The Gospel’s Power
Set Free (9–14)
The letter to the Colossian believers is one of Paul’s most theologically rich epistles. As often is the case in his writings, he emphasized his dependence upon God through prayer as he prayed consistently that these Christians would be filled with spiritual wisdom and understanding.
The Greek verb “filled” is passive, meaning God acts upon an individual to bring about knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Although Bible study is one of the spiritual disciplines and is very important, Paul is not emphasizing this type of knowledge. No one can study enough to acquire this type of spiritual wisdom; God alone is the author. Therefore, Christians must ask God to grant this special wisdom.
Apart from this divine gift, no one can walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. The knowledge of God’s will is more than an intellectual understanding. It is a supernatural ability to comprehend God’s saving purpose in Christ.
The word redemption carries the meaning of being purchased from the slave market. All Christ-followers, then, are rescued from the tyrannical leadership of Satan to the glorious Kingdom of our loving God where all sins are forgiven.
By Christ (15–20)
Paul breaks into a beautiful discussion or hymn of the preeminence of Christ. God is invisible, yet He can be seen by looking at Jesus. In the mystery of the triune God, from all eternity, Jesus is the image of God, reflecting the Father perfectly.
“The firstborn of all creation” does not mean He was created, but that Jesus in His eternal preexistence holds supreme rank over all things. In fact, He is not part of the created world but is the Creator.
Paul uses a word that means by Him as well as in Him. Shocking to the early hearer, Paul states clearly that Christ is responsible for creation.
Paul doesn’t stop with creation; he goes on to add that Jesus holds all things together. Simply put, apart from Christ, the entire created order would implode in chaos. Paul also wants to emphasize the Creator and Sustainer as the sovereign head of the Church.
Moreover, Jesus is the firstborn from the dead. By this statement, Paul emphasizes Jesus was the first person to conquer death, and therefore all other resurrections are based on His resurrection. Jesus’ supremacy is attributed to the fact that the full embodiment of God dwells in Him. Rejoice today in our preeminent Lord.
Through His Death (21–23)
Reconciliation is a personal truth for all Christians. Jesus’ death allows God’s enemies to become His friends. Apart from Christ, all humanity is alienated, hostile and estranged from God. Despite this active opposition to God, Christ provides the miracle of reconciliation; He reconciles all who believe through His death.
We are holy and blameless because of the imputed righteousness of Christ our Lord. Salvation does not depend upon works. Furthermore, Paul does not doubt the Colossians will remain faithful (see Col. 2:5).
The gospel makes it possible for people to be reconciled to God. Have you experienced the power of the gospel of Jesus?