Faith, love and hope - 4 September 2020
By Xanthe Hancox
We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you. For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all God's people. When the true message, the Good News, first came to you, you heard about the hope it offers. So your faith and love are based on what you hope for, which is kept safe for you in heaven. The gospel keeps bringing blessings and is spreading throughout the world, just as it has among you ever since the day you first heard about the grace of God and came to know it as it really is.
The city of Colossae was not a particularly important one in the first century Roman Empire. But although Paul himself did not preach the gospel in Colossae or plant the church there, he was just as concerned for the church there as for the ones in large cities such as Ephesus or Corinth.
The body of his letter to the Colossians begins with his thanksgiving to God for their faith and love (Colossians 1:3-4). Paul makes it clear that the Colossians’ faith and love is not something they’ve produced themselves. The Christians in Colossae had no more possibility of generating it for themselves than we do.
Its source is out of this world.
Hope is the foundation of faith and love, the source from which they spring and are sustained by the Spirit’s power (Colossians 1:5a). As we’ve discovered over the past few weeks, our hope is not a wish for something that may or may not happen, but the present expectation of what will surely be experienced in its fullness in the future.
Knowing that we will experience the fullness of salvation in the age to come, our faith and love are sustained in the present era. Our hope encourages faith and love.
To live in the utter certainty of the hope of heavenly glory frees us from greed and bitterness and despair, from impatience and envy. Being captivated by this future that Paul says we’ve heard about in the gospel, empowers us to live in faith and love and to become examples of God’s new creation.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you have gone to prepare a place for us. Prepare us now for that place. In the wonderful hope of glory, empower us to live in faith and love each day. Amen