Being the kind of person that assigns subtitles to my sermon notes through portions of the Bible, I wrestled a great deal with what to call this study through Colossians. At first glance, Colossians can appear to be a lesser imitation of Ephesians. Of course, Paul’s letter to Colossae has its own magnificent merits (such as the Christ hymn of chapter one), yet for the most part, it might seem to be a more generalized carbon copy of the Ephesian epistle. This is because in many ways, both Colossians and Ephesians succinctly summarize the basics of following Christ. Both letters spend their first half discussing the theological truths conveyed in the gospel of Jesus Christ, while the final half of the epistles is then reserved for practical application of theology. Both letters gloriously bind proper doctrine with living like Jesus.
Thus, because of Colossians structure, I considered calling this study something like “Christianity 101” or “The Basics of Christianity” or even “What It Means to Be a Christian.” Yet no subtitle felt right. Finally, after much pondering, I decided upon “The Gospel Transforms…”
My reasoning is this.
First, Colossians is primarily about the gospel. The Apostle Paul’s primary concern with writing to the church in Colossae is that they would truly understand the magnitude of what Jesus Christ has done for His followers. The life, death, resurrection, ascension, and future descent of Christ is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. For us, the cross of Jesus is “the power of God (1 Cor. 1:18).” Without the good news of Jesus, we would remain still be in our sins, forever to suffer the wrath of God. We give thanks to God that Jesus Christ paid the debt for our sins on our behalf.
Second, Colossians reveals how the gospel transforms us. The truth of Jesus does merely affect one realm of our lives; rather, the gospel radically changes everything about us and how we live. In Colossians, we learn that Christ is not the first priority of our lives; instead, Christ is our life (Col. 3:4). We only have life because of Jesus. Without the saving work of Christ, we are forever dead in our sins, but thanks be to God, Jesus brought us to life with Him. Now all of our existence is fixated upon Him. All of our being comes from Him. All of our essence is for Him. Thus, there is no aspect of our lives that the gospel truths do not affect. From being a parent or child, to being an employee or employer, the gospel transforms us. Colossians constantly reminds us of our transformation by in the gospel.
After noting that Colossians deals heavily with how the gospel transforms our lives, I decided to structure and title the sections of study accordingly. My reason for including ellipses in “The Gospel Transforms…” is because I titled each section within the study to complete that sentence. For instance, the first section of study is titled “Our Identity”; thus, because of the series’ subtitle, it should be thought of as “The Gospel Transforms Our Identity.”
It is my prayer that your study through Colossians will be a fruitful as mine has been, and if my thoughts and writings are able in any way to help facilitate that the growth of that fruit, then my joy is complete.
May gospel of Jesus Christ continue to transforms lives.