The Gospel of Hope—Colossians 1:5-8
“...the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. 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. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf and who also told us of your love in the Spirit” (Colossians 1:5-8)
I have spent a lot of reflection on the first line of this verse, the apostle opened with a prayer of thanksgiving for this church because he had heard of their faith and the love they showed. This is where those things were rooted, “...the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven”. Apparently, this hope was the source that produced their famous faith and their continuous love. So the questions becomes, what is the hope?
The Gospel of Hope, The Power of God
In the very next sentence we learn that the hope they had, came from the gospel they heard which started producing in their lives. In fact, the same effect was happening everywhere the gospel went. This is because the gospel is the power of God (Romans 1:16). The Amplified Bible records it this way, “[that Gospel] is bearing fruit and still is growing [by its own inherent power]...(Colossians 1:6a AMP). And this is the word of truth they heard and where their hope was rooted.
Hope can be defined in these ways…
… the expectation of good
… favorable and confident expectation
… joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation
(Strongs Concordance & Vines Dictionary).
Three New Testament adjectives describe hope…
"good" (II Thessalonians 2:16).
"blessed" (Titus 2:13).
"living" (1 Peter 1:3).
And Romans describes God as “the God of Hope” (Romans 15:13); meaning He is the author not merely the subject of it.
So you see, this hope is not an isolated anomaly to this church, this hope is the backbone of our faith. The reason our hope is stored in heaven is because that is where Jesus resides as our High Priest. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 6:19-20). The joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation anchored in Jesus, is the lifeline that produces the faith and love needed for this world.
Hope Does Not Disappoint
Understanding the hope we were called to will also produce these characteristics of faith and love in our lives, even in the middle of trials. Why? because we can “rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:3-5).
Epaphras told Paul and Timothy about how thoroughly love had been worked into the believers lives by the Holy Spirit (vs. 8). All of this stemmed from the hope they had, which is the hope of Christ living in and through them, you have this very same hope, “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
So today, I join in praying this prayer for you, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). May you reflect this blessed hope in Christ Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit each and every day of your lives.