Book of Colossians
Paul wrote the book of Colossians during his first imprisonment in Rome in about A.D. 60-62. Paul wrote Ephesians and Philemon at about the same time.
We will now begin our verse by verse exegesis of Colossians:
(Col 1:1 KJV) Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,
Paul begins the epistle by declaring himself as “an apostle of Jesus Christ”. Paul was not one of the original 12 apostles who were with Christ from the beginning of his ministry. However, Paul did see the risen Christ on the road to Damascus and he received the special miraculous powers given to authenticate apostles. Paul was clearly the apostle that God chose to replace Judas Iscariot.
Timothy was with Paul when this epistle was written. Paul spent much time mentoring Timothy and he wrote two of his last epistles to Timothy.
(Col 1:2 KJV) To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The epistle is written, “To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ, which are at Colosse.” The recipients of this epistle are not merely saints, but they are also faithful brethren in Christ. Paul wishes grace and peace to them from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. He is using the spiritual meaning of the word grace, which means the divine influence upon the heart and the reflection in the life of the individual. The peace is the peace of God, as opposed to peace with God. All Christians receive peace with God when they are born again spiritually, but they must be filled with the Holy Spirit to receive the peace of God. They must also be filled with the Holy Spirit to receive the divine influence upon the heart.
(Col 1:3 KJV) We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
Paul thanks God and states that He is the Father of Jesus Christ. In this Paul alludes to the Deity of Jesus Christ, since this Deity separates truth from heresy. Paul mentions that he and Timothy always pray for the Colossians.
(Col 1:4 KJV) Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,
Paul continues to say that he and Timothy have been praying for the Colossians since they heard of their belief in Christ Jesus, and of their love for all Christians. A Christian can have faith in Jesus Christ and not love his fellow Christians. There is faith in Christ and there is faithfulness to Christ. Love for fellow Christians is a sign of faithfulness to Christ.
(Col 1:5 KJV) For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
Paul goes on to mention the hope that is laid up for these Christians that love the brethren. Paul calls it a hope because it is not a certainty. There is confident expectation of its fulfillment, but it is not absolutely certain. The hope is the receipt of the inheritance that is held in store for faithful Christians. Paul states that the Colossians have heard of this hope from the gospel, which is the WORD OF TRUTH.
(Col 1:6 KJV) Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
He also states that this word of truth has come unto the Colossians, and it has come unto the whole Church. The Greek word for “world” here is the word kosmos and is a term for the Church. The hope of the inheritance that comes in the word of truth is for the Church. This is seen in the following verse as Epaphras is a faithful minister of Christ to the Colossians. Paul is not seeking faith in Jesus Christ in this epistle but faithfulness to Jesus Christ. The purpose of the WORD OF TRUTH is to bring forth fruit.
(Col 1:7 KJV) As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;
Epaphras was a preacher at Colosse, Laodicea and Hierapolis. He was a native of Colosse and his ministry was especially to the Colossians. The purpose of the preacher or pastor is to help his flock grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Pastors today have failed in this ministry as they think their ministry is to “get people saved”. The flocks of most pastors today are starving for the WORD OF TRUTH, as their preachers preach the same evangelical message to them Sunday after Sunday. The evangelist is the recruiter but the purpose of the pastor is to train Christians after they become Christians. Most pastors today do not even understand the WORD OF TRUTH, so they are clearly unable to teach it to their flocks.
(Col 1:8 KJV) Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.
Epaphras also declared unto Paul and Timothy the love of the Colossians, which comes from the Holy Spirit. This love is agape and is the love that comes from God.
(Col 1:9 KJV) For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
Please note that Paul and Timothy are not praying that the Colossians should “get saved”, but that they “might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” They are praying for spiritual maturity in the Colossians. The conditional phrase “might be” shows that this is not a certainty.
(Col 1:10 KJV) That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
The purpose of knowledge, wisdom and understanding is so the Colossians “might walk worthy of the Lord”. This too is conditional as not all Christians walk worthy of the Lord.
(Col 1:11 KJV) Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
The conditional aspect of verse 10 continues. Paul and Timothy are praying that the Colossians “might” be strengthened with all might in accordance with the glorious power of God unto patience and longsuffering with joyfulness. Patience, longsuffering and joyfulness are all fruit of the Spirit and come through maturity in the faith. They are not automatic when a Christian has been born again.
(Col 1:12 KJV) Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
Paul and Timothy are also giving thanks unto the Father, who has made Christians fit (i.e., meet) to be “partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” The inheritance is for the saints that walk in the light. Unfortunately, there are saints that walk in darkness, but it does not have to be this way. The saints who walk in darkness will forfeit their inheritance, just as Esau and Reuben forfeited their inheritances. They are still God’s people, but they lost their inheritance.
(Col 1:13 KJV) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
The Father has delivered us from the “power of darkness” and he has transferred us over into the realm of his dear Son. This verse is referring to our spirit salvation and our capacity to see the truth and walk in the light. Even though all Christians have been delivered from the power of darkness, many still choose to walk in the darkness. The Christian must choose to walk in the light, and it takes great effort to walk in this light. In order to walk in the light, a Christian must put away sin in his life, study the Bible and apply it to his life. This is seen in the following passage of Scripture:
(James 1:21 KJV) Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
(James 1:21 NKJV) Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
The Christian who walks in the light will realize the salvation of his soul at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Christian who walks in darkness will lose his soul at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The loss of the soul at the Judgment Seat of Christ is the forfeiture of the inheritance and has nothing to do with whether a Christian goes to heaven. All Christians who lose their souls at the Judgment Seat of Christ will be in heaven at the Main Harvest Rapture around the throne worshipping God. They will have neither crowns nor thrones, and they will fail to enter into the reign and rule of Jesus Christ in his coming kingdom.
(Col 1:14 KJV) In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Paul continues to describe what God has done for us through his Son Jesus Christ. We already have redemption through his blood, which includes the forgiveness of sins. We were saved spiritually by the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary, and the blood is the evidence of that death. The blood provides our redemption, but it also provides for our daily cleansing from sin. The Christian that thinks that his sins were all taken care of when he believed in Jesus Christ needs to read the following Scripture over a few times for understanding:
(1 John 1:8 KJV) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
(1 John 1:9 KJV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(1 John 1:10 KJV) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
It is necessary that Christians confess sins to receive the cleansing necessary in this life to realize the inheritance that God has provided for us. Christians who wait until the Judgment Seat of Christ to be cleansed from all sin will forfeit their inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.
(Col 1:15 KJV) Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Paul continues with the description of Jesus Christ and his work on our behalf. Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God. He is the manifestation of God the Father. He is the revelation of God the Father. He is God the Father in a body, and that body is the firstborn of all kinds of human beings that will make up the Church. Jesus Christ was the first one to be resurrected as the Head of the Church, which is his body. The term “firstborn” has reference to his preeminence and glory in the Church. He is the Top One, the Chief, the Head and the Preeminent One in the Church. All of the Church will be conformed to his image as the Firstborn of the Father. Jesus Christ was the first of many brothers that would eventually be conformed to his image. The following Scripture explains this meaning:
(Rom 8:29 KJV) For whom he (i.e., God) did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
All Christians will be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ. None will fail to be made into his image. This means all Christians will be brought to full maturity in the faith—even the ones that lose their souls at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Christians that lived their lives as drunkards, dead beats, homosexuals, fornicators, adulterers, murderers, liars, gossips, gluttons, and self-centered individuals will be totally changed at the Judgment Seat of Christ into faithful and mature believers.
