Thursday, 16 March 2017
…because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, Colossians 1:5
Paul’s words now are a continuation of the previous verses. Taken together, the intent becomes much more evident –
“We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; 5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel…”
They had given thanks for the faith of those in Colosse in Christ Jesus, and in their love for the saints. Now explaining that further, he says, “because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven.” The faith in Christ Jesus is what gives them this hope and which resulted in their love for all the saints. This sentiment then is comparable to what he says to those in Thessalonica –
“…remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3
The three tenets of faith, hope, and love work together and complement one another. Hope is the object which is to be attained. In this case, Paul notes that the object is our heavenly home which awaits us. Because of this hope, faith and love grow in us. It is as if the hope is a fire which kindles the resulting faith and love. This is how it should be with all believers. We have a hope, and therefore we should exercise faith in Christ Jesus and love towards others.
The hope which lies ahead is then explained by Paul with the words, “of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.” His words, “the truth of the gospel” are in the emphatic position. As Charles Ellicott notes, “It refers to the gospel, not chiefly as a message of graciousness and mercy, but rather as a revelation of eternal truths, itself changeless as the truth it reveals.”
The gospel was and is God’s plan for the salvation of man. In receiving the gospel, we are granted a heavenly hope; a return to Eden and God’s paradise which was lost so long ago. But with our return, we will have something more than Adam had. We will have the understanding that God has done everything needed to grant us access, and to keep us in His presence for all eternity. We will be able to appreciate what was unknown to Adam because of the conscience we possess, having acquired the knowledge of good and evil. Thus, we will always be able to look with awe and wonder at the majesty of Christ’s work for us.
Life application: We may think of what Adam had as the epitome of all that we could ever wish for, but we will have even more. When we are in our heavenly dwelling, we will have the appreciation for all of what God was willing to do for us in order to bring us back to Himself. We will have Jesus, radiant in splendor and majesty, to see and to worship for all eternity. Today, take time to thank God for Jesus Christ – our hope of eternity in God’s presence.
Lord God Almighty, what Adam had and lost is only a portion of what lies ahead for Your redeemed. We will have an understanding of what You were willing to do in order to bring man back to Yourself. We will carry with us the knowledge that You would even send Your own Son to die so that we might live. And so for all the ages of ages we will praise You because of the Lamb who was slain, and yet who lives forever. We will be in the presence of Christ Jesus our Lord! Amen.