called to be free
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Colossians Bible Study - Chapter 1


Please join us in our Weekly Bible Study. 
First read the Bible text in the box in Column 1, then think about it as you review the corresponding teaching comments in Column 2.   In this manner, move down and complete the whole Chapter.  All Bible text is from the New International Version.

Colossians Chapter 1 

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
Comments:

The Apostle Paul is writing to young Christians in Colossae, while he was a prisoner in Rome.  This was about 61 AD.  His comments to them apply equally to us today.
Thanksgiving and Prayer -- verses 3-14

“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints— the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.  And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

 

 
 
 
 
Paul continually prays for this group of Christians, thanking God for the faith they have placed in the Lord Jesus, and for the great love they show to each other through the Spirit.

Paul is also excited that the good news about eternal life through Jesus Christ is spreading throughout the region.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
Paul is particularly praying that God would give the Colossians knowledge of his will through the work of the Holy Spirit, that they would live lives worthy of Him, bearing fruit through the wisdom and power of the Spirit. He wants them to:
·         Know God
·         Understand His glorious might
·         Have endurance and patience
·         Give thanks joyfully for our salvation
 
 God has rescued us from Satan’s kingdom of darkness and delivered us into Jesus’ kingdom of Light. Through Jesus, we have been restored to a right relationship with God having been forgiven for all our sins. This forgiveness has already been granted based upon the finished work of Jesus. If you are a Christian, you do not have to keep pleading for God to forgive you.  God has already forgiven you for every one of your sins (past, present and future) based upon the completed work of Jesus on the cross 2000 years ago. You are forgiven. 
 
The Supremacy of Christ -- verses 15-23
 
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. 

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.  But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
 

Paul clearly explains that Jesus is the physical incarnation of the invisible God.  Jesus is the "firstborn," meaning the first one to arise from the dead with a resurrected body.  

But Jesus has always been a part of the godhead. Paul clearly reminds us that "all things" were created by him--things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.  Everything was created by him and for him, since he will reign forever. 

Jesus is, of course, alive and is the head of his "body" -- the church. The church is not a building or organization, it is the "called out" ones who have put their faith in him.  If you are a Christian, you are already a part of "Christ's body" -- we have no other "head" but Jesus. 

We now have peace with God through the shedding of Jesus' blood on the cross.

Once we were separated from God because of our evil behavior--but now we are restored to God by Jesus' physical death on the cross. God is satisfied. He now declares us blameless, because all our sins have been forgiven.  

We apply this forgiveness to ourselves by faith in Christ.  Real faith holds on to the promises of Jesus.  Phoney (fake) faith shifts around from one human idea to the next.

Paul's Labor for the Church -- verses 24-28
 
Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.  I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints.  To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.  To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.

 

Paul is not the head of the church, but rather has been commissioned by God as its servant.  He wrote this letter from prison in Rome.

The mystery that Paul was commissioned to preach to every believer is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." This is the remarkable news that Jesus Christ is indwelling each believer by His Spirit.  The Holy Spirit in us is the first step in our coming glory of a resurrected body.  

In ages past, the Holy Spirit had sometimes come "upon" people to demonstrate God's amazing power.  Now the Spirit is within believers to "perfect" us in Christ.  Paul himself credits his ministry to His energy which "so powerfully works in me."

Personal Application


What does this Chapter say to me today?  How does it impact the way I think and live?

Do I have real faith or phoney faith?  Can I be sure?  What is a Christian, anyway?

 

Composed: 01/01/2008 | Modified: 01/01/2008
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