Colossians chapter 2.16-23


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This passage alerts us to the danger of being deceived into accepting something less than what God has given us in Christ.

There may have been some excitement and appeal about worshipping angels, but that can never compare to the thrill in our souls of being in vital union with the living Head, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Many people today have nothing and no-one to hold onto.  Praise God we have the risen Christ.

Ritual and rules will only relegate us to the shadows and ultimately bring ruin.

Christ unites us and nourishes us and brings us into an atmosphere of love that encourages growth and development for our mutual benefit.

Are we satisfied with Him?

Colossians chapter 2.16-23

Christ is the substance
It has already been pointed out that there were elements of Jewish tradition mixed into the dogma of the false teachers.  In this passage Paul warns the readers against allowing anyone to pass judgment on them on the basis of the rites, rituals and regulations which the false teachers were attempting to impose on them.  Dietary regulations, the observance of special days in the calendar, rites or rituals relating to food, festivals and the like were no longer necessary in Christianity.  These belonged to the types and shadows of the Old Testament times (Hebrews 8.5: Hebrews 10.1), but now Christ the antitype has come.  Going back to shadows would be a denial of the all-sufficiency of Christ!  Paul tells them not to allow this to happen.  The word “beguile” in verse 18 means to decide against so as to rob of the prize.

The false premise was, since the Colossians were not following the rules of the false teachers, then they were unworthy and therefore disqualified. They professed humility by implying that they were too insignificant to directly approach God and so worshipped angels who would act as intermediaries for them. It would seem that the false teachers also claimed and took the stand that they had received visions. However, this was without substantiation and was the result of inflated pride due to a mind puffed up by the flesh.

The function of the headship of Christ is explained in verse 19.

It is clear that the false teachers had no grasp of the Head and consequently were not part of the body. It is the members of the body who hold fast to the head. There is vital union with Him indicated by the use of the illustrative joints and uniting bands. From the Head also a full supply of nourishment is ministered to all the members of the body. The result is that there is growth and development in the body according to the increase that God would give.

Thus we are completely dependent upon Christ our Head and we have a healthy inter-dependence with other members of the body.

The implications of having died with Christ.

Paul has revealed in the Roman epistle that believers died to sin (Romans 6.2) and have died to the law (Romans 7.4), but now here he states that we have died to the elements of the world. Sin is no longer a dictator over us and the law’s demands no longer apply when we have died. Likewise the elementary principles of the world do not determine the life-style of the believer. Worldly ordinances would place restrictions to tell us what not to touch or taste or handle (verse 21). The implication is here that, if certain foods were refused, the body would be better governed and they would become more spiritual. Paul dismisses this as also did the Lord Jesus in Matthew 15.17. “Do ye not understand that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly and is passed out into the draught.” Paul says these are just the commands and teachings of men!

Summing up in verse 23, Paul is scathing. Their wisdom is just outward show, the worship they engage in is inferior, their humility is not real and their imposed rituals to govern the body have no spiritual value at all. Indeed all of that only serves to indulge the flesh!

Far better to embrace the substance of all we have in Christ and to hold fast to Him.

Next time: risen with Christ


Colossians chapter 2.8-15


Paul was ever wary of introducing human wisdom into the things of God. In 1 Corinthians 2.4-5 he states that His “preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

What he would not do in Corinthians he seeks to prevent others from doing at Colosse!

We must remember that the wisdom of men is foolishness with God and must be discarded.

Human wisdom would rob Christ of his personal glory and deny His absolute deity.  Human wisdom would also dispense with the cross-work of the Lord Jesus and relegate His bodily resurrection to the realms of the impossible.

No wonder Paul writes, “Beware!”

Colossians chapter 2.8-15

Complete in Him

Paul warns against the tactics of the false teachers in verse 8.  The idea of “spoil” is to make a prey of you, and the bait they use is to deceive through human philosophy and human traditions, which are established on the elementary principles of this world.  Philosophy is the love of wisdom, and, given that Paul has already informed them in verse 3 that all the treasures of wisdom are found in Christ, that ought to have been sufficient to safeguard them against the error.

