John T. Willis

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Paul's Intentional Sacrificial Living--Colossians 1:24-29

"Now" in Colossians 1:24 indicates a transition in Paul's thoughts. In verses 24-29, he openly shares his voluntary, intentional commitment under God through Jesus Christ to "serve" the church throughout the world. This blog highlights some great truths in Colossians 1:24-29.

I. Paul declares that he is suffering as God's follower, but he "rejoices" because God is using him to carry out God's purposes. In his flesh, Paul is "completing what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of Christ's body=the church." Verse 24. Certainly this does not mean that Paul or some other human being supplement what Christ has already done. NO!!! Christ has already removed all human sins on the cross (see Colossians 2:13-14). Every Christian, including Paul, shares in Christ's suffering as he or she participates in Christian living daily. In so doing, each Christian behaves vicariously for others--see 2 Corinthians 1:6. For Paul, as a minister or servant of Christ, daily he completes what is lacking of Christ's afflictions--Acts 9:16; Ephesians 3:1; 2 Timothy 1:8, 16-17; 2:9.

II. God "gave" Paul a servant of the church for the church to make the word of God fully proclaimed. Verse 25. In a special way, God commissioned Paul to go to the Gentiles to preach Jesus Christ there to the whole world. 1 Corinthians 4:1; Romans 15:19.

III. Paul explains that his message to the Gentiles was "hidden" in past generations, but is now "revealed" through Jesus Christ. In this sense, it is a "mystery" revealed. Romans 16:25-26; 1 Corinthians 2:7-8. Later in Colossians and Ephesians, Paul delineates the meaning of this "mystery." Verse 26.

IV. First, Paul declares that this "mystery" is "Christ in you, the hope of glory"--verse 27. "Riches and glory" are terms which occur often in the Bible--see 1 Kings
3:13; 1 Chronicles 29:28; Psalm 111:3; Proverbs 3:16; 8:18; 22:4. "You" in the expression "Christ is you" is plural. The thought is that the "mystery" hidden in past generations but now revealed is "Christ in you" true believers in God through Jesus Christ, both Jew and Gentile. Specifically in this text, "you" is the church at Colossae, but by implication refers to all Christians everywhere. Jesus Christ dwells constantly in his church; in each community where the church lives and works; in each individual who serves God in Jesus Christ. See Ephesians 3:17a: "that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;" 1 Corinthians 3:16: "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwell in you?" ["you" here is plural--the whole church].

V. Paul and his associates [note "we" is plural in this verse; see Colossians 1:7-8] proclaims "Christ in you" [plural--all true believers of God in Jesus Christ] in order to present everyone "mature" in Christ. Verse 28. The word "mature" often appears in English translations as "perfect." See Colossians 4:12; Matthew 5:48; Romans 12:2; James 1:4, 25; 3:2. The desire is that "everyone" grow spiritually so as to become "perfect" or "mature" as God forms into Christ's image. Paul does this by "admonishing" God's people like parents admonish their children (1 Corinthians 4:14) and by "teaching" God's people as an instructor teaches his or her pupils
(1 Timothy 3:14; 2 Timothy 1:11).

VI. By God's power alone (1 Corinthians 15:10; Philippians 2:13; 4:13), Paul receives the "energy" to rise above the "toils" and "struggles" that he endures daily in the service of Jesus Christ. Verse 29.

Paul's perspective toward life is a great inspiration to all believers. How do YOU respond to this text? Share YOUR insights with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


  • What an encouragement to read your summary of verse 29 and the energy Paul receives to rise above the toils and struggles of his daily service to Christ. It seems I have been expecting my service to Jesus Christ to be carefree and blessing-filled and yet I find most of my daily struggles related directly to that endeavor. I will rely on His power alone to energize me just as he did Paul.

    By Blogger MindyB710, at 11:07 AM  

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