Faith, Love & Hope

We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel

~ Colossians 1:3-5 (NKJV)

Paul continues his greeting to the Christians at Colossae by acknowledging his thanks for God’s sovereign work of salvation and His precious gift of faith in Christ Jesus that has spread among them. The Apostle, verse 4, especially recognizes these believers for their love for all the saints. Their affection for fellow disciples of the Lord Jesus appears to have been well-known for Paul and Timothy to have heard of it from afar. Oh that more true Christians today would have their reputation for love precede them in their dealings with others!

And yet though these faithful Colossians were known for their exceeding earthly good, verse 5, Paul commends them for keeping their hope and gaze fixed upon the marvelous glory which was laid up and awaited them in heaven itself. For heaven, the place of unfettered communion with our Lord Jesus Christ, is truly the eternal prize and most precious blessing of those who trust in Him! Believers are but pilgrims and strangers here on earth. We know this is not our home, we are but passing through. And like the Colossians, we lay our everlasting hope above.

Finally, at the end of verse 5, we find the cornerstone and foundation for the faith, love and hope of the saints dwelling in Colossae, it is the “the word of truth of the gospel” which they had heard, believed and embraced. Wherever true Christianity will be found, it will be accompanied by the words of truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There will be sound doctrine and godly teaching which humbles man and exalts Christ! Though without the words of truth as they pertain to the Gospel, a form of religion might be found, it will most assuredly lack the essential, saving, and effectual substance that is the fruit of the glorious words of truth.

A vibrant living faith is rooted in sound doctrine and godly Scriptural teaching. The blessings of a deep faith in Christ, an abiding love for God and others and the secure hope of your place in heaven are a consequence of being washed in the words of truth. Paul praises these qualities among the believers at Colossae. The Apostle thanks God, our Father, for these beautiful spiritual favors present among these saints. May we too seek the characteristics of faith, hope and love in our lives and thank God when He is pleased to grant them to us as well.

~ apl

Love Covered Sin

He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends.

~ Proverbs 17:9 (NKJV)

Practically speaking, the Christian should always endeavor to lean towards love with regard to their fellow man. But this can be especially hard when we feel we’ve been slighted or wronged. Yet, it is at this particular point Scripture teaches us the wisdom of covering transgressions in love. And if we fail to do this, and insist on repeating a matter, and are unwilling to show mercy and forgiveness that true friends are separated. Therefore, let us as disciples of the Lord Jesus follow His example. Practice love, love that leans towards and covers even a multitude of sins.

~ apl

Humility & Love

Humility and love are precisely the graces which the men of the world can understand, if they do not comprehend doctrines. They are the graces about which there is no mystery, and they are within reach of all classes… [The poorest] Christian can every day find occasion for practicing love and humility.

~ J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)

Deluged With Love

There, in heaven, this infinite fountain of love — this eternal Three in One — is set open without any obstacle to hinder access to it, as it flows forever. There this glorious God is manifested and shines forth in full glory, in beams of love. And there this glorious fountain forever flows forth in streams, yea, in rivers of love and delight, and these rivers swell, as it were, to an ocean of love, in which the souls of the ransomed may bathe with the sweetest enjoyment, and their hearts, as it were, be deluged with love!

~ Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)

Meek Simplicity

What does the LORD require of you but to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

~ Micah 6:8b (NKJV)

Maybe the greatest beauty of the Christian Faith is it’s meek simplicity. It is true that you can multiply ad nauseam the theology, doctrines, practices and controversies of the church making the most simple things complicated. Over the centuries, well-meaning men have excelled in the art of making straightforward things complex. But ultimately, the question that should most intrigue the heart of the true believer is: What does God require of me?

The passage before us offers a wonderful summary of both God’s demands and desires for His people. And it is presented here in plainness and eloquence in three equally significant parts; do justly, love mercy and walk humbly. Imagine what the Christian life would look like if we but just consistently and faithfully followed these? How different would your life be?

The purpose of this short devotion is to remind the reader to keep their eye on those aspects of their faith and life that most matter to the Lord. These three requirements here in Micah essentially sum up the law to love God and love your neighbor. While engaging in the more weightier matters of our faith has its place and is important, we must begin and retain the simplicity of Christ as well, to do justly, love mercifully, and walk humbly with the Lord.

A Thousand Lives

I feel that, if I could live a thousand lives, I would like to live them all for Christ; and I should even then feel that they were all too little a return for His great love to me!

~ Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)

Holiness & Love

Spiritually begins to have real meaning in our lives as we begin to exhibit simultaneously the holiness of God and the love of God. We never do this perfectly, but we must look to the living Christ to help us do it truly.

~ Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984)

Love, Pray & Do

Let us not despise our neighbor. Let us not mock him. Let us not shut the door of heaven and take away the key of knowledge. Let us be free from all hatred and rancor. Let us love all men, pray for all men, do good to all men.

~ William Farel (1489-1565)

When

When we are weak
When strength has failed
When life seems bleak
When we're assailed
Then it's time
To lean on Him
When all around
Appears most grim

Christ our hope
Our Rock Our Way
He draws us near
When we're astray
Never doubt
What faith can do
When placed in Him
His love's for you

~ apl

A Certain Kind of Spirit

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love…

~ 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

The Christian spirit should be one of boldness, courage and might. Often times, the timidity and humility that should shroud the Christian’s demeanor is misunderstood as weakness, frailty or even fear. But hidden inside the inner believer, deep inside the heart of the true follow of Christ, there lies the potential for a spirit of holy endurance, perseverance and strength.

The Lord Jesus showed His disciples this kind of reserved yet powerful spirit when He confronted the false teachers and corrupt religious men of His day. He demonstrated that though a meek and lowly figure, He would fashion a whip and drive those evil men out of the temple who sought to desecrate it. The spirit of Christ was a spirit of strength and might.

The spirit God has endowed the believer with is not only one of power, but also of love. It is good that strength and power be tempered by love. It is also worth noting it is only perfect love that truly cast out fear. Nothing will do more in the Christian life to cast out all our fear and doubt and foster in us a boldness for Christ than the love we have for Him.

Paul desired to encourage Timothy in his walk with Christ by reminding him of the kind of spirit God had imparted to him. A spirit not of fear, but of power and love. If you, dear reader, are currently walking in spiritual doubt or fear; if your spirit lacks the power and love you sincerely desire, seek the Lord, draw near to Christ in prayer and supplication, and come to more fully realize the kind of spirit God has intended for you as well.

~ apl