Colossians – Part 2

Through the Winter months (here in New Zealand) – I am again teaching through a single book of Scripture.

This year, I am teaching on Colossians

You may well ask, ‘where is Part 1??’ :). Well I hope to have a recording of it to upload before too long, but a brief precis is included in these notes for this week’s ‘lecture’

Hopefully again I will have a recording to add, but for now here are the notes.

Colossians Session 2

Recap

•Location of Colossae – in the ‘birthplace of ‘Christian theology’’ – Asia Minor

•Authorship – Paul or ‘Deutero-Paul’ – As we shall see, there a re very significant elements of the letter that are clearly Pauline theology

•Paul – Apostle

•Ministry of Word and Prayer

•Teacher of faith

•Dominant concerns

•Christology – Ecclesiology – Ethics – The significance of their relationship

•‘Pray-er’ – ‘A theologian is one who prays, and one who prays is a theologian’ Evagrius Ponticus

•‘Paul’ has not been to Colossae – although he knows some of the believers there

•He ‘Always give thanks’ –

•He speaks in terms of fruitfulness – a theme common with John (of Ephesus) cf Also exalted Christology

Chapter 1 vs 9-12 – Paul’s prayer

•Ceaseless – 1Th 5:17 – Prayer as a state of being cf vs 3 ‘Gratitude’ – this is not hyperbole but we need to understand how this is so

•Paul’s Soteriology as Ontological, not Forensic – thus ‘Always’

•Salvation is about a changed existence – New Creation – New Being (as opposed to doing differently) – This becomes clearer once we get to Paul’s Christology

•‘Filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding’

•The will of God – We will see this in a few verses time, but we need at this point to understand

•a) that it is Cosmic. Not about which socks we should put on 🙂

•Your Kingdom Come, Your will be done one Earth as in heaven

•b) That it cannot be known outside of Christ

•‘that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God’

•ethics arising from knowing what God’s will is (in Christ)

•Lives aligned with God’s purposes

•Knowledge OF God – not knowledge about, nor Pragmatic knowledge e.g. How to live a good life Cf Philippians 3:7-11

•Participation in the divine life – Theosis

•Endurance

•Giving thanks to the Father who has enabled you ‘to share in the inheritance of the saints in light’

•Language of the Father in the Prodigal – ‘All I have is yours’

Chapter 1 vs 13-19 – The Christological hymn (?)

•Intro :- Inheritance is to be transferred into the Kingdom of his beloved son

•Difficulty with Kingdom/Heaven language – ‘Another time, another place’?

•Where and when is ‘Kingdom/Heaven’? Cf John’s use of ‘eternal life’

•This misunderstanding has seriously hindered the life of the church. What is the Present significance of the Resurrection??

•[The Father] has rescued us . . . and transferred us. Something is already effected

•. . . in whom [the Son] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. The Significance of the preposition – we will come back to this

Forgiveness of sins is THE point but not, I suggest, in the way we have been taught in The West

[For a fascinating Eastern perspective on this – Fr Stephen Freeman has written once more a fine blog. I also recommend much of the ensuing discussion]

•The Hymn

He [Christ] is the image [ikon] of the invisible God

The firstborn of all Creation

For in him all things in heaven and earth were created

(things visible and invisible,

whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers)

All things have been created through him and for him

He himself is before all things,

And in him all things hold together.

He is the head [kephale] of the body, the church

He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead

so that he might come to have the first place in everything

For in him, all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, (Cf v.9)

And through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, (2 Cor 5:19)

(whether on earth or in heaven)

by making peace through the blood of his cross

•Scope of Salvation – total – All things – First place in Everything

•Place of Creation and Salvation – In Him [Romans 3:24-5][1]

•Ontological, NOT Forensic

•Thus Christ is Far far more than a means of Life – in the forensic sense – He is Life – the LIfe of all things especially the church


[1] Strong indicative that this Is Paul – his theology of atonement exactly matched that set out in Romans 3 – although masked by cultural / language issues

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