Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, Colossians 1:5-6 

Continuing the introduction in his letter to the church in Colossae, the apostle Paul touches on one of the most important traits true believers will experience in their walk with Christ. 

As we begin expositing this passage, we start with “of this you have heard before.”   What is this?  Going back a sentence, we see Paul is referring to the hope laid up for you in heaven, which we looked at last time.  This hope is what the Colossians had heard of before in the word of the truth, the gospel.   

There are several key parts to the true gospel, which Paul says is the word of the truth.  One is our understanding of the gravity of our sin and need for a Savior (cf: Rom. 3:23-25).  Another is that Christ is the only Savior of mankind who was and is worthy to cover all our sins before God the Father (cf: Acts 4:12, 1 John 1:8-9).  And there is the earthly outcome of our salvation: bearing fruit.   

Salvation is a gift from God, but it is a gift that demands action.  As the apostle James wrote, “what good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” (James 2:14).  And, “for as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” (James 2:26).   

As clearly stated throughout scripture, we are not saved by works, but instead we are saved for good works (cf: Eph 2:8-10).  Those good works are fruit in our lives, and it is often in the subtle things like being gentle with others, helping those in need, working heartily as though for the Lord, and trusting God in difficult situations.  There are probably a million ways that the gospel bears fruit in our lives, but the mark of a true Christian is that we are indeed bearing fruit that is always increasing.   

Paul says, “as indeed in the whole worldas it also does among you,” meaning that the fruit we bear through our obedience to the gospel is evidence to everyone around us, both Christians and unbelievers, of our genuine, thriving faith, and the truth of God’s word.  And the fruit continuously increases as we remain attached to the True Vine, our Lord Jesus Christ (John 15:1-11). 

Paul tells the Colossians that the fruit of the gospel has been increasing “since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth.”  While our walk with the Lord should be maturing every day, once we are saved the fruit begins to grow immediately.  As young believers, we might not bear as much fruit as those who have been on the road with the Lord for decades, however if we continue steadfast in the faith, walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, and pursuing the fruits of the Spirit (cf: Gal 5:22-23), the fruit will indeed come. 

It’s important to remember that the fruit of the Spirit is not something we intentionally produce. It is the outcome of our faith and good works.  Those things: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, are what the Spirit produces in us as we remain attached to Christ the Vine. We can do nothing without Him.

And all of this comes from understanding the grace of God in truth.  This goes back to the core tenet of the gospel, which is that we need a Savior and that He was given to us by the Father through grace and love.  Salvation is undeserved and unwarranted and impossible to earn or buy.  Through this truth, we humbly approach God, recognizing and repenting of our sins, and daily seeking His mercy and the immeasurable gift He has provided to us through Christ His Son.