(Phil 1:6 KJV) Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
The day of Jesus Christ is the Day of Christ. It is the day that the Main Harvest Rapture occurs and all Christians are raptured into heaven after experiencing the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is the day that all members of the Church will be in heaven around the throne, and all will have been conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Many will have lost their souls in order to be this way. They will have failed to enter into the kingdom of heaven (i.e., the reign & rule of Jesus Christ), but they will still be in heaven, and they will be like Jesus Christ. The loss of the soul and still being in heaven is addressed in the following Scripture:
(1 Cor 3:9 KJV) For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
(1 Cor 3:10 KJV) According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
(1 Cor 3:11 KJV) For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
(1 Cor 3:12 KJV) Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
(1 Cor 3:13 KJV) Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
(1 Cor 3:14 KJV) If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
(1 Cor 3:15 KJV) If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
(1 Cor 3:16 KJV) Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
(1 Cor 3:17 KJV) If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
It is very important to note in verse 16 that Paul is addressing Christians as the “temple of God”. If they defile the “temple of God” by living sinful lives, then God will “destroy” them. This destruction is the same as perdition and it is the destruction or loss of the soul at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
The following Scripture is addressing Christians that lose their souls in the trial of their works by fire, as described above:
(Rev 21:7 KJV) He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
(Rev 21:8 KJV) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Christians that are overcomers will receive their inheritance. Christians that fail to overcome the flesh nature and Satan will perish in the Lake of Fire. It is very important to see that they only have a “part” in the Lake of Fire. It is their work or their lives that will be burned up and destroyed. They will still “be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Cor. 3:15 above). Please read my article To Perish or not to Perish for a more detailed explanation about Christians that perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
(Col 1:16 KJV) For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
This verse was inserted to make sure that we understood that Christ is not a creature, even though He was described as the “firstborn of every creature”. He was not a creature even though He took on the creature’s form. The body that He took on did have a beginning in the womb of Mary. His body came from one of Mary’s ova, but the ovum that Jesus came from contained only the 23 chromosomes of Mary. There was a 24th chromosome from the Holy Spirit that made the body male and gave Him pure, untainted blood, but the body of Jesus did not contain the normal complement of 46 chromosomes. His body and blood only contained 24 chromosomes—23 from Mary and one from the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ was born of a virgin just as the Scriptures confirm.
This verse confirms the Deity of Christ as it confirms that it was through him that all things were created in heaven and earth, visible and invisible. This verse confirms that Christ IS THE CREATOR, THE I AM of the Old Testament. Jesus Christ is God Incarnate. The hypostatic union of Jesus Christ is the combining of the God nature and the human nature. Jesus Christ is both God and man. Jesus is the name of his human nature, and Christ is the name of his God nature. His virgin birth gave him a body that was untainted by the sin nature of man, which was passed down from Adam. Jesus never sinned and this uniquely qualified him as our Redeemer.
(Col 1:17 KJV) And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
This verse continues to address his Deity by stating his eternality (i.e., before all things) and his omnipresence (i.e., by him all things consist).
(Col 1:18 KJV) And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
This verse speaks to his human nature by stating that he is the “head of the body, the church”. It is his human nature that had a beginning as the physical son of Mary. His entire genetic makeup came from his mother Mary, except for his maleness and his pure, untainted blood, which came from the Holy Spirit via the 24th chromosome.
As stated above, Jesus Christ was the “firstborn from the dead” (i.e., the First One) to be resurrected from the dead in a glorified body to be the Head and Preeminent One in the Church. This verse confirms that the body of Christ is the Church. The body of Christ and the Church are definitely one and the same, as this verse confirms. However, the Church and the bride of Christ are NOT ONE AND THE SAME. The bride of Christ will be taken from his body, just as the bride of Adam was taken from his body. The bride of Christ will be a small portion of the Church. The following Scripture confirms that the whole Church has been espoused or promised to Christ, but many will be “put away” or “divorced” because of unfaithfulness. Paul would like to present all of the Corinthians to Christ “as a chaste virgin” but he was afraid that their “minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
(2 Cor 11:2 KJV) For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
(2 Cor 11:3 KJV) But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
The simplicity that is in Christ is to be single-minded in serving him. It is very simple. Our allegiance goes to him, and everything else is secondary. HE IS PRIMARY. The Christians that make Christ the central focus in their lives will be presented as chaste virgins, and they will be presented as his bride as described in Revelation 21.
(Col 1:19 KJV) For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
As stated in this verse, all of God or the fullness of God dwelled in the physical body of Jesus. As stated above, Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man and this phenomenon is called the hypostatic union of Jesus Christ.
(Col 1:20 KJV) And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
Mankind was alienated from God until Jesus Christ made reconciliation through his death on the Cross of Calvary. The death of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary reconciled the elect of God and provided for the redemption of the fallen earth and the heavens that are currently occupied by Satan and his demons. Jesus Christ has provided the atonement or payment for the redemption of God’s elect, the earth and the heavens. All will be purged and cleansed and will be restored to righteousness under the dominion of Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church.
(Col 1:21 KJV) And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
Paul expressly refers to the Colossians as ones that Jesus Christ has reconciled from their status as being alienated from God and as enemies of God in their minds. They have now been reconciled to God. The following verse shows the purpose of this reconciliation as being soul salvation, and verse 23 shows the conditional aspect of soul salvation.
(Col 1:22 KJV) In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
It was necessary for Jesus to take upon himself the body of man and die in order to effect this reconciliation between man and God. Jesus had to be a kinsman in order to be a kinsman redeemer. Jesus also had to be qualified to pay the price of salvation, in addition to being willing to pay the price. The qualification was to not have a sin debt of his own to pay, and he had to be willing to die as our substitute in order to pay the price. Jesus met all three criteria to be our kinsman redeemer. He was fully man, he did not have a sin debt of his own to pay and He was willing to die as our substitute (i.e., to pay our debt).
The purpose of our spirit salvation was soul salvation, which is the second half of this verse. It was the desire of Jesus to present us holy, unblameable and unreproveable in his sight. This is the salvation of our souls. This salvation is conditional upon our actions as described in the following verse.
(Col 1:23 KJV) If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
In order to be presented as holy, unblameable and unreproveable in his sight, we must continue in the faith or abide in the faith stable (i.e., grounded) and steadfast (i.e., settled). Also, we must not be moved away from our hope in the good news that we have heard about our inheritance in the kingdom. This is the gospel of the kingdom that was preached throughout the earth in the time of Jesus and the 40 years up until the removal of the kingdom from the Jews in A.D. 70. The “every creature which is under heaven” refers to Gentiles of every tribe and tongue under heaven. Paul was the minister to the Gentiles and this verse confirms it in the last clause. The gospel of the kingdom was preached to every tribe and tongue during the ministry of Paul. It was first preached to every Jew first and then it was taken to the Gentiles for every city that Paul entered. The Jews rejected this gospel of the kingdom for the time of testing (i.e., 40 years), and then the kingdom of heaven was taken away from the Jews in A.D. 70. Jerusalem was destroyed along with the temple, and millions of Jews were slaughtered. The Jews that escaped went into the Diaspora and have remained dispersed throughout the world until the 20th Century. The preaching of the gospel of the kingdom was first to the Jew and then to the Gentile as seen in the following passage of Scripture:
(Rom 2:5 KJV) But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
(Rom 2:6 KJV) Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
(Rom 2:7 KJV) To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
(Rom 2:8 KJV) But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
(Rom 2:9 KJV) Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
(Rom 2:10 KJV) But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
(Rom 2:11 KJV) For there is no respect of persons with God.
