Colossians 1

Colossians 1 Devotions
by Pastor Mark Hudson

               The letter to the church at Colossae is a rich, deep theological letter with warmth, true guidance steering God’s people away from heresy.  This city is a bit unusual for Paul to be writing to since He preferred bigger thoroughfares or coastal cities where the pollination of the gospel could be wafted to other cultures, peoples, and languages.  Plus he had never been to this city.  He  wrote this letter from jail with Timothy.

          The church was probably founded by Epaphras (Col 1.:7) and although growing, they were confused about the person of Christ.  Paul begins by expressing the genuine love he has for the church. He prays for them and in his prayer, Paul conveys his belief in the power of the gospel as well as encouraging them for the love they have for all the saints.

          In verses 9ff, he stresses the Trinitarian nature of the gospel, the truth of Christ, as well as the practical implications of walking in a manner worthy of the Lord.  This section is a great model for any prayer.

           The problem in the church was their confusion over Christ.  They seemed to also be confused about God and the fact that God created the material world.  While they believed in angels, they had a non-Biblical understanding of angels and spiritual beings.  In their mixture of possibly Gnosticism (where a select few had superior knowledge (gnosis) that set them apart from those who were not included in this inner circle), secular philosophy and even Jewish mysticism, they were twisting heavenly truths that were corrupting their understanding of Christian freedom in terms of denying themselves (Col 2:8, 16ff).  On the other hand, they were not denying themselves where they ought to practice restraint (Col 3:5ff

          Paul is wasting little time is setting out the true nature of Christ in 15ff.  Although cults will twist these words, Paul is stating that Christ is God.  He is the icon or perfect and visible representation of God on earth.  He is the “firstborn before all creation” as F.F. Bruce renders the original.  The following verses tell us Christ is deity by saying He created the world.  He created all the thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities. He created things on earth of in heaven, visible and invisible and they were created for Christ.  This is what deity does – creates!   He not only creates the world but he sustains or holds it together.  He is the head of the church.  So no one can enter heaven or please God apart from Christ. 

          Paul says it is God’s will that Christ might be preeminent in everything.  In Christ all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.  All things or everyone, visible or invisible might be reconciled to Christ.  When I read this tightly worded section so full of glorious truth, I am ashamed of how my dull heart responds to these majestic truths.  I have studied these truths, read about them, been taught by godly and learned professors and yet my heart does not sing as I ought.  I am familiar with this Christ, which is good, but do I exalt in these truths every time I read or hear them?  Am I yawning at the mention of the cross?  Ought I not to pause, bow my head, and check my heart when I read or hear these truths?  At least I should admit I don’t know the half of what Paul is saying.  I should beg for more insight.

          Christ is the only one who can reconcile us to God and the only way He could do that was by offering up His body to a violent and painful death on the cross.  And because of that double imputation – our sin imputed to Christ and His righteousness imputed to us, we are forgiven.   Only He can present us holy and blameless and above reproach.  This is something we will never ever get over.  How can a holy and righteous God consider rebels holy and blameless? 

          This is a wonder that will excite all of heaven for all  eternity.  For the stability of our faith, we must be grounded in these profound yet simple truths, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that we hear from our teachers.  Paul is urging us to listen closely, take these words to heart, and recognize that this is the eternal gospel promised in the Old Testament.  We have to be sober minded and watch over our hearts.  We cannot just allow these truths to go in one ear and out the other. 

          Paul further adds that his suffering is part of a God-ordained plan to suffer for the gospel and is connected to the suffering of Christ.  His preaching of the gospel is part of the end times revealing the unfolding truth of God’s revelation of Himself in Christ. Paul held the gospel in such respect, such high esteem.  He counted it an honor to preach the gospel.  We should treat the gospel with the same humble acceptance and strive to live in such a way that we will be maturing every day. 

          Father, pour out Your Holy Spirit so I might love Christ much more than I do now.  Help me to see afresh the gospel in all its manifold glories.  Never let me tire of hearing, meditating, and loving Your matchless grace.  I ask You to help me thank You more each day.  May I be filled with the knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so my daily life is worthy of the name Christian.  Only You can help me mean this prayer not just read it once and be done with it.  May I bear fruit in every good work and increase in the knowledge of God.   In the name of Christ who is the image of God, Amen.