Tuesday, November 29, 2011


This post will complete our investigation of Paul’s letter to the Colossians.  I know that if we will embrace its treasure trove of truth, we will become more spiritually discerning in identifying the proliferation of false teachings in these end times.

Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

In this verse Paul is basically encouraging the Colossians to have a good testimony before the unbelieving world—those outside the family of faith.  Your life needs to back up the message you are sharing to be most effective. 

1 Corinthians 9:14 “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”

Philippians 1:27 “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ….”

Redeeming time is a reference to making the most of every opportunity (as stated in several other translations), and I would add learning to recognize those opportunities as well.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Christians are to be prepared to answer why we believe what we believe.

1Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

I think the words from Peter complement the words of Paul.  Our speech should always be gracious—but especially when sharing the gospel and the truth of God’s word.  Again, the word for grace references a divine influence upon the heart, which I relate to being yielded to the Holy Spirit.  We aren’t to try to beat people over the head with the truth or present it in an offensive manner.  I think, however, that the desire not to offend should not prevent our sharing the truth.  Some people will claim offense no matter how “gracefully” we try to share it.  Our duty is to obey God rather than follow the dictates of the culture.  He tells us to share the gospel with everyone.

Mark 16:15 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

The Greek for the word salt gave reference to prudence, which Webster defines as “wisdom in the way of caution, discretion and carefulness.”  I think this includes Peter’s admonition to speak with meekness and fear (before the Lord).  When salt is added to food it enhances the flavor.  When we season our speech with salt we are speaking so as to make the message more effective—not less.

When looking for extra insight, I came across a good quote from the web at http://www.saltinstitute.org/pubstat/malott.html, from an article written circa 1970 by H.R. Malott, 
Chief Field Representative, 
Salt Institute:  I like to think that seasoning with salt means the salt of truth and that knowing how ye ought to answer every man is answering truthfully.  My father taught me that if I did not tell a lie I did not have to remember what I had said.”

Paul goes on to close his letter with personal greetings and messages.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Continuing in our investigation of Paul’s letter to the Colossians…

Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

The first thing I notice is that the Colossians evidently have a reputation of being a praying people since Paul is encouraging them to “continue” in prayer.  The Greek for continue made it clear that prayer is worth the effort and energy devoted to it; it also requires a heart commitment (to be earnest).  The Greek for watch is a reference to awareness and vigilance, a desire to discover and avoid danger.  In other words, it shouldn’t be a time of rote repetition.  Your heart and mind should be involved, and your words should have purpose.  

Our time of prayer should always include expressions of thanksgiving.  This is an area in which I have grown through the years.  When you talk about prayer, most people think about asking God for things.  Prayer is a time of fellowship with the Lord.  As a loving Father, He definitely wants to hear our burdens and requests, but He also wants to hear words of love, appreciation and thanksgiving for the many blessings He gives us as well as for the amazing love and forgiveness which He so freely and unceasingly gives us. 

Colossians 4:3-4 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

Paul does not hesitate to request prayer for himself and those ministering to and with him.  Scripture is full of references to the Lord hearing and responding to the prayers of His people.  There are many scriptures that encourage us to pray and let us know that our prayers delight the Lord.

Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

Proverbs 15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.

Matthew 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

James 5:16 ….The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Paul’s desire was to be able to continue sharing the gospel with the Gentiles, the very thing that had led to his imprisonment at the time of writing this letter.  Paul had already defined this “mystery” in chapter 1 as the truth that salvation was meant for Gentiles as well as Jews.  He is also asking for prayer to share the message clearly and in the right way.  It’s interesting to me that although he was very well spoken, Paul didn’t depend on natural abilities in sharing the gospel message, he wanted supernatural provision and empowerment.

(to be continued...)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


This chapter continues seamlessly in context with the previous chapter.  This verse is very similar to a verse from Ephesians quoted in the last chapter.

Colossians 4:1 Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.

Ephesians 6:9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

I have to keep reminding myself that Paul is addressing these letters to Christians.  My first thought is that what he is saying is a “no brainer.”  Then all I have to do is remember my own personal failures, and I realize that we all have a continual struggle with the sin nature and need encouragement and reminders to do what is right.  He is giving Christian “masters” instruction to treat their servants with justice (according to what is right morally and ethically) and equality (without respect to persons, neither inferior nor superior to each other).  The prime motivation—You have a Master in heaven and are servants to Him.  There is no doubt that He deals with His servants justly and without respect to persons.  Your treatment of those under your authority falls under the disciplining authority of your Master—the Lord Jesus.

I think that although the context is referencing servant/slave-master relationships, it is obvious that the principles are directly applicable to employee-employer relationships as well.  As a Christian employee or employer our primary concern should be focused on how our actions reflect on our Savior.

(to be continued…)

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Paul is directing his words in this section of his letter to Christian servants.  He reminds the believer that his service is to be done “as unto the Lord.”

Colossians 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

The Greek for servants is a reference to someone who is a slave, whether willingly or unwillingly.  In the whole of biblical times, slavery was a part of society.  I can find nowhere in scripture that prohibits the practice.  There are verses in Deuteronomy and Jeremiah, however, that indicate that the Lord would that all men be free.

Deuteronomy 23:15–16 “Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee: He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.”

Jeremiah 34:13-16 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondmen, saying, At the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee; and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee: but your fathers hearkened not unto me, neither inclined their ear. And ye were now turned, and had done right in my sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbour; and ye had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name: But ye turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom ye had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids.

There are, however, many guidelines as to proper treatment of slaves.  Paul gives a clear statement regarding the treatment of slaves in his letter to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 6:5-9 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.  And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

Having said all that, Paul is instructing Christians who are slaves.  He is clear that they are to be obedient to their masters in every way—whether they are being watched or not.  They are to serve their masters with the heart that they are serving God in the process.  Verse 8 from Ephesians (above) gives the best motivation.  You can’t outgive the Lord.  The Lord will reward you for your good service (the implication being even if your master doesn’t).

Colossians 3:23-24 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

Verse 23 begins with a repeat of the instruction in verse 17.  I think the key truth that keeps jumping out in this chapter is that we are to live “as to the Lord.”  I am sure that a slave would especially need these words of encouragement—especially if serving a hard master.  He/she would need to be focused on the fact that the Lord looks at his/her service to their master as though they are serving Him.  Again, their work will not go unrewarded; they have a heavenly inheritance awaiting them.

Our culture is so full of pleasing self and earning the accolades of people.  As Christians, the only One we should worry about pleasing is the Lord.  Why?  Because we are joint-heirs with Christ, and our eternal inheritance will far surpass any earthly treasure or accolades we may accumulate.  We serve the “Lord Christ,” the Messiah, the Savior, THE Supreme Authority. 

Colossians 3:25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

In context, this statement seems connected to the instruction to “servants.”  God will not let those who claim His name go unpunished for wrongdoing.  There is no valid excuse before the Lord for doing wrong.  Scripture is clear that you will reap what you sow.

Job 4:8 Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. 

Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

The Lord is a righteous judge; He is no respecter of persons.

2Chronicles 19:7 Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.   

Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

Romans 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

1Peter 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

Though in context this instruction is to servants, it is applicable to every believer.   

(to be continued...)

Thursday, November 17, 2011


In this blog post we come to the section of verses in Colossians in which Paul shares God’s will for the Christian concerning the structure of authority in the family.  It is a concept that only Christian families can truly understand and more willingly embrace when each member of the family understands God’s heart and submits as unto Him. 

Colossians 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

Our culture and society has certainly made this directive distasteful to most women today.  Submission is understood as weakness and as designating inferiority.  That is not God’s intention.  We must always remember that every command and instruction that God has given us is for our good.  Because in general men have rebelled from their responsibilities before God and women have asserted their “equality” in every area, this aspect of God’s ordained structure for the family has basically been ignored—the implication being that we know better than God what is good for us.  The thing to remember is that Paul is writing to believers, those who should be embracing God’s will for their lives.  I can’t help but be curious as to why this verse was inspired to precede the following verse.  It is much easier for wives to understand and accept submission in light of God’s command to the husbands.  The sobering truth is that this distinction is a result of the curse for sin.

Genesis 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

It’s not the relationship God established with the creation; it’s a relationship that became necessary because of our rebellion.  The most important motivation for every Christian wife is to remember that we are submitting to the Lord in submitting to our husbands.  I liked a quote from Warren Wiersbe I found in David Guzik’s commentary:  “The idea of submission doesn't have anything to do with someone being smarter or better or more talented. It has to do with a God-appointed order. "Anyone who has served in the armed forces knows that 'rank' has to do with order and authority, not with value or ability."

Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

In my opinion, husbands are given the much harder command.  They are to love their wives unconditionally and not act bitterly toward them.  According to Webster, to act bitterly is to cause physical pain or to cause pain or distress to the mind.  He also defines it as actions that are severe, cruel, harsh, or stern.  As you can see, this directive applies to both “words and deeds” as referenced in verse 17.  When a Christian husband is obedient to this instruction from the Lord, it will not be hard for the wife to be submissive.  His actions will demonstrate that he is always watching out for her well being because he is being submissive to the Lord.

This brings up another important point in my thinking regarding being sure that you do not get unequally yoked to an unbeliever.  If a Christian woman puts herself in that position, she is just asking for trouble.  1Peter makes it clear that you are to be submissive to the unbelieving husband in hopes of winning him to faith by your example.

1Peter 3:1-2 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.

Paul now directs his instruction to the children.  In each case—wife, husband, child—I think Paul is singling out the most important instruction for each for creating a happy home that honors the Lord.  The hardest thing for a child to do is obey.  The instruction is that they obey all of the time—not just part of the time.  Again, if their parents are themselves submissive and obedient to the Lord, an environment is created that makes this instruction easier to follow; it does not, however, ensure compliance.  Until a child comes to saving faith and in possession of the Holy Spirit, he most naturally follows the desires of his flesh.  He has to be taught what is good and right.  He has to be taught about the Lord and the things that please the Lord.  I would assume that Paul is directing his comments to children that have proclaimed their faith in Jesus and have a desire to please Him, since that is the motivation that he attaches to the directive.

Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

It’s interesting to note that the next directive is to Fathers—not mothers or parents.  As the established authority in the home, the Father is held accountable for the disciplinary structure in the home.  It doesn’t mean that he works independently of the mother; in fact, a wise father work hand-in-hand with his “helpmeet” to ensure the proper environment and in establishing the disciplinary guidelines for the family.  The mother is always the designated authority over the child in the absence of the Father, and the children must understand that she has his full support.  It’s easy for one in authority to abuse that authority—especially in a parent-child relationship.  The father is wise that guides his children with a firm, but loving hand.  He is clear in his expectations and in the consequences for not adhering to those expectations.  Children may not like it, but they understand and appreciate consistent, protective parameters.  Fathers who aren’t consistent in their actions and are unclear in making their expectations understood only provoke anger in their children with their responses.  They will get discouraged because they will never be sure of how to please you.

If we want our children to grow in spiritual maturity and learn to be submissive and obedient to the Lord, we need to ensure that they see fathers and mothers who are submissive and obedient to the Lord.

(to be continued...)