View Full Version : Colossians 1:1-14 Friend or Foe?

Oct 4th 2014, 12:18 PM
Please read Colossians 1:1-14 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=colossians+1%3A1-14&version=NASB) before reading ahead.

Wouldnít it be wonderful to know someone at Church or someone you are getting to know is a genuine Christian (a true born again believer) or not? I believe Jesus wants each and every one of us to have that discerning gift. This specific discerning gift is not just for your own benefit (because it protects you from imposters posing as sheep teaching false doctrine and wrecks your Christian life) but also allows your personal life to be benchmarked against what a Christian ought to be.

As I started the book of Colossians for my own personal devotion I noticed chapter 1:1-14 is packed with attributes of a Christian. We are often told that the marks of a Christian are the fruits of the Spirit that is exhibited in their thought and attitude. Since that happens on an individual's inside itís hard to determine their position regarding Christ unless you know them personally. Quite frankly there are a lot of people with some or many of those good qualities and are yet not Christians. Therefore, this study I hope will help edify your own personal Christian walk.

Submission: Verse 1 starts with an introduction but also quickly establishes a hierarchy. Paul is an apostle and he refers to Timothy as a brethren. Straightaway you can sense a key attribute here: submission. Itís not Timothy alone that needs to submit to the leadership of Paul but Paul himself submits to God for He sent him to preach the gospel. The submission can then be extended beyond this (husband/wife, children and parents, employees and supervisors, citizens and government, etc.)

Sainthood and Faithfulness: Verse 2 considers Christians to be saints because of what Christ has already done for them and NOT because of what they are doing or what they are yet to do for Him. I believe a saint is one who is faithful or consistent with their relationship with Jesus. The word faithful therefore needs to be re-emphasized. Also as a side note Christians will experience His grace and peace as seen in the latter part of this verse. It makes no sense to follow Christ and never experience the two heavenly gifts. They are heavenly because it passes our human understanding but we experience itÖ..daily even amongst some of our toughest circumstances.

Prayerful: Verse 3 & 9 Christians pray for each other without ceasing. I believe the desire to this date to call my Lord Jesus as my Savior after 21 years of being saved is because someone somewhere else is praying for me.

Thankful: Verse 4 They are thankful because of otherís faith in God and for their love of the saints. This is an attribute that is often overlooked as Christians forget to thank the Lord for what He has done in other people's lives especially those lives that had NO hope at all.

Full of hope: Verse 5 You can easily tell a person with or without hope. One without hope generally is not satisfied with life and/or the surrounding circumstances and is constantly trying to remediate that dissatisfaction. A genuine Christianís hope allows them to overcome the challenges they face in life on earth because their eyes are on Jesus and the things that are yet to come throughout eternity, making the surrounding circumstances look dim. (Song: Turn you eyes upon Jesus (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0k258D1Lis))

Bears Fruit: Verse 6 The preaching of the Gospel has one big significant outcome: it bears fruit. So in essence Christians are His fruit from someone elseís preaching or evangelizing. It continues to operate in our lives even today after we first heard it.

Takes up church responsibilities: Verse 7 Epaphras was a faithful minister. Christians are not just mere spectators in a football game (church). They are actually actively part of the team either on the field or on the sidelines actively engaged in His work.

Verifiable: Verse 8 indicates that Epaphras along with the author of this book Paul can testify that they were Christians. There must be at least two people who can witness that we are Christians. For families I think the strongest testimony can from our wives or husbands and children.

Exceedingly wise: Verse 9 Christians have the potential to be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. This is not for super computing purposes but for a purpose listed next.

Pleasing and growing attitude: Verse 10 The wisdom above is for Christians to walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. Christians do not have an excuse because not only are they guided to walk a certain way but they are empowered as well.

Recognizes deficiency: Verse 11 Needs to be strengthened is another way of saying we are still work-in-progress and have the tendency to sin or maybe we donít fully understand the power of the Holy Spirit and do not lean on Him for guidance or leading; therefore, we fail, make mistakes, and desperately need His strength. This strength also allows us to have patience and longsuffering in the midst of a trial with joy.

Understands their inheritance: Verse 12 Christians thank the Lord for the inheritance because He has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.

Remembers their past: Verse 13 Christians will recall their sinful past and wretched conditions from which we were delivered. Even though undeserving we were given not just an average cleanup but brought us into His Son's kingdom. In short He gave us sonship.

Knows their identity in Christ: Verse 14 A Christian would remember the source of his forgiveness and where his new identity comes: Jesus Christ.

Conclusion: These are not attributes for one to start practicing and attain because these are spiritual attributes of another kingdom that God can give us through the Holy Spirit. So as you read this long list donít feel exhausted rather ask the Lord to empower you. Next, donít just get empowered but persist in it as Colossians 1:23 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Colossians+1%3A23&version=NASB) says which I quote in part ďprovided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard.Ē

Jul 22nd 2015, 10:17 PM
Even though it is good to be aware of these Christian attributes, I think it is a bit dangerous to use them as some sort of a check-list to test whether or not a person is a Christian.
Also, Paul says "we pray that you might gain this and this attribute" in verse 9.

Surely, these attributes should be prayed for, but you can not reasonably assume someone new to the faith has any of these attributes.
These attributes grow unto you as you grow as a Christian by the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps a better "test" to determine if someone is a Christian is the "traditional" view:

1. Believe in the Gospel (Rom 10:8-13)
2. Do good works (fruits) - turn from evil works (Eph 2:10, Mat 12:33)

Mat 12:33 (NIV) "Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit."