Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
(a) Paul. The author of the letter to the Colossians was the Apostle Paul. Paul wrote this letter while in a Roman prison (Col. 4:18), probably around A.D. 60/61. This letter, along with the letter to the Ephesians, was carried by Tychicus (Col. 4:7).
(b) An apostle; see entry for 1 Cor. 1:1.
(c) By the will of God. Paul was called into apostolic ministry by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:2).
(d) Timothy was Paul’s spiritual son and co-worker. See entry for 1 Timothy 1:2.
To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
(a) Colossae was a town in the Lycus Valley located some nine miles to the east of Laodicea. There is no record that Paul ever visited this town, and Paul acknowledges that the Colossians had not heard the gospel from him but Epaphras (Col. 1:7).
(b) Grace to you and peace. The apostle of grace began all of his letters with this gracious salutation. See entry for Rom. 1:7.
We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
(a) We give thanks. Gratitude is the language of faith (Col. 3:17).
Paul’s gratitude for the Colossians, whom he had never met (Col. 2:1), is reminiscent of his gratitude for the church he planted at Thessalonica. Although he may not have gone there, his message had been carried to Colossae and he felt a fatherly affection for the church. See entry for 1 Thessalonians 1:2.
(b) Our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul introduces the Lord Jesus Christ at the start of all his letters, and he encourages his readers to confess Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9, Php. 2:12). True preachers reveal Jesus as Lord of all. Jesus is not merely a teacher or historical figure. He is the exalted Son of God and his Name is above all names (Php. 2:9). Before the cross, Jesus was known as the Christ or anointed one. But after the cross, Jesus is the Lord or kyrios or “the One who is supreme above all.”
if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.
(a) If indeed you continue in the faith. To continue in the faith is to continue trusting in Jesus. As you have received Christ Jesus (by faith), so walk in him (by faith; see Col. 2:6).
In the New Testament we are exhorted to continue in God’s kindness (Rom. 11:22), continue in the faith (Col. 1:23), continue in the teaching of Christ (2 John 1:9), and continue in what we have learned and been convinced of (2 Tim 3:14). In short, we are to continue in the grace of God (Acts 13:43).
Every Christian knows what it means to begin with the grace of God but not every Christian continues in the grace of God. The temptation to take out a little works insurance is strong in a culture where performance is idolized.
One sign that you are not continuing in the faith is that you are more conscious of your lack than you are of the Lord’s supply. You may think, I’m not holy enough, righteous enough, or fruitful enough. Paul corrects this misperception by reminding us “in Christ you have been brought to fullness” (Col. 2:10). How do you continue in the faith? By recognizing that in Christ you lack no good thing. In Christ, you are as righteous and holy as he is and you are eternally pleasing to God.
Further reading: “Continue in the faith”
(b) Not moved away from the hope of the gospel. We continue in the faith by not allowing ourselves to be shaken from the hope we gained when we heard the gospel (see Good News Bible).
Love leads to hope which leads to faith. DIY religion tries to shake our hope by diminishing the love of God and by portraying our heavenly Father as angry or capricious. Become uncertain about your Father’s great love for you, and your hope will be undermined and you may wander from the faith. We guard our hope, and continue in the faith, by being persuaded that nothing can separate us from his love (Rom 8:38-39).
Further reading: “Seven ways religion damages hope”
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