We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; 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, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit,as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.
What strikes me most about this passage are the following words:
In many ways these words demonstrate a progression in the Christian life. We first have faith, faith in Christ that brings us to salvation, that gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). That faith causes us to love, first loving God, then loving others (1 John 4:19-21). The love of God, which was demonstrated on the cross (Romans 5:8), also gives us the hope that doesn’t disappoint (Romans 5:1-5).
Hope is one of the keys (Hebrews 6:19) to perseverance through trial and the gospel being preached is often fruit from that suffering (Philippians 1:17-18). Also, fruit of the gospel is often likened to bringing people to salvation (Proverbs 11:30) and the result of the gospel being preached, and the power behind it, is a fruit of the Spirit: love (Galatians 5:22-23).
God Himself is love (1 John 4:7-9) and He came to this world as Jesus, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). It’s God’s grace toward us that causes us to want to become a servant (Philippians 2:5-8); as we realize He serves us, we serve others (Matthew 20:27-28). True service to others is verified by (and motivated by) love: the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13).
Questions for further thought:
- What strikes you most about these six verses?
- Look up the scriptures mentioned above. How do they support Colossians 1:3-8?
- What is the relationship between fruit and the gospel?
- What is the relationship between faithfulness and servanthood?