Day 324 – Thru the Bible
Today we complete Colossians. Well done!
Colossians 3 – Having established the supremacy of Jesus and salvation in Jesus, in chapter Paul turns his attention to the practical implications of living out what it means to be united to Jesus by faith. He begins by describing the status of Believers and then the servanthood that follows from that status. In this way the indicatives of the Gospel (who we are by virtue of God’s grace) drive the imperatives for our lives (what we do in accordance with God’s Word).
The new status that Believers possess includes being raised and seated with Jesus at the right hand of God in heaven, having certainty of their future state of glory, becoming equal heirs of God’s kingdom with all other Believers, and being forgiven by Jesus. Believers already possess many benefits tied to Jesus’ resurrection, ascension, intercession, and glorification. Some of these blessings, however, will not be fully realized until Jesus’ return. Thus, Believers live in an already/not yet (or “eschatological”) tension. The blessings of the final age have dawned right now, in the middle of history, becoming ours through union with Jesus. We are therefore pilgrims who, though our destiny is secure, are called to journey through life with faith and obedience.
In light of these many gracious eschatological blessings, Paul calls on the Colossians to seek, out of gratitude to and love for God, the knowledge and wisdom that comes from Jesus alone. More than this, Paul summons them to serve others in a manner consistent with the characteristics of Jesus’ kingdom. He describes Christlike servanthood as both a “putting off”, no longer practicing the old vices that characterized their lives before Jesus, and a “putting on”, exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) (Galatians 5:22–23). It is as we learn of God’s love for us that our minds are changed and we are moved to obey Him from the inside out.
Paul continues the exposition and application that he began in the previous section: Because our relationship with God has changed through Jesus, our relationships with those around us must change for Jesus.
Having spoken in general about our servanthood, Paul now focuses particular attention on how such service to Jesus affects those relationships closest to us—in our homes and work. Note first how many times Paul reminds his readers that in each of these relationships “the Lord” is present. They now treat others with a new perspective—one that includes Jesus’ grace and righteousness. Then, since they have experienced the grace of Jesus, Paul calls on them to be gracious to one another. This is the beauty of the life into which the Gospel of grace invites us.
How does what Jesus has done for you flow through to those around you?
Colossians 4 – In this final section of the letter, Paul encourages Believers with several points that follow from his insistence that, since Jesus is Lord and Savior of all, they have every spiritual blessing in their union with Jesus. Here we see that the Gospel fuels the Believer’s life in three ways: in prayer, partnership, and purpose.
First, we cultivate a life of persistent prayer (Mark 1:35; 14:32–39). As those who have been adopted into God’s family, we have full and free access to the Father and get to seek Him for His gracious blessing upon our lives, which He delights to give. We are liberated to come to Him not tepidly or reluctantly but “with thanksgiving.”
Second, we humbly partner with others for the sake of Gospel ministry (Mark 3:13–19). Not all of us are preachers, but we are all invited into the adventure of spreading the Gospel.
Third, our lives are purposeful, so that through the testimony of our conduct (words and deeds), Jesus may be seen (Ephesians 4:29). We treat others in a “gracious” way, as God in Jesus has treated us.
The letter ends on a note that sums up the message of Paul’s ministry to the Colossians: “Grace be with you.”
How do you see prayer, partnership, and purpose in your life?
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.
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