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.