Why Study Colossians?
The modern world has yet to lay its eyes upon the buried city of Colossae, located in what we now know as Turkey. Once a prominent city, hosting the king of Persia in pomp and circumstance, the city is now buried under barren terrain–the result of a devastating earthquake in the first century. Such is the fleeting nature of influence and prestige.
And yet, in God’s providence, his church in Colossae received a small letter written by Paul around 60 A.D., which contained some of the most grand and exquisite truths of the Christian faith—truths that will stand for all eternity.
Why Study Colossians?
As I look forward to leading a College Park Men’s Bible Study through Colossians this fall, I want to reflect on a few key truths that we see in this important letter. See, much like faithful Christians today, the believers in Colossae struggled against false teaching and cultural pressure to abandon the gospel.
How did Paul strengthen them for the battle? He reminded them of God’s all-sufficient grace in Jesus Christ, emphasizing three things: (1) the person of Christ, (2) the work of Christ, and (3) the benefits of Christ.
1. The Person of Christ
Paul makes it clear; Jesus Christ is God incarnate. Consider these passages:
- “He is the image of the invisible God…” (1:15)
- “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell…” (1:19)
- “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily…” (2:9)
Furthermore, we discover in Colossians that Jesus created all things (1:16) and sustains all things (1:17). Therefore, he possesses authority over the entire cosmos (2:10). Everything revolves around Jesus—he is the preeminent one (1:18). This, friends, is who Jesus Christ is. Amidst a society that attacks and diminishes Jesus, we can stand assured by these words that Jesus Christ is God—our trustworthy anchor, a reliable refuge, the sustainer of the cosmos, and the creator of our souls.
2. The Work of Christ
Paul urges us to consider what Christ has done for us. Although we were by nature hostile and rebellious toward God (1:21, 2:13), he set his love upon us and redeemed us from our trespasses (1:12-14). He did this by sending his beloved Son to die on the cross (1:20). Jesus’s death and resurrection made possible the forgiveness of our sins (2:13). He broke the curse we inherited from Adam, put to death the legal obligations that condemned us (2:14), and put the kingdom of darkness to shame (2:8; 15). Today, his final, ongoing plan is to reconcile the entire cosmos and establish peace (1:20).
3. The Benefits of Christ
Colossians also shows us the benefits of embracing Christ, even in ordinary things (see Col. 3:5-4:6): our daily obedience, our marriage, our parenting, and our vocation. In Colossians, all gospel-promises are shown to be ours only in Jesus Christ:
- Hope (1:5, 23, 27)
- Peace with God and man (1:2; 3:15)
- Forgiveness (1:14; 2:13)
- The conquering of sin (2:23)
- The escape of wrath (3:6)
- The new self (3:10)
- Stability and steadfastness (1:23; 2:5)
- A thankful heart (2:6; 3:17-18; 4:2)
- An eternal inheritance (1:12, 3:24)
- A role in the advancement of God’s kingdom (1:5-6, 4:5-6)
Therefore, if you seek the benefits the gospel promises, never let go of the person and work of Christ, never substitute him for another scheme; it is he and he alone who can give you what you need.
While there is much more that could be said, I hope this helps you see the relevance and benefits of studying Colossians. Read this impactful letter and let the cosmic scope of Christ’s work thrill your soul.