An anchor serves a vital function on a ship; it keeps the ship from drifting away from its intended haven. For proper anchoring, however, a ship needs to have the right style of anchor; a long, strong chain; and the right soil type on the ocean floor for the anchor to dig in. Similarly, in the Christian life, we need anchors for our souls to help keep us on course through both the turbulent and the calm waters of life. I say calm, because even in those seasons, we can be drifting away so slightly that we don’t realize it; seldom does a person fall away from the faith overnight. It is usually by degrees.
Paul wrote the letter to the Colossians to give them an anchor for their souls, in order to help them withstand the strong doctrinal headwinds they were encountering from false teachers. In an effort to shake them off of their foundation of faith in Christ, some of these teachers were promoting a kind of a new age philosophy; that is, if they wanted to become more spiritual, they needed a deeper hidden/mystical knowledge which could only be gained by following their teachings. Other teachers, who were of Jewish origin, were telling them that faith in Christ wasn’t enough to be saved; they needed to keep the dietary laws and special holy days required in the Mosaic law (cf 2:8-23).
Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, helps them to see that Christ is all they need. All power, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption are found in Him (cf 1:15-17; 2:3,9). And as the head of the body, the church, He communicates all those things to us, so that we are complete in Him (cf 2:10).
He also reminds them of the transforming grace of God in their lives, to show that the one who began this work in them will complete it. He describes God’s work in them/us in these three ways: 1) we were enslaved to the prince of darkness, and God translated us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of his dear Son (cf 1:13-14); 2) we were at enmity against God, and he reconciled us to himself through the blood of Christ (cf 1:22); 3) we were spiritually dead, and He revived us and raised us up to newness of life with Christ (cf 2:13). If He has done all that, He will certainly not fail in providing us with everything we need to live the Christian life and to make it safely to heaven. The more we anchor our souls on these gospel truths, the more we’ll keep from drifting away from our heavenward orientation. Therefore, with Paul, we can give thanks to God our Father who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints on high (cf 1:12).