(Rom 2:12 KJV) For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
(Rom 2:13 KJV) (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified).
(Rom 2:14 KJV) For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
Verses 6 and 7 above confirm that this passage is addressing judgment for our works, which is soul salvation. This is the gospel of the kingdom, which was preached first to the Jew, and then to the Gentiles. The following verse with the words of Jesus confirms that the kingdom would be taken away from the Jews and given to the “nation” bringing forth fruit, and this is the Church—made up primarily of Gentiles.
(Mat 21:43 KJV) Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
(Col 1:24 KJV) Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:
Paul continues and refers to his sufferings for the Colossians as being the work assigned to him by Jesus Christ for the Church, which is the body of Christ. This is another verse that confirms that the Church makes up the body of Christ. We know from other Scriptures and types that the bride of Christ will be a small portion of the Church, just as Adam’s bride was a small portion of his body.
(Col 1:25 KJV) Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
Paul continues to explain that his commission as a minister to the Church is another “dispensation of God”. Paul is referring to the Church Age as an entirely separate dispensation for the Church, and he confirms that this age is to fulfil the Word of God. The Church Age was a mystery in the Old Testament, which means that it was not understood at that time. This is seen in the following verse:
(Col 1:26 KJV) Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
The mystery of the Church was hidden in the ages past and from the generations that lived before the coming of Jesus Christ. A mystery in the New Testament is something that was hidden in the Old Testament, but has been revealed in the New Testament. The Church was a mystery in the Old Testament, and the bride of Christ was also a mystery. We now see numerous types and figures for the Church and for the bride of Christ that were hidden in the Old Testament, but have now been revealed in the New Testament. The following statement applies to the various mysteries concealed in the Old Testament that were revealed in the New Testament:
The New is in the Old concealed, and the Old is in the New revealed.
(Col 1:27 KJV) To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
“To whom” refers to the “saints” stated in verse 26, and Paul is stating that the mystery of soul salvation is now made known to the Church. He continues to describe that soul salvation pertains to “the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles”. The “riches of the glory” refers to the kingdom of God. This kingdom is further described as “Christ in you, the hope of glory”. This is something that the Church can hope for and it refers to the death of the old self (i.e., soul) so that Christ can live his life in us. Christ living in us is the hope of our being glorified in the coming kingdom. This means we have a hope of reigning and ruling with Jesus Christ in his coming kingdom. It is a hope that we have, but it is not a certainty. I am not hoping that I am spiritually saved and going to heaven. I know that I am spiritually saved and going to heaven. I am hoping that I will be able to “lay hold onto eternal life” so as to realize soul salvation at the Judgment seat of Christ. This is the gospel or good news of the kingdom of God. Eternal life is something that we must seek after in accordance with the following verse:
(1 Tim 6:10 KJV) For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
(1 Tim 6:11 KJV) But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
(1 Tim 6:12 KJV) Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
The whole Church is called unto eternal life (vs. 12), but it is something for which we must work. We must flee from seeking after money and wealth, and we must “follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, live, patience, meekness.” We must “fight the good fight of faith” and “lay hold on eternal life”. This is work! Eternal life pertains to soul salvation and entrance into the kingdom of heaven. It pertains to our entrance into the kingdom of heaven. Not all Christians will enter into the kingdom of heaven. The following passage of Scripture addresses Christians that fail to enter the kingdom of heaven:
(1 Cor 6:9 KJV) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
(1 Cor 6:10 KJV) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
The word for fornicators means an unclean and defiled person. An idolater is someone that puts other things in a position before God. An adulterer is a person that is unfaithful toward God. These would include those who commit fornication, adultery, and seek after wealth. The effeminate and abusers of themselves with mankind include homosexuals and prostitutes. Thieves are those who steal. Covetous are those who are greedy for money and wealth. A reviler is someone that expresses his criticisms and objections in bitter, harsh, or abusive language. This is an important teaching for all of us. We need to watch our tongues and the way we treat others. We need to be kind in our language, and we need to be kind even when we express our disapproval of the behavior of others.
An extortioner is one that takes advantage of others by using his power or position to obtain property, funds or patronage to realize financial gain. It would apply to an employer that uses his position of authority to cheat his employees out of a just wage or salary. I know persons in management positions of power and authority that pay themselves exorbitant salaries and bonuses, but they literally steal the just wages and salaries from their employees. These types of Christians will not enter the kingdom of heaven. They will enter heaven but they will not enter the kingdom of heaven. They will not receive their inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.
(Col 1:28 KJV) Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all
wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
Paul emphasizes that they preach these things to the Church, warning members of the
Church and teaching them in order that each Christian may be presented as a mature Christian in Christ Jesus. This message of Paul is to Christians so they can mature in the faith and realize their inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.
(Col 1:29 KJV) Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
Paul continues to make it extremely clear that he was working very hard for the Colossian Christians and the Laodicean Christians so that they would mature in the faith and understand the mystery of the kingdom of God.
(Col 2:1 KJV) For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;
Paul is struggling with great conflict for the Colossians and the Laodiceans, and even for the Christians who have never seen him in person.
(Col 2:2 KJV) That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
The struggles and conflicts that Paul is enduring are for the purpose of having their minds (i.e., hearts) strengthened (i.e., comforted) and so they will be united in agape and the abundance of the full assurance of the deeper knowledge (i.e., epignosis) of the mystery of God—the Father and Christ. Paul desires the Colossians to understand that Jesus Christ is God in a body and that in Christ all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge dwell. This is seen in the following verse.
(Col 2:3 KJV) In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
If Christians are to be strengthened in our minds, united in love, and come into the deeper knowledge of God, we must understand the mystery that Jesus Christ is God in a body, and we must allow him to live his life in us. Paul is talking about the mystery of the incarnation of God in Christ, and the fact that Christians can only mature in the faith by living the life of Christ. This requires crucifying the old man and allowing the new man to develop. This is living the life of Christ, which is confirmed in the following verses. This is soul salvation, which is eternal life.
(Col 2:4 KJV) And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.
Paul is telling the Colossians about the requirement for spiritual maturity, but he is afraid that they will be deceived by persuasive language. Paul’s fears were valid, as the Whole Church has now been deceived into thinking that soul salvation (i.e., eternal life) is automatic upon spiritual rebirth. Preachers tell Christians regularly that they ARE THE BRIDE OF CHRIST, THEY AUTOMATICALLY HAVE ETERNAL LIFE, AND THEY ARE ALREADY IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD. The Church has been greatly deceived by “enticing words”.
(Col 2:5 KJV) For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.
Paul is not with them physically, but he is with them spiritually, and he is rejoicing over the fact that he perceives from a distance that they are living the orderly Christian life. He knows in his mind that they are steadfast, or firmly loyal in their faith. Paul perceives that they are mature Christians. The Colossians have not only been born again spiritually, but they have begun on the correct path to soul salvation, and they are faithful Christians.
(Col 2:6 KJV) As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
The Colossians have not only been born again, but they have become intimate disciples of Christ. This is the meaning of having “received Christ Jesus the Lord”. A Christian can be born gain spiritually and not be a disciple of Christ. Indeed, in this current age of Christianity, many Christians are not disciples of Christ. Paul continues by exhorting them to “walk ye in him”. This is a clause that means they are to allow the life of Christ to be worked out in their lives. They are to be like Christ. They are to be conformed to his image with the outcome being soul salvation.
(Col 2:7 KJV) Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Paul continues to explain that they needed to be rooted and built up in Christ, established in the faith, and abounding in thanksgiving, which is what they had been taught. “Rooted” means they are to be firmly grounded in the basic teachings of Christ. “Built up in him” means they are to increase in the knowledge of Christ and they are to continue to be conformed to his image. “Stablished in the faith” means they are to be stable Christians that are not blown about by different doctrines.
(Col 2:8 KJV) Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Paul tells them to be very cautious and not let anyone lead them away from the truth through quasi-religious doctrines and speculations. Paul is referring to the teachings of Gnosticism that value knowledge and wisdom over the doctrines of Christ. These teachings are filled with empty deception and they are based on the traditions of men and the basic teachings of man. Today, Paul would say to not be led astray by psychology, evolution, astrology, spiritism, new age teachings and the like.
(Col 2:9 KJV) For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Paul reiterates that all the fullness of God dwells in Jesus Christ. This is a clear, unequivocal statement that Jesus Christ is God Incarnate.
(Col 2:10 KJV) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
Paul continues by saying that we are complete in Christ, and that He is the head over all principalities and powers. To be complete in Christ means that we have everything in him to make us complete in every particular to make us perfect or mature in the faith. The principalities are the angels and the demons, and the power pertains to his authority over everything as the Supreme Government Ruler.
(Col 2:11 KJV) In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
Paul continues to describe our completeness in Christ by saying that we are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ. Paul is saying that we are complete in Christ when we die to the old flesh nature and allow the life of Christ to live in us. Paul is talking about the putting off of the old soulical man and the putting on of the new spiritual man. He is speaking of soul salvation, which is something that we must do after we are born again spiritually. The circumcision of Christ pertains to Christians who are separated from the multitude of unclean Christians and are truly consecrated to God. Most Christians have been born-again spiritually, but they have not experienced the “circumcision of Christ”. The circumcision of Christ is the removal of the old flesh nature by dying to self.
(Col 2:12 KJV) Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
Christians must be buried with Christ in baptism, and then resurrected in newness of life. The ritual of baptism is a picture of this work that must be performed in order to realize the salvation of the soul. Many Christians go through water baptism, which is a commitment to being consecrated to God, but they never follow through with this commitment. The “operation of God” refers to the superhuman power that Christians have to live the Christian life. We do not have power in our flesh to live for Christ, but we do have power from the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life. We can live the Christian life by putting to death the old flesh nature and allowing the Holy Spirit to control us. When we do this we perform righteous deeds and acts that honor and glorify God, and for which we will receive a reward. We do not have power in our own flesh natures to live for Christ, but the Holy Spirit has the power to perform righteous deeds and acts in us when we are filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit. This is what is meant by the phrases walk in the spirit, walk worthy, put on Christ, Christ in us, in Christ, and led by the spirit. This requires purposive action on the part of the Christian, and it will result in a reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
It is interesting that churches argue over the correct procedure for baptism. One says that sprinkling with water is correct, but others state that immersion in water is correct. In truth, both are probably correct, for the sprinkling with water portrays the Holy Spirit coming to indwell the believer, but the immersion portrays the death to self and the resurrection of the new man in Christ. Sprinkling alone would not portray a commitment to live for Christ. It only portrays that a person has been born-again spiritually. Sprinkling portrays spirit salvation, but immersion portrays soul salvation. Both are necessary for the realization of eternal life, which pertains to the salvation of the soul. Consequently, the most desirable procedure for baptism would be to sprinkle the Christian first to show that he has been born-again spiritually, and then to immerse him in water to show that he has made a commitment to die to self and live for Christ. Sprinkling demonstrates what has already taken place spiritually, and immersion demonstrates the commitment that the Christian is making to God.
(Col 2:13 KJV) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
In this verse Paul describes the spirit salvation that occurred in the Colossians. He states that the Colossians were once dead in their sins and the uncircumcision of the flesh, but God quickened or made them alive spiritually, and forgave all of their trespasses. The Colossians were cleansed of their past sins in one single act of being made spiritually alive.
(Col 2:14 KJV) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
“Blotting out” means to completely obliterate something. The things that Christ obliterated in this statement were the rules and requirements of the Law of Moses, which carried a suggestion of severity and of threatened judgment. Christ blotted out all of the rituals and requirements that the Jews had to follow in the Old Testament to remain cleansed of their sins. These ordinances, laws and doctrines were simply nailed to the Cross. Christians no longer must go through the rituals of the Mosaic Law to remain cleansed of sin. We do not offer the numerous sacrifices that were required under Mosaic Law. There is work that we must do, but it does not involve the rituals of the Old Testament.
(Col 2:15 KJV) And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
This verse simply states that Christ separated or blotted out all of these first rules that God had ordained as necessary in the past and the authority that they had over the people. Under the Mosaic Law, the people had to go through these rituals in order to remain cleansed from sin. They had to offer the myriad of sacrifices, eat the right foods, celebrate the feasts, keep the Sabbaths as required and perform the physical rite of circumcision. These are the ordinances and rituals that the Jews had to go through in order to be cleansed from their sins. All of this changed with the Cross of Christ. All that a Christian has to do now to be cleansed of his sins is to simply confess them to God in accordance with the following passage of Scripture:
(1 John 1:9 KJV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(Col 2:16 KJV) Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Paul goes on to say that the Colossians should not be concerned with anyone judging them based on keeping the rituals of the Mosaic Law. They do not have to eat certain foods, drink certain drinks, celebrate the festivals, observe the new moon or keep the annual Sabbaths connected with the Feasts ordained by God. This verse does not do away with the keeping of the weekly Sabbath, which is commanded in the Ten Commandments. The Cross of Christ blotted out the keeping of the Mosaic Law, but it did not do away with the Ten Commandments.
(Col 2:17 KJV) Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
All of the rituals, sacrifices, ordinances and practices of the Mosaic Law were given to the Jews as a shadow or type of things to come. A person could spend a lifetime studying all of the typical teachings in these rituals, and especially the typical teachings in the tabernacle in the wilderness. Everything in these rituals and in the details of the tabernacle depicted Christ and the atonement that he made for the sins of the elect. This includes the metals, the wood, the fabrics, the colors, the layout, the ornaments, the laver, the altar, the lamp stand, the ark, the table of shewbread, the dimensions and virtually everything about the tabernacle in the wilderness. All of these things were typical teachings that were fulfilled in the life of Christ. This is the meaning of this verse.
