Monday, 13 March 2017
Paul states that the letter is written specifically “To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ, who are in Colosse.” They are then the initial recipients of this majestic letter of doctrine, and they are to be blessed with having been the first to read the subject matter which Paul deemed necessary to put into writing for the instruction and edification of those in the church.
However, the intent of Paul’s letter is certainly not that it would only be read by the Colossians and then secreted away. Rather, the anticipation is that it would be circulated among the churches, having copies made and having sessions where the content could be repeated and analyzed. This is certain, because the letter was copied and analyzed until the time it was finally incorporated into the final canon of Scripture.
This letter became well known enough to be considered for inclusion in the Bible, and its contents made it rightly selected for that same purpose. Each step of the process was guided by the Holy Spirit to ensure that we have the sure and perfect word of God to refer to.
After his words of verse 1 and the initial words of this verse, Paul now gives the standard greeting which is found in most of his epistles, “Grace to you and peace…”
Grace is unmerited favor; it cannot be earned. This was the common greeting among the Greek people. Peace, however, was and still is the common greeting among the Hebrew people. In their language, the word is shalom. This is more than a greeting for calm or quiet, but is a state of wholeness and completion in all ways. Paul unites the two terms just as the church is being united between Jew and Gentile during his time. This grace precedes the peace because only after receiving the grace of God can a person experience the peace of God.
Paul extends this wonderful blessing to them “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” It is a greeting from the eternal God – both the unseen Father and His Son who reveals the Father to us. Rather than being an argument against the divinity of Jesus Christ, it is an argument for it. He is tying the two in as one – Jesus being a member of the Godhead. He is not making some type of great division, but a harmonious blending of the two.
Throughout Paul’s letters, as with the entire Bible, the deity of Jesus Christ is a concept and a precept which is on evident display. It is the very heart of what God has done for the reconciliation of the people of the world. As a side note, some translations leave off “and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Which is the true original is hard to say. Scholars argue over this, but either way, Christ Jesus is on prominent display throughout the book. His deity is so evident in the book of Colossians that only a person with a presupposition that He cannot be God could find any other interpretation of who He is.
Life application: In order to understand God, one must know Jesus Christ, and one cannot understand Jesus Christ unless he knows his Bible. Know your Bible.
Lord God Almighty, how grateful we are that we can fellowship with You personally. We can read Your word, discover Christ Jesus, and know who You are. We can have personal talks with you as we pray in a quiet place or on a hectic city street. And we can feel Your presence as we attend church and fellowship with others, praising You and giving thanks to You for Your wonderful care of us. Thank You for allowing us to fellowship with You, O God, in such intimate ways – all because of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.