Salvation is the greatest gift God gives to us. Salvation takes us out of an estate of sin and death into fellowship with the living God. This salvation of the soul comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul has equated knowing Christ with great riches and treasure (verses 2-3).

In order to comprehend the love of God, we must be acquainted both with the depths of sin and death from which we were saved (1:21), as well as the wonder of the one is Savior (1:15-20). These convictions are the root of faith. It isn’t enough that we begin well in the faith, but it is required of those who embrace Christ to persevere in that faith to the end (1:23).

Paul has made clear nothing the Christian does in faith contributes to his justification; Christ alone makes one righteous and acceptable to God (1:20). Nevertheless, Paul tells us we must continue in the faith, “stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you have heard.” 

There are many challenges and obstacles to walking by faith in this world. Paul addresses one in verse 4, referring to false teachers who attempt to “delude you with plausible arguments.” By “plausible” Paul means that which sounds persuasive. They are enticing words. They may use the language of Christianity, but the substance of the teaching is not Christian.

Paul teaches Christians that if we focus on knowing Christ, and the riches of salvation that is in him, then we will be able to discern and reject false teaching. False teaching will always tend toward the flattery of men and the diminishing of the sufficiency of Christ in some way. Since it may appear in countless forms and guise, the remedy is to know (and love) the gospel of Christ.

In verse 5, Paul tells the Christians that though he is absent in body; he is present with them in spirit. In other words, the same spirit that protects Paul from false teaching is necessary for all Christians. It is the Spirit of Christ; the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit exalts Christ in our hearts, whereby we find our strength and steadfastness in looking to him. 

Paul connects the “good order” of the Christians in Colossae with “firmness of faith in Christ.” “Good order” is a military term for tight ranks, a legion of soldiers who are like-minded, one in purpose, and watchful for the enemy.

The spirit of Christians keeping the mind and heart filled with thoughts of Christ, has distinguished them in every generation. Around 120 AD, Ignatius of Antioch wrote to his disciple Polycarp (who would later become a martyr for Christ): “Wait expectantly for Christ who is above time: the Eternal, the Invisible, who for our sake became visible: the Intangible, the Unsuffering, who for our sake suffered, who for our sake endured in every way.”

There are many particulars in life we must navigate by faith, but it is clear the Apostle directs us to never forget the main object and judge all in light of it. We must keep our hearts upon Christ, and look forward to the fulfilment of our faith in Him. We have hope above this present world.

It is very easy to be puzzled in your life about this and that particular, but if you look to the main you will gain perspective and wisdom in seeing what the chief end of life is. The time is short; the things of this world are passing away, so we must seek to honor Christ in all circumstances. 

It is a great matter to pass from earth to heaven; to go from this world to the next. One thing we all have in common is the time behind us is gone. The Lord directs us to look ahead to him. If we have needed to repent of things, now is the time. Seek to spend the rest of our time honoring him, in whatever we do. Paul directs us to use providence as opportunity to draw near to Christ.

An older woman once told me her family had very little acreage to farm growing up, so they made use of seemingly every foot of ground. So let us be firm in our faith in Christ with all the time we have remaining, which is small. It is very little. So let us make good use of it, and be watchful for that which would dampen our joy, or dishonor our Lord.