STUDY IN COLOSSIANS
Let's begin by looking at our position in Jesus the Christ. As born again Christians, we are:
1. Rooted in Christ - Colossians 2:7. This means we are firmly
established - rooted and grounded in love.
2. Alive in Christ - Romans 6:11. Webster's Dictionary says that
to be alive is to have quality of life, vivid, vibrant.
3. Hidden in Christ - Colossians 3:3. This means we are concealed,
covered in Him.
4. Complete in Christ - Colossians 2:10. The definition of complete
is to have all parts, or elements, lacking nothing, whole, entire,
The Book of Colossians is known as Pros Kolossaeis, or To The Colossians. Paul wrote this letter with the intention that the people at Colosse would read it, and that the Colossians would forward their letter to Laodecia. This leads me to believe that similar problems were affecting both those churches.
There is much debate about Epaphras and his part in the church at Colosse. Some commentaries state that Epaphras founded that church. Others simply make him out to be a minister of the church because Paul refers to him as a "fellow bond-servant" in Colossians 1:7 and Philemon 23. Personally I don't see how it matters. That Epaphras is the leader of that church, and accountable to Paul in its behalf, is obvious since he was the one to make a full report about the troubles in it to Paul.
The reason Paul wrote this letter from his jail cell, although he had never himself been to the Colossians' church, was that Epaphras reported the encroaching Gnostics who were trying to make converts out of the church members. They, the Gnostics, taught that Jesus was not fully God and man, but that He was as an angel, working on behalf of humans. They thought, and taught, that one could get to heaven just by thought. From that standpoint, they began to teach about works as well. They worshipped angels and taught that the body was worth nothing. They used mysticism as their way into spiritual things. These were some of the people trying to gain control of the church. To add more confusion to the mix, the Jews were teaching dietary regulations and restrictions, and the need of circumcision for salvation. And the Christians were trying to incorporate all these things into their knowledge of Jesus as Savior.
In this letter, Paul explains that we are risen with Christ, and that we have put off the old man. This is something very important to Christians because, as we put on the new man, our relationship with Jesus deepens. As we become well rooted in Jesus, all our relationships will improve.
One of the lessons in this letter is that we stop being so inwardly focused, and begin to look outward. As we look outside ourselves we begin to see Christ more clearly, and understand that He is preeminent.
In this letter to the Colossians, we will see the means Paul has used to return the congregation's attention back to Christ.