A Good Faith Report Causes Rejoicing—Colossians 1:3-4
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints” (Colossians 1:3-4)
I used to gloss over the introductions in each letter to the church, thinking that the important stuff came afterwards. Many times it seemed the trite, opening with a greeting and prayer as if it was common practice. However, after spending time thinking on them, I realized these words came from a genuine and sincere heart.
In this specific letter to the church in Colosse, Paul rejoices as he had heard of their faith and of the genuine love they exhibited toward each other. At this time, Paul had never met these believers personally (vs 2:1). This church heard the gospel from Epaphras, a friend of Paul’s (vs. 1:7).
The Gospel’s Impact
“... all over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth” (Colossians 1:6).
One of the reasons Paul diligently prayed for this church is because their lives reflected the same effect the gospel was having all over the known world. When they heard it, it became so real to them that the fruit of the good news was immediately evident. Because of this, Paul remembered to pray for them regularly. The heart of Paul’s prayer truly shows how much he cared for these people. And his prayer also reflects his desire for this church to continue toward maturity in Christ. This is what he prayed:
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light” (Colossians 1:9-12).
Paul knew the impact God’s will would have once a person got a spiritual revelation of it, he was a prime example of this truth. In most of his letters he prays for spiritual insight and understanding into the inner workings of God. He desired for us to be filled with this knowledge, because this knowledge changes the course of history.
To Present Everyone Perfect in Christ
“We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me” (Colossians 1:28-29).
Paul passionately labored for the churches so they would understand the mystery of Christ and through this knowledge become complete in Him. This is also important for us today. Gaining understanding and spiritual insight into Jesus Christ will have the same effect that the gospel had in these believers. And so I pray for you today to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will so your lives reflected His goodness, illuminating the Savior’s grace in this dark world. May you also have great endurance as you press on toward the hope He has called you to.