03 September 2011

"you ... he has now reconciled ... so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him" (vv. 21-22)


Paul is writing to a church he had not visited, but one of which he had been informed by Epaphras, a church worker from that area who had come to visit him in prison (probably in Rome). As one called to be an apostle to the non-Jewish world, Paul took a keen interest in the news Epaphras had brought and writes this letter to encourage, teach and guide the new church.

So far in the letter he has expressed his thanksgiving for their conversion (verses 3-8), prayed for their spiritual growth (verses 9-14), and emphasised the supremacy of Christ (apparently to warn them against adding anything to their faith which might challenge this supremacy).

Here Paul speaks more directly to the Colossian Christians themselves and speaks about their past lives, their present experience, God's plan for their future, and what they need to do to fulfil his plan:

  • Regarding the past, Paul says that they had been estranged from God, hostile in their thinking and engaged in evil practices (verse 21);
  • Regarding their present, Paul says that they were now reconciled with God (verse 22), an experience which had been made possible through the sin-bearing death of Jesus, and their own faith in him;
  • Regarding God's plan for their future, Paul says that he intends them to stand before him as people who are holy (belonging to him), blameless (or without blemish), and irreproachable (or free from accusation) (verse 22);
  • Regarding what they need to do in order to fulfil his plan, Paul says that they need to remain grounded in the faith, to be steadfast in it, and to refuse to move away from the message of hope contained in the gospel (verse 23).

The Colossian Christians are pictured therefore as being on a spiritual journey. They have started well, but they need to stay on course, and keep moving forward in the right direction so that they might finally arrive at the place God has planned for them in his presence for evermore.


To Ponder

Has a sense of reconciliation with God become part of your own experience? How?

If so, how well are you staying on course in your discipleship?

What helps you to stay grounded in the faith of the gospel?

Bible notes author: The Revd Peter Ensor

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