Wednesday 02 September 2009

Bible Book:

"You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God." (v.5-6)

Colossians 1:1–8 Wednesday 2 September 2009


Letter writing is not always an easy task, particularly whenthere are difficult things which need to be said. A letter whichcan, at least, begin with compliments and with thankfulness doesenable the writer to start on a positive note.

Later in his letter to the Colossians (the people of Colossae inwestern Turkey), Paul will give his readers some guidelines forChristian living - both as individuals and as a community - but hecan begin here with a note of rejoicing.

The cause for Paul's thanksgiving is what he has heard about theColossians' growth as followers of Jesus. They have shown theimportant three-fold signs of faith, hope and love (verses 4 and 5)and they are bearing fruit as a response to the work of the gospel(the good news of Jesus) in their lives.

Paul is keen to ensure that they don't attribute this growth andfruit-bearing to their own particular efforts. The growth andfruit-bearing that is seen in them is just a part of what thegospel is achieving throughout the "whole world". The Colossians,having heard and responded to this message of good news, are nowsharing in that transforming movement of the message of God'slove.

Eduard Schweizer (a Swiss New Testament scholar) in his commentaryon this part of Colossians wrote: "Just as a tree without fruit andgrowth would no longer be a tree, so a gospel which bore no fruitwould cease to be a gospel."

This reflection, together with Paul's affirming comments to theColossians, provides a challenge to Christian believers today. Allthose who seek to be faithful followers of Jesus are invited toreflect on their own growth as disciples.

Many families will have measured the growth of children with marksmade on a chart or on a door post. In certain stages of childhood,growth is rapid and a child gets taller almost month by month. Yet,when adulthood is reached, we stop marking height on a chart -assuming that growth in height has now come to an end. Sadly, somepeople have a similar understanding of spiritual growth, believingthat after an initial period of growth, a plateau is reached wherefaith becomes static. Paul's image of bearing fruit challenges thatfalse understanding. The Colossians are commended for their faithin Christ, for their love for the saints and for their hope inheaven. All followers of Jesus are to grow in these same truths -and by doing so they will be enabled to grow in response to thegospel and to bear much fruit.

To Ponder

What fruit of the gospel has been seen in yourlife over the last year?

What can you do to ensure that you keep ongrowing in faith, hope and love?

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