Commentary on Colossians, 4:5-6 (Sharing our Faith)

Colossians 4:5-6

“2 Continue stedfastly in prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving;”
3 praying at the same time for us also, that God may open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains;
4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
5 Walk in wisdom toward them who are outside, redeeming the time.”

“Walk in wisdom toward them who are outside”

Those “who are outside” refers to the unsaved, those who are outside the community of believers. We’re to be wise in all of our dealings with them. That’s for the purpose of demonstrating the love of God to them in order to lead them to faith in Christ.

First and foremost, walking in wisdom toward the unsaved, means to walk in a manner that brings glory to Christ. It means to live honestly, with great integrity. It means living a life that is above reproach. When we sin in the eyes of the world, we dishonor the name of Christ. Not only does that displease God, it’s foolish. If our lives are no different than anyone else’s, how is that going to make a person want what we have? How is that wisdom?

Our testimony before the world is all-important, and it should loom large in our minds as we live and make choices each day. In all that we do, in all of our words, in all of our attitudes, in every decision we make, it should be with our testimony for Christ in mind. Wisdom tells us that we’re to live in such a manner as to win the respect of those who need Jesus, thereby providing an open door to share the gospel message with them.

“redeeming the time” (Gr. exagorazo – 1805)

To buy up, to purchase completely, buying up the opportunity, making the most of our time and opportunities.

We only have so much time in a day. We only have so many years in this world. We only have so many opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life. We only have one opportunity to make our lives count for Christ before God takes us home. Therefore, we should take advantage of every opportunity to share our faith, to live our lives in a manner that points others to Jesus. 

We should begin each day asking that God would grant us opportunities to witness for Christ, to speak truth into someone’s life. We should ask God to bring people into our lives whose hearts He has prepared for the gospel message. But once we do that, we must not forget, as we have a tendency to do. We must be on the alert for those occasions that we prayed for. We should be looking for opportunities to respond to people in ways that allows us to put the focus on the Lord. We should be alert to situations that people find themselves in, that will allow us to point to Jesus as the answer they’re in need of. 

One of the best opportunities we have as Christians, is by way of prayer. When people share what’s going on in their lives, we should offer to pray for them. Most people won’t have a problem with that, and oftentimes people will be having such a rough time, that prayer will be welcomed. It’s a genuine way to show that we care, and could lead to an open door to share our faith. It also gives the Lord an opportunity to meet a need in their lives in answer to our prayers. Answered prayer provides a powerful testimony of the truth, and glorifies God. 

“6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”

I believe this primarily means that we are to speak in such a gracious manner at all times, that we will always be able to answer in an appropriate manner. In other words, if our words are always kind and gracious, we don’t have to worry about how to respond to people. It will be the same as normal: kind and gracious.

“seasoned with salt” 

Salt provides flavor. In the same way, we should speak in a manner that is pleasant, and received well by those who hear. We should speak in a way that makes a person to want to hear more of what we have to say. In other words, our manner of speaking should be inviting. It should invite discussion about our faith in Christ. If we speak with arrogance, or with anger, or with a condemning tone, or with a lack of love, it’s going to repel instead of invite

Salt also preserves. By way of definition, to preserve means to keep alive, to make something last. We should speak to others in a manner that will keep our discussion about Jesus alive. Again, that means we must speak in a gracious, loving, and pleasant manner. This can lead to serious, and lengthy discussions about Christ and the Christian faith….

….which requires preparation. Witnessing for Jesus is more about simply being ourselves, who we really are in our heart of hearts, to speak about Jesus as we would to other Christians. However, we must also be prepared to share the gospel message with someone. We should make sure that we have a good understanding of the plan of salvation, so that we can share it biblically, and in a way that is most natural for us. That includes memorizing certain scriptures. 

We should also be able to answer questions that unbelievers normally ask. Mostly, that means having a good understanding of the Word of God, which requires study. In addition to that, a lot of people read books on how to share and defend our faith (apologetics). While many Christians love the challenge of being able to speak about our faith on an intellectual level, and love being able to answer all the questions, I don’t think we need to get too hung up on that. 

I think what’s most important is simply being able to share what Christ has done for us, to share all the ways He has changed our lives. People may be able to argue about many things, but one thing they can’t argue against, is the reality of our faith, and the difference Jesus has made in our lives.

“but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord, always being ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you for a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, so that in the thing in which you are slandered, they may be put to shame who revile your good manner of life in Christ.”  (1 Pe 3:15-16)