III. Prayer for the Colossians
A. Knowledge of God’s Will. 9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
Knowledge again is epignosis meaning experiential knowledge. It is not just knowledge of the head but of the heart and how to live. Because of Paul use of this word, it appears he is playing of the Gnostics insistence that their gnosis (knowledge) is superior to the Christian revelation.
B. Live Pleasing to God. 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
We experience God so that we will be transformed and imitate Him;. An encounter with God should change us because now He lives through us. We can not know God in Paul’s sense of the word and not be changed. To come into relationship with God is a dangerous proposition, because our God is a “consuming fire”.
We are to ”please Him”. We walk as a child to please his Father; or a soldier to please the general; or an athlete to please the coach.
There is a progression in this passage. When we experience God; we bear fruit; when we bear fruit; we know God more; and bear more fruit .
C. Strengthened by God. 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;
This life of faith and repentance is not the result of our own power alone, but we are strengthened by God.
Joy is always a characteristic of the Orthodox Christian. Often the Fathers of the Church will call repentance- joyful sorrow.
Paul may have been contrasting Christianity to the popular philosophy of Stoicism where patience and longsuffering were virtues; however, there is no joy, but only a resignation to life’s tragedies
D. Giving Thanks to God. 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood,* the forgiveness of sins.
Our response to God is always thanksgiving. This is shown at its height in the Eucharist. We are offering back to God what He has given to us, and as a result we receive God’s very life. This Eucharistic life extends beyond the liturgy. Every moment we take what God has given to us and give back to Him.
We are made “partakers of the inheritance of the saints” and nowhere is this more true than at the Liturgy. Because is a moment of time we experience eternity as we partake of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. At that moment we can truly proclaim that He has “delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the Kingdom of the Son of His love”.
“Conveyed” is used in the Ancient world for the moving of people groups when a nation would conquer land. Often they would remove the people to other areas of their empire. Here God rescues us from exile in Satan’s land.