Paul starts Colossians with his normal greeting, but this is not just an ordinary ‘Hello’! Rather, it’s packed, as always, with big thoughts about God and the local church.
In verse 1, we’re reminded that the letter to the Colossians isn’t a few quick spiritual thoughts from a Christian leader, but it’s an authoritative letter. It has the authority of an apostle. The word ‘apostle’ originally meant someone who was ‘sent out’ on the authority of another – in this case Jesus Christ himself! To listen to Paul the apostle, then, is to listen to Jesus Christ speaking, which is itself undergirded by the will of God. This is the reason that the New Testament local church was devoted to the teaching of the apostles (cf. Acts 2:42; 4:33), which, in turn, is a pattern for us as well. Final authority in any church resides not in pastors or denominations, but in the authoritative teaching of the apostles – preserved for us in Scripture.
In verse 2, we’re given a vision of what the local church is. Of course, our day-to-day experience of the local church may go up and down, and be more or less encouraging at different times. But here we’re taught to look at our local church through the lens of what God has made it. According to this verse, the local church is a community of people:
Wow! What a community to be part of!
Lastly, at the end of verse 2, Paul reminds us of the Father’s great blessing given to every local church: grace and peace. These summarise the great blessings of the gospel. The Father’s grace and peace are enough for all the sins, shortcomings and failures of his church.
1. What's encouraging about the Bible being the final authority in the local church?
2. Do you look at your local church from God's perspective?
3. How do you see the Father's grace and peace at work in your church?