In chapter 1.19 Paul has stated that “Divine fullness was pleased to dwell in Him.”  Now in chapter 2.9 he affirms that “all the fullness of the Godhead subsists bodily in Him.”  The word “Godhead” is not just referring to the attributes of God (compare Romans 1.20), but means all that the Godhead is in essence and the Divine personality, dwells bodily in Christ.   Note the present tense “dwelleth” is used here to emphasise that this is an eternal unchanging truth!  “Ye are complete in Him” means to be filled up, made full with the fullness of Christ.  Paul asserts that Christ is the head of all angelic rule and authority, showing His supremacy over them.

In verse 11 Paul speaks of spiritual circumcision, which is different from the physical rite practiced in Judaism.  Man has no part in it at all, as it is accomplished by Christ, and our position in Him makes it good to us at conversion.  It involves the body of the flesh being stripped off in the cutting off of Christ in His death at the cross.  “Body of the flesh” (note “sins of” should be omitted) refers to the body conditioned by our evil fallen nature.  God has dealt with our evil state as man in the flesh, through our association with the death of Christ.  Two further steps are emphasised through the symbolism of baptism, namely that we were buried and raised together with Christ.  Note that this (baptism) is also a demonstration of our faith in what God has done in raising Christ from the dead.  Those who were dead in their trespasses and who pursued the unrestrained passions of the flesh have now, in association with Christ, been made alive by God, who has also freely forgiven them.  So in Christ we are made alive and enjoy forgiveness, and all our indebtedness to God is blotted out.  The demands of the full penalty of the ordinances of the law, which we were unable to meet, have been forever removed through the work of Christ at the cross.

There was an unseen battle at Calvary, against Satan and the hosts of Hell. These rulers of the darkness were spoiled by the mighty Victor, who exhibited His power over them through the glorious triumph of His cross. This conflict with infernal foes was envisaged in Psalm 22.21 in the cry from the cross “Save me from the lion’s mouth; for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.”  God surely heard that cry, and every last foe was soundly defeated, publicly disgraced and dispatched back into the darkness from whence they came.

Well might we repeat the refrain of Moses and the children of Israel in Exodus 15.1, “I will sing unto the Lord for He hath triumphed gloriously.”

Next time:

Further warnings and the benefits derived from Christ as the Head

Colossians chapter 2.1-7


How do we discover the treasures that are hidden in Christ?

We must dig into the word of God day by day, and His glories will be revealed to us.

Remember, we have the Holy Spirit to help us. The Lord Jesus said in John 16.14 of the Divine Spirit, “He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of mine and shall show it unto you.”

Just as Abraham’s servant gave to Rebecca jewels of silver and jewels of gold as the tokens of his master’s wealth, so the Spirit unfolds the unsearchable riches of Christ to us today. (Genesis 24.22)

How much we need to apprehend something of the Divine wisdom and knowledge available in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Colossians chapter 2.1-7

Treasures in Him

In chapter 2, Paul expands upon the dangers facing the Colossians, because he wants them to know and be fully aware about the intentions of the false teachers.

In verses 1 – 3 he writes about his conflict, their comfort, their comprehension and, most importantly, about Christ!

His conflict

Paul continues with the theme introduced at the end of chapter 1, as the word “striving” is from the same root as “conflict” in chapter 2. A similar but more intense word is used of the Lord Jesus in Luke 22.44: “And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly.” W.E. Vine says “it speaks of the inward conflict of the soul” and has its imagery taken from the athletes contending against each other in the games. This concern was for all at Colosse and Laodicea and even those Paul had never met personally.

Their comfort

The objective of Paul’s intense prayers was that he might encourage their hearts, as a result of his drawing alongside them. He wanted them to be glued together in the unity that mutual love produces, and not to allow the false teachers to divide them.

