A Series of Devotions by Pastor Randy Moll
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.” Colossians 1:1-8
Though the Apostle Paul may never have visited the church in Colosse, when he heard of the believers’ faith in Christ Jesus and the resulting love they had for their fellow believers, he, together with Timothy, gave thanks to God for giving them the confident hope of eternal life in heaven through Messiah Jesus.
The good news of God’s pardon and forgiveness and the promise of everlasting life in heaven because God the Son became true man and redeemed mankind reached the ears of the Colossians through Epaphras (and perhaps others, too) and faith in Jesus was kindled in their hearts through the hearing of the Gospel.
As the good news of God’s gracious gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven for Jesus’ sake was used to generate faith in the hearts of the believers at Colosse nearly 2,000 years ago, so this same message generates faith in human hearts today. The same Gospel, that Word of truth, tells us of the certain hope laid up for us in heaven, not because of anything we have done or can do, but because God’s own dear Son, Jesus Christ, came into this world and suffered and died for the sins of all people and rose again in victory. God’s Word tells us that His gift to us for Jesus’ sake is life everlasting in the mansions of heaven.
Such a gracious gift of God – the forgiveness of all our sins because of His own Son’s holy life and innocent sufferings and death in our stead and the assurance that we have a place in His eternal, heavenly kingdom – will also move us to selfless love for other believers and fellow heirs of eternal life in heaven, but this love is the result of God’s loving gift of salvation to us, not the cause of it.
What a comfort to know that, though we have sinned and come short of the holy demands of God’s good law, Jesus fulfilled it for us and then took our sins upon Himself, paying the just penalty upon the cross that we might have forgiveness and life everlasting! And this hope which we have is not an uncertain hope, but simply a waiting for of the things assured to us by the promises of God.
God has offered and promised to us a place in heaven through faith in His Son. That place has been made certain to us by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We await that day in confidence and assurance that heaven is ours for Jesus’ sake.
When we face the end of our lives here in this world, we need not doubt and wonder if we will make it into heaven. Heaven is guaranteed to us because Jesus shed His blood for us and paid in full for all our sins. If our salvation depended upon us or anything we did, we could have no certainty and no hope; but because it depends upon Jesus and His atoning sacrifice for us, we have every assurance and hope of everlasting life in the mansions of our heavenly Father’s house!
Paul wrote this letter, while he himself was a prisoner, because there were those who were seeking to rob these believers of the assurance and hope they had in Jesus by placing other demands upon them – suggesting such things as the worshiping of angels, eating of certain foods or observing certain days. Today, too, there are many false teachers who would suggest and say that, to be true Christians, people must exercise certain gifts, eat certain foods or observe certain days.
The apostle’s message, the true Gospel, is that we are complete in Jesus – our salvation and everlasting life are certain in Him – there is nothing we need add to His redemptive work!
Dear Father in heaven, thank You for graciously bringing to us the word of truth, the saving gospel of forgiveness of sins and life everlasting for the sake of Your Son, Christ Jesus. By Your Spirit, move us to believe and take heart and be assured that, for Jesus’ sake, our sins are forgiven and, for Jesus’ sake, we have life everlasting with You in heaven. Amen.
“9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:9-14
Though the ancient city of Colosse no longer exists – the old east-west road was moved, causing the once-important city to wane – by the grace of God the believers who once lived there are now reigning with Christ Jesus in His glorious heavenly kingdom.
Paul – probably while he was a prisoner in Rome, along with Timothy, when they heard of the faith and love of these believers in the Roman province of Asia (in modern-day Turkey) – prayed for them that they might continue in the true faith and grow in their knowledge of God.
Paul wrote to them in his letter: “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy….”
Paul and Timothy continually lifted up their fellow believers in Colosse, requesting that they be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, together with all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that they would use this knowledge of God rightly and live a life pleasing to Him, doing God’s will rather than following the whims of false teachers who held up another way of faith and life. They prayed that the believers there would continue to grow in the knowledge of God and be strengthened by Him so that they would endure in the true faith and rejoice in Him and what He had done for their salvation.
Paul and Timothy prayed for these believers that they too would give thanks to God the Father for graciously making them acceptable and fit to be partakers of the eternal inheritance of the saints in light – the blessings of heaven which God graciously gives to all who trust in Christ Jesus. It was God the Father who had delivered them from the rule and power of darkness – the kingdom of the devil – and conveyed them into the eternal kingdom of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. And, it was in Christ Jesus and for the sake of His blood shed upon the cross for the sins of the world, that they had been redeemed, forgiven of all their sins and made acceptable in God’s eyes.
What Paul writes applies to all of us who believe today. How important it is for believers – for you and for me – to learn and be filled with the knowledge of God through the study of His Word! And it is not enough to just learn facts about God. We need to know Him and His ways and so be strengthened in our faith in Him and rejoice in the salvation He has provided us in His Son. Then, as a fruit of our faith in Him, we will also seek to please Him by walking in His ways.
And, in all this, we have every reason to give thanks to God the Father; for it is He who has made us acceptable for His kingdom by sending His only-begotten Son to die for us and redeem us with His holy and precious blood shed upon the cross! It is in Jesus that we have pardon and forgiveness. It is in Jesus that we have life everlasting and a place in God’s eternal kingdom. God rescued us from the rule and dominion of darkness by sending His Son to redeem us. He translated and conveyed us into the kingdom of His dear Son by bringing us to know and trust in Jesus for our salvation.
