Wednesday, 5 April 2017
…of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, Colossians 1:25
The words, “of which,” are speaking of the church as referred to in the previous verse. Paul states that he has become “a minister according to the stewardship.” In verse 23, he had stated that he was a minister of the gospel. At other times, he states he is a minister of God and of Christ. The gospel is the message of God, that Paul serves, it is the story of Christ, who is his Lord, and the church is His body which receives that message of Christ from God. All are intricately tied together.
Paul’s ministering to the church is, as he says, “according to the stewardship.” The word is oikonomia, and it indicates an administration of affairs, such as the stewardship of a household. Paul was selected to be the particular minister according to the administration of God’s dealings in the world through the church, the body of Christ. As noted, this stewardship is “from God.”
God has laid out the plan of the ages, and it is slowly unfolding in the stream of time. At this time, the church is how God is dealing with the affairs of His household. Thus, the church-age is called, “the dispensation of grace.” Paul’s duties as a minister in this capacity are, as he says, “given to me for you.” He is writing to those at Colossae, a gentile church. This letter, along with his other signed letters – all to gentiles – are authoritative for the gentile-led church-age because he is the Apostle to the Gentiles. His commission is noted in Acts 9, and it is a duty which he faithfully executed in order “to fulfill the word of God.”
The Greek here indicates “to fill up the word of God.” His duties as a minister of God was to teach and to make fully known the word of God to the Gentile world. The salvation, instruction, and growth of the Gentile-led church is the object of his calling and ministry. Further, in his actions, he is also filling up the word of God in the sense that this was prophesied in the Hebrew scriptures. The Gentiles would come to God through the work of Christ, and Paul’s efforts are what was now accomplishing that. Those efforts continue on to this day as his letters set the authoritative standard for this dispensation.
Life application: To understand what God is doing in the world through the church, one must refer to Paul’s letters. The Lord selected him to give us the authoritative letters of instruction for this dispensation. To ignore Paul will lead one to have a vast gap in proper theology. A complete misunderstanding of what God intends for His church will be the result. Take time each week to read one of Paul’s letters. Any can be read in a single day. If one is read each week, they can all be read in 3 months. If you do this always, you will have read them four times in a single year. And that is just one letter a week.
Lord God, help each of us to not look back on our lives and say, “Gee, I should have spent more time getting to know the Lord through His word.” Instead, when we come before You for our moment of inspection, may we do so knowing that our time was well spent, reading Your word and searching You out. We have time for TV, sports, and all kinds of temporary, useless stuff. But have we made time for You? Help us to think this through clearly, and then to act accordingly. Amen.