That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
In Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
In today’s passage and the next four verses, Paul expresses his burden for the Colossian believers, and his prayer for them to grow in the knowledge and understanding of God.
His letter to the Colossians, one of the “prison epistles,” is full of his concern for them. I think the illustration above may actually be showing a bit more luxury than Paul actually experienced.Those nice, fat candles were indeed a luxury, and were probably supplied by believers in Rome. Paul had some freedom of movement, but not much. He didn’t have a luxury suite. Dark, cold, dank and musty, it was a dismal place. There was a soldier on guard at all times. No privacy was given to him, even for private needs. Yet his whole concern was the edification of other believers.
His first concern was that the Colossian believers would be “knit together” in love, and that they would be comforted in the hard times that were coming. He wanted this because he was concerned for their enthusiasm for the gospel. He knew that Christians who felt alone and without support would be easily led astray by doctrines that appealed to their need for other people.
The word encouraged is paraklein, meaning to comfort or exhort. Paul wanted these believers to be able to face persecution with confidence and strength, love for each other and for God. He was concerned about their unity.
Knit together in love: When a bone is broken, as it knits back together there is new bone material that grows in and around the broken place. The bone ends up being stronger than it was before the break. That’s what Paul desired for the Colossians–that even when there was a break, they would heal stronger than they were before. Their love for each other, and for the truth of God’s Word, would comfort and strengthen them in times of trouble.
False teaching divides a church, weakening the people, separating them and destroying their unity. It is one of Satan’s most effective tools against the church, and he often uses those who appear to be wise in the things of the Lord, and who quickly gather a following. They are often charismatic, and I mean that in the sense of having strong personalities and the appearance of confidence in their knowledge. We need the discernment of the Holy Spirit to recognize false teaching and the false teachers who propagate it.
The full assurance of which Paul speaks comes from a full assurance of Who God is, and that He is to be trusted for our salvation. Often, when trouble comes, one of the first questions a new or weak believer has is, “How can a loving God allow this to happen?” Their question comes from a lack of knowing Who He is: A God Who cannot sin, and Who never changes in His love for us.
The mystery of God in this passage denotes the character and person of God, which we could not know unless He revealed it to us. In this context, the mystery of God was revealed in the person of Jesus Christ, Who laid down His life for us–and there is no greater love. When we begin to grasp the incredible greatness of His love, then we also begin to have that full assurance in His eternal goodness.
In God, and only in Him, are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.