…the true message of the gospel… Colossians 1:5(NIVUK)
Throughout the first chapter of his letter to the Colossians Paul is writing about the gospel. In addition to the header scripture, he says the gospel is
‘bearing fruit and growing’ (Colossians 1:6), and that we should not move from the gospel,
‘…that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.’ (Colossians 1:23).
The gospel was
‘the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people.’ (Colossians 1:26). What is this mystery? What is the gospel that is now revealed? Or I should say, who is the gospel now revealed, because Paul goes on to say, ‘…the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the one we proclaim…’ (Colossians 1:27-28).
Jesus is the gospel, and the gospel is Jesus. The gospel is not about Jesus. This is the reason the gospel is a power
(Colossians 1:11), a joy
(Colossians 1:12), and why the gospel is the grace of God
(Colossians 1:6); it is because Jesus Christ is Christianity.
Throughout the letter to the Colossians, as well as his letter to the Galatians, Paul is tackling the mistaken belief of: I have Jesus, but I also need something else in addition. Whether that be circumcision and the law
(Galatians 5:2), or the keeping of special days
(Colossians 2:16). The problem is that when we add to Jesus, we subtract from him and all he is and has done.
When we have this approach of ‘Jesus, but also…’ it reveals that we think that the gospel is about Jesus and not that the gospel is Jesus. But the gospel is Jesus, there is nothing else. When we become a Christian, Jesus becomes our wisdom, our holiness, our righteousness, and our redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30). He is our hope of glory – that is the true message of the gospel, from which we should not be moved.
We don’t need something in addition to Jesus to be worthy, accepted or special. He is completely sufficient for our spiritual fullness
(Colossians 2:9-10). It is in Christ alone that we will bear fruit and grow to spiritual maturity
(Colossians 1:6, 28). Now that should fill our hearts with joy.
Loving Father, show us the ‘but alsos’ in our lives. Show us the other things we have worked into the gospel when Jesus is the gospel and nothing else. Help us to understand your grace in all of its truth as we grow into the image of your Son. In Jesus’s name, we pray,
Have a good week trusting in the gospel of Jesus.