Over the next few days, I will blog through the letter to the Church at Collosae. Colossians, as we know it, provides a robust Christology to the church. It was written somewhere between 58-62 A.D. The apostle, Paul, wrote this letter to a congregation of believers who may have become heavily influenced by heresies concerning the nature of Jesus’ deity and humanity. Paul also deals with the typical teaching of the Jewish insistence of circumcision and other various traditions. For us, Colossians provides us with a high assurance of the supremacy of our Christ.
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
In the first couple of lines, Paul introduces himself. He identifies himself as “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.” He repeatedly defended his apostleship (sent-ness) due to not being an original disciple. He was labeled “as of one born out of due time” (1 Cor. 15:8). He reaffirmed his calling as God’s will for him. He knew what God had called him to do, even when others would not recognize it.
Paul references Christ five times in this opening passage. It is safe to assume that for Paul, Christ was the center of theology. It is important to note, each of the references here to Jesus, involve the title, Christ. Paul only refers to Jesus with this earthy name, seven times in the letter. Compare this with the title, Christ, which Paul uses 26 times. The word Christ is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word, “Messiah.” These words both mean, “the anointed one.” Even in the introduction and a quick word study, we see an emphasis of Paul on the preciousness of Jesus.
Another point of interest to note, is Paul’s pastoral care for this local Church, namely, through his prayers. Paul focuses on the prayers for his brothers and sisters in the faith. Why? Because of the “hope which is laid up for you in heaven.” Paul demonstrates in the verses that the Gospel has gone out and is capable of transforming the lives of those that receive it. The believers at Colossae have done this, and Paul directs their attention now toward the reward of their faith. This reward is eternal bliss. In the book of Romans, salvation was strongly linked with escaping future wrath, but in Colossians is it tied with a heavenly invitation. Paul is very futuristic in many of his descriptions of salvation.
Paul is very futuristic in many of his explanations of salvation. Salvation, for Paul, is a two-sided coin. On the first side, salvation is an escape from wrath. On the second side, it is the reward for faithfulness to Christ. Still, the nature of those two realities, promotes the need for our pursuit of holiness, life changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Are you centered on Christ? Or, is He just an option? Downplaying His impact and importance in life is tempting. Distractions, misplaced priorities, and a bad theology might have us compartmentalizing Jesus into a corner of our schedules. When this happens, our Christian faith becomes a hobby and something we have to schedule into our calendar. Instead, we should center our life around Christ. We must allow Christ to be on display in every arena of life, and in control.
Scripture is from the King James Version