This is a series of brief comments on Paul’s New Testament Epistle to the Colossians. I hope it encourages you to study the Epistle – and all of the Bible – with great care. The more we dwell in Scripture, the richer it gets. Take the time and the rewards will be deep and refreshing. Be sure you read this blog with your Bible open to Colossians.
Why is Paul speaking in such superlatives about Christ and about all we gain from knowing Christ? We’ve already seen enough to believe that Paul’s purpose in this epistle is to firm up the faith of the Colossian Christians, encouraging them to remain strong in their devotion to Jesus Christ. So it is sufficient for us to say that he has written 2:1-3 in order to reassure them that Christ is worth any devotion, any faith, any cost.
Yet, to be very clear, Paul now adds a more specific reason for all this encouragement. “I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.” In other words, Paul has heard that there are people trying to distract the Colossians from their devotion. The Colossians are being challenged by “plausible arguments.” Someone is directly challenging their beliefs about and therefore trust in Christ. We’ll have to read a bit more to find out any more details about the nature of the challenge.
First, Paul wants to assure them that, despite not having met them in person, he is with them in spirit and is glad for any signs he can see (or hear about) that they are maintaining “good order” and “firmness’ of faith.
The word here translated “good order” is taksin, used Occasionally in the New Testament, especially in Hebrews to refer to “the order of Melchizedek.” The idea is that, when all things are in their right place, we have “good order.” Nothing out of place. The word translated “firmness” is stereoma, which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. From its use outside the Bible we are sure of its meaning: “firmness, stability.”
We see, then, that Paul is adding nothing new to what we have already noticed. These words are added for emphasis. Remember that this is a characteristic of Paul’s style of writing. When no words are strong enough to convey his meaning, he simply piles lots of words together, using repetition or lots of synonyms to make his intensity unmistakable.
Paul has had many positive things to say about the Colossians and their faith. Still, he is obviously deeply concerned at signs that doubt is creeping in because of the challenges they are facing. To turn the spotlight around to shine directly into your face and mine, we have to ask about our own faith. Are we, in the words of Jesus in Revelation, “lukewarm”? “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
Being moderate in our faith makes us repulsive to our beloved Lord Jesus Christ. Think about that long and hard.