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Table of contents

He concluded this section by summarizing the essential practice.

Epistle to the Colossians

To encourage his readers to turn away from their false teachers, Paul reminded them of their union with Christ. He also urged them to continue living in keeping with their position in Christ. It introduces another "in Christ" position that Paul assumed to be true for the sake of his argument cf. Paul returned to his thought about the believer's union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection Another view is that Paul was referring to the believer being raised up with Christ at the believer's conversion and or baptism cf.

Since God raised us with Christ, and we are already as good as seated with Him in heaven, we should "keep seeking" heavenly things. Keep looking up cf. It is not an effort to detach oneself, to find escape.

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Rather, it is the attitude found in Christ during the days of His flesh, who lived in the bosom of the Father even as He continued His strenuous labors among the children of men. Second, we should continually "set" our minds on the "things above" of heaven; i. They should occupy a large place in our thought lives.

He will no longer live as if this world was all that mattered; he will see this world against the background of the larger world of eternity. The Christian will see things, not as they appear to men, but as they appear to God. He must be heavenly-minded here on earth and so help to make earth like heaven. This is the legitimate mysticism of Paul. The first is outward and the second inward.

Intellectual brilliance, advanced education, or unusual physical strength are not required for a Christian to become great in God's estimation. What He requires is faithful perseverance in the basics of the Christian life. Any Christian can do this, since we all have the help of the Lord Himself. I remember listening to sports commentator John Madden's analysis of the success of the Boston Celtics' basketball team several years ago.

He said that the reason they had been so successful was that they constantly practiced the basics of good basketball, such as getting down the court fast, keeping their hands up, and following up on their shots. He said most teams could be as good if they executed the basics as consistently as the Celtics did. The same is true in the Christian life.

Unfortunately, we are often tempted to abandon the basics for what appears to be more esoteric and interesting. Jesus Christ's present rule on His Father's throne over the church is not the same as His rule on David's throne over David's kingdom, which will begin when He returns to earth. John ; Phil. Consequently, it should no longer be a factor in their new way of life. For the false teachers, the treasures of wisdom were hidden in their secret books Gr. For the Christian, Christ is his life.

Jesus Christ dominates his thought and fills his life. The Greek word phaneroo "revealed" stresses the open display of Christ at His coming. This is probably a reference to the Rapture.

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When He is revealed to us then, our lives will no longer be hidden in Him, but "revealed" for what they are in our glorification "with Him in glory". The Rapture will be a glorious revelation of Christ to us, but it will also reveal us in our glorified state. Now our eternal life is hidden v.

Within the 'already—not yet' tension the stress falls upon the former, called forth by the circumstances of the letter. In view of this prospect, the Colossians and we ourselves need not pursue another system that claims to provide more than we have in Christ.

Colossians ESV - The Preeminence of Christ - He is the - Bible Gateway

God has provided all we need, both for acceptance with Him and for godly living in Christ. All we need to do is act on apply the implications of these truths, which Paul proceeded to help his readers do. Now follows more specific advice that should help them the better to carry out the thematic exhortation to 'walk in him' On the basis of their position in Christ, Paul urged his readers to separate from the practices of their former way of life.

He did this to enable them to realize in their experience all that Jesus Christ could produce in and through them. Three imperatives indicate Paul's main points: consider as dead lit. This will help us to become what we already are in Christ. The key word translated "consider … as dead" is an aorist imperative, and means "put to death.

Now, the believer is charged with the responsibility of maintaining in his experience that state of liberation, and, as the behests of the evil nature come before him, he is to put them to death, that is, refuse to obey them. To put something to death is never pleasant. It is not the same as practicing asceticism, however. Asceticism says that I, by my own will, can subdue the flesh simply by denying its desires. Christian self-control says that I can subdue the flesh by relying on the Holy Spirit to empower me to deny its desires.

Once the graft has been made on the old stock the gardener is careful to snip off any shoot from the old stock that may appear. So, in the believer's life, since he has now been grafted into the Last Adam and His new life, he must by the Spirit put to death any products of the old life that may appear cf.

The true doctrine of the Apostle has power to kill the whole carnal man. Paul's first list deals with sexual practices.

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Lists of virtues and vices were common in the ethical systems of the ancient world, and the imagery of putting off and on was also well-known. It is "the arrogant and ruthless assumption that all other persons and things exist for one's own benefit. The various vice lists in the New Testament, in their different contexts, reveal to some extent the social conditions that prevailed in the various places concerned. That is, God will discipline both Christians and non-believers alike "sons of disobedience" who practice these things. These activities normally characterize the unsaved, so Christians must lay them aside v.

There must be in his life a radical transformation of the will, and a radical shift of the centre. Everything which would keep him from fully obeying God and fully surrendering to Christ must be surgically excised. The phrase "the wrath of God" v. That is probably one of its references here, too. The imperative command against lying is very strong. Paul literally said: "Never lie! The "old self" is the person the Christian was before God united him or her with Christ. One writer argued that "the new man" refers to the church, the body of Christ. Verse 10 describes the process of individual sanctification, in which the new self is being "renewed" or "renovated" into Christ's image.


Sanctification results in increasing likeness to Christ. Only by sanctification can people attain to the full image of God and Christ that God created them to bear Gen. Jesus Christ is essentially "all" that we need for new birth and growth, in contrast to the additives that the Judaizers promoted. He indwells every believer and permeates all the relationships of life.

A "barbarian" was one who did not know Greek; his or her language was foreign. They came mainly from Western Asia and the Black Sea region. Rather, Christ is now all that matters and in all who believe. The statement is one of the most inclusive in the New Testament and is amply supported by the pre-eminence of Christ in New Testament theology.

It is a particularly appropriate statement for the Colossians and affords an excellent summary statement of the teaching of the letter.

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There are three realms, relevant to the Colossians, in which He is all. He is everything in salvation ; hence there is no place for angelic mediation in God's redemptive work cf. He is everything in sanctification ; hence legality and asceticism are out of place in the Christian life cf. He is our life Finally, He is everything necessary for human satisfaction ; hence there is no need for philosophy, or the deeds of the old man ; , He fills the whole life, and all else is hindering and harmful. Paul urged his readers not only to divest themselves of behavior that is inappropriate to their union with Christ, but also to clothe themselves with attitudes and actions that are appropriate.

He did so to complete their understanding of their responsibilities as Christians. Why should we put off the old deeds and put on the qualities of the new life?