PMT 2014-056b by Don Strickland
Colossians 1:5: “Because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel….”
In this verse, Paul speaks to two points. First, what was the motive that moved the Colossians to continue in faith in Christ and the love for the Saints? The answer Paul gives is the hope laid up for them in heaven. This hope that Paul is speaking of is the reality of eternal happiness and life everlasting, because it is said to be reserved for believers in heaven.
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Thus, this hope is different than that hope which Paul refers to being in the believers’ heart, although in spiritual terms where one’s treasure is there will be his heart (Mt 6.19-21). This hope that is “laid up” for us can be translated as “reserved” or “appointed,” therefore it is a certain and sure thing since it has been purposed by God, and nothing can thwart His purposes (Mt 25.34; 1Tm 4.8 and 1Pt 1.3-5).
Therefore, our blessings will come in due time – God’s time. And this fact should be a great comfort to us now. It does not matter what happens here. We could lose all we have on this earth. Man or Satan cannot take away that which God has reserved for us in heaven. Has not our Savior said, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32)? May we affirm Job’s words, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13.15).
Those who have their hope of life and happiness in heaven will portray, though imperfectly, that heavenly life and happiness here on earth. As the Apostle John wrote, “We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:2b-3) This hope is a motivation for godly living. One cannot gaze upon the glory of heaven, if he is trying to view it through the thick cloud of his own sin. This knowledge serves two purposes.
First, when we are living out heaven’s hope here on earth, our hope acts as a confirmation to our salvation (ie assurance). Second, our constant consideration of the blessings of heaven keeps our hearts and minds focused on what is of primary importance – especially during times of temptation or persecution. Therefore be sure to “set your mind on the things above. . .” (Col 3.2)
Second, by what means did they come to this hope? It was by the hearing of the Gospel, also referred to here as “the word of truth.” The Gospel is the declaration of God’s free grace and mercy in Christ where the Covenant of Grace is unfolded to those who hear. The preaching of the Gospel and the hearing of the same should not be looked lightly upon. They are the means by which men normally come to Christ. The Holy Spirit’s power moves through the words spoken in the heart of the listener to bring life and faith.
And the Gospel is “the word of truth.” In an age of pluralism where people say there are many roads to heaven, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the word of truth. There is a single road. There is but one way to salvation and the hope of heaven.