Online Bible Commentary
Christ is All and in All
Colossians 3:5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. 8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. (NKJV)
The book of Colossians is part of what is known as the Prison Epistles. The writings, themselves, affirm that the epistles were written by the Apostle Paul from prison.
There are differing opinions as to during which of Paul’s prison confinements the epistles were written. There are many sources that discuss this subject fully. For our purposes, we will go along with the thought of most scholars that Paul wrote the prison epistles during his house arrest in Rome from AD 60-62.
It is believed that the epistle was written about AD 61 to the house churches in Colossae, Asia Minor. The idea was that this authoritative letter would be passed along to the other churches.
The book of Colossians can be divided into two halves. The first half, the first two chapters, is concerned with the positional; doctrine outlining our position in Christ.
The second half, the last two chapters, is concerned with the practical; how we work out our position in the practical living of our Christian life. This is similar to the breakdown of the books of Romans and Ephesians, Paul’s previous writings.
Colossae, in Paul’s time, was a small city in decline. Once a great mercantile city, it was now the least significant of the cities to whom Paul wrote his letters.
The city of Colossae was located in what is southwestern Turkey today. It was located in the province of Phrygia, ten miles east of Laodicea, thirteen miles southeast of Hierapolis, and about one hundred miles east of Ephesus. It was about a hundred miles north of the Mediterranean Sea.
In this passage, Paul begins by writing “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (v. 5). Christians should not practice sexual sins, such as “fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” All sin is idolatry because we are making that action our god for the moment, turning our backs on the true God.
The Greek word translated “fornication” in this passage is “porneia”, which is where we get our word pornography. It represents any sexual act or thought outside of God’s sacred marriage between one man and one woman.
“Uncleanness” refers to any impure word, thought or action. “Passion, evil desire and covetousness” outside of God's sacred marriage between one man and one woman all refer to sexual sins. Passion within marriage is not a sin.
Paul continues “Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience,” (v. 6). The “wrath of God” will come against those who live a lifestyle of sin, “sons of disobedience”, non-Christians.
Paul writes “in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.” (v. 7). Before we were Christians, we lived a lifestyle of sin.
Paul continues “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another” (vv. 8-9a). These sins are all a part of our old lifestyle, before we became Christians. They are not to be practiced by Christians.
Paul writes “since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (vv. 9b-10). He introduces the concept of “the old man”, the non-Christian, and “the new man”, the Christian.
We have put off the old man and put on the new man. Paul likens this transformation to changing our clothes. We have been “renewed” in the knowledge of Christ, “who created him”, this new man.
We often think that when we accept Christ that we are making ourselves a Christian. Actually, it is Christ who seeks us out and brings us to Himself. Christ creates the new man.
Paul concludes this passage with “where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” (v. 11). No matter our birth religion, race, creed, or status in life, Christ is all and lives in all.
The literal Greek in verse 11 reads “Christ is all things and in all”. Christ is everything to every person. And Christ is in all people in that all people have been made in His image.
Christ seeks out every person. He is God of every person whether they recognize Him, or not.