21 Once you were alienated from God and you were enemies with him in your minds, which was shown by your evil actions. 22 But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through death, to present you before God as a people who are holy, faultless, and without blame. 23 But you need to remain well established and rooted in faith and not shift away from the hope given in the good news that you heard. This message has been preached throughout all creation under heaven. And I, Paul, became a servant of this good news.
As he wrote today’s reading to the Christians in Colossae, the apostle Paul expanded on his letter’s greeting. There he wrote, “You have this faith and love because of the hope reserved for you in heaven. You previously heard about this hope through the true message, the good news, which has come to you” (Colossians 1:5-6). As they lived out this hope in a hostile Roman world, Paul urged them not to “shift away” from the course that hope set for their lives.
- Verses 21 and 22 painted a vivid “before and after” image of the change the good news of Jesus had created in the formerly pagan lives of the Christians in Colossae. What is your personal “before and after” story? (Even if your life never literally fit verse 21, recall how Pastor Hamilton often tells us, “I am less of a jerk than I would have been without Jesus.”) How often do you remember and thank God for the ability to live in the reality of verse 22?
- Scholar N. T. Wright wrote, “The effects of the gospel don’t happen automatically. Christians… can’t simply sit back and do nothing. They must ‘keep firmly on’; they must now take responsibility for their own growth to maturity in faith.… Christians must develop their life of faith, hope and love (see verses 4–5) on this foundation and not somewhere else.”* During the rest of 2019, in what ways will you seek learnings and actions that further mature your life of faith, hope and love?
Lord Jesus, I could not save myself. Thank you for doing that for me. Now save me from the mistaken idea that I can sit back and do nothing. Guide me as I seek to embody the hope you’ve given me. Amen.
* N. T. Wright, Paul for Everyone: The Prison Letters. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, p. 156.
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McKenna Neville is a student at Samford University where she is majoring in Communications and Religion. This summer she is working at Church of the Resurrection as an intern in the Communications department. She enjoys reading, writing, and eating cheesecake.