Scripture: And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. Colossians 1:21-23 ESV
Observation: In Paul’s opening remarks to the church at Colossae, he shares with them that his team earnestly prays that they will deepen their understanding of God and his will for their lives; that, empowered by the Holy Spirit, they would fruitfully labor to grow Christ’s kingdom (verses 9-12). Paul then transitions to a declaration of the supremacy of Christ in all matters of creation and the eternal heavens (verses 15-21). Indeed, he is the:
- Image and dwelling of the invisible God
- Firstborn of all creation and the resurrected
- Eternal source, sustainer, reconciler, and preeminent Lord of all creation
- Head and lifeblood of the church
With this in mind, Paul challenges the church’s members, once alienated from God by their sinful lifestyles, to continue their faith journey by remaining stable and steadfast in holy living, staying on course with their “gospel of hope” (above verses).
Takeaway: Even though Christ has already rescued us from the penalty of sin, we still live in a fallen world where the present power of sin will trip us up. So, how do we stay on track leading a godly lifestyle? Certainly not by our efforts alone. We need inside and outside help. The Father and Son sent the Holy Spirit to indwell us and provide the inside help: exposing our blind spots and self-deceptions and provoking us to acknowledge and confess our sins. He also arrests our fears of not being good enough by pointing out that we are not good enough—but Jesus is. And this is where the “gospel of hope” plays a critical role. As we mature in our knowledge of the destructive force of sin and how our perfect and holy Savior died a sinner’s death to cover our sins, we deepen our understanding of his grace (unmerited favor) and his love for us. His grace and love inspire and strengthen us to persevere.
His “gospel of grace” also provides outside help through the community of believers. It’s hard to grasp our gospel and nurture our relationship with our invisible God without the body of Christ. We need to see the Gospel working out in the lives of others. And we need others to support, encourage, and hold us accountable under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Thus, together in the Spirit, with thankful hearts, we live out this glorious “gospel of grace” with the assurance that he “has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (verses 13-14).
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for revealing your glory through your Son and his “gospel of grace.” Would you please help us submit to the sanctifying work of your Holy Spirit and the community of believers, that we might deepen our knowledge of your love and grace and stay on track leading holy lives that honor you? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling