Colossians 1.3-23 and the Gospel (Part 2)

Colossians 1.3-23 (click here)

Allison summed things up well for us using the New Living Translation as her guide (It’s nice to know I have at least one faithful reader!).

The NLT’s translation of the Greek word euangelion as “good news” is appropriate. The gospel is one of Paul’s favorite words for describing all that encompasses the Christian message of hope. His use of this word was undoubtedly influenced by (a) the passages in the latter half of Isaiah which speak of God’s servant preaching good news (see Isa 40.9; 52.7; 61.1; Dunn, 60), and (b) Jesus’ application of such Scripture to himself and his ministry (see Lk 4.18; 7.22; most notably Isaiah 61; see also Isa 29.18f; 35.5). Jesus, throughout his ministry, exemplified the Servant of God whom Isaiah promised would bring peace and blessings, and dawn the new age of salvation. Thus, Jesus is the good news. And with that, let’s return to our discussion on the gospel in Colossians.

Moo appropriately titles verses 3-23 as, “The Powerful Gospel of God’s Son.”  This is because at the heart of this section framed by the “hope of the gospel” (1.5, 23) stands a powerful description of the person of Jesus Christ (1.15-20). Again, Jesus is the good news. We’ll return to the famous “Christ Hymn” at a later date. For now, let’s make some general observations about the gospel and its implications, which weigh heavily on Paul’s mind in this opening section.

The gospel…

  • inspires both faith and love (i.e., faith towards God and love for humanity; v. 5)
  • is the truth (v.5)
  • is spreading and impacting people and communities all around the world (v.6)
  • is able to be heard and comprehended (v. 6)
  • articulates God’s grace (v.6).

Paul prays that the believers will be filled with the wisdom that the Spirit gives so that they will grow in knowledge of his will (i.e., all that has been revealed in Jesus Christ; i.e., the gospel) (v. 9; Moo, 93). Such knowledge leads to

  • godly conduct, full of good deeds
  • strengthening (by God) that leads to endurance and patience
  • giving of thanks (vv.10-12)

Has the gospel done these things in your life? In those around you?

Are you inspired by God’s great plan to bring all of humanity into the Kingdom of his beloved Son—in whom we may receive redemption and forgiveness of sins (v. 14)?

Do you understand and appreciate the sacrifice made on our behalf (v. 20)?

Do you see its effects? In other words, have you allowed Christ’s ministry of reconciliation transform your thoughts and behaviors toward its intended goal of holiness (vv. 20-22)?

Easter is an excellent time to reflect upon this text. All the above is made possible by the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross and because of the person Jesus is—God’s vindicated Son (vv. 15-20). Because he has risen, we have reason for hope. Jesus is the good news.

How can we respond in any other way but with faith, love, and gratitude?

May you have a blessed Easter.

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2 Responses to Colossians 1.3-23 and the Gospel (Part 2)

  1. Leah says:

    I enjoyed the commentary and questions…it’s especially thought provoking at Easter time. While I understand the sacrifice made on our behalf, I feel like I always fall short as far as truly appreciating what Christ did for us.

  2. Nic says:

    LJS,
    I think we can all relate to your feelings as far as falling short on appreciating what Christ did for us. Who am I to receive God’s grace!?! Ungrateful and unworthy, right? Check, check.

    At the same time, we need not dwell on our shortcomings either. God has given us new life in Christ. And he doesn’t intend for us to beat ourselves up. We must allow the Spirit to minister to us (see for example the latter half of Romans 8 ) and move forward, because Easter is a time for celebration! Amen?

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