Gospel Power

PMT 2014-059b by Don Strickland

Colossians 1:6

The gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth;

Paul continues his discussion of the Gospel in this verse by commending it in two ways. First, he speaks of the expansion of the Gospel into every part of the known world. The Good News is not limited by geography, ethnicity or language. Second, the Gospel is effectual wherever it goes. It bears fruit. And as Paul makes clear, this fruit is not only the primary fruit of justification, but also the fruit of sanctification. In other words, salvation is a holistic concept of being in a right relationship with God as the believer’s Father and a citizen in His Kingdom from the point of one’s spiritual rebirth through to one’s entrance into heaven. The fruit is constant and increasing. And Paul presents the Colossians’ lives as proof of that fact in the second half of this verse. Fruit was born and continues growing in them since they had heard and understood God’s grace.

Now let’s see what we can learn from the particular parts, and how we may apply them.

The Gospel (the means of salvation) has come into “all the world.” It is universal without respect to any boundaries. The Gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rm 1.16). When Christ first sent the disciples out He limited their mission to the Jews (Mt 10.5-6), but after His resurrection He commanded them to go into the whole world (Mt 28.19; and Acts 1.8). And in this fact we should rejoice for most of those who read this, I sure, are not of Jewish descent. A New Covenant has been inaugurated. One that displaces the Judaism of old and yet includes all of the true believers of that obsolete system (Heb 8.13). The Gospel bears fruit wherever it is preached (Is 55.11). No power on earth or in hell can withstand it where God is pleased to work His grace and mercy.

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The above is referencing God’s power in general. What about that same power when it is at work in you, the believer, in particular? Paul’s words, “as it has been doing in you” speaks to that very point. How encouraging these words must have been for the Colossians to read Paul’s confirmation of their changed lives. What comfort would it have been to know that the Gospel is the power of God to bring salvation to the whole world, unless you can say it has brought salvation to yourself? To be blinded to the power of God is bad enough, but how much worse it would be to understand that power in the abstract and yet not have it in yourself would be a severe judgment.

Paul calls the Gospel “the grace of God” and it has borne fruit in them from the very day it had come to them. Their heart was completely changed. Their reason and the old direction of their desires began to be overruled. The rebellion of their will against His own was sometimes radically, and sometimes gradually, purged of its strength and replaced with a willing desire to conform to His will. They began to forsake their former evil lusts. This Gospel is so powerful that followers of Christ have been willing to give up their worldly treasure and pleasures in order to be faithful. Men and women have gone to their deaths rather than deny it. If God’s power is at work in you for salvation, you have the same power in you as every other believer throughout all history – be it, those at Colossae, Augustine, Calvin, Luther, etc., one’s gifts may be different but the power is the same.

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