A Study of Colossians 2:1-10
For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh
Paul is concerned for the Colossian and Laodicean churches. Laodicea should sound familiar. It is one of the seven churches addressed in Revelation and is better known as “the lukewarm church” (Rev. 3:14-22). They had lost their fervor for God. When He addresses them, He starts by being very specific about who He is: the Amen (meaning trustworthy), the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God (literally the Origin and Creator).
They thought they knew God, but the fact that they lost their fire for Him shows that they didn’t. He reminded them of who He is. Yes, they said they loved Him. Yes, they went through the motions of following Him, but He showed them through John the apostle that they were plodding along in a state of spiritual mediocrity like a camel halfway across the Sahara: not dying, just surviving.
This is what Paul was trying to warn them about in the letter to the Colossians! He knew that they would lose their focus. He urged them to encourage each other, even though they had never seen his face, never seen Jesus; even though they were in a rich and growing city.
Let’s break down what Paul is saying:
…that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Make Christ known to encourage each other and to bring glory to Christ. Why encourage each other? To be knit together as the body of Christ in Christlike love (1 Cor. 13), to gain full assurance in Christ, and to gain understanding of the mystery of God. The mystery of God meaning the mercy, justice, and salvation of God (Eph. 3).
Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
Know Christ. If you don’t know Christ, you certainly can’t know salvation. You can’t grow in wisdom and knowledge of Him or through Him if you don’t know Him. But if you do know Him, you can rejoice in ever-growing, ever-steady faith in Christ. In order, not in chaos as some do. When we know Christ, we can walk in Him and walk with Him. He is our foundation for our worldview. He is our encouragement. He is our teacher. He is our lifestyle. He is our joy. That’s all there is to it.
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily
Beware of plain philosophy. What a relevant warning in the world today. Don’t be deceived by philosophy without foundation. In Christ, we have a foundation and, the truth is, the world borrows from our foundation in order to try and refute it. Do not be deceived through false logic. Faulty logic is an easy killer of faith. What they say seems to make sense, but we can’t pin down what it is that shows that they’re wrong. Do not be deceived by false logic.
The traditions of men is where we can get into some dangerous territory. Personally, I love tradition. Family traditions, Christmas traditions, birthday traditions; I love them. And this passage isn’t saying not to follow tradition, it’s saying don’t just do it for tradition’s sake. Know the biblical reasons for why you have traditions, don’t just follow along blindly.
He goes on to say that we should live according to the principles of Christ, not the world. Why? Because the fullness of God is in Christ, in His Person. The full Trinity in one perfect Man. And furthermore, not only is the fullness of God in Christ, the fullness of Christ is in you!
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
You are complete in Him when you abide in Him. This word abide is a packed word. Let’s take a look.
Abide- to stay, to continue, to tarry, to remain in and beside; endure trials and affliction; to lodge, to remain or endure forever; to remain united, to be one in heart, mind, and will.
That’s a lot to take in, and to top it all off, Paul reminds us of who this is that we’re abiding in:
… and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
Jesus, the authority over all rule and authority. That’s who we’re supposed to preach. The one we’re supposed to be like. The one we’re supposed to continue in and align our heart, mind, and will with.
Feeling lukewarm? Sorry for yourself? Lonely? Discouraged?
Remember who you’re living for- Jesus.
In Him, you are complete. Abide in Him.
Yes, remember the philosophy. Remember the tradition. It does make sense. It is good.
Remember who Jesus is- and give thanks
The enemy of spiritual mediocrity is gratitude.
The enemy of selfishness is gratitude.
The enemy of pride… is gratitude.
Be constantly in who Jesus is.
Focus on Him
Focus on who He is.