Paul's Letter to the Colossians

The Letter to the Colossians follows the traditional form of Paul's letter, but the content of this letter is remarkable. Paul's purpose is to weave a tightly knit argument regarding the supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ. In doing so, we are given some of the most beautiful expressions about Christ that exist in written scripture. It is in Colossians that we are told that Christ is above all creation, whether material or spiritual. It is in Colossians that we are told that all things were created by Him and for Him. It is in Colossians that we are told that in Christ, all things are held together. And, it is in Colossians that the Gentiles are told that their only hope of glory is "Christ in you."


The nature or even the existence of the so-called "Colossian heresy" may never be resolved, but what we do know is that Paul consistently tells the Colossians about the central role in our lives that the Lord Jesus Christ must play. Jesus Christ is not only the beginning and the end of creation, but he is meant to be the beginning and the end of our own personal lives as well. In Christ, all the fullness of God dwelt bodily, and we have been given fullness in Christ. We become complete only when our lives are filled with the living presence of the Son of God. We were designed by our Creator to be a vessel in which the Spirit of God would dwell.


At one time, we were all estranged from God. We were enemies in our own minds and isolated from the divine Creator. Each of us was enslaved to sin and death. But, when we were most powerless, Christ died for us. The Father piled all the sins of the world onto Him and He bore them willingly onto the cross. The wages of sin is death and Christ willingly paid the wages and the penalty for our sin. His death was a substitution for our own. At the cross, Christ reconciled the whole creation to the Father and redeemed the world from its slavery to sin.


But, not all of the world will accept redemption. If a man refuses to believe that he is a slave, he will not accept redemption. Many people do not even see that they are lost, so the concept that they might be "saved" is foreign to them. If they do not accept that they are estranged from God, they will never accept the reconciliation that God offers. Our faith flourishes when we realize not only what God accomplished through Christ on the cross, but when we realize what God has accomplished through Christ on the cross for us personally!


And this little epistle is about just that. Paul tells the believers of Colossae to not get sidetracked with philosophies or teachings that do not begin and emphasize the work of Christ. Having heard the gospel, there is always the tendency that people will misunderstand and use Christ as a means to an end. They want to go on to things that they believe are higher and more spiritual. The Letter to the Colossians expresses quite clearly that Christ is the end, not only of our salvation, but of our very lives.


There is nothing more important than my relationship with Jesus Christ. There is nothing more important for me to learn than for me to learn more about Christ. There is no other relationship in my life that is more rewarding or that can be more satisfying than my relationship with Christ. When Christ is the center of my life, everything else will fall into its proper place. When Christ is the center of my life, every other relationship with people will be more fulfilling.


There will always be teachers and preachers who are willing to show people the way to happiness. There will always be philosophers  who believe that they have found the latest answer to the universal search for truth. Against all of these teachers and philosophers Paul would offer the simply truth of the redeeming work of Jesus Christ. The Eternal Son of God took on flesh. He lived an exemplary life under the law. He was crucified as an atoning sacrifice for all sin. God raised Him from the dead and placed Him in a position of power and authority. Now Christ willingly comes and lives within each person who believes in this gospel message. He willingly forgives all sin. He accepts and empowers anyone who will turn to Him by faith.


We cannot allow any substitute for the truth of the gospel. All other truths have their place, but each one must be placed into orbit around this one central truth. In Christ, all of the wisdom and the glory of God dwells. Everything else that we know or learn must come from him. When we are in Christ and Christ is in us, we are completely accepted by God and totally loved. When God looks at us, He sees His own beloved Son. We are, in Christ, blameless and without blemish because Christ is blameless and without blemish.


The question is, will we believe this? Will we accept the truth of the gospel without watering it down with something more palatable? Can we accept that we are forgiven and redeemed? Too many Christians live in fear of God, as though we can only accept the crumbs from God's table. God has prepared us a place of honor and authority. Let us boldly approach the Holy Father placing our complete faith and trust in the Son and embrace the life of wonder and of blessing that God has prepared for us!


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