Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Colossians 2:1 - 2:5

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Colossians 2:1 - 2:5


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

A Warning against Error.

The danger of being beguiled:

v. 1. For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh,

v. 2. that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ,

v. 3. in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

v. 4. And this I say lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.

v. 5. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.

The apostle had told the Colossians that he was assiduously laboring in their behalf and bearing not only his own, but also a part of their share of the sufferings which the Christians assume as they take upon themselves the cross, the yoke, of their Master. He now makes a direct statement to that effect: For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and (for) those in Laodicea, and (for) as many as have not seen my face in the flesh. Paul was probably not personally acquainted with any of the members of this section of Phrygia but Epaphras and Onesimus, and the latter had not been a member when he escaped from his master. Nevertheless, the Christians of these congregations were just as near and dear to the apostle as those of other cities whom he knew in person. He was earnestly, anxiously concerned for them, for the welfare of their souls. He is wrestling for their souls, for their happiness, in view of the fact that error is endeavoring to enter their midst. He wants them all, also the Christians of Laodicea, who were exposed to the same dangers, to know of his prayerful solicitude for them.

The apostle's object in writing to them so frankly is: That their hearts may be encouraged, being firmly knit together in love and unto all wealth of the fullness of insight, to the full understanding of the mystery of God and of Christ. Paul wants the hearts of all the Colossian and Laodicean Christians to be strengthened in comfort, to forget all doubt, uncertainty, wavering, to be possessors of a courage which overcomes all enmity and opposition. Instead, therefore, of permitting any tendencies toward disharmony to appear in their midst, their hearts should be knit together, joined together in love, brotherly affection reigning in their hearts at all times. With this love governing their hearts, they would also be joined to all wealth of the fullness of insight. The apostle cannot find words enough to characterize the blessedness of the spiritual gifts which fall to the believer's lot. They have all the wealth, they are rich beyond the dreams of avarice. Not in this world's goods, indeed, but in the full and complete understanding, in the knowledge of the mystery of God and Christ. The longer the Christians search the Scriptures, the longer they hear the Word of their salvation, the more firmly they are grounded in the certain understanding of the gracious will of God for their salvation. The longer a person is a Christian, the more firmly he learns and knows what the Word and the will of God is; he is sure of the revelation of the mystery of God, that Christ died for the salvation of his soul, that God in Christ has comprehended and consummated the decree of redemption, and he quietly relies upon that fact, he lets that conviction take an ever firmer hold upon his heart.

But all this is not out of man's own reason or strength. It is rather, as Paul says: in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden. Not merely some, a few, of the riches of spiritual wisdom and knowledge are in Christ, but He is the vessel, the bearer, the source of them all. There is no counsel of God for the salvation of the world which does not find its fulfillment in Christ; there is no revelation of the salvation of the world in Scriptures which is not based upon Christ. And the most wonderful truth is that every doctrine concerning Christ, just as every attribute of Christ, presents to us the whole person of Christ, the Redeemer. The teaching of Jesus Christ is the only perfect, the only fully satisfactory, the only saving system of doctrine in the world. This knowledge the Christians should strive for, upon this wisdom they should meditate.

If this is the constant endeavor of the Colossians, then they will heed also the apostle's warning: This, however, I say, lest anyone should deceive you with specious talk. He calls attention to his words as of great importance in the present situation. His hearers should heed his warning in time, before the errorists have made any headway in taking from them the basis of their faith. For these men that were so busy in their midst were using false reasoning, specious talk, glitteringly persuasive speech. To emphasize this warning, which is in place at all times, since the false teachers always employ the same methods, Paul adds: For though I am absent in the flesh, yet in the spirit I am with you, rejoicing and seeing your order and the firmness of your faith toward Christ. Paul's earnest solicitude and anxiety of which he had spoken above proved that he was with them in spirit, that he was seriously concerned about their spiritual welfare, that the endeavors of the errorists to beguile the Colossians must be met. Christian love and fellowship, which unites the believers, and especially the teachers and the hearers, causes them to feel the most earnest concern as soon as danger of any kind threatens. It is not necessary that a person be physically present to have this feeling; in fact, absence rather tends to increase it. At the same time, Paul was in a position to use the strongest kind of entreaty and admonition in stating that he was full of joy in beholding the order which they observed, the fixed, orderly deportment which characterized them. They were still presenting a closed front to the enemy. They were still firmly grounded in their faith toward Christ Jesus, their Savior. If any member of the Colossian congregation had actually begun to waver, these confident words on the part of the apostle, this declaration of his trust in their Christian common sense, would be most apt to bring him back to the path of sound spiritual thinking.