“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:5-6 (ESV)
The “outsiders” mentioned in today’s passage are the people who have chosen to not believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. All have the opportunity and all who seek will find but not all choose to seek. They do not enter into the family of God through a new spiritual birth into Jesus Christ’s work of salvation. Yet we are called to be careful how we live and speak in respect to non-believers (outsiders). God still calls them to come by the only way, Jesus Christ. What are we ready to say when answering questions about our faith? Does it turn others off or, does our speech, draw outsiders to know more. We are called to be gracious while also potent with truth of God. As salt makes some things taste better, our behavior around outsiders should make our life and faith more appealing if possible. If someone stumbles over what we say, may it be stumbling over our gracious offer of Jesus Christ. Let’s consider today, how our testimony is made positive or not by what we say when we’re anonymous as we are on social media. God always knows so let’s say everything for Him to hear.
“For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;” Colossians 2:9-10 (NASB)
The promise we find in the selected verse for today should give us encouragement in our relationship with Jesus Christ. He is our Savior and in order to be our Savior he had to be more than what we are; He had to be perfect. We’re thankful that Jesus, the Son of God came to earth so long ago and lived his life in the form of a human being like you and me. Jesus was fully a human and he was also fully God. We are reminded today that when Jesus returned to heaven after his ministry on this earth and after his death and resurrection, that His work here on earth continues, but in a different way. He is present working through those who trust and obey so that is happens. It happens when we believe in Him and allow Jesus to work through us. Our mission is to tell others by word and by life example what Jesus has accomplished for all people. Anyone who believes receives Jesus into their life. The promise is that those who choose to believe and receive forgiveness and eternal life are made complete by the rule and authority of God.
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” – Colossians 12-13 (NASB)
So, in view of what God has done through Jesus Christ for the faith believer, Paul is describing the behavior and attitude God expects from us in response. Seven characteristics and habits are listed in our verses. We can add twelve more through verse 17. Paul identifies us as “chosen of God.” This specifies true Christians as those who have been chosen by God. No person is converted solely by their own choice or works, but only in response to God’s effectual, free, uninfluenced, and sovereign grace. “Beloved.” Election means believers are the objects of God’s incomprehensible special love. Some of the characteristics we are to adopt and practice are stated by Paul as “putting on.” heart of compassion – the seat of the emotions; kindness – a goodness that pervades the entire person softening all harsh aspects; humility – is the perfect antidote to the self-love that poisons human relationships; gentleness – sometimes translated “meekness,” it is the willingness to suffer injury or insult rather than to inflict such hurts; patience – is also translated “longsuffering,” or “forbearance” the opposite of quick anger. This a process of renewal promised by God and made ours ours by His grace.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:15 (NASB)
In the larger context of this passage we find that the Apostle Paul is writing to Christians in the church in Colossae. Paul is addressing the truth that in Jesus Christ there were no distinctions made between Greeks and Jews. Paul presses this truth to include the circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarians (those who spoke neither Greek or Latin), Scythian (the lowest class of people), slave and freeman. Because all who believe in Jesus Christ belong to Him. All racial bigotry, chauvinism, and snobbery is condemned here. Here the truth that before God “all men are equal” receives its best—infallible inspired expression. So, what we find our selected verse is that we should allow the peace of Christ to be our referee in our differences. We should use His peace to rule in our hearts and when there is a disturbing question about something, we should let God’s peace make the decision. Instead of worrying about something we cannot control, we can let God’s peace control our thinking. That’s what God called us to and it is our promise from Him that He will rule correctly on our behalf.
“And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard” – Colossians 1:21-23 (NASB)
Being on the ‘outs’ of Christian fellowship was our circumstance before we received faith that made it possible to believe that Jesus, the Son of God is our Savior. We are converted from being ‘out’ to being ‘in’ God’s family when we are born of God – a work that God does for us according to his will and promise. It is a real transformation of our lives because before, or as our verse says, formerly we were alienated and had a hostile attitude. We were engaged in what is evil. Yet even in that state, doing nothing ourselves God reconciled us. When did this reconciliation happen? It happened on the cross, at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. That is when the work of reconciling our sinful selves with our perfect God happened. Here is our promise: He did this so we can appear before Him holy and blameless (forgiven) and beyond reproach. We are to continue in the faith firmly founded and unwavering, not moved away from the hope of the gospel.
