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.
“I am… the Truth”~ John 14:6
The influence of a Modern, and more recently, a Post Modern worldview places a premium on the relative nature of truth. According to those who embrace Post Modernism, truth is largely a particular construct of the individual based on their immediate circumstances. So that, what may be true one moment and in one context, may cease being true in the next. Both Modernism and Post Modernism came about as a result of the Enlightenment and was a product of the 17th & 18th century Age of Reason. Consequently, this shift from objective to subjective truth has adversely effected the faith of many Christians and has lead to a rapid decline in the belief of moral absolutes and an objective standard for truth.
For example, men like Joseph Fletcher (1905-1991) who was an ordained Episcopal priest, theologian, educator, and author developed a concept known as “situational ethics” whereby the ethical nature of an act gives more consideration to such things as private ideals, individualistic values, and personal interests over and above transcendent, absolute, moral standards. Another 20th century theologian, Lutheran professor Karl Bultmann (1884-1976) promoted the philosophy of existentialism, again advocating for a strong emphasis on the immediacy of how one’s own experiences shape their beliefs about life, faith, and truth.
As a result, this moral relativism has spread, not only throughout society at large, but it has sadly taken root in the Church. We judge truth rather than truth judging us. There is a battle for defining truth. Many Christians now look more to their own personal experience for what they believe or “feel” is true rather than trusting the objective standard of Holy Scripture. Yet, it is in the Bible where we read Jesus’ powerful testimony about Himself – He is the Truth! Truth is not found in private meditation or personal reflection, truth is found in Jesus Christ alone. Christians ought not to look inward for truth, but outward and upward. Look to Jesus. That which is truth will always accord with what God and His Son has revealed to us, not what we can find delving into the depravity of our own sin-darkened hearts.
Therefore, if we find ourselves trusting too much in the “wisdom of men” or in “leaning on our own understanding”, let us repent and remember: truth is in a person, that person just isn’t ourself – it is the Lord Jesus Christ. The One who declared two thousand years ago:
“I am… the Truth”.
Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, But those who deal truthfully are His delight. ~ Proverbs 12:22 (NKJV)
Christians should be known for their honesty. We ought to be a trustworthy people. In a day and age where a person’s word doesn’t mean much, where lying lips are too often the norm, the believer’s truthful dealings with his fellow man can stand out as a refreshing testimony for Christ. Delight your Lord dear friend, by dealing sincerely and truthfully in all that you do.