I absolutely love the book of Colossians. It may very well be my favorite book of the Bible, as difficult as that is to narrow that down. The thing I love about Colossians is its two-fold division, focusing on Christ in the first half of the letter, and the holy and faithful life that characterizes those in Christ in the second half of the letter. The overall theme of Colossians is the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ (1:19-20; 2:9-10). Further, with this understanding of Christ and His redeeming work in place, we are to live with a heavenly vision of Him, awaiting His glorious return (3:1-4). In fact, I believe the central message of Colossians is to be found in 2:6-7.
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. (NKJV)
Paul esteems Christ as the grounding and continual focus of the Christian life. It is not Christ + [fill in the blank]. As we began in Him — by grace through faith — so we are to continue in Him. As we have been properly rooted in Him by faith, so we are built up and established in Him by that same faith. Paul even goes on to say that “in Him [we] have been made complete” (2:10). Complete! Christ is sufficient!
In 3:16 Paul states, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….” The word of Christ most likely refers to the gospel, the message about the Person and work of Jesus (cf. 1:5; 4:3; Rom. 10:17; 1 Thess. 1:8). In other words, we are to treasure the gospel within our hearts, meditate upon it, let it be the controlling standard in our lives, and teach it to others.
Lastly, we are to continue in prayer earnestly (4:2), especially praying that the gospel of Jesus Christ will be proclaimed openly and faithfully (4:3-6).
Christ and His gospel is absolutely central in the book of Colossians. It is central in this book, because it was central in Paul’s own life and ministry (not to mention that the false teachings and practices that Paul sought to correct went against this supremacy and sufficiency of Christ). It was central in Paul’s own life and ministry, because it is absolutely central in the Christian faith and life. Let us not deter from this Christ-exalting and Christ-centered way. This is the true nature of Christianity.