Some Thoughts on Colossians: Are You Preaching the Full Gospel?

So there is this story of an early first century man, this man started to be known as being a sort of a revolutionary. He was speaking against the authorities and their unjust ways of ruling the people. This man lived in an era where civil unrest was the norm. People were constantly protesting against their rulers and authorities. So In a day of common civil unrest he could have easily become just another man who complained but he generated a very large following. So when this guy started talking about his coming kingdom this really drew the attention of the powers and authorities. The powers and authorities couldn’t take it anymore, they found him to be a threat to their power and to their way of life so they arrested Him and put him to trial. It was actually a mock trial. Well these rulers and authorities realized this man was a “rebel king” so they did what people always did to rebel kings. They took him and paraded him through the streets. They mocked him and put him on full display, bringing the utmost amount of shame imaginable to this “rebel king.” They gave him a robe and crown and addressed him as “king: as they beat him. They forced him to march through the city to  a hill where everyone could watch his execution. They stripped this rebel king and made a spectacle of him, triumphing over him.

What I just described pretty accurately describes a common practice in Roman times where a rebel king is mocked and made a spectacle of by his captors. Of course though the “rebel king” I have been referring to is Jesus. But note the irony! Check out verse 15. Paul Declares that God was stripping the armor of the rulers and authorities. He was holding them up to public contempt. On the cross Jesus was triumphing over the powers and authorities. Jesus was unjustly put to death by the authorities and powers of his day; he was put to death by Rome and the Jewish Temple authorities. But his victory on the cross means more than just that it also means that…

On the cross Christ defeated  the oppressive, unjust, and destructive powers, systems, and authorities of his time and of all time.

So if Jesus defeated the unjust, oppressive, destructive, powers of his day what does that mean for Christ followers today?

  1. First it means that Christ’s victory was a victory over spiritual powers.
  2. Second it means that Christ’s victory on the cross demands a response from us. We must participate in announcing his victory over the oppressive powers, authorities, and systems of our day.
  3. Third it means that on the cross Christ defeated the most oppressive, destructive, and viscous system, ruler, or power that has wounded everyone under the sun…. on the cross Christ was victorious over sin.

In the church we are accustomed to hearing the third point and possibly the first point as well (if you come from a more charismatic church). But to tell you the truth I don’t hear too many people talking about the second point. I honestly believe that this is a very important part of our gospel proclamation.

When we proclaim the gospel we aren’t simply proclaiming “Jesus Saves” we are proclaiming, “Jesus is Lord!”

Yet Jesus is not simply Lord over a bunch of individuals who decided to follow him. Jesus is Lord over all things and all things must submit to Christ, including evil, oppressive, and destructive powers, authorities, and systems.

So as you think about the passage this week consider this questions:

  • What kind of gospel are you preaching, is it a holistic gospel or a reduced gospel?
  • Is it a gospel that addresses individuals or is it a cosmic gospel (as in Colossians 1:23)?
  • What are the systems, powers, and authorities that the gospel actually addresses?

Published by cwoznicki

Chris Woznicki is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He works as the regional training associate for the Los Angeles region of Young Life.

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