In Romans 15:20 Paul states that he is preaching everywhere he can where Jesus had not been preached. Spreading the gospel is a never ending process until the Lord makes His final return. This is the Great Commission our Lord has untrusted to us. So don’t think the spreading of the gospel has been completed.
As far as Paul covering anything lacking in the afflictions of Christ in verse 24 – nothing is lacking, however our carrying the truth of the gospel to people, which will cause us to receive persecution, is no longer done by Christ. It’s our job now!
Colossians 1:23 b & 24-25 ….which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. 24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,
In verse 23b Paul’s statement that the gospel has actually been preached to every creature under heaven is not a statement of fact, but rather should be taken as a hyperbole. A hyperbole is a writing technique where the author over exaggerates a statement just to help make the point. Paul has intentionally exaggerated this statement to make a point that the people in Colosse have heard the gospel. The emphasis Paul is making is that the truth of the gospel is spreading to the point that many people have heard of it. In Romans 15:20 Paul states that he is preaching everywhere he can where Jesus had not been preached. Spreading the gospel is a never ending process until the Lord makes His final return. This is the Great Commission our Lord has untrusted to us. So don’t think the spreading of the gospel has been completed.
Regarding verse 24, Jesus did all of the suffering for our salvation that was needed. Paul is not saying that he is completing the suffering that Jesus started, nor is he implying that there was anything lacking in the suffering of Christ. Our salvation in Christ Jesus is complete! However, Jesus still suffers today when His sees His children chose to suffer for His sake. Jesus does not want us to suffer for the very thing He paid the price for; Ephesians 2:8 assures us our salvation was a free gift. Jesus also takes our persecution personal, as read in Acts 9:4 when Paul is confronted by Him on the road to Damascus. Jesus asked “why are you persecuting me”, when in fact Paul was persecuting those who lived and preached the gospel of Jesus. Paul’s suffering and persecution, which he takes gladly, is an extension of the ministry of Jesus. He is willing to take the persecution as it is a sign that his ministry is fulfilling and has fulfilled its purpose which is to change people’s lives into believers and followers of Jesus Christ. The only real persecution a Christian will receive will be from fellow “religious Christians” and those who are against Christianity. The more we purpose to spread the gospel the greater the Devil will try to bring personal and public ridicule to us. The stronger we stand in the face of the Devil and his various religions the greater his persecution may come on that person. Notice I said “may” come. Remember the teeth of the wicked have been shattered and even a bully will stop bullying once he has been beaten and reminded of his loss. Jesus is the one who shattered the teeth of the wicked and He lives in the believer. Greater is He that lives in us then he that lives in the world, 1 John 4:4. The good news is that as we stand on Christ while in the persecution the stronger He makes us to the point the Devil’s schemes no longer affect us. In other countries this persecution can and does come in the form of death. We should grow to the point of rejoicing in the fact that our lives are a poke in the eye to the enemy and persecution is the proof.
Paul has also recognized one other important point and that is the “church as a whole.” We often forget that the “church” is made up of every believer and not just the location we attend for weekly worship and gathering. The body of Christ was never meant to be the fragmented entity we see today.
Verse 25 is an awesome statement in that Paul recognizes that he is a “steward” of the gospel of Christ. A steward is a person that manages the property of another person, or a person who administers anything as an agent of another person or entity. Paul is recognizing his appointment as given by God to fulfill the word of God in spreading the gospel to the entire world. We as Christians are to enter into the same commission and those called into the five-fold ministry are to head the charge. As we grow in spirit we should recognize that everything in our lives from our finances to friendships are actually gifts from God, and we are truly stewards of what God has provided. What an awesome appointment, to be a steward for God!
Copyright The Power of Grace Ministries. All rights reserved.
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California,
Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New Your, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming