Sunday, January 8, 2017

Colossians 1:2 part 2

Here in this salutation from Paul, we see that his audience is the individuals who make up this local congregation of holy ones (saints, believers) in the city of Colossae. By knowing this, we can see that what he is about to write is first for these believers, then because they would tend to pass Paul’s letters around from church to church, to other believers in this time period. Finally, we can see that we can take these writings to heart individually today. 

Paul is pronouncing God’s favor on those who are reading this letter.[1] We often find ourselves searching for peace in a world of turmoil. Paul in his greetings always reminds us how to find this peace. There is importance in the order mentioned – we find peace from the grace that we are given.

Each of Paul’s letters begins this way.[2] He is making a point to each group that received and read his letters. True peace only comes form the grace of God.

Grace (Greek charis) has been defined as “getting what we don’t deserve,”[3] God’s unmerited favor, and as Billy Graham has stated on occasions – “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Peace (Greek, eirene) means to be at one, to rest, to be secure. It carries a close association with the Hebrew word shalom,[4] which carries the concept of wholeness, completeness. So, in his typical greeting to each recipient of his letters, Paul is seeking for the unmerited favor of God producing the oneness, completeness in us by the Father and the Son.

Paul generally uses a longer phrasing in his greetings – “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” It is unclear why the words “and the Lord Jesus Christ” are not included in this particular case.[5]

Peace, an oneness and completeness and rest, is something that this world continually is striving for. However, the world is striving for the end result – without acknowledging and accepting the cause of true peace. The world continues to bring out ideas of how to achieve peace in life, and these ideas constantly fail. Yes, they work for a while, but without a strong foundation they can never succeed. The Bible teaches that true peace only comes from God. We need to understand that God is the cause of peace, and it is only found by man in a relationship with the Savior, Lord Jesus Christ. 

Man cannot find true peace outside of receiving Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

Prayer: Jesus, I, as well as the entire world, seek true peace in our lives and in those around us. I have accepted Christ, and I now seek to share this truth with those You place in my path. Amen.

[1] A reminder that these letters sent by Paul were distributed and shared among the various local congregations of the time. Sometimes they would copy and send them, other times they would lend them to each other. 
[2] See also: Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; and, Philemon 3. 
[3] This goes hand in hand with the statement the “mercy is not getting what we do deserve.” 
[4] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). 
[5] The words “and the Lord Jesus Christ” appear in the majority of cursive manuscripts while omitted in the oldest Latin codices, The Syriac Peshitta Ambroiaster. The unique reading here tends to speak in its favor, as usually there would be a strong tendency to add Paul’s wording form other locations.

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