It is, without a doubt, life is full of troubles. It is the price we pay for being in a fallen world. Added to the expected difficulties of life is the conflicts that arise because of our beliefs and the stances that we take. Paul echoes this thought in another Scripture, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). The difficulty seems inevitable, but Paul demonstrates that it is possible to maintain faithfulness to Christ through the pain.
For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.
What conflict is Paul experiencing for the church at Colossae and Laodicea? At this point, it is an inner conflict. He longs to visit and help these churches, but Paul has an issue with visiting churches that he did not start (Romans 15:20). Paul knows the reputation he has, and he does not want to mess with the work other people started. Still, he has conflict in his inner self for these people. He writes that he longs for their heart to “knit together in love” and that they would have “understanding” the mystery of God.
This mystery is that they would have the full assurance of salvation. Many people, even today, struggle with their salvation. They do not have confidence either in their walk or with God’s ability to save them. The mystery is how God could give us scandalous grace. We do not deserve salvation, but God has given it to us nonetheless. Paul wanted to remind the believers that in his absence, they can have assurance of their salvation. We do not need someone else to confirm our salvation; the Holy Spirit does that for us. We can be confident in our salvation through Jesus.
All Scripture quotations are from the King James Version.