Colossians 1:1-14

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Understanding And Applying the Text

Paul does not congratulate the Colossians on their life in Christ. He gives thanks for it. First of all, the Colossians did nothing to earn or win it. It was a total gift from God. So we too need to recognize that all good gifts come from God’s goodness and kindness.

Paul is thankful for the Colossians’ faith and love. Their faith and love set them apart. These were gifts from God. But Paul is not thankful only for any faith. He is thankful for their faith in Christ. And he is thankful for their love of the saints. There is to be a special embracing of other Christians. Yes, we should love everyone. After all, we are all created in the image of God. Here Paul is recognizing degrees of love. We are to have a special love for other Christians because we share a common grace.

The Colossians had a hope reserved for them in Heaven. Faith, hope, and love are central to the Christian’s life. (Romans 5:2–5; 1 Corinthians 13:13; Galatians 5:5, 6; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 5:8; Hebrews 10:22–24). They are gifts of God, not virtues we produced ourselves. Paul recognizes the sovereignty of God in salvation (Ephesians 1:4; 2:8). This is not Paul’s understanding or interpretation of the Gospel. He is not pointing out anything new. The Colossians were already aware of this. Epaphras had taught them the same thing.

The Colossians had received the Gospel and they were bearing Gospel fruit. Paul assured them the Gospel was bearing fruit throughout the whole world. This served as an encouragement to the Colossians. Paul commends the Colossians because they immediately embraced the Gospel. As soon as they heard and understood it, they started bearing fruit. Paul praised them for their perseverance in the word of truth, which is the Gospel.

Paul said he prayed daily for the Colossians. He started the day he heard about them. He prayed to God to fill them with knowledge of God’s will and Spiritual wisdom. The Colossians lived according to the truth. Yet Paul implies their knowledge is incomplete. It was Paul’s desire they become filled with an understanding of the doctrine of Christ. Paul prayed they had a better understanding of doctrine so they could draw closer to Christ.

Paul admonishes the Colossians to live in a manner that is worthy of the Lord. Such a life bears fruit. If we increase in the knowledge of God we bear fruit. Knowledge is more than simple intellectual understanding. It is an existential knowledge as well. It is a full and complete knowledge. Paul instructs them to do good works. It is through the doing of the word and not the simple studying of it we know God. (James 1:22)

Paul also prayed to God to strengthen the Colossians so they may endure and have patience. This is not patience alone but patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father. We give thanks to the Father because; it is the Father who qualifies us for our inheritance.

God has delivered us from darkness. God Himself transferred us to the Christ’s kingdom. It is Christ’s work and nothing else. Keeping our eye on Christ and what Christ did for us, brings the strength that Paul prayed for.

As Paul gave God thanks for the Colossians, we too ought to give thanks for the gifts He gives others. We need to give thanks for every good gift, including those received by others.

The gospel bears fruit wherever it is taught and preached. The fact the Gospel was bearing fruit throughout the world encouraged the Colossians. It should encourage us too. If we take our eyes off ourselves, we can see the fruit of the Gospel everywhere.

Satan strives to obscure Christ from our vision. He knows that by obscuring Christ we are open to every type of false doctrine. So, our only protection is to keep Christ in our vision. We must retain and/or restore pure doctrine by placing Christ first. It is Christ who redeems us. And it is through Christ our sins are forgiven.

Let us not ignore the study of scripture. Let us not a causal reading satisfy us. Rather we must study it. We need to know God through our experiences as well as through our heads. Note I did not say we need to experience God rather than know Him through our heads. This is a both/and rather than an either/or. We should not ignore either one. Through both, we have a fuller understanding and knowledge of God.

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