“ He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” – Colossians 1:13-14 (ESV)
In our previous verse (Colossians 1:12) we read the promise of a share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. That is why we must today look at the promise that springs from that one. This inheritance is in the … light. Some translations (NIV) supply the words “kingdom of,” which are not in the Greek. Rather this light is the spiritual sphere to which believers have been transferred from the dominion of darkness. From this dominion, power, or authority of darkness We as believers have been rescued, and therefore delivered. Through Christ they were brought from a rebel kingdom and placed under the sovereignty of their rightful King. The sovereign Christ is here called his beloved Son. Through Christ, God’s “Loved One,” Christians have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Let’s emphasize that “redemption” means “to rescue by ransom.” Christ paid that ransom for us on the cross and in His resurrection. And, “forgiveness” means “remission” by the Redeemer. This is our joyful emancipation from darkness which we possess in the Light of our Savior only because of the tremendous cost Christ paid on the cross.
“…strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light” – Colossians 1:11-12 (NASB)
Again we look at this passage from the letter Paul the Apostle wrote to the church in Colossae. He cared much for the people in all the churches he had a part in establishing. Praying for them every day, he sought God’s very best for them and for them to recognize the promises and blessings they received. These are promises for us as well. In our passage today is a third factor, spiritual strength, that results from knowing God’s will and pleasing Him. Being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might, a promise for overcoming uses three words for strength: “being strengthened” ⸺enable; make strong;¹ “power” ⸺be able, can;² and “might” ⸺power that overcomes resistance;³ This God-given strength produces great endurance and patience. This endurance or perseverance (James 1:3), we saw characterized by Job (James 5:11). To this endurance Paul added “patience,” a word generally associated with gentleness and calmness. When patience-producing power is manifested it is often accompanied with a joyful spirit of thanksgiving to the Father from whom comes every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Our promise is we are made qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints.
“…so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;…” – Colossians 1:10 (NASB)
In the letters written by the Apostle Paul, he often uses long compound sentences. Verses 9 through 12 is one sentence so continuing from yesterday’s consideration of verse 9 we now find the aim of Paul’s petition in his daily prayers. His prayer request was practical: in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord. A genuine knowledge of Christ reveals itself in transformed character, in Christlikeness. In Ephesians, Philippians, and both letters to the Thessalonians this exhortation is used. We are called to live our lives and walk in a manner worthy of God, of his calling us, and of other believers. How we live each day, what we think, say and do is observed by others and it reflects our dedication and conviction of God. Christ Jesus has saved us and called us to be a testimony to His Word. If we are walking worthy of the Lord, the promise is that we will please the Lord in all respects. We will bear fruit in all our good efforts at the work He gives us; our knowledge of God will be increasing daily which also pleases the Lord.
“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,…” – Colossians 1:9 (ESV)
Paul the Apostle was a man of prayer and filled with love for those who had come to know the saving faith of Jesus through his ministry. One of the servant messengers had brought to Paul a good report. This is Epaphras (Epaphroditus), Likely the same one who carried messages and support to Paul from the believers in Philippi (Philippians 4:18). Because of this good report of them from Epaphras, he continued to pray for them. Paul’s ceaseless prayer does not mean that he prayed without ever stopping but that he never forgot to pray for them when he regularly prayed each day. Paul’s primary petition was that God would fill them with the knowledge of His will. There are two key words, “fill” and “knowledge” which Paul used. The first suggests a filling out to entirety, and the latter is a full, deep understanding. Knowledge of this kind, and of God’s will, does not come from a natural or fleshly mind, but from the Word of God through the Holy Spirit who, dwelling in us enlightens our spirit. That is our promise ⸺spiritual wisdom from the Holy Spirit.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 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 through him and for him.” – Colossians 1:15-16 (ESV)
The promises found in our passage today might remind us of the verse in Genesis 1:26-27 where we find God decided and created male and female in His image. One of the meanings of the phrase “image of God” means that people are created as God’s image—or, as His imagers. This passage speaks of the incarnation of Christ—the eternal God becoming a human being and becoming visible for us. The Son of God, Jesus the Anointed One has existed from eternity past. He is the One who created everything that we can see and what we cannot see, and all things on earth and above the earth in heaven. All were created by Him and for Him, the Son of God. He came to live among us on earth, He lived a perfect life as a man without sin, all to complete and satisfy the promise made in Genesis 3. It was necessary for Him with His divine nature to take on a human nature to fulfill the promise of redemption for all human kind. We can embrace this promise because it is the way God made for us to know Him.