Greetings and Thanksgiving: 1:1-8.
Paul begins the epistle with his standard greeting. He refers to his apostleship in the beginning because he was unknown to the Colossians. Apostles are called and commissioned by Christ. They were endued with power and authority to perform miracles and combat the false teaching. Paul was an apostle by the will of God. This speaks of his divine appointment. Paul includes Timothy in greeting. He was a trusted companion and coworker. This letter was addressed to the church at Colossae. They are saints in God’s sight because they are separated unto God for His use. They are also the faithful ones. They are full of faith in Christ and loyal to him. They are in Christ. This speaks of their spiritual position with Christ. They are the brethren because they belong to the family of God. Paul greets them with grace and peace. Grace is God’s unmerited favor. Peace is the result of grace. Peace is the calm tranquility of heart in the midst of trouble. The grace and peace come from God. Paul gives thanks for their faith in Christ and their love for all believers. They were not secret Christians because their faith and love for others were known to all. Love is the evidence of faith and the mark of Christianity (John 13:35; 1 John 3:14). They received grace of the Father (1:2). The gospel of Christ transformed their lives (1:5). The love of the Spirit enables them to love others (1:8). They loved every believers whose hope was laid up in Christ (1 Pet 1:3-5). Truth is the very essence of the gospel (John 14:6). Faith looks backward, love lives in the present and hope looks forward. Love links faith and hope. This church was founded through the preaching of Epaphras, a native of Colossae. The church at Colossae was known for their Christ-centered faith and their love towards all believers. The spiritual growth and bruit bearing always go together.
Prayer and intercession: 1:9-11.
Paul was a man of prayer. Paul prayed daily for Colossian church that they may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. There is an emphasis on spiritual thing in this prayer. The believers should grow in the grace and in the knowledge of Christ (2 Pet 3:18). He wanted them to remember who they are in Christ. God delivered them from the power of darkness and transferred them into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (1:13). God saved them to live a life that pleases God and become fruitful in every good work (1:10). The spiritual growth and bruit bearing always will go together. Spiritual wisdom and understanding come from God. The Spiritual knowledge is gained from the Word of God and by experience. This knowledge contrasts the knowledge of Gnostics. This knowledge is necessary to know God’s will and purpose for our lives. Wisdom is the God given ability to use this knowledge for His glory. Understanding gives spiritual insight and enables to make spiritual discernment. God does not give knowledge to satisfy our curiosity. Thus believers are strengthened to endure trials and grow in patience, joy and thanksgiving (1:11). God’s power is limitless. The fruit bearing is the evidences of discipleship (John 15:8). God desires that we should listen and respond to his Word to become fruit bearing followers of Christ.
Paul’s Thanksgiving: 1:12-14.
Paul wants Colossians to be a thankful people. They have been made fit to share the inheritance of the saints in the light (1:12). It is a reference to our future heavenly blessing. Secondly they have been delivered from the power of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of His dear Son (1:13; 1 Pet 2:9). Thirdly in Christ, they have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (1:14). Redemption is defined as the act of buying something back. We do not become sinners; we are sinners. We inherited our sinful nature from Adam (Rom 5:17). For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:10, 23). But God sent His Son to redeem us from our sin (Mk 10:45; Gal 3:13). We are redeemed by the blood of Christ (1 Pet 1:18-19). In Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7; Mica 7:18; Isaiah 43:25). Forgiveness means “the removal of sins” (Psalms 103:12). There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1). Praise be to God!
Preeminence of Christ:
In this moving passage, Paul declares the supremacy of Jesus Christ over all things visible and invisible. From the creation of all things to the salvation of souls, Christ is Lord of all. Jesus is divine and eternal. He is the one through whom all things are (1:16).. He controls all thin gs by the Word of his power (Heb 1:3). Through his death he defeated Satan who had the power of death (Heb 2:14). Jesus rose from the dead and is the living Savior. Jesus is the only way to God, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Jesus is more than a mere prophet, teacher or humanitarian. He is nothing less than God himself. He existed before anything else, and hold all creation together (1:17). To deny this central truth is to deny the basis of the Christian faith. This is the truth that motivated the disciples of first century to turn the world upside down through the preaching of the gospel. Christ is the preeminent one. In the divine order, Christ is the inheritor of all that belongs to the Father. God wants that people should listen and respond to his gospel.
Christ is the image of the invisible God (1:15).
This speaks of Christ’s relationship to God. Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. Many Christians look at Christ with a consumer mentality to get all he could offer. It is vital to have a clear understanding of who Jesus is. We must see Jesus from a new perspective. Jesus Christ is the fixed point of the universe. The deity of Christ is the fundamental doctrine of the New Testament. Christians are Trinitarian in faith, believing the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In essence God is one but has revealed in three persons. His divinity and humanity meet in His incarnation. He is co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Christ is the image of the invisible God (John 17:5). The invisible God became visible in Christ. God is now approachable and knowable in Christ (John 1:1, 14, 18). Recognizing Christ as Lord and Savior is fundamental to Christian faith. Christ is the image of the invisible God (1:15; Heb 1:3). We cannot know God apart from Christ. His humanity is the expression of the moral character of God. Jesus is the one in whom divinity and humanity met together in one person (John 1:14).
Christ is the firstborn of all creation (1:16-17).
Paul declares the supremacy of Christ over all things visible and invisible. He is the firstborn of all creation. Firstborn here signifies priority in order. From past, present and future, Jesus Christ is the fixed point of the universe. This speaks of Christ’s deity and sovereignty in relation to creation. He is the firstborn and not the first created. "Firstborn" in the Bible does not speak of his creation order but about his preeminence. He is the self existing God. He was before all creation and not a part of creation. He is the great “I AM” (John 8:58). His deity spans from eternity to eternity. All things were created by Him and for Him (1:16). Christ is the divine source and agent of creation. For his use and glory all things were created. The Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New Testament (Isaiah 40:26; John 1:3; Heb 1:2). Christ is the preserver of all things. In Him all things hold together. He maintains harmony and order in the creation. He controls the laws of the universe (Heb 1:3). Apart from Christ, the universe will disintegrate and will be in a state of chaos. Christ is the firstborn among the dead. From his resurrection all resurrection comes. Because Christ lives, we also will live (John 14:19). To deny the deity of Christ is to undermine everything about Jesus and the Bible.
Christ is the head of the body, the church (1:18-19).
Christ is the head of the church. This speaks of His relation with the church. Christianity is Christ. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead. This is a reference to His resurrection. Christ is the source of new creation. He alone direct, controls, guides and governs the church. The church is the living organism through which Christ works. The church is composed of people who are saved. They share the resurrection life of Jesus (Act 3:15). The church is also a family where Christ is preeminent. The church is the outward manifestation of the inward working of the Holy Spirit. The church is the place where presence or God is realized (1 Cor 14:25). If people do not see the transformation of life in the believers, they have no reason to believe what we say. The greatest need in the church today is to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us. For in Christ all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell (1:19). He is the manifestation of the sovereign God. The sum total of God’s power and attributes dwell in Christ. Only in Christ we find the divine perfection of God dwelling permanently (2:9; 3:11). This is complete denial of the Gnostic philosophy. The Gnostics religions distribute divine nature among many things, including angels. Those who see Christ from a spiritual perspective will find that they have in Christ all the resources they needed for life and godliness. Pray that Christ’s will and purpose will take precedence in our lives.
We are Reconciled in Christ: 1:20-23.
Because of Christ's sinless life and sacrifice sinners can be reconciled to God. "Reconcile" means to restore the lost divine harmony back. Sinners are alienated, hostile and evil before God. In our thought, attitude and disposition of mind we are at war with God (Rom 1:30). But through Christ's death God has reconciled all things to him. Christ has removed all barriers and restored divine harmony through His blood. The blood speaks of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. The religions are man seeking God. Christianity is God seeking man (2 Cor 5:18-20). Christ came to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). We are not reconciled through Christ’s death on the cross. The purpose of our reconciliation is to present us holy, blameless and above reproach before God (1:22). Holy means to set apart for God's use. It is the positive side of salvation. Blameless means free from character flaw. Above reproach means free from accusation (Rom 8:1). Paul tells us that the Word of God is our firm foundation. The church is built upon the solid foundation of the gospel. So that we do not drift away from the hope we have received. This hope is in Christ and in the hope of eternal life (1 Pet 1:3-4; Gal 5:5; Ephesians 1:18; Titus 3: 7). Paul knew that he was called to proclaim the gospel. Pray that God would give us a desire to grow in the knowledge of Christ.
Paul’s Sacrificial Service for Christ: 1:24-29.
Paul was in prison yet he was rejoicing in the Lord. The sole purpose of his life was to preach the gospel of Christ. Paul was willing to suffer for Christ for the sake of the church. He served the church proclaiming the entire gospel. His message was about Jesus Christ and his method was to teach the scriptures. Gospel was a mystery, hidden for ages but now revealed by the Holy Spirit to his saints (Ephesians 1:17-18). God wanted us to know the riches and glory of Christ are for gentiles also (1:27). This secret is that " Christ in you the hope of glory". Paul learned that all believers are indwelt by Christ through the Holy Spirit. Religion and philosophy cannot bring transformation in life. The risen Christ works from inside out to transform us to His image (John 15: Gal 2: 20). Paul sets the example of Christian ministry. His ministry was meeting the spiritual needs of people with joy. It is a Christ-centered ministry. He tirelessly labored to present everyone mature in Christ (1:28). Paul preached the person of Christ with authority. It was a balanced ministry of warning and teaching every one with all wisdom. Warning refers to convincing people of their sin and leading them to repentance. Teaching is instructing in faith and doctrine. It was a purposeful ministry to present everyone mature in Christ. Perfection does not mean sinless state but spiritual maturity. He worked tirelessly like an athlete with all his energy depending on Christ’s mighty power. Paul’s ultimate goal was that others would be benefited from his ministry and Christ alone would be glorified. "He was God’s instrument, to do God’s work, through God’s power and for God’s glory". Here we see an excellent model of Christian ministry. Pray that God would help us to follow Paul’s example in our ministries.