“We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28 HCSB).
One of the benefits of reading the Bible involves those small enlightenments that are often hidden in plain sight. Take the passage quoted above for example. If we take the time to consider this passage, we’ll find that it contains several important insights.
For instance, this verse begins by saying, “We proclaim him…” in speaking of Jesus. It thus serves as an important reminder for ministers, church leaders, and everyone who seeks to follow Christ. You see, others watch our choices and decisions and make evaluations about the God we serve based on what they see and hear. If those choices and decisions fail to “proclaim Him” appropriately, then we may end up doing more harm than good.
Consider this forceful passage from Paul the Apostle’s letter to the first-century Christians who attended church in the city of Rome…
“You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples? You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. No wonder the Scriptures say, ‘The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you'” (Romans 2:22-24 NLT).
This may explain why Paul will go on to offer the following counsel in the final chapter of this letter: “Be wise in the way you act toward those who are outside the Christian faith. Make the most of your opportunities” (Colossians 4:5 GW).
The method for proclaiming Christ comes next: “We proclaim him by instructing and teaching all people with all wisdom…” (NET). At the risk of sounding repetitive, its important to remember that everyone instructs and teaches others through the example of their lives. Some teach others what to do and some teach others what not to do. The question is, which of those lessons are others learning from us?
One source tells us that the concept of instructing, warning (ESV), or admonishing (ASV), can be defined as follows: “to counsel about avoidance or cessation of an improper course of conduct…” (1) This recalls the final verse from the New Testament Epistle of James: “…whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his life from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:20 HCSB).
We’ll close our study in the opening chapter of the Epistle to the Colossians with a look at the subjects of wisdom and maturity next.
(1) NET Bible® footnotes [Colossians 1:28], copyright © 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press L.L.C. All rights reserved. Used by permission from www.bible.org