Paul reminds confused believers that Christ is everything
The best way to spot a counterfeit is to study the real thing. Paul shines the spotlight on the glory and majesty of Christ and the life he’s given us as the best antidote to the toxic counterfeit teachings in the culture surrounding this young church. Jesus—who he is, what he’s done, what it’s like to live in him—are center stage. Paul uses the richest language to try to capture the amazing qualities of our extraordinary God!
In the first two chapters, Paul confronts heresy with a one-two punch. First, he declares that Jesus is not only the Creator and Sustainer of everything, but he is in fact the exact representation of God. Nothing less than “all the fullness” dwells in him (Col 1:17-19). Second, Paul exposes the false idea that philosophy and religiosity can successfully combat evil desires (Col 2:23). He reminds the Colossians that believers already have what they need for spiritual victory through “union with Christ” (Col 2:10).
In the last two chapters, Paul makes it clear: If you want to do the will of God, set your mind on Jesus and focus on the life we have received “in him.” As you read, be prepared! Your relationship with Jesus could be raised to a whole new level. As you acknowledge Jesus as Lord over your attitudes and actions and place your life under his rule, you will grow in holiness. Soak it all in! As you embrace him, your obedience and faith will take off! The message of the gospel is all true. All other substitutes pale in comparison to the real thing!
The apostle Paul wrote it about AD 60–62, while under house arrest in Rome, awaiting trial before the Roman emperor Nero. Not one to waste time, he took the opportunity to write and strengthen the church in Colosse, a city in the southwest of modern Turkey.
Epaphras, a disciple of Paul, had founded the church at Colosse. The church was under constant pressure from competing religious groups. One heresy stated that the gospel was not enough; it was necessary to obtain “secret” knowledge if you wanted to be saved. Paul countered this supposedly “secret” (gnostic) sect and its hybrid of religion and philosophy that mixed Christian, Jewish, and pagan beliefs. He stated that the time of religious secrets is over! “... I was made a servant, according to the stewardship of God which was given me toward you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden for ages and generations. But now it has been revealed to his saints, to whom God was pleased to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:25-27).
This letter contains only Paul’s side of the dialogue with believers in Colosse, so all the SourceView text is in black. A cursive script was used to display the letter to recreate the original handwritten feel of this personal document.