We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.  Colossians 1:3-5a ESV 

Last time, we looked closely at the relationship of God the Father and Christ the Son, noting their distinct and unique roles and personalities in the Godhead.  But this was simply the beginning of a beautiful and encouraging passage of scripture as Paul opened his letter to the church in Colossae.   

He continued into verse 4 with, “since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.”  It doesn’t take much to see Paul’s heart here.  The joy he found in this church, one that he likely never visited in person, was clear and authentic. 

Paul says that he and the others who were with him thanked God when they prayed because of the church’s faith in Christ and their love for the saints (believers).  This is something we may have experienced before, especially if we have discipled those new in the faith.  Seeing someone’s commitment and trust in the Lord grow is a source of great joy to a believer.  And witnessing their brotherly love for other believers deepen and mature, further proving their faith is genuine, brings joy upon joy in a spiritual sense.  It is here that we can see how the Holy Spirit refines believers to be more and more like their Savior. 

As professing Christians, it is important for each of us to be mindful of how we portrait our love and faith to others.  People are watching, both fellow Christians as well as the unsaved.  This is why Paul says in four of his epistles that we need to live in a manner worthy of our calling as Christ-followers (cf: Eph. 4:1Phil. 1:27Col. 1:10, and 1 Thes. 2:12).   

If we behave as unbelievers or walk in weak, unproductive faith, lacking love for believers and the lost, we rob joy from other Christians and mock our Lord.  Like the Colossians, we should be walking examples of our faith in Christ and reflecting the love He has for us in everything we do.   

As a friend recently told me, no matter what we do, in work or play, it should be as though it were put on a serving plate and offered to God. With this kind of attitude we are bound to honor God, bring joy to our brothers and sisters in Christ, and shine a light into the dark world around us. 

Paul then says that the Colossians’ faith and love is “because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.”  The word rendered “because” is from the Greek dia and may be better understood here as “through” or “by means of.”  The Colossians’ faith in Christ and love for the saints came through the hope laid up for them in heaven.   

Worth noting here is that the text does not suggest that the believers had built up this hope on their own.  It was hope laid up for them.  The Greek word used here is apokeimai which means to be laid away, reserved, or awaiting.   

This hope was not of their own accord, nor is it of ours.  It is a hope provided to us by God, in Christ, as part of our salvation.  We have the hope of heaven through the gift of salvation, and this hope subsequently increases our faith in Christ and love for the saints.   

Apostle Peter spoke of the source and magnitude of our hope in the opening of his first epistle: 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  (1 Peter 1:3-5, emphasis added) 

God keeps, or more accurately understood, guards our inheritance in heaven, protected through a faith in Christ, which He mercifully grants us, for a salvation to be revealed at the proper time. Truly an amazing promise!  And one that can certainly be relied upon more than the fact that the sun will rise in the east and set in the west.  Our hope is secure!  And with this hope, we are free to exercise boundless faith in Christ and show great love to all the saints, just as our brothers and sisters in Colossae did 2,000 years ago.