On Easter Sunday morning I preached, although I didn't write anything down, on the epistle.
I discussed what it means to say, post-Easter, that '...you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God...' an assertion Paul makes in Colossians 3:1-4.
It wasn't the greatest sermon I have ever prepared but I had enough to say on our setting our hearts on things above and waiting for him to appear.
The thing that caught me out, and thus book-ended this average sermon and helped lift it, was the version of the Bible in the pews. It was the New International Version, with which I have few problems, but with a sub-heading for the passage.
You can do theology until you're whatever colour in the face excessive theology turns you, but somewhere around line one of paragraph one of reformed Christian thought we might expect to read that the Gospel is a free gift, given by the grace of God. If you are not currently a member of my faith community then please do not feel you are being force-fed this; I simply ask you to accept that it is what we believe and it is orthodox. People went to the stake for the assertion that you cannot buy your way into heaven. Christian behaviour is a response to the Gospel not a cause of it.
So my question became this. How detached do you have to be from that mainstream Christian thought to think that 'Rules for Holy Living' is a good sub-heading for the passage? I am perfectly happy to accept that there are implications for my behaviour based on my beliefs. I am even content to identify with people who set themselves a voluntary code of practice and live under orders. But rules? Not today thank you.