Once a person has found Christ, he no longer needs to follow the shadow, which was depicted in the rituals of the Mosaic Law. This does not mean the Christian is at liberty to commit sin unpunished. The Christian must still strive to keep the Ten Commandments and to allow Christ to cleanse him when he fails in keeping these commandments. Christians have somehow taken the idea that they are at liberty to sin since Christ did away with the rituals of the Mosaic Law. This is not true. It is true that the death of Christ on Calvary cleansed us of our past sins when we were spiritually regenerated, but we are not at liberty to keep on sinning. We are to cease from sinning and we must allow Christ to cleanse us when we fail and do sin. The Holy Spirit has empowered us to refrain from sin, and the blood of Christ can cleanse us when we fail. The Christian life should involve spiritual growth in sinning less and less by allowing the Holy Spirit to control our lives. We do this by studying and applying the Word of God to our lives in order to realize soul salvation. This is clearly stated in the following verse:
(James 1:21 KJV) Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
(Col 2:18 KJV) Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
Paul warns the Colossians to not be tricked into losing their reward. The Greek word for “beguile you of your reward” means to be deprived of one’s salvation. Of course, the salvation is of the soul and not the spirit. “Voluntary humility” is a pretense of humility and not true humility. The phrase “worshipping of angels” refers to religious discipline or ceremony set up by religious leaders. The Greek word for “worshipping” refers to religious worship that is external and consists of ceremonies. The word “angels” refers to religious leaders in the Church. The clause “intruding into those things which he hath not seen” means that these religious leaders have entered into explaining things that they themselves have not understood. Since they do not understand these spiritual truths, they become puffed up in their fleshly minds. If they truly understood these spiritual truths, they would be humbled in their minds instead of being puffed up with pride. A true and accurate understanding of the Word of God is a humbling experience.
(Col 2:19 KJV) And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
These pastors that are “beguiling” Christians out of their reward are not holding fast to the “Head”, which refers to the Head of the Church or Jesus Christ. The body is the Church and it must remain attached to the head in order to grow and mature in the faith. The joints are the places where various parts of the Church are separated and articulate or move freely in different directions. The joints are held together by ligaments, which refers to the belief in Jesus Christ. In addition to the ligaments, the joints are also joined together by bands, which refers to the tendons, arteries, nerves, muscles, skin and all those things that control and nourish the limbs and body from the Head. The bands refer to those things that bond different fellowships in the Church together. These are the principles, doctrines, and practices that control and nourish the different parts of the Church as they move in different directions and different ministries. If a particular fellowship under its leader does not adhere to the principles, doctrines and practices that are outlined in the Word of God, then that fellowship is not controlled by the head and it cannot be nourished and grow into a maturity in the faith. For example, an arm that loses its nerve supply is no longer controlled by the Head, so its muscles become withered and it becomes useless to the head and the body. It is still attached to the body and the head at the joints by the ligaments. In like manner, a Christian can lose its supply of nerves and blood to the point that it withers and dies, but it is still firmly attached to the body and the Head via the joints and ligaments.
In simple language, the joints and ligaments refer to our spirit salvation, but the tendons, arteries, nerves, muscles and skin refer to those truths that help us to realize the salvation of our soul. We must allow the blood of Christ to cleanse us from our sins and it comes through the arteries. We must allow the nerves to function properly so that the Head can control us. We must put on the whole armor of God, which is the skin that protects the body from invasion from without. If all of these things are functioning properly, the limb remains under the control of the Head, and it remains healthy and useful to the body and the Head.
(Col 2:20 KJV) Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
Paul states that if the Colossians are truly dying to self to the elementary principles of the world system, then they do not have to be concerned with legalisms or elementary rules of conduct. These legalisms are such things as do not eat a particular food, do not taste it or even touch or handle it, as seen in the following verse. Thus, Paul is stating that if they have truly separated themselves from the world system, then they do not have to be concerned with legalisms or elementary rules of conduct.
(Col 2:21 KJV) (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
(Col 2:22 KJV) Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
Paul is saying that if they have truly died with Christ, then they do not have to concern themselves with following or abiding by rules made up by men. He then states that these rules of conduct established by men will perish or cease because they are an abuse. They are based on the commandments and doctrines of men, and not God. The Greek word for “using” means abusing or misusing.
We see these manmade rules in the Church today such as women cannot cut their hair, wear jewelry, wear slacks, wear makeup, shave their legs and a myriad of other do’s and don’ts that have been laid out by Church leaders after their own wisdom. Paul states that these legalisms will eventually cease because they are an abuse of authority and power by leaders in the Church. If a Christian studies the Word of God and applies the Word to his life, then he will be controlled by the Holy Spirit, and he will automatically avoid the things the defile him. A Christian walking in the Spirit does not have to follow a list of rules laid down by men.
(Col 2:23 KJV) Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
Paul says that the following of these rules appear to be a show of wisdom, but they actually exalt the flesh because they pertain to actual worship of willpower in a false humility and harsh treatment of the body instead of the power of God. Verse 22 & 23 above are translated very well in the NIV as follows:
(Col 2:22 NIV) These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings.
(Col 2:23 NIV) Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
We see these abuses today in the form of weight watching programs, Alcoholics Anonymous, and all the myriad of programs to curb drug abuse, alcoholism, food abuse, sexual abuse and other manmade programs to control the sensual appetites of the body. In the end, none of these programs are truly effective without the person putting off the old man and allowing Christ to live in his life.
III. Living the Life of Christ (3:1-17)
(Col 3:1 KJV) If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Paul continues with the statement that if the Colossians have died to self and been resurrected with the life of Christ, then they will seek those things that pertain to the kingdom of heaven, and not things down here on the earth. Christians walking in the spirit do not seek the wealth of the world, political positions of authority in the world, or even corporate positions of power and authority in the world. Instead, they seek the things pertaining to the kingdom of heaven, which pertains to the coming millennial kingdom of Christ on the earth.
(Col 3:2 KJV) Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
We are to set our affection on heavenly things and not earthly things.
(Col 3:3 KJV) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
For the Christian that has died to self, his own depraved life that would normally be visible to others is hidden or concealed with the life of Christ, which is the life of God. The Christian that dies to self and allows Christ to live in him is Christ-like. He is a godly man.
(Col 3:4 KJV) When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Christians that do this will appear with Christ in his glory and they will be greatly honored in the coming kingdom of God. The glory is the most exalted state of entering the kingdom and reigning with him. This will not be accorded to all Christians.
(Col 3:5 KJV) Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Paul tells the Colossians to “mortify” or put to death the limbs or members of their bodies that “are upon the earth”. This means they are to put to death those things that come from the old flesh nature. The NIV translates this verse very well as follows:
(Col 3:5 NIV) Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
(Col 3:6 KJV) For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
It is because of these things that come from the old flesh nature that the wrath of God will come upon the children of disobedience. The Greek word for “wrath” means anger associated with punishment, so it means the punishment itself in this passage. The verse is clear that God will punish his children who are disobedient. There are numerous verses that confirm that God will punish disobedient Christians at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The book of Hebrews describes it as the terror of the Lord at the Judgment Seat of Christ:
(2 Cor 5:10 KJV) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
(2 Cor 5:11 KJV) Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
(Col 3:7 KJV) In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
Paul tells the Colossians that they once walked like this and practiced the sins listed in verse 5 above.
(Col 3:8 KJV) But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
But he now exhorts them to put off the sins that they now practice and he lists these sins as follows: temper, angry outbursts, ill-will toward fellow Christians, malicious gossip, and vulgar speech coming out of their mouths. The point is that these Christians had already put away many sins in their lives, but they still had many sins in their lives that they needed to put away from themselves.
(Col 3:9 KJV) Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
Paul continues and tells these Christians to stop lying to each other, since they had put off the old man or the old nature. Many Christians today will tell a lie without the slightest feeling of guilt. Many Christians do not even comprehend that lying is grave sin. Paul is calling this to the attention of the Colossians.
Lying is serious business and can cause a Christian to fail to enter the kingdom of heaven, in accordance with the following passage of Scripture:
(Rev 21:8 KJV) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
(Prov 12:22 KJV) Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.
