Vs. 1-2 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God and Timothy our brother, to the Saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace and peace from God our Father.”
As we begin our study of the Book of Colossians, let me encourage you to go back and read the introduction written last week. Paul is the writer, but the letter is not about Paul, it is about Jesus Christ our Savior, the One who died for the sins of the whole world; the exalted One who came and destroyed the works of the devil; the One who finished His assignment here on earth with total victory and now sits at the right hand of the Father in heavenly places. Still, we can glean a lot from Paul as he relates to us. Notice that Paul begins this letter, which is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, by introducing himself and Timothy to the believers at Colossae. Identity is important, a good name is important (Prov. 22:1); how we see ourselves is important, but how we believe that God sees us is vital. Paul did not present himself as an old sinner saved by grace, he presented himself as an “Apostle” of the Lord Jesus and affectionately called Timothy his brother. Yes, Paul did say in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 15:9) that he considered himself the least of the apostles and not worthy to be an apostle because he had persecuted the Church, but that is not a stand alone verse. Paul goes on to say, “But by the grace of God I am what I am.” God’s grace forgave him every past, present, and future sin, and the same thing applies to you and me. Christ died once for all. We were sinners, but God’s grace saved us and He now calls us His righteousness (11 Cor. 5:21) even though salvation did not perfect our flesh. Notice also that Paul addressed those to whom he was writing as “Saints,” and God is not a man who changes His mind. There is not one epistle that calls born again believers “old sinners saved by grace,” only religious Law does that. The effect of mixing Law and Grace can be lethal because it makes the recipient sin conscious instead of righteous conscious. (SEE 1 Tim. 1:8-9) God wants us to be righteous conscious so that we can go boldly into the throne room of grace with conquering faith. Remember, “there is now therefore no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). That is why Paul always includes “Grace and Peace” in all of his letters. In other words, the war is over between God and the Believer the moment they accept Christ as Lord. He is not checking His list to see if we are naughty or nice, but rather, He is extending grace upon grace for His word says, where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. If Paul’s message of Grace sounds like a license to sin it’s not, it is in reality an empowerment to keep the Law that we couldn’t keep before salvation. No true born again believer can be happy living in sin any more than the prodigal son could enjoy living in a pig sty.
Vs. 3-5 “We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love you have for all of the saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven of which you previously heard in the Word of truth, the gospel.”
Paul now pinpoints three areas that are essential for the growth of all Christians: Faith, Love, and Hope. God has given all three of these gifts to every believer, but it is up to the believer to let these gifts become fruitful and overflowing. The bible declares that to each has been given “the measure of faith” (Romans 12:3) How can you grow in faith? It’s simple: “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of God ( 11 Cor. 5:7). Love is explained in great detail in 1 Cor. 13th chapter. This is one area that we all need to abound in, but most Christians would have to admit that their love is usually based on other people’s performance as it relates to them. That is conditional love. Real love is without conditions. We don’t have to love or tolerate sin, but we are commanded to love the sinner. Concerning hope, be reminded that this earth is not our home, we are only passing through. Our hope cannot be based on the things that are so, so, temporary; it must be based on things that cannot be seen. Those things belong to Christ, He is our hope, and He will not disappoint. NOTE: For a more in depth look at these gifts, you may want to read chapter four in my book titled “Great Life Great Marriage.”
Vs. 6-8 “Which has come to you, Just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understand the grace of God in truth; just as you learned it from Epaphras and our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.”
Paul was an eternal optimist and full of faith because he had learned to base his life on the Word of God. He was not moved by what he saw or heard, or feelings, or circumstances. Paul saw good in others because he believed with every fiber of his being that, “My Word shall not return to Me void” (Is. 55:11). He was optimistic that those to whom he was writing would continue to show increase because that is the nature of God, and every believer has been given a new nature. Do we see the glass half empty or half full? Paul saw neither, he always saw the glass as “abundantly overflowing.”
Vs. 9-10 “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
Would you like to know how to pray an effective prayer? Paul was a tremendous prayer warrior, and He knew how to pray. In all of Paul’s writings, Paul remains constant in praying for others in Christ to receive enlightenment, empowerment, spiritual knowledge and wisdom. Is that how we spend most of your time praying? Remember, the unseen supernatural Kingdom of God always rules over the things that can be naturally seen, not the other way around. Knowledge without revelation is simply knowledge, and while knowledge is good, it pales when compared to God’s wisdom. God’s knowledge plus understanding always equals wisdom. With Light, we can “walk” the walk, which is just as important, if not more so, than our talk.
Vs. 11-12 “strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
Get the picture!!! The Holy Spirit that lives in every born again believer is not some diluted form of power, it is “all” power! Paul exclaimed, “Know you not that you are the temple of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of God dwells in you” (1 Cor. 3:16)? We have not been endowed with a lesser Spirit. Living in us the exact identical Holy Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead (Romans 8:11). It is when we look at ourselves and our failures and the traditions that say, “Jesus plus something,” that His power is made to none effect. When we see our circumstances as being greater than God’s Word, we become like the man who lamented to Jesus, “I believe, help my unbelief!” vs. 12 For the third time in chapter one Paul refers to us as saints and again reminds us of our rich inheritance. Romans 8:17 exclaims that we who belong to Christ are also joint heirs with Him in all things. We are not on the outside looking in. Jesus, the Son is the full heir, but He has chosen to make us joint heirs. Gal. 4:1 “As long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything.” A child who has been willed a great inheritance is not capable of understanding what they actually own. We can be well up in age and still be ignorant of the rich inheritance given us by Christ, and sad to say, many Christians are.
Vs. 13-14 “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
What a tremendous proclamation of God’s abounding grace! We were headed to hell because we came into this world with a sin nature, but God did exactly as He promised in Genesis 3:15. Jesus became the sacrificial Lamb that would not only cover our sins, but completely remove our sins. The blood of bulls and goats could not do that, but the blood of Jesus did. The blood has now been supplied, and it is up to us to make sure that the blood is applied (prayer and proclamation). If we could do one thing that would be pleasing in the sight of Jesus, it would be to see ourselves as redeemed, whole, and holy. Satan no longer has the liberty to accuse us before God because Jesus, our advocate, now stands in his way, but he endlessly roams about as a roaring lion seeking for those who don’t know their true identity in Christ. We are no longer vagrants wandering around seeking a place to hang our religious hats, we are champions for Christ whose spiritual dwelling place is in His Kingdom. Jesus is not withholding any good thing from us, but we must learn how the kingdom operates and be assured in our heart that all of His promises are “yes” and “amen” through Christ Jesus.
Next Friday, we will endeavor to extend our study to cover verses 15-23. If you have questions or prayer requests, please let us know. Until then, walk in God’s blessings!
Don & Penny