Paul's second christological argument is a more direct response to the Christless philosophy in Colosse: Christ is the head over every power and authority (2:10). Paul is here alluding to his earlier confession that Christ is the head of God's new creation, the church (1:18). In expanding his earlier claim, Paul includes every power under Christ's lordship. He has in mind certain spiritual authorities, probably angelic (see 2:18), because the Colossian heresy contends that God's rule over the church is mediated by angelic agents. Paul's logic is convincing: if the Lord Christ rules over these authorities, who in turn supposedly mediate the human-divine relationship, then he is the ultimate mediator of God's rule (compare 1 Tim 2:5). Worship is due him alone. To suppose that any other devotion is required for salvation slights the centrality of the Lord Christ: for God's salvation is by him and is entered into only through him.
While few people today view the world as the ancients did, Paul's commentary on Colossian sophistry remains pertinent. Many of us so elevate our spiritual authorities, whether pastors or religious leaders, that we come to depend upon them and are devoted to their teaching to the exclusion of all else. When our focus is thus moved from Christ's lordship, the formation of authentic Christianity becomes impossible. In effect, the church is decapitated and rendered spiritually dead. Rather than proclaiming their pet project or special wisdom, pastors must teach their congregations about the Christ to whom they are submitted.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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