(Col 3:10 KJV) And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
In addition to putting off the old man, the Colossians had also put on the new man, which is a reference to the new life in Christ. The new man is the nature of Christ and the new man must be renewed in knowledge continuously in the Christian that has decided to follow Christ. To renew means to give new strength and vigor to this new man fashioned after the image of Jesus Christ. It is a continuously growing process to be conformed to the image of Christ. It is not a one-time event that has happened in the past, but it is a process that must be adhered to over a long period of time. It requires perseverance and tenacity to realize the salvation of the soul, and it is not complete until the point of death or rapture. The “new man” does not lie but speaks the truth. It is the old man or the old flesh nature that causes us to lie. The Philadelphia Christian tells the truth in every situation. If he does slip and tell a lie, he is convicted by it, repents and gets cleansed by the Holy Spirit. The new man that is being conformed to the image of Christ is trustworthy. You can count on him to speak the truth. He is becoming more like Christ on a daily basis.
(Col 3:11 KJV) Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
As a Christian becomes conformed to the image of Christ, all distinctions disappear. National distinctions disappear as there is neither Greek nor Jew. Jews referred to all people outside the nation of Israel as Greeks. In this day we would say there is neither Jew nor Gentile for the Christian conformed to the image Christ.
There are no religious distinctions (i.e., circumcised or uncircumcised) for the Christian that is in Christ. We are all one when we walk in Christ.
There are no cultural distinctions when we are in Christ. Anyone foreign to Greek culture was a Barbarian, and a Scythian was a wild, savage nomad. Cultures disappear when Christians become conformed to the image of Christ.
Economic or social distinctions (i.e., slave or free) disappear when Christians put on the life of Christ. The Philadelphia Christian does not look down on poor people or anyone based on socioeconomic status. The Philadelphia Christian is comfortable with poor people as well as uneducated people, and he does not separate himself from others based on economic or social boundaries.
We have seen from this verse that normal human distinctions are overruled and transfigured by Christians that are being conformed to the image of Christ. It is important to understand that this verse is referring to Christians who are realizing the salvation of their souls and not to every Christian. Many immature Christians still cling to these normal human distinctions based on national, religious, cultural and socioeconomic factors. The movie TITANIC was an excellent study of Sardis Christianity clinging to cultural and socioeconomic distinctions, as they sung Amazing Grace decked out in the trappings of both. The poor and uncultured were excluded from the worship service, as only “Ladies and Gentlemen” were allowed to participate.
(Col 3:12 KJV) Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Paul exhorts the Colossians as born-again believers who have been set apart and loved by God, that they should “put on” the “bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.” The bowels are the intestines, the heart, the lungs and the liver, and the Hebrews considered the “bowels” as the seat of the more tender affections of kindness, benevolence and compassion. These affections are not automatic upon spiritual rebirth, but they must be “put on” as a Christian would put on new clothes that are fresh and clean. There are many analogies in Scripture between the new man in Christ and putting on fresh and clean clothing. The putting off of the old man is likened to the removal of old, dirty clothing, and the putting on of the new man is likened to putting on clean, fresh clothing.
The resurrection of Lazarus was a type of the believer that has been resurrected to life (i.e., born-again spiritually), but he must have help in removing the old grave clothes that hinder his spiritual walk. Spiritual rebirth is only the beginning. This is when the covenant of works begins, and the Christian can realize the salvation of his soul by putting off the old man and putting on the new man.
(Col 3:13 KJV) Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Christians must be patient and tolerant (i.e., forbearing) of the faults of our fellow believers and we must be forgiving of them when they have offended us. We are to forgive them in the same manner that Christ forgives us. This forgiveness is addressed in the following passage of Scripture:
(Mat 18:21 KJV) Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
(Mat 18:22 KJV) Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
(Col 3:14 KJV) And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
The most important characteristic that the Christian can wear is agape or Christian love. This unconditional love is the bond or glue that holds a Christian to maturity in the faith.
(Col 3:15 KJV) And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
The Christian who has the love of God ruling in his life also has the peace of God ruling in his heart. This is what all Christians are called to when they were placed into the body of Christ, which is the Church. The Christian that obeys the above exhortations will exude the love of God and the peace of God. He will also be characterized by thankfulness to God for his new life in Christ.
(Col 3:16 KJV) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Paul exhorts the Colossians to allow “the word of Christ” to dwell in them abundantly in teaching everyone (i.e., all individually) wisdom and admonishing each other in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in their hearts. Psalms are songs from the book of Psalms. Hymns are other songs of praise, and spiritual songs are distinguished from secular songs.
The “word of Christ” is the manifestation of Christ, who is the Living Word. Christ is manifested in Christians via the dwelling of the Holy Spirit freely in a person’s life. It refers to the filling of the Holy Spirit or the free activity of the Holy Spirit in one’s life. It does not refer to the simple fact that the Holy Spirit indwells all Christians. When the Holy Spirit (i.e., the word of Christ) dwells in the Christian abundantly (i.e., richly), then the Christian is often filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit, and the Christian does not quench or grieve the Holy Spirit.
A Christian quenches the Holy Spirit when he does not act when the Holy Spirit prods him to action. A Christian grieves the Holy Spirit when he acts in a manner that is contrary to the wishes of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit dwells richly or abundantly in a Christian, then the Holy Spirit has free reign over the life of that Christian. This is how the life of Christ is worked out in a Christian.
(Col 3:17 KJV) And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Paul sums up the point by telling the Colossians that whatever they speak or do, they should do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. This means that every word and act of a Christian should be said or done in the power and authority of Jesus Christ. When a Christian speaks or acts in the name of Jesus Christ, this means that Jesus Christ would have said the same thing or acted in the same manner. The more a Christian speaks and acts in the name of Jesus Christ, the more he is conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. This is losing one’s soul or life for the sake of or on account of Jesus Christ, and will result in the salvation of one’s soul at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This Christian does not speak and act in accordance with his flesh nature, but he speaks and acts in accordance with the Holy Spirit. This is how a Christian speaks and acts in the power and authority of Jesus Christ.
There is a bracelet that Christians wear with the letters WWJD on it. These letters stand for “What would Jesus do?” and serve as a reminder that the Christian should seek to act and speak in the same way as Jesus would do in the same situation. Speaking and acting in the name of Jesus Christ is much more than trying to act and speak as Jesus would. It is actually being led and empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak and act as Jesus would. The Christian can only speak and act like Jesus when he is empowered by the Holy Spirit.
IV. Practical: Outer Life in Christ (3:18-4:18)
In this final section Paul addresses the practical interpersonal relationships that should flow from the life of a Christian who is filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit. In order Paul touches on the private life, the prayer life and the public life. He then shares his concern for the spiritual maturity of all the Colossian believers.
A. Perfecting one’s private life (3:18-4:1)
(Col 3:18 KJV) Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
In the marital relationship, God has ordained that the wife is to subordinate herself to her husband. This means she is to obey him. This is “fit” or appropriate behavior for the wife. There is nothing in this verse that states that the wife must obey her husband when she thinks he is making the right decisions and treating her the way she thinks she should be treated. The wife is to obey (submit) her husband in all situations. The wife has the right to converse with the husband and offer her insights to him, but the final decision on a matter is always left up to the husband. The husband is the authority in a household and this is the order established by God. Any Christian household where the wife is in charge is a dysfunctional household in its relationship to God.
(Col 3:19 KJV) Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
The husband is accountable to God on his treatment of his wife. He is required to “love” her. The word used here is agape, which refers to the unconditional love of God. The husband is to love his wife unconditionally. He is not to exasperate her, embitter her or cause her to be angry or indignant. The husband that loves his wife unconditionally makes it much easier for her to obey him in his decision-making. The husband that loves his wife will listen to her and consider her thoughts and feelings in his decision-making. He will be caring and unselfish in his thoughts and actions toward his wife, and the relationship will be symbiotic. This does not mean that he will yield to her every whim, temper tantrum or misbehavior designed to elicit compliance with her desires or wishes. It does mean that his decisions should consider her desires and wishes, and he should make the best decision considering all of the facts.
The minds of women tend to operate on emotional and aesthetic levels rather than rational and logical levels, so their desires and wishes are frequently inconsistent with what is best for the family or living the spirit-led life. In his decision-making the husband should consider the emotional and aesthetic, but they should not be the overriding factor in his decision, which would often be the case if the wife made the decision.
(Eph 5:31 KJV) For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
(Eph 5:32 KJV) This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
(Eph 5:33 KJV) Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
It is highly inappropriate for the wife to denigrate or disparage her husband, and the husband is to love his wife as he loves himself.
(Col 3:20 KJV) Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
Children are to obey their parents “in all things”. Unfortunately, this is not the situation in most Christian families in this day and age. The fault lies with the parents, as the duty of the parents is to teach their children to be obedient. Most Christian parents have gotten away from the Biblical standards for rearing children. Parents do not follow the Bible in rearing their children:
(Eph 6:4 KJV) And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
“Nurture” means tutorage, training, education, instruction, correction, and chastening. This includes the use of corporal punishment using the belt, rod or other instrument to inflict pain. “Admonition” means rebukes and warnings about the consequences of behavior. Christian parents today are raising a generation of selfish, self-centered misfits with no concepts of love, devotion and self-control being worked out in the children’s lives. The primary cause is the failure of parents to know and obey the Written Word of God. Instead, they read books on psychology by agnostic and atheistic psychologists who know nothing about Biblical teachings on the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
(Col 3:21 KJV) Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
In the nurturing process, the “Fathers” are not to provoke their children to anger or wrath. It is necessary that the father discipline the child out of love and not out of anger or temper. When a child is disciplined the parent should be in full control of his behavior and faculties. The parent should never discipline a child out of anger or during a temper tantrum on the part of the parent.
(Col 3:22 KJV) Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:
Servants in this verse would have reference to employees in the current age. It tells employees to obey their supervisors and bosses that are over them in earthly matters. They are to obey the wishes of these supervisors whether the supervisors are watching them or not. These employees are to follow the directions of the supervisor even if the employee feels that his way of operating is better. The mature Christian is a faithful and obedient employee, and he will do the right thing whether the supervisor is watching him or not watching him. The faithful Christian is a good and obedient employee because he fears God and not because he fears the supervisor.
(Col 3:23 KJV) And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
The Christian must perform his job with the idea that he is working for the Lord and not for the employer or the supervisor. The mature Christian is a good employee and he is a good citizen who is obedient to the rules of the company and the laws of the land in which he lives. The mature Christian works hard to please God and not to impress his boss or supervisor.
Unfortunately, many supervisors and bosses are not cognizant of the employee’s value and worth to the company. In these situations, the employee must content himself with the knowledge that God knows all the facts, and every act of obedience will receive a just recompense of reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is also true for the lazy and incompetent supervisor or boss who does not pay his hardworking and faithful employees their just wages. The Judgment Seat of Christ will be the great equalizer for both the faithful and the unfaithful. Those who are unfaithful and lazy in their earthly positions of power and authority will have no positions of power and authority in the heavenly kingdom, but those who are faithful in their lowly positions on earth will have important positions of authority in the heavenly kingdom. This is seen in the following verse:
(Col 3:24 KJV) Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
It is very important for Christians to understand that they are serving the Lord when they perform their jobs to the best of their ability. God knows even if the employer, supervisor or boss does not know. The inheritance is to be a coheir with Christ in his kingdom. Unfaithful Christians will not receive the inheritance. They will forfeit it just as Esau forfeited his inheritance for a bowl of stew. Esau thought little of his inheritance and lost it. He later realized his loss and wept bitterly, but he lost his inheritance in the heavenly aspect of the kingdom. He retained his earthly portion in the earthly aspect of the kingdom as described in the following passage:
(Gen 27:38 KJV) And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.
(Gen 27:39 KJV) And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above;
(Col 3:25 KJV) But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
The employee—this includes the supervisor or boss—who does not perform his job well will be chastised or punished at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Many Christians will receive a negative “recompense of reward” at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
(Col 4:1 KJV) Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
This is an exhortation that employers are to pay their employees a just and fair wage for their services. I have personally witnessed gross abuse of this command by God in Christian managers that pay themselves large salaries, bonuses and other compensation and literally steal the just wages of the workers. There will be a reckoning day. The following passage of scripture is referring to Christian employers that have stolen the wages of the workers:
(James 5:1 NIV) Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.
(James 5:2 NIV) Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.
(James 5:3 NIV) Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.
(James 5:4 NIV) Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.
(James 5:5 NIV) You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.
Corroded gold and silver is a reference to accumulated wealth that the rich man has because he has stolen the wages of his laborers. This accumulated wealth will actually be evidence against rich Christians at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Scriptures are very clear that it is hard for a rich Christian to “enter the kingdom of heaven”. His hoarded wealth will testify against him on judgment day. His life of luxury and self-indulgence will be a witness against him on judgment day.
A. Perfecting one’s prayer life (4:2-4)
(Col 4:2 KJV) Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
Paul practiced a mature prayer life and he prescribed it for all Christians. In this verse he tells the Colossians to be devoted to prayer. This means they should persist or continue in prayer (cf. Romans 12:12). Prayer is not a luxury but a necessity for spiritual growth. The following Scripture pertains to the prayer life of a Christian in order to attain soul salvation. It is not addressing spiritual rebirth:
(Rom 10:13 KJV) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Only a believer can call upon the power and authority of Jesus Christ for the purpose of soul salvation. The Christian who repeatedly calls upon the power and authority of Jesus Christ will realize soul salvation at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
The clause “watch in the same with thanksgiving” means to be vigilant in prayer with an attitude of thanksgiving.
(Col 4:3 KJV) Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
Paul asked his readers to “pray for us” often and he specifically asked the Colossians to pray that God would open a door for Paul to speak concerning the “mystery of Christ”, which was Paul’s primary message. The mystery of Christ for which Paul preached was the fact that Gentiles had also been given the opportunity to share in the inheritance of Christ. Paul speaks of the “mystery of Christ in the following passage of Scripture:
(Eph 3:1 KJV) For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
(Eph 3:2 KJV) If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
(Eph 3:3 KJV) How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
(Eph 3:4 KJV) Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
(Eph 3:5 KJV) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
(Eph 3:6 KJV) That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
(Eph 3:7 KJV) Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
Paul was a minister of the grace of God to the Gentiles. The mystery of Christ was the Church Age where elect Jews and Gentiles would be baptized into the body of Christ for the purpose of realizing an inheritance into the kingdom of heaven. The mystery of Christ includes spiritual rebirth of both elect Jews and Gentiles, but it also includes the Word of the Kingdom preached and taught to the elect for the purpose of realizing their inheritance. This is seen in the remainder of Ephesians 3 as follows:
(Eph 3:8 KJV) Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
(Eph 3:9 KJV) And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
(Eph 3:10 KJV) To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
(Eph 3:11 KJV) According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
(Eph 3:12 KJV) In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
The “fellowship of the mystery” means the partnership with Christ iN reigning and ruling with him in the coming kingdom. This is seen in verse 10 where the powers and authorities (i.e., principalities and powers) in heavenly places “might be known by the church”. Please note that it is conditional that the positions & authorities in the heavenly kingdom might be known or understood by those in the Church.
