I’ve been meditating on the Epistle to the Colossians for the last four months, and thought I would share some of my thoughts with you.
I’ll keep it simple and not go into all the background I looked at. I feel like Paul is writing to this young church because there are false teachers that are challenging the church to believe in a type of mystic Judaism. They are working out of a spiritual pride that causes them to stand in judgement of those who are not participating in their religious practices (Col. 2:16-23). Those in the church who are listening to this false teaching are susceptible to such heresy because of their fear. Many would be coming from a background of idol worship and a fear that if you are not “doing” the right things, you will not be “qualified” as a true worshiper.
Paul’s answer to their pride and fear is a clear view of who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for them. Paul uses what many have seen as an early Christian hymn (1:15-20) to show that Jesus is preeminent over creation and the new creation of the church. With the use of poetic structure, Paul shows that faith in Jesus is the only route to salvation – no one and nothing can save but Christ. To make Jesus’ identity clear, Paul also describes what Jesus has done for the church and how His work on the cross is completely sufficient. In Jesus death, burial and resurrection, the very course of history has been changed. The amazing part is that by faith the church has participated in Jesus reconciling work. They have died to sin, being buried in their baptism and have (by faith in the power of God) been raised to new life in Christ.
Out of this knowledge of having been raised with Christ, the Colossian church now can live not as part of the old dying system of the world, but as a new creation in Christ. In chapter 3 and following, Paul paints them a picture of what this looks like: using the imagery of taking off old clothes and putting on new, Paul shows that the old way of selfish worldly living has been removed. They HAVE put on the new, which has it’s ultimate expression in love for God and for one another.
That is my view of Colossians from 10,000 feet, but I hope it challenges you to go back to the book and look at it with these thoughts in mind. I’ll be spending the next few weeks meditating on 1 Peter, and look forward to sharing my thoughts about that book with you. Thanks for reading!