The book of Colossians was written by the apostle Paul to the church at Colossae, a city in Asia Minor. After his greeting (verses 1-2) Paul expresses his thanks to God for them and encourages them in their dedication, service, and love in the spirit. (v. 3-8). He assures them of his prayers for them (v 9) for their spiritual growth so that their lives would bring honor to God (v. 10-11). He includes the importance of giving thanks to God for Jesus’s sacrifice and the light of truth we have been given.
In v. 15-19 Paul expands on who Jesus is. He says Jesus is the image or representation of God, the first of God’s creation, who working with God (in his pre-human existence) created all things. (See also 1 Corinthians 8:6.) God loves Jesus so much that He made him pre-eminent over all creation. He is the head of the church and the firstborn from the dead. Lazarus and others who were brought back to life from the dead received temporary life. These miracles were pictures of the time when “all who are in their graves will hear the voice of the son of man and come forth,” John 5:28-29.
Verses 20-23 show that all things will be reconciled to God because of Jesus’ sacrifice. The church will be reconciled first and, eventually, so will all the willing of the world when they are taught righteousness. “For when the earth experiences Your (God’s) judgments the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness,” Isaiah 26:9.
In v. 24-29 Paul explains that true Christians join with Jesus in the sufferings of The Christ. The Christ (the Anointed) is composed of its Head (Jesus) and the Body members (the Church). 1 Corinthians 12:12 (NIV), “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” We fill up “what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ,” because the trials teach the church compassion and wisdom. These painful experiences qualify the body members to reign with Jesus in His kingdom.“If we suffer with Him, we will also reign with Him.” 2 Timothy 2:12. Enduring trials in obedience to God’s will develops mature godly characters.
Paul then explains a mystery. Verses 26-27 (NKJV), “the mystery which has been hidden…now has been revealed to His saints…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Yes, if faithful, we will be resurrected in glory. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us,” Romans 8:18.
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