Day 323 – Thru the Bible
Today we start Colossians. Here’s the overview video for Colossians.
Video – Read Scripture: Colossians
How does this video help you understand Colossians better?
Colossians 1 – The apostle Paul begins his letter to the young Believers in Colossae with a greeting and a prayer. He gives thanks that the grace of the Father, the Gospel of the Son, and the love of the Spirit have been made manifest to them so that they can experience and exemplify the faith, love, and hope of the Jesus-centered life.
These three virtues that Believers share ( who they are and what they have because of Jesus’ wondrous work of grace and truth.Corinthians ) are based on the objective word of grace and truth that was proclaimed in the good news of the Gospel. With the help of faithful partners in ministry like Epaphras, Paul calls on the Colossian Believers to remember
This work of grace and truth is directly connected to what Jesus has done in delivering all of His followers from the realm of darkness into light, from death to life. Through Jesus’ work on the cross, they have been redeemed from and forgiven of all their sins. Because of this change in position from one realm to another, Paul calls on Believers to practice a new life in Christ that glorifies God and bears good fruit (Matthew 7:17–19). With the knowledge, wisdom, and power that the God of “glorious might” will provide, Believers can endure the inevitable trials and tribulations of the Christian life with patience, joy, and thanksgiving. For it is the Gospel that causes fruit to be borne in the lives of God’s people.
We do not “graduate” from the Gospel of grace; rather, we move more deeply into it over time, as we continue to see how profoundly sinful we are, yet how much more profoundly gracious God is.
In this moving passage that reads like a psalm, Paul declares the preeminence of Jesus over all things, visible and invisible. To clear away confusion, the apostle states that from the creation of all things to the redemption of their souls, Jesus is Lord of all. He is both transcendent Lord of all things far removed from them, and immanent Lord of all things near to them. The One through whom all things were created is also the One who provides peace with God through His blood on the cross. He is the head of creation (vv. 15–17) and the head of the Church (vv. 18–20).
Here is the awe-inspiring mystery of the God-man, Jesus Christ—He who threw out the stars with His hands also had nails driven through those hands to reconcile us who were once alienated, hostile, and evil. Now that we are considered holy and blameless before God through Jesus’ sinless life and sacrificial work on the cross, Believers are called by Paul to remember their hope in the Jesus and to remain steadfast in their walk. And once more Paul tells us that the Gospel is our daily source of sustenance; we are to be “stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the Gospel that you heard.”
At the end of this chapter Paul transitions to explain the content, method, and goal of his labors. In doing so, he provides an exemplary model of Christian ministry.
He first unequivocally states that the only content of his ministry is Jesus: “Him we proclaim” (1 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 4:5). Paul asserts that this formerly hidden “mystery” is not some form of esoteric knowledge reserved for a select few, but is God’s unfolding plan of redemption through Jesus Christ revealed to all. No longer exclusive to Israel, the content of this message (i.e., Jesus, “the hope of glory”) is now accessible to all and must be shared with all. We proclaim not fundamentally an ethical code or a set of doctrines or right behavior, but Jesus.
As for method, Paul continues the paradigm of seeing and preaching Jesus from all the Scriptures that was made clear by Jesus himself on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:27, 44). Paul knew that all of God’s Word centers on Jesus and what He has done to save sinners, not on what sinners must do for God. As Old Testament Believers looked forward to the Jesus whose coming was prophesied in Scripture, and as New Testament Believers look back to the Jesus whose coming was recorded in Scripture, so also are we to look to Jesus in all of Scripture as we await His return. Thus he warns and teaches from all the Scriptures through this lens. Paul recognized that only Jesus fulfills all the redemptive themes in Scripture. So we too must grow in our understanding of Jesus as the center of Scripture.
Lastly, Paul states that he labors tirelessly with this content and method toward a specific goal: to “present everyone mature in Christ.” He does this so that the Believers in the Colossian church would be encouraged and edified with the knowledge of all the blessings included in being united to Jesus (2:1–3). Paul experienced the new life that occurs when Jesus transforms the Believer from the inside out (1 Timothy 1:12–16). As he presents the treasury of wisdom and knowledge that is Jesus, he focuses on maturity in faith and not just profession of faith. He knows that many Believers face the temptation to give up their faith in Jesus alone—especially through false teaching (2:4). But as they grow in their knowledge of Jesus through the Word of God, Believers can combat heresy in whatever shape or form.
How does the truth in this chapter encourage you in your faith in Jesus?
Colossians 2 – Paul tells Believers about the benefits available by virtue of being united to Jesus in order to “walk in him” faithfully and wisely—especially in the face of false teaching. He calls on them to understand all the resources they have in Jesus so as to utilize those resources to fight the good fight of faith ( Timothy ).
Through the use of the simple yet profound phrase “in Him,” Paul reveals all the resources available to combat falsehood. In union with Jesus, Believers have been rooted, built up, and established in faith. In Jesus they have been filled with the same authority that Jesus possesses. In Jesus they have been spiritually “circumcised,” or set apart from the realm of the flesh to that of the Spirit. In Him they have “died” to sin and have been “raised” to new life through Jesus’ baptism of death and resurrection. In Him they have been forgiven of all their spiritual debts because of the cross. In Him they have the certainty of victory over Satan and death.
And in Jesus, as Paul has said already numerous times in this letter, Believers walk. In the same ways that we received Jesus—through faith, by grace—we move forward. The Gospel is for sanctification, not only justification; for growth, not only conversion. We do what Jesus instructs in the confidence that He knows and will accomplish what is best for our lives, and we are motivated and enabled to do this as He instructs us by His grace.
Paul thus calls on Believers who are united to Jesus to utilize these promises and benefits and to not be led astray by any teaching that is contrary to the Gospel that he taught them. For fear that they may fall prey to humanly devised rules regarding true spirituality, Paul reminds them of all that they know about Jesus and all that they possess in Jesus. Through faith, Believers have the assurance of accessing the resources of the Word and Spirit to remain steadfast amid the storms of false teaching (1 John 2:26–27).
While the implications of the Gospel are numerous, the Gospel itself is simple. Who do you keep from adding anything to the pure clear simple Gospel?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
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