third, never punish without explaining the reason. Seventh, it is good for children to learn to bear the yoke in their youth, to learn the discipline of work and accepting responsibility and of the value of money.
Christian parents should parents should avoid being ambitious for their children in a worldly carnal way but should constantly hold before them the service of our Lord as the most profitable way to spend their lives.
[3:18] – Wives, submit is an old military term which means to line up under like we see in [Eph. 5:22]. There is absolutely no hint of inferiority but a matter of responsibility to the home. Wives are to be in habitual subjection with implicit trust that is they are to trust their husband and his decision making in that family. Submission is a voluntary act it is not forced on her by a demanding husband. The wife is a helpmeet that means she is a help suitable to a husband and the husband should remember she is not a slave. The family has to have authority and the wives submission is prompted by the husband’s love. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands as it is fit in the Lord. That is the way it should be. All of life is to be lived in fellowship with Christ. God is emphasizing responsibilities. God is not emphasizing rights that people have. He’s talking about their responsibilities and here is speaking about the relationship between a husband and a wife.
[3:19] – Husbands love your wives that means to keep on loving your wives and this more than human affection. The dominant trait of the Christian husband is self-devotion it is not self-satisfaction.
[3:20] – This is an old verb that means to listen, heed and hearken to instructions that their days may be long upon the earth. God is speaking here of continual obedience to your parents because it is your commendable Christian duty to obey your parents when you are a child.
[3:21] – Do not have the habit of exasperating your children. This means to excite, nag, vex or rouse to resentment. Fathers exasperate their children by being inconsiderate, being too demanding, being over-corrective or being unjust and severe. Parents also exasperate their children by being fault finding always frowning and holding other children up as examples. The twig is to be bent with caution the twig is not to be broken lest they be discouraged. This negative purpose with a Greek present subjunctive implies forbidding a beginning in act. Such children will be broken in spirit and they will give up thinking it is impossible to please man or God.
Master And Slave Relationship
[3:22] – Paul does not denounce slavery nor does he demand its violent overthrow. The slaves are part of a household and they are without rights. They are too constantly obey and give service they are not to demand freedom. They are supposed to obey not as men pleasers. You see working only when the boss is watching and for the purpose of making a show or gaining human praise is not right. Men pleasers are those who have no higher motives than to please their human masters and curry their favor. We are not to that we are to work for God. Christians are to have genuine readiness of heart and undivided purpose not with pretense or ulterior motives. We are to be sincere because we are to fear God rather than the masters of the flesh. The real motive of service is dreading God’s displeasure. When we realize that we don’t want God to be displeased with us then we will serve the way God wants us to serve.
[3:23] – Do it heartily literally means to do it out of the soul. Christians are to throw their souls into their work and labor cheerfully and diligently as to the Lord.
[3:24] – Paul is speaking here of the heavenly inheritance the full reward in return for our faithful service. This is not speaking about working to be saved rather it is speaking about the work you do after you are saved for you serve the Lord Christ. Christians are actually employed by Christ and this verb could be indicative or an imperative in which case it would mean keep on slaving for the Lord [I Cor. 15:58].
[3:25] – Whether a slave or a master God will repay either one when they do wrong because there is no respect of persons. That means literally judging on the basis of outward appearance. There is a respect of persons with man but there is no respect of persons with God, He does not have a double standard. He weighs the unfaithfulness of servants and the unkindness in masters on the same scale of divine equity and justice.
[4:1] – We are to render that which is right and fair this would solve a lot of problems between labor and management if both would be fair to one another. God keeps His eye on the character and the conduct of all men and every one of us will give an account of himself to God.
Rules Of Submission
The NT includes many instructions concerning relationships most folk read the instructions for the other person and they ignore the instructions that apply to themselves but you can’t control another persons behavior the only behavior you can control is your own. So what we do is start by following our instructions and not insist on the other person carrying out their instructions. So we have rules of submission wives to your husbands, husbands love your wives and be not bitter against them and children obey your parents and parents don’t scold your children so much that they become discouraged and quit trying. Slaves obey your masters. Masters be just and fair toward your slaves. God hates the oppression of the poor and the gifts of a man who has grown rich through unfair labor practices are unacceptable to God. God says in effect that man should keep his money [James 5:1-4].
[4:2] – Have you ever grown tired of praying for something or someone? Sometimes you get discouraged in your prayer life. Persistence demonstrates our faith that God answers our prayers. Faith shouldn’t die if the answers come slowly for the delay may be God’s way of working His will in your lives. When you feel weary in your prayers knowing that God is present always listening, always acting maybe not in ways that you had hoped but in ways that He knows are best continue in prayer. We should continue in intercession watching the same give strict attention to and keep alert guarding against wondering thoughts and beware of indifferences. Doubtless one of the regrets will all have when we get to heaven will be that we did not spend more time in prayer especially when we realize the extent our prayers were answered. There is a great deal of mystery concerning the whole subject of prayer. This means to earnestly pray and be diligent and vigilant about it.
