Colossians 1

(1-2) Paul’s typical greeting. Notice that he emphasizes that his apostleship comes from God!

(3-8) Paul’s thanksgiving for the church. He is thankful for their faith and love, recognizing that it comes from the hope of the gospel. We see here that the gospel is growing and spreading because of faithful ministers. The gospel was brought to Colossae by Epaphras.

(9-14) Paul’s prayer for the church. He wants them to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. That is the only way they will be able to live worthily, please God, bear fruit, and grow. Note that their strength is supposed to be displayed by patience and steadfastness. Does that surprise you? Paul thanks God for the fact that He has delivered them, given them an inheritance, and transferred them into the kingdom because of Jesus, in whom they have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. What a description of our salvation!

(15-20) The deity of Christ! One of the four great Christological passages in the New Testament (John 1, Philippians 2, Colossians 1, Hebrews 1). He is God. He is creator. He is sustainer. He is the head of the church. He reconciled all things through the cross!

(21-23) The perseverance of the saints. What an expression of the reconciliation we experience through Christ. Enemies made holy! But only if we remain. And we will remain, if we truly know Him.

John 10:27-28 “My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand.

(24-29) The mystery of the gospel. Here Paul rejoices because he has been chosen to reveal the mystery of God among the Gentiles. The mystery is this: Christ in them, the hope of glory! In his suffering and service he serves the church at the behest of God. Although verse 24 can seem confusing and difficult to understand, 2 Corinthians 1:5-6 may help us to understand it:

For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow toward us, so also our comfort through Christ overflows to you. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort that you experience in your patient endurance of the same sufferings that we also suffer.

Paul’s suffering doesn’t add anything to salvation. Christ’s atonement was perfect, as Paul has already revealed in Colossians. But God does use Paul’s suffering to reveal the truth of the gospel to others, and in that way Paul’s suffering fills up “what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ.

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