Remember My Chains

Remember My Chains

Colossians 3:18-4:18
The balance of power is evident in these imperatives. Each pair consists of one person in authority and one without. It's expected for Paul to address appeals to those under authority, but it's surprising that he also addresses those in authority. The key issue here is the question of actual authority, emphasized by Paul's repeated use of "Lord" throughout the passage. All human relationships are understood in the context of a relationship with Jesus Christ, and any human authority is secondary to His ultimate authority.

Wives are called to "submit" to their husbands, not as a means of subjugation, but as a deliberate choice fitting in the Lord. The primary reason for the wife to respond positively is her relationship with Christ rather than her husband's will.

On the other hand, husbands are instructed to "love their wives" with a self-giving love, mirroring the love Christ has shown to His people. The additional instruction not to be harsh is a reminder to reject societal norms that may encourage such behavior.

Unlike wives, children are called to obey their parents, which pleases the Lord. Fathers are warned not to provoke their children, showing compassion as God does.

Paul then addresses slaves, instructing them to obey their masters. Christian slaves also have a heavenly master and are called to work sincerely, fearing the Lord. Their motivation for right behavior is their transformed hearts and wholehearted commitment to the Lord. Overall, the message is clear: believers serve the Lord Christ in any position or relationship they find themselves in.

After addressing bondservants with a lengthy section, Paul now focuses on masters. Although some masters may have found it peculiar to have obligations placed upon them regarding their bondservants, Paul instructs them to be fair and just. The reasoning behind this instruction is that the masters have a "Master" in heaven.

Paul emphasizes the importance of prayer as his top priority. In previous passages, he has already demonstrated and mentioned the significance of prayer for the Colossians. Now, he directly urges them to pray, emphasizing the need for an attitude of thanksgiving. Paul, who values collaboration, requests the Colossians to pray for "us" and asks God to open a door for spreading the word and declaring the mystery of Christ.

Despite Paul's commitment thus far, he humbly acknowledges his own human weakness and dependence on God's empowerment to fulfill his entrusted task. Paul then shifts his attention to the Colossians' interactions with those outside the Christian community. He provides two main instructions, the first being to "walk in wisdom." For Paul, wisdom is not merely knowledge or personal experience but a divine gift from God.

The way a person communicates holds great significance. Although Paul could be direct when confronting evil, his usual instruction is to speak gracefully. The mention of "salt" recalls Jesus' teaching in Matthew 5:13. However, in this context, the term's connotation is not preservation but the addition of flavor so that the presentation of the gospel may be well received.

The letter ends with a substantial section of greetings that includes mentions of various individuals. Tychicus and Onesimus are entrusted with delivering the letter to the Colossian Christians. Tychicus is assigned to share news and bring encouragement, while Onesimus is urged to share news with his fellow believers. Aristarchus, described as Paul's "fellow prisoner," could not travel. Epaphras is commended for his commitment, while Luke is known for documenting the gospel's spread. Demas, however, deserted Paul. Paul also extends greetings to the Christians in Laodicea, including Nympha, who provided her house as a meeting place. The dynamics of the early Christian community and the formation of the New Testament canon are highlighted. Archippus receives a specific message, and Paul adds his signature. He appeals for support from the believers in Colossae, acknowledging his situation as a prisoner. The letter concludes with a concise and meaningful benediction, expressing Paul's desire for believers to experience God's grace.





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