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Studies In Colossians–As Members of God’s Family, We Have Reasons to Be Grateful (Col. 1:3-5)

by Larry Miles

Col. 1:“3-5 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. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,”

            In the first 2 verses we learned about reasons to be glad to be a part of the Lord’s Church. In this passage we have reasons why we need to be a grateful people. Paul’s prayer tells us how we should pray for others. He uses the. Word “always,” and makes it very personal when he says, “we pray for you.” This emphasizes that prayer is to be regular pattern in our walk for the Risen Lord.

            First, he offers thanks to the Father (1:12; 3:17) while asserting the Lordship of Jesus. He also reminds us that “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,” (Col. 2:9). The first portion of Paul’s prayer (vv. 3-5) is an expression of thanksgiving that reminded the Colossians and us, of multiple reasons for believers to possess a spirit of gratefulness.

            We Give Thanks for Our Saving Faith (Col. 1:3-4a) The primary basis for Paul’s gratitude was the testimony of their faith in Christ Jesus (v. 4). Concerning this passage, David Jerimiah in “the Jeremiah Study Bible”, has this to say,

            “In this opening declaration of thanksgiving, Paul acknowledges all three Persons of the Trinity: The Father (1:3), the Son, Jesus Christ (1:3,4.7), and the Spirit (1:8). This divine mystery undergirds and informs the Christian’s life and worship. Paul’s reference to Jesus as Lord foreshadows a key theme in this letter: the supremacy of Christ.”

            Paul tells them that he has heard of their faith and dedication to the Lord Jesus. We read about this in other New Testament books. The Apostle John uses the same terminology in his short epistles. In 3rd John verses 3-4, we read, “For I was very glad when fellow believers came and testified to your fidelity to the truth-how you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in truth.” (CSB)

            We should rejoice when we’re around Christians who abound in the love of the Lord and exhibit that love in their day-to-day dealings with each other and their interaction with the lost.  Our thoughts go back to the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus spoke these words in Matthew 5:16, In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

         We Give Thanks for Our Sincere Love (Col. 4b) In this passage, Paul uses the Greek word “agape” to identify the sacrificial love that the Colossians showed and how we, today must live out our faith. We are told in scripture that “We loved because He first Loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

            Love for others is one of the many types of evidence that we are a redeemed people. When I was in college at Southeastern Christian College in 1974, we sang a song that had the following words, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.” When we put that sentiment into practice, it will be evident in our day-to-day faith. It will help us to work together as a family of faith and help provide us with the spiritual tools we need to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.” (2nd Peter 3:18)

            We Give Thanks for Our Secure Hope (Col. 1:5a). In this passage, the word “hope” is referring to the reality of spending an eternity in heaven. A parallel passage, recorded in 1 Peter 1:4-5, emphasizes the life we look forward to in heaven with anticipation, 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. 

            Through this hope God supplies Christians with joy and peace as we rely on Him (Rom. 15:13). The total of Paul’s gratitude for the. Colossians unites these Christian virtues. When we exhibit these virtues in our daily walk for the Lord Jesus, we live our faith and are reminded that the family of faith has abundant reasons to be grateful community

 

Larry Miles is Co-Editor of Word & Work and attends Cherry St. Church of Christ in New Albany, IN.




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Philippians 4:13