The theme of Colossians is the sufficiency and supremacy of Jesus. It’s stated in Colossians 1:15-17: “He is the image of the invisible God… For everything was created by him…all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and by him all things hold together.” When you reflect on these things, you can’t help but see hope. Paul uses the word hope twice at the end of chapter 1. He talks about the hope of the gospel (v. 23) and the hope of glory (v. 27). When you see all that is going on in the news, in the world, and in people’s lives, aren’t you glad Jesus offers good news? It is only when you open God’s Word that you find hope!
The Message of the Church
Colossians 1:21-23 says, “Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds as expressed in your evil actions. But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through his death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him— if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become a servant of it.” As Christians, we have the only message that brings hope and changes lives. There is certainly bad news in this life. We were once alienated, separated from God by Adam and Eve’s sin and our own personal sin. We were hostile in our minds and evil in our actions. The worst news is that we could not do anything about it. No one is good enough to save themselves. But the good news is that’s why Jesus came. He lived a perfect life that we have never lived. Then He laid down that life on the cross to take our place. He took the punishment and wrath that we deserved. The best news is all those who put their faith in Jesus are presented holy, faultless, and blameless before God. That is the gospel. Salvation and forgiveness are all based on faith. “By grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). There is hope through Jesus.
The Ministry of the Church
Paul continues, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I am completing in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for his body, that is, the church. I have become its servant, according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known…” (v. 24-25). What does Paul mean “lacking in Christ’s suffering”? The Bible says Jesus’ death was the once and for all sacrifice for sin. On the cross Jesus said, “It is finished.” Jesus suffered and died, and He told His followers that we would suffer and some will die for the sake of the gospel (Jn. 15:20, Ro. 8:17-18). There is still some suffering that remains before He makes all things new. We are not going to get out of this life without pain. All the disciples and apostles were killed but John. Throughout history, great men of faith have suffered much. Paul suffered a great deal (2 Cor. 11:24-28), yet he rejoiced that he was worthy to suffer for Christ. How can a person rejoice in suffering? Paul’s incentive, motivation, goal was to help others. He said, “He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows” (1 Cor. 1:4-5). What is the secret to that kind of faith and deep walk with God? Paul tells us…
The Mystery of the Church
“the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. God wanted to make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:26-27). The key is verse 27. Christ IN you is the hope of glory. Praise God we know Christ is with us and for us. But the mystery is that the fullness of God is revealed in Christ and at the new birth Christ comes to live IN us. It is like putting a brand new engine in an old car! It is like putting a hand in an empty glove. Before Christ we are spiritually dead. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy but Jesus came to give us abundant life (Jn. 10:10)!
Hope is a powerful force that enables us to overcome life’s greatest challenges. Without it, we would be lost. They say everyone needs someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for. All three are found in Jesus. When you are at the end of your rope, hang on to hope. All hope is not gone or lost if Christ is IN you. Trying harder is not the answer. It is not Christ AND you, but Christ IN you.