Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God and Timothy our brother, 2 to the saints and faithful brothers in Christ that are at Colosse. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul’s prayer for the Colossians
3 We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which you have toward all the saints. 5 We thank God because of the hope which is laid up for you in the heavens, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel. 6 That Gospel is come to you, even as it has also come to all the world, bearing fruit and increasing, as it does in you also, since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth. 7 Even as you learned it of Epaphras our beloved fellow-servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf; 8 who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.
9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray and make requests for you, that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 to walk worthily in the Lord fully pleasing him, bearing fruit in every good work; increasing in the knowledge of God, 11 strengthened with all power, according to the might of his glory, to all patience and endurance, with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who made us suitable to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.
13 Who delivered us out of the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love; 14 in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins; 15 who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things have been created on account of him and for him. 17 And he is superior to all things, and in him all things consist. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; so that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. 19 For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in him should all the fullness dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross- yes, to reconcile all things through him, whether things upon the earth, or things in the heavens.
The context of Paul’s preaching
21 And you, being in time past alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works, 22 yet now has he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and unreproveable before him. 23 If indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to all creation under heaven. Of which I Paul was made a servant, 24 who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church. 25 Of which I was made a servant, according to the plan of God which was given me concerning you, to fulfil the word of God, 26 the mystery of which has been hid for ages and generations; but now has it been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles- which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28 We proclaim him, encouraging every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29 For this purpose I labour, striving according to his power, which works in me mightily.
1:5 The hope we have is the hope of God’s Kingdom on earth; Jesus will come from Heaven to earth to raise the dead and give us the reward (2 Tim. 4:8; 1 Pet. 5:4). In this sense the promised hope is being prepared for us in Heaven.
1:9,10 Knowledge is related to our practical walk in Christ; not academic knowledge, but the practical knowledge of Christ which comes from His word. Daily reading of His word is therefore so important.
1:15 Jesus isn’t God Himself but is the “image” of God, because His character was exactly like God’s.
1:16 The idea of a creation “in Him” can be understood with the help of 2 Cor. 5:17, which says that anyone who is “in Christ” becomes a new creation. It’s not talking about the literal creation of the world, which the Bible says was done by God Himself.
1:22 It’s amazing to think that we can stand “without blemish” before God, because we are “in Christ”.
1:23 The stabilizing element in our lives is “the hope of the Gospel”, that we will live for ever in God’s coming Kingdom on earth. We must not only not deviate in understanding, but continue positively believing that we will really be there. This continuing in faith in the certainty of future salvation is what will ‘ground and settle’ us.
1:24 God arranges circumstances in our lives so that the essence of the sufferings of Jesus are experienced by us- so that we might also share in His resurrection life. Only in this sense can we begin to “rejoice in my sufferings”.