Our devotional in Paul’s prayers and prayer reports continues:
Colossians 1:3-6 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints– 5the 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 6that 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.
Once again, Paul starts his letter with thanksgiving, and focuses on heart issues rather than circumstances. In this case his thanksgiving is for their faith in Christ Jesus and the love they have for all the saints. Yet in chapter 2 he will offer them counsel for strengthening their faith in the face of theological challenges, and in chapter 3 he will give very practical advice for building themselves up in love. So his thanksgiving is not because of their perfection in these things, but because he has heard that God is at work. Is there someone you can give thanks for in the same way?
Paul goes on to remind them that their faith and love spring from the hope that they have learned from the gospel, the good news about Jesus. This gospel, he says, bears fruit – and notice that the fruit is faith, hope and love, the same abiding fruit he mentions in 1st Corinthians 13. But it begins to bear this fruit, he says, when you hear the good news and understand the deep truth of grace. Only those willing to rejoice in God’s free gift of rescue, found only in Jesus and not in us, will truly have hope and thus grow in faith and love.
Good place for Amazing Grace, right – the official Chris Tomlin music video