Colossians 1:3-5 The Hope of Heaven

We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you. 4 We’ve done this since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all God’s people. 5 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,
Colossians 1:3-5 CEB

Paul is Excited
Paul’s friend Epaphras told him about these awesome Colossians. Epaphras (how come nobody is using Epaphras as a baby name?) preached the gospel to them, and they responded with faith and love.

They believed that the cross and the resurrection marked Jesus as the Jewish messiah and King of the World, come to set everything right. And now they trust Jesus with their lives. That is their faith.

And they demonstrate love by letting the Spirit of God change them into the people he calls them to be, who love God and neighbor. That’s the Christian life—lives of faith and love.

Hope of Heaven
But he says that this faith and love come from the hope reserved for them in heaven. Popular Christianity has taught me that the hope of heaven is that I go to heaven when I die. Looney Tunes taught me that heaven is located in cumulus clouds, and I’ll get wings and a harp. It’s true that we will be with God in eternal bliss when we die, but it’s more than that.

It’s not just a ticket out of this terrible place. It’s a hope of something that allows us to live a bizarre life of enemy-love, generosity, self-sacrifice, and kindness, no matter what we face in the world.

The hope of heaven is a hope that one Jesus will return and put this world back together. “Set the world to rights,” as N.T. Wright often says. And we live in a strange time between Jesus’ resurrection that fills us with power to bring healing into this world, and the second resurrection that completes the job.

Our hope is that the work that God is doing in us will carry us through this life that can sometimes be confusing, cruel, disappointing, and painful. Our hope is that even though we may see people succeeding by stepping on others, our faithfulness and love will matter. Our hope is that whatever goes wrong, God will heal it, carry us through it, and transform it—in this life or the next.

Live in that hope. Meditate on that hope. Let it transform you, bearing fruit of faith and love. “And these three remain: faith, hope, and love” (1 Corinthians 13:13. It’s clear Paul likes these three things.)
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