By Mike Dawson
Pastor Emeritus, First Baptist Church, Columbia
We’ve recently been on “The Alps of the New Testament” as we studied Paul’s mountain-peak letter to the Philippians. From a Roman prison, Paul presented some of the most glorious word pictures of our Lord Jesus Christ ever written.
Now we take a step that sounds impossible: We ascend even higher; we open another prison letter from the Apostle Paul, the book of Colossians.
If Philippians could be called ‘the glories of Christ,’ Colossians might be entitled ‘the glories of Christ’s GOSPEL.’ The titles of every lesson in this six-part series begin with the words “The Gospel…” or “The Gospel’s…”
We start scaling this mile-high mountain today by studying Colossians 1:9-23 and focusing on “The Gospel’s POWER.”
Today’s study passage presents Jesus our Lord in His various relationships. The word ‘relationship’ is one of the most-used words in the Bible, without ever actually being in the Bible! That word was not in existence in Bible times, but the idea of relationships is on almost every page.
People on Facebook often describe themselves as being “in a relationship.” On a much deeper level, Paul tells us that Jesus is in a relationship:
— with us (Colossians 1:9-14)
Paul uses the personal pronouns we, us, and you nine times in these 5 verses. The apostle prayed consistently for us to be “filled with the knowledge of His will,” and for “you” (which would be “us”), to ‘walk worthy of the Lord.’
Also that we would be “strengthened” mightily, according to the POWER of the Gospel. With this glorious power, Christ has delivered us from the power of darkness and has transferred us into His Kingdom, redeeming us through His blood and has forgiven us of our sins. What a SAVIOR!
— with all creation (1:15-17)
Being the Eternal One, Jesus was the firstborn over all creation — that is, He existed before all things. All things were created by Him and through Him and for Him. And in Him, all things “hang together.” What a CREATOR!
— with the church (1:18)
Paul tells us that Jesus is the HEAD of the church (also called the Body), and that He is over and above the church in every way. What a PREEMINENT ONE!
— with God the Father (1:19-20)
God was “pleased” with His only begotten Son — when He was baptized, when He paid it all on the cross, and when He rose from the dead; AND God was pleased to have all of His “God-ness” bestowed on Jesus. What a SON indeed!
— with sinners (1:21-23)
We all have sinned. The only remedy for our sin is Christ’s blood which flowed from Him on the cross. An old hymn asked, “Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing flow?” You’ve likely seen a drawing of the Gospel’s power; it shows a person standing before a huge drop off. The other side is too far to jump.
“Man” stands there with “God” across the chasm. But the cross of Christ appears, stretching from one side to the other. An opening occurs, turning the cross into a bridge. Have you crossed over? Thoughtfully read verses 21-23; turn from sin, and accept Jesus’ death for your forgiveness. What a RECONCILER He is! B&R — Dawson is pastor emeritus at First Baptist Church, Columbia, and also serves as transitional interim around the state.