Saturday in the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

Colossians 1:1-8

Be Epaphras

Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae is another of his “prison epistles” (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon).  Like the church in Rome, Paul did not plant this church but was planted by his “beloved fellow servant,” Epaphras, a shortened form of the name “Epaphroditus,” though scholars cannot tell if this is the same man mentioned in Philippians 2:25.  The Colossian church was located in the Lycus Valley in southwest Asian Minor (modern-day Turkey) along with churches in Laodicea and Hierapolis (4:13-17).  And like Paul’s letter to the Philippians, this letter too is filled with warmth.

The problem at Colossae seems to be that some there were toying with ideas that were “in the air” concerning angels, principalities, and powers—an invisible realm which one could penetrate with some secret knowledge and ascetical practice.  Scholars debate its origin, be it Jewish or pagan, but that need not detain us.  We will concern ourselves with Paul’s answer to this creeping heresy which was that Christ Jesus was all the Colossians will ever need; he is the fullness of God, the revelation of God, who has conquered all other claimants to worship.  It was a dangerous heresy with temptations to idolatry and the accompanying self-abasement that always follows idolatry.

Still, Paul begins this letter as usual with love acknowledging the grace of God that had been shown the saints at Colossae and the ongoing work that grace was accomplishing through them.  Paul greets the church with “grace and peace,” as believers should ever greet one another.  He references the love the church has for all the saints and notes that such love is “because of the hope laid up for [them] in heaven.”  It is the knowledge of our heavenly reward which frees us to love others as we understand that this world has nothing in it over which believers need bargain or fight.  As aliens in this world, Christians see the things of this world as mere trinkets compared to the glory that shall one day be revealed to and in us.  And this love is especially shared among the saints as those who shall one day live together in that eternal kingdom. 

The older we grow, the more we love God’s people and the more we yearn for that other world.  Allow that love and yearning to help you slough off the sin which so easily besets and to be the witness that God would have you be.  Be the “Epaphras” that the gospel may continue to bear fruit throughout the world.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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