Welcome to the first chapter of Colossians for our Hope of Glory series.
Background and Intro
Written around 60AD Paul’s letter to the Colossians differs from his others in that the church was not one that he planted. Lead by a believer named Epaphras (v.6), Paul wrote the letter in response to his concerns regarding the nature of Christ. The letter seeks to strengthen the Church’s faith. Outside influences were attempting to shake their view of Christ, claiming that certain rituals and diets were needed to follow God.
The opening chapter seeks to remind the Colossians to refocus their vision on Christ. Let us look at verses 15-23 where Paul shows us three characteristics of Christ.
Creator & Sustainer – verses 15-18 –
The underlying tension of this passage is to elevate Jesus as equal with God as comic ruler and creator, while also proclaiming that he is a person knowable and active in the world.
Jesus is not just Creator, but also sustainer. He is not an absent God who created then left the world to its own devices, for “In him all things work together” (v. 17) in the past, present and future. Jonathan Edwards puts it best saying this:
“God is not careless to the affairs and concerns of the world, because he was not careless of this matter in the creation itself (Genesis 1-3); …by the manner and order in which things were created God took care of the future progress and state of things in the world.”
Remember, the same Jesus that created and sustains the universe has created and is sustaining you.
Reconciler – verses 19 – 23
If displaying Jesus as the creator and sustainer of Christianity is the rising crescendo of Paul’s poem displaying glory and greatness of God; the closing stanza, verses 19-20 are the last notes you savour as the song comes to the end.
“By the blood of his Cross,” we can make peace with, or be reconciled with God, the world’s creator and sustainer. He is not a pagan god of old demanding satisfactory sacrifices or the new god of social media we offer ourselves to for the praises of faceless masses. That worship only offers anxiety as reward.
This is “the hope of the gospel you heard, which has been proclaimed in all of creation…” (v. 23), that Jesus is not looking for spiritual achievement, he connected himself to us. Paul is asking the Colossians, and in turn us, to worship and follow Jesus the cosmic creator that can be known.
Paul completes the chapter (vv. 24-28) speaking of the hardships in his ministry, understanding God’s as having these three traits and more he encourages the Colossians to remember “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (v. 27).
Understanding God as creator, sustainer and reconciler consider these questions and thoughts as you read and reread this chapter.
- Take 2 minutes, to thank God, pray and write down everything you are thankful that he has providing for you. From the kitchen sink to your very breath.
- Where in your life are you trying to prove yourself to others and/or God? Remind yourself of the truth in Scripture read, reflect and pray through; Colossians 2:13-14, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.