Their comprehension

“Unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding” shows that there is something blessed about having the certainty and assurance that what we understand as the truth of God is indeed the truth. If we begin to waver and have doubts about what we believe it leaves us open to all kinds of error that will potentially undermine our faith. Paul is assuring them of the richness of truth they have received, of the greatness of the gospel and of the glories of the Person and work of Christ.

Christ is the mystery

The next phrase in verse 2 is changed by the Revised Version to read “the mystery of God, even Christ,” and the Newberry notes tell us that “and of the Father and of Christ” is omitted by certain manuscripts. A.T. Robertson says of this that it follows that “Christ is the mystery of God, no longer hidden, but manifested and meant for us to know to the fullness of our capacity.” Paul goes on to explain that “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” are to be found in Him. Treasure is literally “a place of safe keeping” for the fullness of Divine wisdom and knowledge. Solomon was renowned for his wisdom but “a greater than Solomon is here.” Twice over in John’s gospel (chapter 16.30 and chapter 21.17.) it was said to the Lord “Thou knowest all things,” and here we have, underlined, the limitless expanse of infinite knowledge found in Christ!

In verses 4 – 7 Paul warns of the onslaught of words against them, but is encouraged by the order which was evident among them and the objective of their walk in Him.

Onslaught of words

These were words with the intention to delude and lead astray. To do this the false teachers would present plausible arguments that may sound acceptable but are entirely spurious and cannot stand the scrutiny of scripture.

Order he witnessed

Although Paul had never been there in person, he assures the saints he is with them in spirit, and this must have strengthened their resolve against their enemies. He rejoiced in the godly order among them and the firmness of their unwavering faith in the Lord Jesus.

Objective of their walk

Paul exhorts them to walk in keeping with the fact that they had received Christ Jesus the Lord, submitting to His authority over them. Christ was their foundation and the sphere of their edification as long as they remained true and assured in the faith they had been taught. Their position in Christ and the progress being made because of their persistence in adhering to the faith, were all a means of overflowing praise and thanksgiving being offered to God.


Next time:

We are filled full in Him, but we must beware.

Colossians chapter 1.24-29


Paul was a servant of the gospel and a steward of the mysteries of God.

How do we serve God today, and are we using our God-given gifts in His service?

Do we shirk affliction, or are we prepared to suffer for His sake?

Understanding deep truths takes time and the careful study of the word of God.  How often do we give ourselves to the detailed consideration of the scriptures?

Do I have conviction about the truth of the church, and the wonder that Christ is among His people?

Do I, like Paul, have spiritual desires for the maturity of other believers, and not just for my own personal development?

 Colossians chapter 1.24 – 29

Paul’s service in the gospel.

Paul has become a minister, or servant, of the gospel.  In 1st Timothy 1.11-12 he speaks of “the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”  He continues: “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.”

Paul’s suffering for the believers.

When the risen Christ called him in Acts 9, it was made clear that suffering for His name’s sake was part of that calling (Acts 9.16).  Here he reveals that his sufferings were also “for you,” the believers who formed the body of Christ.  The word “now” in verse 24 demonstrates that presently, as he was incarcerated in a prison in Rome, he rejoiced that such sufferings were his portion.  It reminds us of his words in Philippians 1.29: “… unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for His sake.”  In a unique way here Paul links his afflictions in his flesh with the afflictions of Christ Himself.  Paul had been given direct revelations from the risen Christ and, in the communication of these, he was privileged to fill up the word of God.  However, in the accomplishment of that, he was required to bear the afflictions of Christ.

Paul’s stewardship of the mystery

The word “dispensation” in verse 25 is the word elsewhere translated as “stewardship.”  In 1st Corinthians 4.1 Paul writes: “Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” Undoubtedly there are many mysteries revealed in the scriptures, and indeed W. E. Vine wrote a book called “The Twelve Mysteries Of Scripture.” These include the mystery of the Gospel, the mystery of iniquity, the mystery of Israel’s blindness, the mystery of the change to the believer’s body and the mystery of the church.  This last one is the mystery here in Colossians chapter 1.  In verses 26 – 27 three matters about the mystery are explained:

  • The revelation of the mystery

“Ages” and “generations” are different time periods in the chronology of human history.

Here Paul explains what a mystery is.  “That which has been hid from ages and from generations but now is made manifest to His saints.”  Compare with this Ephesians 3.9-10.  So a mystery is not something unknowable and strange, but truth that God has chosen to reveal to the saints.

  • The riches of the mystery

What an expression this is.  “The riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles.” Amazingly, God brings the wealth and glory of heavenly blessing “among the gentiles.” He does this by making them part of the body of Christ.

  • The reality of the mystery

“Christ in you the hope of glory.” In Ephesians, Christ as the head is above, and we are linked with Him where He is.  However, in Colossians, Christ is among the gentiles down here, assuring us of the reality of the hope of coming glory.  This is the third time Paul refers to the hope in this chapter: “The hope which is laid up for you in heaven” (verse 5), “the hope of the gospel” (verse 23), and “the hope of glory” (verse 27).

Paul’s striving for the saints.

In these closing verses we are confronted with the warnings of Paul, the wisdom of Paul, and the working in Paul.

Warnings and teachings that will be filled out in the remainder of the epistle.

Wisdom in his presentation of truth so as to preserve the saints and present them full grown and mature in Christ.

All this was done according to the mighty working of God in him.  In this measure and manner the apostle laboured and contended for the good of the Colossian believers.

Next time:  Beware of those with enticing words.

Colossians chapter 1.15-23


God created all things through Jesus Christ.

How did the Son of God create all things? In Genesis 1.1, the word “create” means to make something out of nothing.

With what then did He make all things?

We are told in Psalm 33.6 and 9, “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made: He spake and it was done.”

2 Peter 3.5 says “By the word of God the heavens were of old.”

It was by the power of His spoken word that creation was accomplished.

In Genesis 1 we have the phrase “And God said” at least six times!

Note, God did not just start a process: He created the sun, the moon, the stars, the earth, animals, the atmosphere, seas, trees, all vegetation and man and woman!

“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God” Hebrews 11.3.

Colossians chapter 1.15-23

Paul expands upon the glories of Christ. He is the Image of the invisible God. God is a spirit and therefore invisible. John 1.18 tells us that “no man hath seen God at any time.” He is God “who dwells in light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen nor can see” 1Timothy 6.16. But God has been seen at various times and to limited degree, so how do we reconcile this? For example there are a number of Theophanies (appearances of God) in the Old Testament such as the appearance to Abraham in Genesis 18, to Moses in Exodus 34 and to Gideon in Judges 6. The answer to these and other examples is found here in Colossians 1.15. “… who is the image (eikon) of the invisible God.” Christ is and always has been and always will be “the visible representation and manifestation of all that God is” according to W.E. Vine. Paul further underlines this in 2 Corinthians 4.4: “… lest the gospel of Christ, who is the image of God should shine unto them.” John also emphasises this in John 1.18: “… the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” The Lord stated this great truth to Philip in John 14.9: “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” It is worth noting that original man in Adam was created in the image of God, for 1 Corinthians 11.7 says “he is the image and glory of God.” However Adam was created in that image while the Lord Jesus was uncreated. That image in Adam was marred at the fall. Then again Paul speaks of the new man in Colossians 3.10 as being “renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.” Ultimately the purpose of God will be realised in the saints “ for whom He did foreknow He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son” Romans 8.29. Thus as W. E. Vine says, “we in our glorified state will not only resemble Christ but represent Him perfectly and eternally.” The hymn aptly records, “True image of the infinite whose essence is concealed, Brightness of uncreated light the heart of God revealed.”

