During this fall session, we will be hearing from various members of our Sunday or Tuesday morning classes about our study in Colossians. I hope our reflections on what we’ve learned about the character of God will be of value to all, whether you are taking the class or not.
Our study of the book of Colossians begins with thankfulness and prayer. Paul opens his letter telling the Christians at Colossae how grateful he is for them and for all God is doing in their lives. Two characteristics of God stood out to me in these verses [Colossians 1:1-8]. One is subtle, the other more overt.
First, I see God as Sovereign. Though not specifically stated, the undercurrents are there, weaving their way through the passage. It is by God’s will that Paul is an apostle. By His will, Epaphras has brought them the Good News. Also, by God’s will, the message is spreading, not only to the Colossians, but throughout the world, “bearing fruit and increasing.” Those of you who are studying Acts with us at Lincoln Berean on Sundays have seen how the gospel has spread, because of God’s will, from Jerusalem to Judea and into the Gentile world. Nothing can stop its progress. Not the persecution. Not the darkness. Not the evil of this world. God is in control. That fact brings hope and peace both to the first readers of this letter and also to me.
Secondly, God is Father. Stated twice in this opening, we see God as our Father, and also as “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This aspect of God’s character speaks of a personal relationship. It brings the bond of family not only to Paul and this congregation he has never met, but to us as well today. Because of this personal bond to our Father God, we are able to grow in grace and truth and love. We are also able to show this same love to our fellow believers.
Throughout the past eighteen months, I’ve struggled, like many of you, with the darkness, despair and disunity that seems to be gaining ground in our world. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to these two characteristics of God. The reminder of God’s sovereign plan brings great hope. The reminder of my personal relationship with a loving Father God encourages me to look for ways to show this love to others and strengthen unity within His family. Like Paul, I am grateful for these truths that bring much peace, hope, and love.