I found the first chapter of my Colossians Shovelation written on a napkin, which reminded me that I had penned it while eating lunch at the Boynton Diner near where I work (I usually eat there once a week and have their breakfast special because I’m scheduled for lunch at 10 am). I remember having tucked it away in the summer of 2004 when we boxed everything up in preparation for the hurricane that was heading our way, which by the way did hit us and cause much damage to the room where it was. Anyhow, it’s way past time for me to get this input.
Colossians is an amazing letter in which Paul established Jesus Christ as the one and only one by whom salvation has been made. On the one hand, many believers will rejoice in the wonderful testimonies regarding the miraculous reality of grace in Christ, especially in how it relates to his unique qualifications that allowed him to harmonize everything in himself to the glory of his father. On the other hand, because religious Christian teaching has either ignored or perhaps misunderstood the dynamic contrasts Paul made between the truth of the gospel as clearly laid out by himself and the substitute message of those who were desperately trying to lead the believers astray, many verses in this letter have been used to bring his amazing salvation into question. It is the tension between these two “gospels” that must be recognized in order to clearly see how everything Paul wrote in Colossians was put there to highlight the absolute certainty of the salvation that has been brought about in Jesus Christ.
The challenge for me in presenting a contextually honest and cohesive rendering of Paul’s letter to the Colossians revolves heavily around the passage in Colossians 1:23-2:8. For many, Colossians 1:23 is one of the most frightful verses that seem to indicate that our salvation hangs upon our ability to continue in the faith. However, the IF refers not to something in us but rather in the message that Paul had preached to them. The Colossians were caught between two messages: that of Paul and that of the deceivers who had infiltrated. We don’t tie it together because we’ve been taught to ignore what Paul said about those men later in the letter. But the Colossians would have known exactly what Paul was suggesting. And while this one verse has caused so much doubt among so many Christians regarding salvation, it actually indicates the deceptive mentality of the religious mind that keeps us from recognizing that it is merely the beginning of Paul’s whole point to the Colossian believers. It is this same fleshly minded reasoning that makes many people think Paul was an egotistic bully who set himself up as the one and only source of truth for the Christian religion. I’m telling you, the religious mind just doesn’t get it. Everything Paul wrote was done in such a way as to showcase one, and only one man, the Lord Jesus Christ, our true and undisputed deliverer.