[4:3] – Paul is asking that they pray for him that God would open a door. Paul wanted a door open to preach the Word of God. Paul is in prison and he is not asking that the prison door be open he is asking that he be able to proclaim the Word of God. Paul is conscious that he is in bonds for preaching Christ.
[4:4] – Paul’s chief concern is to make the message clear and plain. Billy Sunday said put the cookies on the Lord’s shelf so that they youngest child can reach them. He also said God said feed my sheep not my giraffe. We need to speak in a manner that will make the message known by preaching simply and clearly.
[4:5] – Walk in wisdom means we should be wise in our contacts with unbelievers making the most of our chances to share the good news of salvation. It takes wise walking as well as wise talking to win the lost to Christ. The walk refers to our behavior. The world is more interested in our walk than in our talk. Our walk should correspond with our talk. It should never be said of the Christian high talk and low walk.
[4:6] – When we tell others about Christ it is important to be gracious always in what we say. The way to a man’s heart is not down his throat. No matter much sense the message makes we lose our effectiveness if we are not courteous. Our conversation should never be dull, flat or insipid but should always be worthwhile and profitable. We need to know how to speak with grace and salt so that we might know how to answer every man. Paul might have been thinking of the Gnostics who came to the Colossians with their plausible doctrines. They should be ready to answer these false teacher’s with words of wisdom and faithfulness.
[4:7] – Tychicus was chosen by Paul to carry the letter from Rome to Colossae and Paul says Tychicus will give them the news of what is going on with Paul. How wonderful it would be to be described the way Paul describes this faithful brother.
[4:8] – Tychicus trip to Colossae would serve two purposes first of all to give the saints a firsthand account of Paul and the saints in Rome. Secondly he would also comfort the hearts of the Colossians. The comfort here is that of encouraging and strengthening not that of consoling.
[4:9] – The mention of Onesimus brings to mind the lovely story told in Philemon. Onesimus would carry the letter to Philemon who lived in Colossae. Now picture the excitement when these two brethren arrived with letters from Paul.
[4:10] – Not much is known about Aristarchus except that he had been previously arrested in service to the Lord [Acts 19:29] and now he is Paul’s fellow prisoner in Rome so he is getting arrested quite a bit. Mark is identified here as the cousin to Barnabas. There had been a rift caused between Paul and Barnabas due to Mark’s failure and Barnabas had taken Mark and Paul had gone on with Silas. However it is good to learn that Mark’s failure was not final as he is restored to the confidence of Paul here in Colossians. If Mark should come they were to receive him. The mention of Mark the writer of the second gospel reminds us that we are all writing a gospel day, by day.
We each write a gospel a chapter a day of deeds, looks, and likes the things that we say. Our actions betray us words faithful and true say what is the gospel according to you?
[4:11] – Paul had a Jewish Christian working with him and not many of Paul’s Jewish friends were sympathetic to his mission to the Gentiles so he mentions Jesus or Joshua by name.
[4:12] – Epaphras was one of the founder’s of the church at Colossae and he brought Paul news of the condition of the church. Paul said of him that he was always praying fervently for the Colossians in prayer. Why? So that they would stand, perfect and mature, in all the will of God. Epaphras was a hero of the Colossian church he was one of the believers who helped keep the church together in spite of growing troubles and his earnest prayers for the believers shows his deep love and concern for them.
[4:13] – Hierapolis was a town in Asia Minor which is our present day Turkey and the church there was not planted by Paul.
[4:14] – Luke is the trusted friend of Paul and in II Timothy 4:10-11 Demas is mentioned as one who deserted Paul for the present world. It doesn’t mean he was lost but that he had stopped serving Christ and he went the way of the world. Luke sat with Paul in the prison at Rome.
[4:15] – Greetings are sent on to Laodicea and to Nymphas and the church that was in his house. We read of this church in [Rev. 3:14-22]. And the church there became lukewarm, about the things of God, it became utterly materialistic and self-satisfied thinking that all was well the people did not realize their own nakedness.
[4:16] – This epistle was read to them from what we learn in [Rev. 3] it seems that the Laodiceans did not heed the message of this letter at least in a lasting way.
[4:17] – Say to Archippus he is mentioned in Philemon verse 2 in such a way as to suggest that he was a member of Philemon’s household and probably his son. Paul says to him keep an eye on what your doing. Archippus was called of the Lord and probably had some ministerial responsibility in the church at Colossae. The ministry is not just a Sunday job but a lifetime job for God never discharges His servants.
[4:18] – The chain probably clanked as Paul wrote and this is an indirect appeal for them to pray for his release. Paul’s personal signature was guarantee of the genuineness of this letter.