How are we to understand these various Scripture verses that encourage us to persevere in prayer, continue to pray, pray without ceasing, and pray at all times. Can we fulfill them by setting an app on our smart phones to remind us to pray 15 minutes of every hour? If not number of minutes, what are the authors asking us to do?
In this series of exhortations, Paul explains how belief in the gospel changes how you act in three pairs of relationships: wives/husbands, children/parents and slaves/masters. The overarching theme in this section is to live all our relationships as bond servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing ultimately we serve him. The challenge is to resist the tendency to “win.” Instead we are to recognize God has a higher prior claim on our lives and seek to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ — in whatever situation we find ourselves.
Paul has been warning the Colossians that they are in danger of becoming like the Pharisee in the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18). Essentially, he warns: Don’t trust in your law-keeping; trust in the blood of Christ and the hope of the gospel. Then you’ll see real gospel change.
The point of Christianity is NOT how do I make this world a better place. The point is where am I going to spend eternity and how do I know?
Paul contrasts faith in Christ with keeping a set of religious disciplines. He claims limiting what you eat or practicing specific rituals as an effort to prove yourself a spiritual person or show yourself worthy to God is foolishness. It misses what Christ came to do for you.
Performing external rituals does not change my sinful heart. There is only one way to be made clean.
Paul is laboring to nurture a strong mature faith among his readers. He struggles to make the truth of the gospel crystal clear so that our understanding reaches settled conviction and full assurance such we have the courage to follow Jesus no matter what.
In perhaps the most explicit teaching on the Christ in the New Testament, Paul says: 1) all that we can know of God is seen in Jesus because the visible man Jesus reveals the invisible God to us, and 2) Jesus has priority in every way as the Father has given authority over all creation to Jesus. Written to a community in danger of leaving the gospel, Paul emphasizes that Christ and the cross are essential to getting the gospel right.
Paul is thankful for what God has done in the Colossian church to bring about their faith and salvation through Jesus Christ which has resulted in their faith and love of their fellow believers. What has transformed their thinking and who they identify as their people is the hope which results from understanding and believing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The first two verses of Colossians follow the typical greeting for a New Testament letter: the author(s), the recipient(s), greetings. Paul identifies what his readers should understand about him. Then he explains who he considers his readers to be, particularly in relationship to God.