Grace and peace
Colossians 1:1-2
There is one source for grace and peace!
#grace
Published June 23rd, 2021
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Phrase
Notes
Phrase
NT
Colossians 1:1-2
esv
Paul, ... and Timothy
Agency
our brother,
Distinction
an apostle
Explanation
of Christ Jesus
Possessive
by the will
Means
of God,
Descriptive
To the saints and faithful brothers
Destination
in Christ
Locative #1
at Colossae:
Locative #2
Grace ... and peace
to you
Advantage
from God
our Father.
phrasing
Notes
Verse 1 The humility of Paul is striking. He refers to himself as an apostle who belongs to Jesus, but he also refers to Timothy as "our brother." I would have gone with, "Timothy, this kid who I led to Christ who follows me everywhere I go." The bonds of unity are striking here: Timothy is Paul's brother in Christ, but he's also the brother to these people in Colossae, even though the vast majority of them are strangers to Timothy. I love how Paul constantly refers to himself in relation to Jesus. He's no longer just Paul. He's Paul, slave of Jesus. He's Paul, apostle of Jesus. If you want to know Paul, know that he is completely oriented around his relationship to Jesus. Paul is a sent out one of Jesus, and so are we. Paul's case is obviously different, however as he is (as the saying goes) a capital-A Apostle. In other words, he saw the resurrected Lord face to face and was specifically sent out with Jesus' authority. When Paul speaks, Jesus speaks. Paul's writing are the foundation of the church. Paul is not out here promoting himself. He is an apostle of Christ Jesus; he belongs to Christ, and he advocates for Christ. This singular focus of Paul's was key to his success and should be something we strive for. Am I acting as Christ's apostle or as my own? That's a great diagnostic question to ask in any particular moment. I love the phrase "by the will." Paul looked like he was going to be anything other than as apostle of Christ, but God's will cannot be stopped (Daniel 4:35). Yes, there is mystery here, and I would affirm the distinction between God's secret/revealed will. Our job is not to suss out the inner workings of God's mind, but rather to obey what God has made plain and trust in what God has kept to himself. God's will is not God, but it is an expression of his perfect and good character. As such, it is to be not merely obeyed, but also delighted in. We also reject any sense of "luck" or "karma" or the universe being in control. All that happens (even the conversion and commissioning of Jesus-hating murderer) is the personal will of the triune God. Verse 2 "to the saints" is a good reminder that these letters were (for the most part) written to specific congregations facing specific issues. Therefore, it is the job of the responsible interpreter to discover as much of the specific, historical context facing the readers of this particular letter as we can. Saints means God's holy ones, the ones that God has called and set apart for a special purpose. It is not JUST those who are particularly morally pure (though it's not less than that either), it also entails being set apart as God's special possession (Ex. 19:4-6). This is the distinction between positional (already saints) and progressive (becoming more saint-like) sanctification Also of particular note about the term "saints" is that this idea of being called as God's special people was reserved in the OT for the nation of Israel. Paul shows that it was always those who were trusting in God's promises who were the truly set apart ones. Peter, also writing to a Gentile audience, harnesses this same imagery in 1 Peter 2:9. We don't spend enough time marveling over the fact that God calls Gentiles his special people. it certainly blew the Jews away, as Paul will reference later in chapter 1. In fact, it blew them away to the extent that they wanted to kill Paul over his claiming that Gentiles who had faith were the true people of God (Acts 22), not to mention ACTUALLY killing Stephen in Acts 7. What we take as a matter of course was nothing less than earth shattering in the first century. May God forgive us for taking it for granted, and may God restore to us our sense of wonder and gratitude at being included in the family of God. Paul is not addressing two different groups, as if there was one group who were saintly and another group who is particularly faithful. The saints are the faithful ones. Though we'll never know for sure what the so-called "Colossian heresy" actually was, Paul DOES usually drop a few hints in his intro as to what the main themes/issues of his letters are going to be. Is he perhaps urging/encouraging the Colossians to reject whatever the heresy was by calling them to be what they already are? In other words, you have no need to pursue some sort of insider, special knowledge, because you're already all the way in the people of God, saints. Also, I'm sure that you won't abandon Christ for some false gospel, because you are faithful, aren't you? Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Jesus has called his followers to be people who mean what they say. Even more than avoiding lying, Jesus has truly called us to complete., total life faithfulness. Like a spouse to their beloved, we are to be faithful to him and reject all other lovers and idols. They cannot satisfy and only bring death. Faithfulness means so much more than being on time for your appointments I can find my affection for Jesus growing cold, and that should serve as a warning sign. My heart is made to burn red-hot for SOMETHING, and if it doesn't burn for Jesus, it will burn for sin. All of the blessings of God come to us "in Christ." This is one of Paul's first phrases, and he uses it (or some variation, i.e, with him, with Christ, etc.) dozens of times in the NT To be in Christ means to be united to him by faith in such a way that all of his victories are credited to you and you share in all of his blessings In Christ is also a synonym for being a believer We know that Colossae was in Asia Minor and that Paul had never been there. Likely, Epaphras had heard Paul preach in Ephesus and had returned to his home to share the gospel Verse 1 gives us the "Who," 2a gives us the "where," but now this phrase gives us the "why." Paul writes to impart grace and peace to his readers This grace and peace does not come from Paul, but rather from the Father Paul is simply the conduit A notable omission here is the phrase, "And the Lord Jesus Christ." Paul usually includes that phrase in his greetings. I've read several theories as to why the omission here, and the one that seems the most compelling is that Paul is first establishing the Father as the source of grace and peace so that he can then show that Jesus is the only way to get to the Father, and not through the teaching of the false teachers. If you had to pick the two most important ideas re: salvation in the NT, you could do a lot worse than the choose the themes of union with Christ and adoption by the Father It's amazing to think that we've been chosen not just to be servants in the house but children sitting at the table
notes
Comments
Brent Karding
Paul, ... and Timothy
I hadn't thought about making this an Agency phrase, but it works well.
Brent Karding
Your comments on each verse were perceptive. You connect themes in the verses with other passages, and apply the text to yourself well. You also make help comments about interpretation and theology.
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.