As I was reading Colossians a few weeks ago, his prayer for the church stuck out to me. I began to think of the other prayers recorded in his letters. In Colossians 1:18, Paul told the Colossians to share the letter with the Laodiceans and to read the letter written to them. The prayers for those individual churches can be used as a guide in living the Christian life.
We will begin by looking at the first half of his prayer for the church at Colossae. Colossians 1:3-8 ESV “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 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, 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf 8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.”
Paul heard of their faith in Christ. Think about your life. Would people around you know of your faith in Jesus? Their faith in Jesus was a firm persuasion of the gospel message, a conviction of the reality of the sacrifice of Jesus. That faith in Jesus also led to love for one another. Jesus said in John 13:35 that people would know we were His disciples by our love. The church at Colossae was firmly fixed in their faith, and their love evidenced it.
The Word of God is the bedrock of our faith, and Jesus is the chief cornerstone of our foundation. The Colossians held to the hope of heaven because they believed the word of truth, the gospel. The Word was bearing fruit and increasing in their lives because they heard and understood the grace of God in truth.
Today, many in the church have an understanding of grace, but it is not a grace based on truth. Paul said in Romans, shall we sin that grace may abound? God forbid was his response. Grace and truth go hand in hand, just like mercy and judgment. We must be people of truth. We cannot make God in our image, and we cannot bend His Word to excuse our sin. We are called to holiness and to grow in sanctification. We will fall, but when we do, we need to get up and approach the Lord with a repentant heart, ready to turn from sin and receive forgiveness.
The only way we will stay on the narrow path is to be well acquainted with what Scripture teaches, and we can only know what it teaches if we are in it every day and sitting under the ministry of a good pastor. Every Christian should have a desire to bear fruit, and the New Testament especially tells us how to do that.
In our world today, truth is relative, but to God, the truth has been settled since before time began. The Word of God is truth; we must understand grace in light of truth. We must see ourselves as sinners; yes, even now, as a Christian, I still have no righteousness of my own. I still sin and have the need to repent and a need for grace.
Examine your life today. Do you understand grace in the light of truth? Are you walking in repentance and forgiveness? Think of the prayer that Paul prayed in Colossians 1:3-14. Are you walking in the reality of what Paul prayed for the church?
Next week we will look at verses nine through fourteen and see what it looks like to grow in our understanding and sanctification.