“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God”
Have you ever been given a second chance? I have. What an overwhelming feeling, often encompassing a range of emotions; but two that stand out above the rest are gratitude and responsibility.
The meaning of dispensation in this verse is the idea of stewardship. A basic definition of stewardship: “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.”* The life and testimony of the Apostle Paul is one that resounds with the unparalleled redemption of our Savior, Jesus Christ! Just picture what Paul is remembering of his own life when he says in verses 21 and 22 of this chapter, “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:” That was him (that was me), alienated from God, enemies in mind by wicked works. Paul remembered holding the coats of those who stoned Stephen and of countless others persecuted at his hand in the name of God! But he also remembered that glorious moment on the road to Damascus when he was blinded by a Great Light and encountered the Lord Jesus. John Newton’s lyrics would be somewhat ironic for Paul … once he was blind, now he could finally see.
Paul knew the pit he was delivered from; he knew the overwhelming feelings of receiving a second chance as we hear him say in Ephesians 2: “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
And now in verse 25 of Colossians 1, Paul tells the Colossians, “In this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship which God entrusted to me for your sake, so that I might make the word of God fully known [among you]”. [AMP] God entrusted such a precious stewardship (dispensation, responsibility) to Paul to make His Word fully known to the Gentiles. That phrase ‘to fulfill the Word of God’ (‘to make fully known [among you]’) is the essence of Paul’s life through his writings and teaching from that point on. He doesn’t pull any punches or alter the text to be more politically correct. He was redeemed by Jesus Christ—given a new name!—made an entrusted minister of the Gospel, and he holds nothing back! He doesn’t water anything down! He was given this stewardship to fulfill the Word of God, to make it fully known.
While you and I likely have a different conversion circumstance than Paul, we were redeemed from the same pit. We were redeemed by the same blood of our Savior. And we’ve been entrusted with—made stewards of—the same glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ to fulfill the word of God!