by David Lemmons
Paul makes an appeal to the saints at Colosse that is quite powerful and is eternally relevant in the first chapter of the Colossian letter. In Colossians 1:21 Paul reminds these saints of their former position–“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.” It was a glorious gospel that was preached to the people of Colosse. It was a message that made it possible for those who were once God’s enemies, because of their sins, to be made friends with God. Paul reminds these Christians that it was through the blood of the cross (v. 20) that this was made possible. Instead of being alienated from God and being His enemies, the gospel message–heard, believed, and obeyed–made it possible (verse 22) to become or be presented…
That is an amazing and greatly to be desired result!
Paul makes mention twice in verses 23 and 25 that he is made a minister–of the gospel, and of the church, respectively. What is it that Paul was to do as a minister of the gospel? He tells us the answer to that question in verse 25–“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God.” It was Paul’s work, as it is ours, to spread the word of God so that it might have its intended result of providing these rich blessings mentioned in verse 22 to all mankind. He also answers this question about his work as a minister in verse 28–“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Paul saw the need to warn and teach so that men might be presented perfect (i.e., complete or mature) in Christ. Please notice the emphasis upon EVERY MAN in this verse. In accord with the wonderful mystery of the gospel that, it is FOR ALL MEN, Paul emphasizes the fact that it is possible for all men to hear and obey God’s will and to grow and mature in Christ.
Another very exciting concept that Paul gives in this context is found in verse 27–“To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Christ IN YOU the HOPE OF GLORY, is a statement that should challenge every one of us until the day we die or the Lord returns, whichever comes first. The idea of living our lives with such a goal is the challenge Paul presents here. It is that which Paul continually taught wherever he travelled. The way to get Christ IN US is by following His example. We must open up His word and be guided by it. Having Christ in us is the only way that we have the hope of glory.
As we consider that truth–that we must have Christ in us to have hope of glory–surely we can also see the tremendous import of Paul’s statement in verse 23–“If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and [be] not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, [and] which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.”
How vitally important is it for us to be GROUNDED and SETTLED? Well it is about as important as anything you can come up with in your mind. Can you seriously study Colossians 1 and doubt that statement? We must never move away from the hope of the gospel. We must never move away from the things that are taught in God’s word. The things that Paul was teaching are things we now have in written form in the New Testament.
Let me assure you that there are those among us who would seek to move you away from some of the distinctive teachings about the Lord’s church that are found in the New Testament. They would have us to compromise in our presentation of the hope of the gospel so as not to offend or to drive away those in religious error whom they desire to befriend. The direction they would have us to travel is away from the truth.
We must commit ourselves to following the example of Paul. We must continue to preach, warn, and teach in all wisdom (Col 1:28). To the very best of my ability that is indeed my intention and desire. The cost of not being GROUNDED and SETTLED is far too high!
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