Paul tells the people in Colossians:
but you must continue to believe this truth and stand in it firmly, don’t drift away from this good news – this gospel of hopeColossians 1:23
Gospel simply means ‘good news’; the good news that we have in the death and resurrection of Christ.
Many religions and cults in the world are trying to find a way to a divine being, but I want to present to you not a religion, in the form of rules and regulations that you must obey, but instead a person. It is in this person, Jesus Christ, that we have come to know God and His love.
So who is Jesus? A good man? A good teacher? A miracle worker? Yes, but He is more than all of those things. Jesus said ‘I am the bread of life’, ’I am the light of the world’, ‘I am the resurrection and the life’, ‘To have seen Me is to have seen God’, ‘I am the way, truth and the life’.
In Colossians 1:15, Paul described Jesus as “The firstborn over all creation”. There are those who would argue that if he is the firstborn, then he must have had a beginning, therefore he cannot be God because God is eternal. But we must look at this verse in context of the verses around it.
Reading Colossians 1:16-17, ‘firstborn’ has nothing to do with ‘firstborn in time’, nor does it mean He was the first to be born, but that He is over all creation. ‘Firstborn’ is a title of honour, the first in place. In other words, the highest place in the universe is His. Philippians 2:9 says “God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name far above every other name”.
Over 350 Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in the life and death of Jesus Christ. But the most important aspect of this ‘gospel of hope’ is the evidence of the Resurrection.
The resurrection confirms that what Jesus said was true. Not only do we have thousands of historical documents of Jesus’ resurrection, His appearance after His death to hundreds of witnesses, but the growth of the early church and the transformation of His disciples. Today, millions of lives are being changed by the power of the Risen Christ – He is alive! Christ is not a religious leader, He is not a dead hero, nor a past founder of a religion, He is a living person.
This gospel of hope is good news because the person of Jesus has made peace; “‘Having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:20).
In Colossians 1:21 we read of a past description of our position before a living God; ‘alienated’, ‘separated’, far from God. But Christ in His death abolished the barrier that separated us from God and today we can know God; we can be reconciled. Do you know this peace? Are you at peace with yourself and with God? Are you striving to find the answer to life and death? Come to accept the peace terms He has made for you – don’t try to negotiate yourself. You cannot know the peace of God unless you are at peace with God .
Pauls continues in Colossians 1:22, “As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault”. Can this be true? Can we really be without a single fault?
Some may point the finger at you, at your old way of life without God. But as we see with those who are baptised, as the person goes down into the waters, there is a symbol of the death to the old life and as they come up from the water, there is the birth to their new life in Jesus.
Let me wind forward the clock to a day in history when Jesus will present us to the Father, not condemned, nor unworthy, but blameless and with fault.
Returning back to Colossians 1:23 we are reminded of the perseverance that is required in our faith: “but you must continue to believe this truth and stand in it firmly, don’t drift away from this good news – this gospel of hope.” If you have been raised with Christ, walk in the newness of life!
For those being baptised, this is not the end, but the beginning as they walk in obedience.
Today you are being kept by the power of God unto salvation. Therefore, don’t drift but walk in God’s purpose for your life.
This is the gospel of hope we have in the person of Jesus Christ.