Firstborn (Greek – prototokos) of all creation.

The word means first in relation to rank and position and does not imply first in relation to time.  For example Exodus 4.22 says “Israel is my son, even my firstborn.” Clearly Israel was not the first nation to exist, but God was emphasising His choice of them for Himself and the importance of their position before Him. Here it expresses Christ’s priority to and preeminence over all that has been created (W. E. Vine). Note, it is because He is the image of the invisible God that He is the Firstborn.

Note again the reference in verse 18 “The firstborn from among the dead,” repeated in Revelation 1.5, “The faithful witness, the firstborn from among the dead, the Prince of the kings of the earth.” Clearly Christ was not the first chronologically to be raised from the dead but He is the preeminent one in resurrection and as such is the prototype of the new race.

In Romans 8.29 Paul says “that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Christ is supreme and all others will derive their resemblance and representation from His glorious Person. The Hebrew writer in Hebrews 1.6 projects this to the day of His manifested glory “When He bringeth in again the firstborn into the world He saith let all the angels of God worship Him.” Thus the Lord Jesus will have the first place, and, as His rank demands, He will be the supreme object of worship as He returns in triumph to this world that rejected Him.

Verse 16 is all-encompassing in relation to all created things. They were created “in Him,” emphasising source and origin. They were created “through Him”, that is through His agency and power. They were created “for Him” indicating the goal and purpose of His creatorial work. Note, the scope embraced is heaven and earth, seen or unseen, angelic or human authorities, all are included.

Verse 17 emphasises Christ’s Preexistence – He is before all things – and also the dependence of all created things on Him “for by Him all things consist” or hold together. That includes individual items – elements and atoms and also bodies in relation to each other, upheld by the laws that govern the universe around us.

“He is the head of the body the church” verse 18. This is something that is true of Him in His resurrected and ascended glory. The church which is His body was established in Acts 2, and the truth of the head in heaven linked to the body on earth was manifested to Paul in Acts 9 during his conversion. The doctrine of headship is detailed in the teaching of Ephesians and Colossians. Note that headship is the caring and affectionate relationship of Christ with His church that supplies exactly what is needed. Lordship underlines His authority and control and requires our submission. As the Head He gives direction and intelligence and makes provision as in Ephesians 4.15 – 16. The picture is of the body as a living organism vitally linked to the head. Paul tells us at the end of verse 18 that the objective of God is the preeminence of Christ. He is preeminent in creation in the unseen world and in the church! What about my life? Is Christ preeminent there? This is the One in whom Divine fullness is pleased to dwell!

He is the reconciler of all things (verse 19). Note, God is never reconciled to us, but everything needs to be reconciled to Him. This is because of our estrangement and alienation from God in our sin. In this aspect we were enemies in our minds by wicked (evil) works. The outcome of the work of reconciliation by the Lord Jesus is peace, purification and presentation. He has made peace through the blood of His cross. He has made us holy, pure, in His sight and will present us without blame and beyond any charge through His death.

Note that the scope of the work of reconciliation is “things on the earth or things in the heavens,” and does not extend to things under the earth (infernal), which are beyond the possibility of reconciliation (verse 21).

Paul makes reference again to their faith and hope in verse 23. The faith with which they began is the faith in which they are to continue.

Hendriksen records that “Divine preservation always presupposes human perseverance. Perseverance proves faith’s genuine character and is therefore indispensable to salvation.” Their faith was on a firm foundation and they had to take care not to allow the false teachers to move them away from the hope they had embraced through the gospel. The false teachers claimed they had special knowledge which was only revealed to the initiated, but the gospel was for the whosoever, going out to all under heaven.


Lessons Learned

Christ is preeminent in all things.

It took the blood of His cross to make peace.

The work of Christ is far reaching and is able to bring all things back to God.

One day He will present us beyond reproach before Him.

We must persevere in our faith and be firm to stand against the assault of false teaching.

