Identity in Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:1) ~ A Daily Devotion for July 7, 2014

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,” ~ Colossians 1:1

Explanation of the Text: The letter to the Colossians begins with a typical introduction of a letter for that time. Paul introduces himself and mentions the fact that Timothy was also there. We note from Acts 16-19 that Timothy was Paul’s companion for a period, and he is introduced in several other letters as well (2 Corinthians, Philippians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Philemon).

As Paul introduces himself, he identifies himself as an apostle. While this word can literally mean ‘messenger,’ Paul often uses this term to describe himself (Romans 1:1, 11:13; 1 Corinthians 1:1, 9:1-2; Ephesians 1:1, 1 Timothy 2:7). This is a title that was given to Paul from God alone, and references his appointment and position from God.[1] This also is indicative of the authority that Paul has within the churches that he ministered to.

There are two things to also note in regards to the wording here. First, Paul notes that he is an apostle of Christ Jesus. This is important because this is what the letter is centered around.[2] He is focusing on Jesus Christ as God, counteracting the false teaching that was occurring in the day. Therefore, it is important for Paul to make the point that as an apostle that was appointed by God, he is one of Jesus Christ also. Paul also says that this is by the will of God. Paul is not doing this of his own ambition. He did not get this appointment simply from aspiration, usurpation, nomination, nor preparation.[3] Paul did not seek this position for himself, but rather, he is doing the work of God because he was called by God alone.

Examination & Application of the Text: It is really difficult to get too much of an application from just the introduction other than to begin to look at the background of the book and what Paul is addressing. I do not want to draw something out of the text that is not there, so I would recommend you simply dwell on the points of discussion for today and I would propose to you two questions:

1)      What is your position for/before God?

2)      Who appointed you to that position?

I think it is important to recognize who we are in Christ and now how we serve because of Him. However, related to that is who appointed us to that position. Like Paul, we should be appointed by God. If we are self-appointed, then perhaps we need to examine ourselves and see if we are truly in the will of God. Think on these things; think on your behavior as a result of your appointment from God. Are they in line with each other? If not, what needs to change so that they are congruent with each other.

 

[1] David Poa, Colossians & Philemon, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 47.

[2] David Poa, Colossians & Philemon, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 47.

[3] William Hendriksen, Phlippians, Colossians, and Philemon, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1964), 43.

 

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