This is another of the epistles of Paul, Ch.1:1. It was probably written at the same time as the letter to the Ephesians, and the one to Philemon. Epaphras, who had ministered in the assemble at Colosse, was Paul’s fellow prisoner at Rome. He had evidently told the apostle about the state of that church. Fundamentally they were all right, but two kinds of error were at work. The first was legality in the form of asceticism such as touch not, taste not, and a trace of the observance of days. The second was false mysticism, “intruding into those things which he hath not seen, and the result of mere human speculation.” Since such errors are ever present, the letter is a warning for the church of all days.
The epistle is in five divisions:
1. Ch. 1:1-14. The apostles greeting and prayer.
2. Ch.1:15-29. The exaltation of Christ as Creator, redeemer, and the Indwelling One.
3. Chs. 2 to 3:4. The Godhead incarnate in Christ, in Whom the believer is complete.
4. Chs. 3:5 to 4:1. Christian living.
5. Ch. 4:2-18. Christian fellowship.
THE APOSTLES GREETING AND PRAYER.
Paul was a firm believer in the power of the Gospel. Having heard of the welfare of the group of believers at Colosse, his heart was moved to write them. He expressed thanks to God because they too had become partakers of Christ the same as other Gentile believers, and prayed that they might be filled with the knowledge of the will of God in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, Ch. 1:3&9. Also that they should walk pleasing to the Lord, be fruitful in good works, and increase in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, giving thanks to the Father Who made them partakers of the inheritance of the saints, and Who translated them from darkness into the kingdom of Christ through the redeeming blood, vs.9-14.
THE EXALTATION OF CHRIST AS CREATOR, REDEEMER, AND THE INDWELLING ONE.
In Ch. 2:18, we read “that in all things He might have the preeminence”. Christ holds a position of superiority over all created beings. As the eternal Word He is the Creator of all things living, and the sustainer of all living things, vs.16-17. He is also the head of the church, and in Him dwells all the fullness of God, vs.18-19. As Redeemer, He is the only One Who can save man from his sins and make him at peace with God, and for all who continue in the faith He is able to present them unblameable and unreproveable in His sight, vs.20-22. The Lord works from the inside out in the believer. After dying for man and rising again, He came back by His Spirit to dwell in the hearts which receive Him. By the power of this indwelling a transformation takes place so that He is in us “the Hope of Glory”, v.29.
THE GODHEAD INCARNATE IN CHRIST, IN WHOM THE BELIEVER IS COMPLETE.
In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, Ch.2:3. Since this is so, every believer should find full enlightenment on spiritual things by walking with Him. There were some in the church at Colosse who believed otherwise and Paul warns the believers against them, v.8. All the fullness of the Godhead bodily dwells in Christ, and believers are complete in Him, vs.9-10. We are circumcised by His circumcision, buried with Him by baptism, and risen again even as He is risen. All ordinances which were contrary to us are blotted out, and now our fellowship with God does not consist of abstaining from meats and drinks, etc., but union with Christ meets our every need, vs.11-17. Some of that day practiced the worshiping of angels, but Paul condemned it as detracting from fellowship with Christ, vs. 18-19. Others did not believe in touching, tasting, and handling of certain things, vs.21-22, which they claimed would spiritually defile. As a climax the apostle urged them to live up to the standard of receiving life from above through Christ, with Whom we are risen from the dead, Ch.3:1-4, so that when He shall appear, we shall appear with Him in glory.
While the believers fellowship is with the Lord in heaven, he is also a creature of this earth, and as such is manifesting to others the kind of person he is. To help meet the need of those around us we must live out what we believe. Paul, therefore, deals with such matters, and urges the Colossians and all God’s people to give up all forms of uncleanness, and also become humble followers of the meek and lowly Jesus. This requires that we no more give way to violent temper and such like behavior. To accomplish this, we must eat heartily of the Word, and determine to do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus, Ch.3:5-17, personally representing Him among men, and doing only His revealed will. Wives and husbands, children and gathers, and servants and masters are instructed how to order their lives pleasing to god, vs.18-25; Ch. 4:1, with the promise that Christ will reward those who faithfully endeavor to do His will, Ch.:3 24.
Christian fellowship can be best described as mutual concern among the members of the body. In Ch. 4:3-4, Paul asked for prayer that his ministry be acceptable and helpful. A thing quite needful is that our speech be with grace seasoned with salt, v.6. That is that we should be as gracious as Christ, and as straightforward in dealing with sin as He was. Paul closes his epistle with words of kindly reference to a number of fellow believers, thereby showing that he had them on his heart, and appreciated them in the Lord.