Summary: All hope of man’s redemption is founded on Christ, in Whom alone are all complete fullness, perfections, and sufficiency. There is a completion or a filling up, in him, so as to leave nothing wanting.
Opening illustration: There was once a farmer who went to town to purchase seeds for his farm. As he was returning home one of the squash seeds he had purchased fell from his pocket onto the ground. It happened that within a few feet was another seed of a different type. The place where the two seeds lay was rather fertile, and miraculously they took root. After about a week the squash seed showed signs of growth. The second seed showed none. After two weeks the squash began to sprout leaves. The second seed showed none. After seven weeks the squash began to show fruit. The second seed still showed no progress. Four more weeks came and gone. The squash plant reached the end of its life bearing much fruit in that time, but the other seed finally began to slowly grow. Many years later the squash was all but forgotten, but the other tiny seed, an acorn, had grown into a mighty oak tree. Many people want their faith to be like the squash. They want to experience it all right now … rather than be rooted for life.
Introduction: The Gospel was first preached in the cities of the Lycus by Epaphras (Col_1:7; Col_4:12; Phm_1:23), who may also have founded the churches there. The church had never been personally visited by Paul. Col_2:1, appears to indicate that the Colossians were personally unknown to him.
The occasion of the letter was the visit of Epaphras to the apostle in prison, and Paul’s communication with Colossae in the matter of the restoration of Onesimus. Whether Epaphras shared his captivity or not (see on Phm_1:23), he did not return to Colossae with this letter, but remained in Paul’s company (Col_4:12); and his stay in Rome was long enough to put the apostle fully in possession of the dangers which menaced the Colossian church. Paul took the opportunity of Tychicus’ journey to Colossae with Onesimus, to send this letter.
This epistle was sent because of some difficulties which arose among the Colossians, probably from false teachers, in consequence of which they sent to the apostle. The scope of the epistle is to show, that all hope of man’s redemption is founded on Christ, in Whom alone are all complete fullness, perfections, and sufficiency. The Colossians are cautioned against the devices of Judaizing teachers, and also against the notions of carnal wisdom, and human inventions and traditions, as not consistent with full reliance on Christ. In the first two chapters the apostle tells them what they must believe, and in the two last what they must do; the doctrine of faith, and the precepts of life for salvation.
How are we rooted in Christ?
1. Steadfast in Faith (vs. 1 & 5): spiritual warfare
Greek, “the firm (or ‘solid’) foundation.” As “order” expresses the outward aspect of the Church; so “steadfastness” expresses the inner basis on which their Church rested. The Greek literally implies not an abstract quality, but the thing in the concrete; thus their “faith” here is the solid thing which constituted the basis of their Church.