Next Time:  The ministry of Paul and the mystery now made known.

Colossians chapter 1, 9-14


Prayer is vertical and not horizontal. We don’t pray to give out information to other believers.

Prayer is speaking directly to the Father through the Son, and we ought to always be conscious that we are speaking to God.

It may help to have a prayer list which is kept up to date.

It is essential to pray with faith so that God will answer our requests.

It is necessary to seek the will of God in our prayers and not ask for selfish desires and pursuits to be satisfied.

Prayer should always be with thanksgiving.

Colossians chapter 1, 9-14


Out of his thanksgiving flows earnest prayer for the Colossians. It is a good thing to examine our prayer life to determine whether it is healthy and regular. Paul speaks of the cause of his prayers, the continuity of his prayers, and the content of his prayers. It was what he heard about them, no doubt from Epaphras, that caused him to pray for them. Does what we hear about other believers give us a cause to pray for their further spiritual development? Unceasing continuous prayer is difficult to practise and demands discipline in practical living, but Paul was attentive to this. Praying was not just on a whim. For Paul it came from strong desires, and was time spent asking God for an increase in the lives of others. Notice what Paul prayed for the Colossians:

Enlightenment in relation to God’s will (verse 9)

Enlargement in their practical walk (verse 10)

Empowerment in their witness (verse 11).

The knowledge of His will is meant to be experiential and not just theoretical. How do we get to know God’s will for us?  Well, through prayer, by His word, through circumstances, by the Spirit’s leading and by submission and obedience to His hand upon me. Two qualities accompany this knowledge of His will:

  1. Wisdom – the application of knowledge. Note, it is not enough then to know God’s will, we must apply it and work it out in our lives.
  2. Spiritual understanding – comprehension Divinely given about the spiritual import of matters.

So then, knowing God’s will undoubtedly affects my walk, according to verse 10. Consequently we must walk worthily, pleasingly and fruitfully. To be worthy means to behave in a becoming fashion and in an appropriate manner for someone who acknowledges Christ as Lord! Notice the pleasure is superlative (all pleasing), which involves giving complete satisfaction to the Lord Jesus. Then am I a fruitbearing Christian? The context here shows that good works are an opportunity to bear fruit for Him. The consequence of living in such a manner is that growth and development will spontaneously take place and my knowledge of God will correspondingly increase as well. We will be enlarged as believers. Observe, the knowledge of His grace in verse 6, the knowledge of His will in verse 9, and the knowledge of Himself in verse 10.

Next there is empowerment in verse 11 as we are strengthened with all might.  J.N. Darby says “made powerful with all power.” There is nothing meagre with God, and He energises His people in accordance with His unlimited glory. What does God supply this power for? It is with a view to patience  – the ability to bear up under pressure and the ill will of persons opposed to us, and not to give in easily. Secondly, longsuffering, which is the quality that shows self-restraint and does not retaliate. Thirdly, it enables an inner joyfulness to be expressed in all circumstances.

In verse 12 there is thanksgiving again to the Father, who equips us even in adversity to be competent to participate in the inheritance given to the saints and enjoyed by those who have been brought into the light. This is true spiritual enrichment as a result of our deliverance from the authority of the powers that dominate the darkness and our translation into the kingdom of the Son of His love. This happened once for all at the moment of our conversion.

Whenever He mentions the Son of God, Paul cannot refrain from expanding on the greatness of His work and the glories of His person. That is why he speaks of our redemption and forgiveness in verse 14. The ransom price has been paid in precious blood and we have now become His possession. How blessed to be forgiven and to know that our sins can never be recalled against us because of the work of Christ at Calvary.

Next time:  The majesty of Christ revealed

Colossians chapter 1, 1-8

• • •

Written around AD 62 or 63, Colossians is a prison epistle along with Ephesians Philippians and Philemon. Tychicus carried the Ephesian and Colossian letters along with Onesimus (Colossians 4.7-9).

