Expressing the Truth
Col. 1:21â€“2:7 May 1 2011
â€œAlienated from Godâ€ . The word here is apallotrioo, found only here and in Eph. 2:12 and 4:18. It indicates a desperate state of utter separation and isolation, which in lost humanityâ€™s relationship with God is also marked by hostility. It is our own evil which makes us hostile to, and which alienates us from, God. The Gnostics downgraded the role of Christ, assuming that if He took on a material body He must have been very distant from God. But not only was God fully present in Christ, the death of Jesus was the means God used to bring man and the universe back into harmony with Him. The actual, literal death of Jesus is the means God used to save us and make us holy.
1. And sets out his own character, as the apostle of the Gentiles. (Colossians 1:21-29)
Colossians 1:21 And youâ€”once being alienated, and enemies in the mind, in the evil works, yet now did he reconcile, 22 in the body of his flesh through the death, to present you holy, and unblemished, and unblameable before himself, 23 if also ye remain in the faith, being founded and settled, and not moved away from the hope of the good news, which ye heard, which was preached in all the creation that is under the heaven, of which I becameâ€”I Paulâ€”a ministrant. 24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and do fill up the things lacking of the tribulations of the Christ in my flesh for his body, which is the assembly, 25 of which Iâ€”I did become a ministrant according to the dispensation of God, that was given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God, 26 the secret that hath been hid from the ages and from the generations, but now was manifested to his saints, 27 to whom God did will to make known what is the riches of the glory of this secret among the nationsâ€”which is Christ in you, the hope of the glory, 28 whom we proclaim, warning every man, and teaching every man, in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus, 29 for which also I labour, striving according to his working that is working in me in power.
Both the sufferings of the Head and of the members are called the sufferings of Christ, and make up, as it were, one body of sufferings. But He suffered for the redemption of the church; we suffer on other accounts; for we do but slightly taste that cup of afflictions of which Christ first drank deeply. A Christian may be said to fill up that which remains of the sufferings of Christ, when he takes up his cross, and after the pattern of Christ, bears patiently the afflictions God allots to him. Let us be thankful that God has made known to us mysteries hidden from ages and generations, and has showed the riches of his glory among us. As Christ is preached among us, let us seriously inquire, whether he dwells and reigns in us; for this alone can warrant our assured hope of his glory. We must be faithful to death, through all trials, that we may receive the crown of life, and obtain the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls.
2. The apostle expresses his love to, and joy in believers.
Colossians 2:1For I wish you to know how great a conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, 2 that their hearts may be comforted, being united in love, and to all riches of the full assurance of the understanding, to the full knowledge of the secret of the God and Father, and of the Christ, 3 in whom are all the treasures of the wisdom and the knowledge hid, 4 and this I say, that no one may beguile you in enticing words, 5 for if even in the flesh I am absentâ€”yet in the spirit I am with you, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in regard to Christ; 6 as, then, ye did receive Christ Jesus the Lord, in him walk ye, 7 being rooted and built up in him, and confirmed in the faith, as ye were taughtâ€”abounding in it in thanksgiving.
The soul prospers when we have clear knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. When we not only believe with the heart, but are ready, when called, to make confession with the mouth. Knowledge and faith make a soul rich. The stronger our faith, and the warmer our love, the more will our comfort be. The treasures of wisdom are hid, not from us, but for us, in Christ. These were hid from proud unbelievers, but displayed in the person and redemption of Christ. See the danger of enticing words; how many are ruined by the false disguises and fair appearances of evil principles and wicked practices! Be aware and afraid of those who would entice to any evil; for they aim to spoil you. All Christians have, in profession at least, received Jesus Christ the Lord, consented to him, and taken him for theirs. We cannot be built up in Christ, or grow in him, unless we are first rooted in him, or founded upon him. Being established in the faith, we must abound therein, and improve in it more and more. God justly withdraws this benefit from those who do not receive it with thanksgiving; and gratitude for his mercies is justly required by God.
Itâ€™s good to pray for those we know and love. But our vision needs to reach beyond this little circle to other brothers and sisters whom we may not have met, but whose needs we have come to know.
The Gnostics claimed a superior, hidden knowledge that was superior to the revelation provided in the Christian Gospel. In fact, the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are â€œhiddenâ€ in Christ. Here â€œhiddenâ€ does not mean concealed, but stored up, to be accessible to us.
Four participles describe how we relate to Christ to draw on His riches: (1) Rooted (errizomenoi). The tense looks back to that saving faith that initially united us to Jesus. Salvation always comes first. (2) Built up (epoikodomoumenoi). Here the tense emphasizes a continual process of growth. (3) Strengthened (bebaioumenoi). The present tense shows a continual process of deepening faith . (4) Overflowing with thankfulness (perisseuontes). Again a continual experience, abounding through the meaningfulness of our experience with Jesus.