“For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.”
There was an insidious error at work in Colosse. False teachers were attempting to teach that other avenues of information about God were possible other than the Bible.
For though I am absent in the flesh
Paul never visited the church at Colosse. Even though he was not physically present with them, he was with them in spirit.
yet I am with you in spirit
Paul identified with the Colossian church spiritually. Though he was not physically present, he was able to deal with an assault upon their faith by writing to them.
rejoicing to see your good order
The words “order” and “steadfastness” are military metaphors. They both describe an army set for battle. This is the attitude believers must adopt if they are to stand against false doctrine.
The word “order” refers to solders in orderly rank. It means to form an army in battle array. Soldiers are to line up in battle order. No soldier should break rank and run. Panic will destroy any army.
General Jesus orders his Christian troops in military array. The Christian church should march like an army, rank upon rank, with every man in his appointed place. Jesus Christ himself arranges the disposition of this Christian army. Every Christian should be ready to take commands from General Jesus and go to doctrinal battle for him.
The manual for battle is the Word of God. When it comes to spiritual war, the Christian needs to fight the battle on God’s terms. In chemistry, certain laws are crucial to follow if we do not want to meet with a violent result. There is no latitude in the multiplication table. So the Christian life operates on principles that carry the Christian warrior in spiritual warfare.
Christians are to display orderly rank and solid discipline as troops of Jesus Christ.
Christians need both unity and solid understanding of the Word of God in the face of slick-tongued heretics. A soldier’s discipline for order and steadfastness in the Word of God is necessary for a Christian walk.