Colossians 1 is a beautiful passage showing who God is, what He's done, how He saves, and how you should respond.
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Colossians 1 (ESV)
of Christ Jesus
by the will of God,
and Timothy our brother, 2 To
the saints and faithful brothers
Grace to you and peace
from God our Father.
3 We always thank God,
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
when we pray for you,
4 since we heard of
your faith in Christ Jesus
and of the love that you have for all the saints,
5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.
Of this you have heard before
in the word of the truth, the gospel,
6 which has come to you,
as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—
as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,
7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf 8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you,
asking that you may be filled
with the knowledge of his will
in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,
fully pleasing to him:
bearing fruit in every good work
and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 being strengthened
with all power,
according to his glorious might,
for all endurance and patience with joy;
12 giving thanks to the Father,
who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
→ 13 He has
delivered us from the domain of darkness
and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
14 in whom we have
the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is
the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation.
16 For by him
all things were created,
in heaven and on earth,
visible and invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—
all things were created
and for him.
17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church.
He is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead,
that in everything he might be preeminent.
in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things,
whether on earth or in heaven,
making peace by the blood of his cross.
21 And you, who once were
alienated and hostile in mind,
doing evil deeds,
22 he has now
reconciled in his body of flesh by his death,
in order to present you
holy and blameless
and above reproach before him,
23 if indeed you continue in the faith,
stable and steadfast,
not shifting from the hope of the gospel
that you heard,
has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven,
and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,
25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you,
to make the word of God fully known,
26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations
but now revealed to his saints.
27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery,
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
→ 28 Him we proclaim,
and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
29 For this I toil,
struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
Colossians 1 Summary
It can be so easy to say to a person "I'm praying for you..." Paul goes a step beyond and tells the Colossians exactly why he's praying for them and what he's praying for:
WHY he's praying: to give thanks because he's heard about:
Their faith and love;
How they are bearing fruit as they grow in the gospel;
That God has rescued us from darkness and brought us into the kingdom of Christ, since we have redemption and forgiveness of sins in Him.
WHAT he's praying (continually) for:
That God will fill you with knowledge through the wisdom the Spirit gives;
...so that: you will live a live worthy of the Lord and will please Him in every way.
Verses 15-20 is an example of a Christological passage; that is, a passage that explains who and what Jesus is. If you or somebody you know thinks Jesus was just a nice guy who healed people, this is a great passage to review:
v15: Jesus is the very image of God
v16: Jesus created all things, and all things have been created for Him.
v17: Jesus is holding all things together
v18: Jesus is head of the church, the first to raise from the dead !so that! he might be supreme in all things
v19: God's fullness dwells in Jesus
v20: Jesus has reconciled all things to God by making peace through His shed blood.
Paul has dedicated his life to preaching this gospel, and has endured significant suffering in doing so. Yet Paul doesn't see the need to delve into the details of his suffering, as he right away begins praising the newly revealed mystery of the gospel.
The call to respond to God's grace is not something we are to do once in a while when we go to church or when we get a break in our busy schedules.
Instead, we must emulate the attitude and effort that Paul had:
I'm working as hard as possible with the energy that Christ has so powerfully energized me with (literal paraphrase of v29)
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God our Father (v2), the one who rules all things through our Lord Jesus Christ (v15-20)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom the Spirit gives (v9).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: