Titus 1:2…”In the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.” God promised us eternal life in eternity past. Election (or predestination) is implied in this verse, and is throughout the bible in addition to all the clear, explicit teachings on this doctrine (Titus 1:1 for example). For the elect, He has always known us, set His affection on us in eternity past, changed our hearts in rescuing us in Christ, and will sanctify us until we’re glorified. We should rejoice in this, knowing that although we have to battle every day, the war has already been won, and the fruit we see is assurance of our salvation! However, this can be a hard teaching if we try to limit God’s attributes and power according to our own finite knowledge, understanding, and abilities. Interestingly, we’ll get in a car or on a plane not fully understanding how everything works and believe that we’ll get to our destination. Our trust in these simple actions demonstrates that we’ll put our hope in something we don’t fully understand. We show our intellectual inconsistency with spiritual things when we treat God and His word differently. The doctrine of election is true because the bible says it is. And, according to this verse, God does not lie.
Colossians 4:6…”Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Christians should be the most engaging people on the planet. Paul’s instruction on Christian speech to the outside world in this passage is one of many texts that allows us to draw this conclusion. The Greek words that are behind “speech,” “gracious,” and “salt” (logos, charis, and halas, respectively) are used together in first-century literature to refer to speech that is gracious and attractive — winsome, even witty words that are also spoken in a humble manner. In other words, the apostle wants the presentation of the gospel to the outside world done in a manner that captures the gospel’s excitement and that is able to answer the unbeliever’s legitimate questions. The idea is similar to that found in 1 Peter 3:15, which commends gentle speech that respectfully presents and defends the gospel of Jesus Christ:
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Colossians 3:17…”And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” As Christians, we really have no basis for complaining. We have been given far more than we deserve. In fact, if we got what we deserved, we would be under God’s eternal judgement right now. So, having this biblical perspective, we should be thankful for God’s abundant mercy in Jesus, and know that we don’t need anything else. He is sufficient, and is all we need to be satisfied. Our words and deeds should reflect grateful hearts, and we need to repent from dissatisfaction (i.e. prideful unbelief and selfishness). If we’re honest, we’re really just upset with God when we’re dissatisfied with our circumstances. This is an intellectually inconsistent position for the Christian, who is instructed to believe in a sovereign God who directs our circumstances:
Isaiah 48:17, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”
Colossians 3:1…”Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Our desires need to be in line with God’s desires. We sin when our desires focus on ourselves and not God, with the root being prideful unbelief and selfishness. We need to look forward to heaven mainly because we’ll finally be with God, in perfect fellowship with him. We are foreigners here, and so our desires need to align with heavenly things because that’s where we’ll be for eternity. Holiness should be something we strongly yearn for in this life, because it will mark our eternal lives. Increasing holiness following salvation is proof we’re one of God’s elect (Romans 8:29-30). Conversely, the bible has a very clear warning for those who accept the gospel message, but bear no Christian fruit: Hebrews 12:14 – “Without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
Colossians 2:13…”When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ.” How does a spiritual corpse save itself? Answer: It cannot, and needs to be brought to life by something or someone externally. This is what salvation looks like. God initiates, as the spiritually dead cannot bring themselves to life. The spiritually dead are brought to life by God setting His affection on them, placing His spirit in them, and sanctifying them. What about those who are not sanctified, but call themselves Christians? They were never saved, and the lack of fruit is evidence that they are still spiritually dead. James 2:26 says, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”
Colossians 1:29…”To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” Paul is talking specifically about proclaiming Christ, and teaching and admonishing everyone with the end goal of the church body growing in spiritual maturity (sanctification). He says a very similar thing to Timothy (1 Timothy 4:13), and instructs him to devote himself to “the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.” Does this correspond with what the pastors and elders in your church are doing? A healthy church will be marked by biblical church leadership, specifically elders and pastors who understand their primary responsibilities as preaching and teaching the flock. This may be public teaching or discipleship or small group leadership, or Sunday School teaching, but in any case the bible is clear regarding their essential role. Take time this week to encourage your pastors and leaders, as they are worthy of double honor (1 Timothy 5:17). Christ’s energy is in them according to this passage, so lovingly remind them of this, and thank them for their work.
Colossians 1:28…”He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.” Wrong theology will never produce spiritual maturity. A right understanding of God’s word is necessary for right living, and in particular the gospel, which is:
God – Is our creator and is perfectly holy and perfectly just. He made us to obey him as His creation.
Man – We have all chosen to disobey him and sin against Him. He punishes sin with eternal torment and separation from him in hell.
Christ – Jesus lived a perfectly obedient life and died on the cross for our sins. On the cross, he took on the punishment we deserve, was raised from the dead and is now seated at God’s right hand interceding on our behalf.
Response – We can be saved from God’s wrath and have Christ’s perfect life counted as ours, bringing us into a right relationship with God if we repent and believe in Him. Those who repent and believe will enjoy God forever in heaven.
False gospels do not bring about maturity in Christ, because they distort what God is really like, minimalize the human condition and/or misunderstand the object of our faith (i.e. health and wealth in this life). In all cases, when Jesus is not highly esteemed, and when He is not the object of our affections, then we will not grow in holiness.
Mike McKinley wrote a brief, but very helpful article related to this topic, and linked below:
Colossians 1:22-23…”22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.” We have great comfort during trials in this life, knowing we will be with the Father forever in heaven. He set His affection on us before creation (Ephesians 1:4), reconciled us to Himself and made us perfectly holy through Christ’s atonement. There is one caveat though according to scripture; we have to persevere. The good news is that the elect will be preserved by God (Ephesians 1:13-14, Philippians 1:4-6, John 10:25-30). The elect will be actively obedient, because God’s spirit is in them, and He will sanctify them (Romans 8:28-30). The scary news is that the pseudo-gospel preached in many churches today distorts (or ignores) the doctine of election, and many church-goers may be headed to Hell in ignorance. Simply praying a prayer or walking an aisle during an alter call is not how the bible understands conversion. Certainly those moments could be in line with when God saves someone, but the bible’s description of conversion includes a changed life in line with scripture. According to Jesus, the elect will produce fruit, and an authentic response to the gospel involves more than just agreement with the message.
18 ‘Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 when anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.’
Colossians 1:21…”Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.” At one time we only hated God, and could not love Him. But God, who is rich in grace and mercy, set His affection on us. He rescued us and placed us in right standing with Himself. This could only be done through the blood of a perfect sacrifice. Jesus lived a perfect life and died on the cross for our sins. He took on God’s wrath and was raised from the dead, conquering sin and death. We are now no longer alienated from God if we repent and believe in Him. The reward is eternal life, where we’ll be able to finally reciprocate God’s perfect love for us.
Colossians 1:17…”He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Jesus took part in creation with the Father. He always was, and always will be. His eternal character is difficult for us to comprehend. However, our ability to fully understand something does not affect its truth. He holds all things together, which means He has authority over all humans. This was a claim He made (Matthew 11:27), which angered the religious teachers and leaders of His time. This authority is an objective reality regardless of your worldview. His resurrection was the ultimate proof of His authoritative claims. When someone who was raised from the dead after predicting it, makes claims like this: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6)”; then we need to listen and submit to Him.