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Home » Daily Readings, New Testament Writers

Col. 1:21-23 The Colossians: Before and After

Submitted by on Saturday, 5 September 2009One Comment


NAB HomepageToday’s Readings

The transitional character of 1 Colossians 1:21-23 is already known. Verses 21-22 is a description of the state of the Colossians before and after they received the Gospel. Before the Gospel, they were “alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds” (v. 21). This is a standard Jewish description of the Gentile pagan. But through the Gospel, they have been reconciled in the Body of Christ. In verse 20, God is described to have reconciled all in Christ, “making peace through the blood of the cross.”



In verse 22, Paul tells the Colossians that they have been made friends — for that is what “to reconcile” means — in the Body of Christ. Here, “body” is modified by a genitival phrase “of the flesh of Him (= Christ)”. The phrase is a Semitism which underlines the “bodiliness” of that Body. The author is not trying to be poetic here: he is underlining the fleshly-ness of that Body into which the Colossians have been brought together in the peace of Christ (cf. v. 20)

Verse 21b is a purpose clause that explains the reason for God’s reconciling them. The phrase is similar to the one found in Ephesians 5 where Paul describes what Christ does to His Bride the Church

Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her
in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the bathe of water in the word
so as to present the Church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind, so that she may be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27)

Verse 23 gives the provision — or the condition, if you will — for 22b. The Colossians will be presented holy, without blemish and irreproachable before God IF: (a) they persevere in the faith they first heard from Epaphras (1:7); (b) do not swerve from the hope that has been presented to them in Gospel; (c) which Gospel has Paul as its minister. With this last statement, a bridge is made to the following section where Paul describes his work and his message.

Colossians 1:21-23
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21And you, whereas you were some time alienated and enemies in mind in evil works:
22Yet now he hath reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unspotted, and blameless before him:
23If so ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and immoveable from the hope of the gospel which you have heard, which is preached in all the creation that is under heaven, whereof I Paul am made a minister.
Ephesians 5:25-27
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25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it:
26That he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life:
27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any; such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish.

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