It was an interesting time for the church at Colossae when Paul’s letter reached them. They were a young church, and as a gathering of new believers in a world still very hostile to the followers of Jesus, they were struggling with immature faith, false teachings, and a poisonous desire to hold onto their old pagan ways. Now, they get a letter from Paul – from prison no less! The church at Colossae had never met Paul in person, and now they get a letter from him while he’s suffering in a prison cell. Obviously, this letter was of some significance.
As believers, we fall into a lot of the same traps that the church of Colossians did. The temptations of our old way of life before Jesus are strong, and we need a plan if we are going to move forward into maturity in our faith, led by the Holy Spirit. But what is that plan, and what exactly does it look like? As we dive into some scripture and take a look at Colossians chapter 1, this is what Paul was trying to communicate to the 1st century believers at Colossae, and it is a message we need to hear as 21st century believers today.
In chapter 1 verse 13-14, Paul says “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Paul spends the first part of chapter 1, culminating in verse 14, expressing the truth of the gospel as God’s plan to redeem us from our sin. That much the church had a grasp on. But what about the plan to live a holy life? Paul continues into verse 15, beginning to talk about the deity and preeminence (superiority, over all things) of Christ. He describes that all things are before Jesus, and in Him all those things hold together, and that we leave our sinful lives behind by looking to Jesus as the head of the church (verse 18). Not only is Jesus God’s plan for our redemption, He is also God’s plan for holy living!
Allowing Jesus to change you
This is HUGE. Jesus redeemed us by taking our sin upon Him at the cross… But it doesn’t stop there! Through Him, we can live a holy life. Paul writes in verse 21-22 “And you, who were once alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has reconciled in his body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach through before Him.” This is the promise of holy living we have in Jesus if we allow the Holy Spirit to change us once we are saved. Paul continues in verse 23 “if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard.” If we allow Jesus to mold our hearts to live off of the foundation of the gospel, and keep it fixed there, then we can live a life marked by holiness.
Turning from sin
This means turning away from our life of sin. In verses 9-10, Paul reveals how he and Timothy had been praying for their brothers and sisters in the Colossian church, specifically that they “may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worth of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Turning from our sin is the first step in all of this; it’s what begins the process of walking towards holy living. Once we turn from our sin, we are free to set our minds on what we know is God’s will. And what is His will? The Gospel! Jesus! Praise Jesus! He is God’s plan for us to be able to live holy lives that are pleasing to Him, to shed the shackles of our sinful past and immature faith, and move into maturity in Jesus.
Maturity in Christ
Maturity in Christ is what Paul spends the rest of Colossians really diving into. It is next-level faith living. Paul describes it best in verse 28, when he says “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” When we live a life of holiness, focus on the Gospel, and leave no room for sin; when we breathe, sweat, desire Jesus, and live to make Him known to everyone around us; then we’ve reached maturity in Christ.
King of My Heart