Again, the point of it all is that our salvation is complete in Jesus Christ. Jesus died for us, paid for the sins of the whole world and rose again in victory on the third day. God the Father, through the death of His Son, made us fit and acceptable in His sight; and He, by the gracious working of the Holy Spirit, brought us to faith in Jesus and thus rescued us from the doomed kingdom and rule of the devil and conveyed us – transferring and carrying us – into the eternal kingdom of His only begotten Son!
We thank You, dear Father in heaven, for graciously sending Your only-begotten Son to redeem us and for mercifully bringing us into His eternal kingdom. Grant that we might grow in our knowledge of You and walk worthy of Your gracious calling. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
“15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:15-18
Who is Jesus Christ? The Apostle Paul answers that question in unmistakable terms. Jesus is “the image of the invisible God.” In other words, if you desire to know God, know Jesus, for He is God Himself in human flesh.
The Gospel of John (1:1, 14, 18) states of Jesus: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth … No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”
Jesus is the firstborn of all creation – not in the sense of being created, but in that all was created by Him and for Him, and He is the inheritor of all. “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”
Again, the Gospel of John says (1:3, 4): “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
Jesus is before all things for, in the beginning, He was. He is the great “I AM,” Jehovah God in the flesh (cf. Exodus 3:14; John 8:58).
Jesus is the head of the body, the church, for He loved the church and gave Himself for it – suffering and dying upon the cross for the sins of the word – that He might present it to Himself, “holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight” (Colossians 1:22; cf. Ephesians 5:25ff.).
Jesus is the firstborn from the dead because He died for the sins of all and rose again from the dead on the third day. He is firstborn because all who trust in Him for forgiveness and life will also be raised up with glorified bodies on the last day to live and reign with Him forever in His eternal kingdom.
Paul’s point to the Colossian believers and to us? Jesus is indeed God Himself in human flesh, being miraculously conceived and born of the Virgin Mary, and we are complete in Him. He is our creator and He has accomplished our salvation by His innocent sufferings and death in our stead. As He rose from the dead on the third day, so He will raise up on the last day all who trust in Him and grant them life everlasting in His heavenly kingdom. Christ Jesus is our life and hope! We need look nowhere else!
O dearest Lord Jesus, Son of God and Son of man, thank You for creating us and giving us life; and thank You for redeeming us with Your holy and precious blood shed for us on the cross that we might be granted forgiveness, new life and a place with You in Your eternal kingdom. Keep us steadfast in You. Amen.
“19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight — 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.” Colossians 1:19-23
It was the plan of God the Father to send His only-begotten Son into the world, a true man, to make peace between God and man by shedding His holy and precious blood upon the cross for the sins of the whole world. And that is what Jesus has done through His death and resurrection. He took the sins of all mankind upon Himself and paid in full the just punishment, reconciling the word of sinners to God. His resurrection is proof that God accepted His sacrifice for sin.
The people of Colosse, as well as you and me, were at one time separated from God and alienated from Him in our minds because of wicked works. Instead of loving God and gladly and willingly seeking His perfect will, we were all in rebellion against Him and went our own way, desiring and doing what we deemed to be pleasing and best for us at the moment.
But even while we were yet in rebellion against our God and Maker, He gave His Son to redeem us, pay for our sins and accomplish our reconciliation (cf. Romans 5:6-11). The Colossians – and you and me – were reconciled “in the body of His flesh through death.”
And why did Jesus die for our sins, and the sins of the world? Why did He accomplish our reconciliation and the reconciliation of all mankind? That He might present us “holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” Jesus died on the cross and paid the just punishment for your sins and my sins – indeed, for the sins of the whole world – that He might present us to Himself without sin and unblameable in His sight! Jesus paid the penalty for your sins and mine that He might pardon and forgive us and present us to the Father free of all sin and guilt.
And how does this forgiveness and reconciliation become our own? How do we appropriate it for ourselves? How can we be presented holy and righteous and unblameable in His sight? Through faith in Jesus! This pardon and forgiveness, this reconciliation accomplished by Christ Jesus, becomes our own simply by believing the Word of God which tells us we are reconciled and forgiven through Jesus’ blood shed for us on the cross! That is how the believers in Colosse became saints in God’s eyes, and that is how you and I can be presented holy and righteous before our heavenly Father.
It is as Paul says, “If indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven” The Holy Spirit worked faith in the Colossian believers’ hearts and He continues to call us to faith in Jesus yet today. It is “faith of the working of God” (Colossians 2:12 from the Greek).
Jesus, God the Son in human flesh, reconciled the whole world of sinners to the Father by His innocent sufferings and death in our stead. He reconciled the Colossians, and He reconciled you and me, by paying in full upon the cross. In Jesus, your sins and my sins are paid for and forgiven. In Jesus, we can be presented before God the Father holy and without blame.
Simply trust in Jesus – He has done it all and we are complete in Him! Believe what God tells you in His Word. By the working of God’s Spirit, trust that in Jesus, no matter how great your sins have been, you have forgiveness and life in God’s eternal kingdom. Trust that in Jesus you are indeed “holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” Why, because you are through faith in Christ Jesus!
O Jesus precious Savior, thank You for going to the cross and shedding Your holy and precious blood to redeem me and make me acceptable and righteous in Your sight. Grant me faith to trust in Your pardon and forgiveness, and preserve me in that faith unto life everlasting. Amen.
[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]