(Col 4:4 KJV) That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
Paul’s desire is to make the “mystery of Christ” manifest or clearly understood by the elect Church. It is very important to understand that the “mystery of Christ” means more than just being born again spiritually. It means the realization of the inheritance through obedience to the Word of God.
C. Perfecting one’s public life (4:5-6)
(Col 4:5 KJV) Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
The Greek word for “walk” means to conduct one’s behavior or regulate one’s life so as to make full use of all opportunities for being faithful to the Lord. The Greek word for wisdom refers to devout and proper prudence in relationships with those who are not disciples of Christ. “Them that are without could refer to believers who are not disciples or unsaved people that could be part of the elect Church. Redeeming the time means to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good. As disciples of Christ we always need to be ready to witness, teach and instruct other believers or unsaved people who might be elect ones chosen for being a part of the Church. Contrary to popular belief in the Church, God has chosen each and every person who is to be a member of the Church. We do not know the ones that God has chosen, so we need to be ready at all times to be used by God to evangelize the yet unsaved spiritually, or to teach and exhort those who are already saved spiritually.
(Col 4:6 KJV) Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Our speech should always be with grace. This means that our speech should always be governed by the power of divine grace. It should be the Holy Spirit influencing our speech and not the old flesh nature or the minions of Satan. When questions come up we should know how to answer these questions doctrinally correct. It is impossible to do this without a deep knowledge of the Word of God. Most Christians today—including pastors and Bible teachers—have not the slightest understanding of Bible truths, especially the prophetic teachings. The reason for this is the failure of most Christians to truly study the Word of God. Of course, the Bible states that it would be like this at the end of the Church Age, so it should not be a shock or surprise to us.
For our speech to be seasoned with salt means that it helps to prevent corruption or pollution of doctrinal truths in the minds of our fellow Christians. Faithful Christians that study the Word of God act as salt and light for other Church members. Salt is a preservative that prevents corruption. This is why salt is used to cure meat. Salty Christians are those who restrain the evil in the Church. Firstfruits Christians are the salty Christians and they are called the “restrainer” in the following passage of Scripture:
(2 Th 2:6 NASB) And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he may be revealed.
(2 Th 2:7 NASB) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.
This passage of Scripture is talking about the “apostasy” as shown in the following verse:
(2 Th 2:3 NASB) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
The “apostasy” is the Separation or Firstfruits Rapture and it must occur before Man of Sin can be revealed. The Antichrist cannot appear until the Firstfruits Rapture occurs and the “restrainer” is “taken out of the way”. The restrainer is the salty Christians who restrain evil by their lifestyle and speech. Those Christians who have lost their saltiness (i.e., savor) will not be taken in the Firstfruits Rapture, but will be “cut asunder” or separated and left on the earth to be trampled underfoot of Antichrist and his minions. This is the meaning of the following Scripture:
(Mat 5:13 NASB) "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.
This verse is referring to the Christians who have lost their saltiness. They will be “cut asunder” and left on the earth to be persecuted during the first half of the tribulation period. The salty Christians make up the restrainer and they will be “taken out of the way” to allow the Antichrist to be revealed.
D. Perfecting one’s personal life (4:7-17)
(Col 4:7 KJV) All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord:
Paul sent Tychicus, a leader in the church and a bearer of this letter, to the Colossians to inform them of Paul’s circumstances. Tychicus was a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant with Paul in the ministry.
(Col 4:8 KJV) Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;
Paul sent Tychicus to them to inform them about Paul’s circumstances and to find out about their circumstances. He was also sent to exhort them and comfort them.
Tychicus was from the province of Asia (Acts 20:4) and was mentioned by Paul also in 2 Timothy 4:12 and Titus 3:12.
(Col 4:9 KJV) With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.
Onesimus was a converted runaway slave of Philemon. He was also a faithful and dear brother to Paul and a fellow Colossian. He was sent with Tychicus to reveal Paul’s circumstances to the Colossians.
(Col 4:10 KJV) Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)
Aristarchus was a Thessalonian who accompanied Paul on his third missionary journey (Acts 19:29; 20:4; 27:2). Aristarchus was apparently incarcerated with Paul for preaching the gospel. Paul called him a fellow worker in Philemon 24.
Marcus (i.e., Mark) was the cousin of Barnabas and the companion of Paul on his first missionary journey (Acts 12:25). He was Peter’s associate later and Peter called him “my son” (1 Peter 5:13). Mark deserted Paul on his first missionary journey (Acts 15:37-39). Paul commends him here and later in 2 Timothy 4:11.
(Col 4:11 KJV) And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.
Jesus was a common Jewish name and this Jesus was also called Justus, which means righteous. Aristarchus, Mark and Justus were all Jews by birth, which is the meaning of “who are of the circumcision”. Paul states that these are his only fellow workers in teaching the coming “kingdom of God. Paul emphasizes that they have been a comfort to him.
(Col 4:12 KJV) Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
Epaphras was also a Colossian, and Paul depicts him as a great prayer warrior. His concern was that the Colossians stand “perfect and complete in all the will of God.” This means that they were to be mature Christians who would stand complete at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This means that they would be mature and realize the salvation of their souls at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The conditional aspect of standing perfect and complete demonstrates that not all Christians will stand complete at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Many will lose their souls and be greatly ashamed. Epaphras was concerned that this not happen to his fellow Colossians.
(Col 4:13 KJV) For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea and them in Hierapolis.
Paul also mentions that Epaphras not only had a zeal for the Colossians, but he was also zealous for the church at Laodicea and Hierapolis. We learn later in the book of Revelation that Laodicea did not remain faithful but got caught up in the cares of the world. I do not know what happened to Hierapolis.
(Col 4:14 KJV) Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.
Luke was Paul’s dear friend and doctor. He stood by Paul in this earlier imprisonment and his later imprisonment. Demas was with Paul at the time of this imprisonment, but he had deserted Paul by the time of his second imprisonment (2 Tim. 4:10). Luke is the author of the Third Gospel and of Acts (Acts 1:1)
(Col 4:15 KJV) Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.
Paul requests that they give his greetings to the brothers at Laodicea and to Nympha. Churches commonly met in homes at this time, and the church at Laodicea met in the home of Nympha at this time (Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 16:19; Phile. 2)
(Col 4:16 KJV) And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.
Paul urged them to send this letter to the church of the Laodiceans after being read by the Colossians. They were also to read the Laodicean letter, which was most likely the letter to the Ephesians.
(Col 4:17 KJV) And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.
Archippus was most likely the son of Philemon (Phile. 2), and he was apparently ministering in Colosse in the absence of Epaphras. Paul exhorted them to tell Archippus to complete the work of his ministry. There must have been some kind of problem with Archippus fulfilling or completing his ministry. This serves as another example of Paul’s concern that the Colossians be complete in Christ.
E. Salutation (4:18)
(Col 4:18 KJV) The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.
As was customary, Paul signed a greeting with his own hand to authenticate the letter. He also asked them to remember him—in prayerful support—in his imprisonment. Paul’s closing is a benediction, a prayer that God’s grace be with them. This is in reference to God’s divine influence upon their lives.