9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
The Apostle Paul was nearing the end of his life, waiting to be put to death in Rome. He had been informed the ever-pressing false teachers of Gnosticism were infiltrating the church of Colossae and leading Christian believers astray. He wrote a letter to the Colossians, to be read to the church, to clarify and re-enforce gospel truths and the Christian’s response to those truths. The Holy Spirit, via the Apostle Paul, described the deity and preeminence of Jesus Christ, putting an end to Gnostic and other false teachings.
After opening the letter thanking God and displaying his deep-felt love for the Colossians, the Apostle goes about the exposition of the superiority of Christ to false teachings. He re-enforces how he never ceases to pray for them, and his desire they be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in wisdom and spiritual understanding. The Greek word here for knowledge is pure knowledge. It is deep, accurate comprehension, not the theoretical, or not fully knowable, knowledge of God’s will taught by the Gnostics.
Paul’s point, as inspired by the Holy Spirit, is that all Christians have direct access to God. We can know His revealed will through His word, communion with the Holy Spirit, and on-going application in our lives. We are to be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. This wisdom and spiritual understanding are not theoretical, but direct.
The aim of and result of knowing God’s will is illustrated in Verse 10. He reveals His will for a purpose, that we walk worthy in Him, fully pleasing the Lord. This is not an occasional approach to pleasing Him. We fully immerse ourselves in gaining wisdom and spiritual understanding and apply that knowledge to every aspect of our lives. It shows that gaining knowledge is not enough, we must apply that knowledge in our everyday lives. Our goal is to be fully pleasing to God. As we gain wisdom and spiritual understanding of Him, our good works become increasingly fruitful.
It sounds daunting but He is with us every step of the way. Verse 11 demonstrates clearly that we do this through His power, being strengthened with all His might. This power enables us to have patience and to be longsuffering, not with despondency but with joy. We, just as the Colossians, don’t have to search out new paths of enlightenment as with the Gnostic beliefs, we have knowledge and strength through the Lord.
Verses 12-14 exposits the outcome. We give thanks to the Father for conveying to us a heavenly inheritance. We didn’t and can’t earn it. He chose to deliver us from the powers of darkness. He chose to make us Saints of Light. Because of His love for His Son He chose to transfer us from the Devil’s (given) dominion into Jesus’ Kingdom. Because of Jesus we have complete forgiveness of our sins.
Verse 15 re-enforces just who Jesus is. He is the exact image of God. Not a resemblance but more like a “copy” of God. This clearly indicates Jesus was not just a man, but God Himself. As the Firstborn over creation He is highest in “rank.” Verses 16-18 go on to settle the question of Jesus’ deity. We see who created the universe, heaven and earth. Jesus created everything for Himself, as if to display His glory. It is logically impossible for a created being to create everything. Paul’s point is that Jesus has to be none other than God. To drive the point home the Holy Spirit declares it is in Jesus in which all things consist. Without Jesus constant attention, the world would physically fall apart, or cease to exist. Only God has the power and authority to create and sustain everything.
Finally, in verse 18 we see the pre-eminence of Jesus. He created and governs the church. Jesus unites the church as one organism, joined together where He, in a sense, lives. Verse 18 also states that Jesus is the beginning, meaning He existed before time, everything created had its source in Him. Jesus is God and the sovereign Lord of all things.
In this passage we see compelling reasons why we have everything we need. God provides the knowledge of His will, with the power and expectation we gain in wisdom, and produce fruit worthy of repentance. The Apostle Paul, via the Holy Spirit, shows us Jesus is truly God, that He has willingly created us, sustains us, and leads us as His body. With this knowledge we can have full joy, knowing of our standing with Him and our heavenly future.