Truly Knowing Christ
Colossians 2:1 For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. (NKJV)
The Apostle Paul continues his letter to the Christians at the church in Colosse. Here he also includes those at the nearby church in Laodicia. He is under house arrest in Rome and has not met any of these believers, since the churches in the area were started by Epaphras.
Paul begins this passage by telling them of his struggle for them. He writes “For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh” (v.1).
The nature of his struggle refers back to the previous two verses in chapter one which is so that they will be presented “perfect in Christ.” He can not be with them and so he worries that they will be misled into false teaching, specifically Gnosticism, which was present in the area.
He continues “that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,” (v. 2). The literal interpretation of the Greek in verse two is: “that may be comforted the hearts of them, being joined together in love, and to all riches of the full assurance of the understanding, to the full knowledge of the mystery of God and of Father and of Christ.”
Paul wants their hearts to be comforted, joined together in love, and rich in the understanding and knowledge of “the mystery of God.” This mystery was revealed previously (Col. 1:27) as “Christ in you” applies to all who believe, Jews and Gentiles alike.
In other words, he wants them to have the strength and joy that comes from truly knowing Christ. He wants them to know that they have the power of Christ living within them, so that they can draw on His power for discernment.
This power is the Holy Spirit. Paul continues “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (v. 3). The Holy Spirit reveals all wisdom and knowledge to Christians.
Paul writes “Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.” (v. 4). Christians have the wisdom and knowledge of Christ to keep them from being deceived by “persuasive words”.
Paul completes this passage with a word of encouragement, He writes “For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.” (v. 5).
Paul is “rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness” they are in the faith. Order and steadfastness are military terms. He is commending them in their fight against false teaching.
False teaching has always existed in the church and always will. It is a matter of degree.
As Christians, though, we are given the Holy Spirit who gives us discernment. The Holy Spirit interprets the Bible for us as we read it. He helps us to truly know God, so that we are not misled by false teaching. As we read and study the Bible our ability to discern becomes greater as we understand more of who God is.
For example, if we know the Bible we know that certain behaviors are sin and that God punishes sin. So, we know that if we partake of certain sins we can expect punishment, most often the consequences that we bring upon ourselves.
We also know that sins are chosen behaviors, otherwise a Holy God could not punish us for them. God is not a killjoy. He just knows that certain behaviors will result in unwanted results and so He tries to save us from ourselves.
The Bible also tells us what sin is not. False teachers will come along and try to convince us that certain behaviors are sins that are not.
If we know the Bible and we are tuned into the Holy Spirit we will, again, be able to discern the truth. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin in our lives. If a certain behavior is not listed in the Bible as a sin and if we are not under the conviction of the Holy Spirit., it is not a sin.
Christians should always be discerning of any teaching. Some teaching is too liberal and some teaching is legalistic. We see both in the world today.
We have everything we need if we have a Bible and the Holy Spirit. All we need to do is to spend time in reading that Bible. Then we will truly know Christ.
Online Bible Commentary