Colossians is a pretty cool book written by Paul to the church of Colosse while he was in prison. We will go over selected parts of it and answer some questions.
Who is Jesus?
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
for through him, God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
and through him, God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. (1:15-20)
Do you want to see God? Look at Jesus.
He was there before there was anything, and it was created through him. He is supreme, holding everything together, including you.
Before we get to the next part, I want to suggest two books by Dr. Michael S. Heiser: Supernatural (the more popular level book) and The Unseen Realm (scholar level).
Jesus made things we can’t see, and Paul gives examples: “thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.”
Reflect on that. There are spiritual governments over physical ones.
Jesus is the head of the church, which is his body. Through Jesus, God reconciled everything to himself. Not just people, but all things, including this broken world.
Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. (2:8-10)
Remember, it’s us who take captive every thought for Christ, demolishing arguments and every pretension that goes against the knowledge of God. (2 Corinthians 2:5)
You were dead because of your sins, and your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. (2:13-15)
Cancel culture in our favor. I’d like to take credit for that thought, but Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty said it in his new book Uncancelled.
Anything that can be held against you is canceled. No human, or the Devil, himself can accuse you. They’ve been disarmed in the only court that matters.
So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. (2:16-19a)
You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires. (2:20-23)
This is a warning against asceticism and working for salvation. You don’t have to self-flagellate because Jesus took the whipping for you.
Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. (3:2-4)
Focus on the Kingdom of God. Don’t get sucked into social media. I’m not good at that either.
We’re more divided than ever.
In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. (3:11)
You died to the past life. The world is divided, but in the church, there is unity (not uniformity). Jew, Black, White, Asian, Russian, Ukrainian, former pagan, former racist, same-sex attracted, opposite-sex attracted; Christ is all that matters, and he lives in us.
How should Christians act with other Christians?
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (3:12-15)
How are we to act towards the world?
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. (3:17)
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people…But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites. (3:23,25)
See my previous post, Admission.
We represent Jesus to the world. Everything we do, we willingly do it for him.
Drink coffee? Do it with thanksgiving unto the Lord. That’s his miracle water.
Yardwork? That’s God’s yard you’re taking care of.
Retail, as a seller or buyer? Those people are His creations you’re interacting with.
A lot of the time, I think it would be best if Christians separated from the world. We don’t have that option, though.
Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. (4:5-6)
To paraphrase 1 Peter 3:15, always be ready to explain the hope you have as a believer.