Geography of Colosse
Located overlooking the Lycus river valley in central Asia Minor and was about 100 miles East of Ephesus. Colosse was in declension as a town about the time of writing.

Epaphras was probably the founding member of the assembly. He came to visit Paul in prison and according to Philemon became imprisoned with him. He gave Paul the report of the conditions and the progress of the believers. This caused Paul to write the epistle.

Error they faced was a mixture of Judaism (Jewish Law) Gnosticism (claim for special knowledge) and asceticism (severe self-discipline).

Colossians chapter 1, 1-8

Outline of the epistle

Chapter 1 – Intercession and the Exaltation of the Lord Jesus
Chapter 2 – Correction of errors being propagated
Chapter 3 – Exhortations
Chapter 4 – Salutations

Introduction, verses 1 – 2

Paul begins by stating his credentials as an apostle of the risen Christ. As such he was distinct from the 12 who were apostles of the Lamb Revelation 21.14. His apostleship was to the gentiles while Peter was the apostle of the circumcision ( Jews) Galatians 2.8. Paul was the last apostle in this sense according to 1 Corinthians 15.8. Note there are those like Barnabas described as apostles of the church but not in the same sense or with the same authority as the 12 or Paul! Paul was made an apostle as a direct result of the active will of of God in his life.

Next he speaks about his associate in the work Timothy who was a younger believer and likely converted under Paul’s preaching. Described as “the brother” Timothy was no doubt exemplary of all that a brother should be. Paul now turns to the addressees, whom he calls saints, which is simply sanctified ones or those made holy through the work of Christ. They are also faithful brethren which may simply be underlining their position as those who have placed faith in the Lord jesus or else is emphasising their trustworthiness and reliability. The customary greetings are offered, with grace to experience as Divine help and peace to enjoy in fellowship with Divine persons.

Appreciation, verses 3 – 8

Paul writes, “We give thanks” and so ought we. There is thanksgiving in every chapter of this letter either by example or exhortation. In chapter 1 verses 3 and 12 it is Who we give thanks to. In chapter 2 verse 7 how we abound in thanksgiving. In chapter 3 verses 15 and 17 thanksgiving is to govern our attitude of heart and life. In chapter 4 verse 2 thanksgiving is a necessary ingredient in every prayer. Are we a people filled with gratitude to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? This title is used six times in the New Testament and emphasises the unique relationship in which God has been made known to us today. What Epaphras told Paul about the Colossians exercised him to be consistently surrounding them with his prayers. Epaphras had spoken of their Faith in the heavenly Person of Jesus Christ, their love towards a heavenly people the other believers, and their hope which was reserved in heaven itself where it could not be assailed. Hendriksen in his commentary says, “Christian hope is not mere wishing. It is a fervent yearning confident expectation and patient waiting for the fulfilment of God’s promises. A full Christ-centered assurance that these promises will be realised.” This hope strengthens faith and stimulates love as these graces interact with each other. This hope he says is reserved for you, kept safe and secure in the very place to which they were destined.

Note that the word of the truth of the gospel came to them before (verse 5) the errors propagated by men. The veracity and reliability of the gospel is underlined. This gospel which goes out into all the world is effectual in every place it reaches. The gospel had been fruitful amongst the Colossians both in conversion and also in producing their character by forming the graces to which Paul has already referred.

It was through Epaphras that they had learned the gospel truths. He had preached and instructed them being instrumental in laying the foundation of the assembly at Colosse and also at Hierapolis and Laodicea. Epaphras was a fellow servant a faithful minister and chapter 4.12 tells us he was one of them (a Colossian) a servant of Christ who had a great zeal and laboured fervently in prayer for them.Paul reveals that Epaphras had made evident through his expressive words their Spirit filled love. What a man of God Epaphras was!

Lessons Learned:

Be thankful for the gospel
For Christian graces
• Faith
• Love
• Hope
For other believers

Next Time:  Intercession for Christian growth and development