Summary: Exposition of Colossians 1:1-8
The Glory of the Gospel
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father. We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints—the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit” (Col. 1:1–8).
What makes the gospel so glorious? Why should the believer continually glory in the work of the gospel in his life and the life of others?
In this text Paul starts off praising God and glorifying God for his saving work in the Colossians. He says in Colossians 1:3–4: “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus.”
Paul starts off the letter sharing his thanksgiving to God over the fact that the Colossians had received the gospel and that it was changing their lives. He then declares the glories of this gospel. Look at what he says:
The faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth (Col. 1:5–6).
Paul boasts about the gospel that came to them and how this same gospel is bearing fruit all over the world as it did in Colosse. Paul glories in this gospel and its work. We should never forget that the work of the gospel is a miracle. We should always glory in it and give thanks to God for it. It translates people from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light (cf. Col. 1:12–14). It transforms the most hardened sinner into the most gracious saint.
Do we still glory in the gospel? Do we glory in the fact that we have received it? Do we glory in the fact that others are receiving it?
Though the gospel is foundational and crucial to our salvation, it is something that we can easily lose awe of. Because of its importance, it is something that is always under attack by Satan within the world, our lives, and within the church.
It is easy for us to lose an awe of it and its benefits. David himself experienced this. He said, “Restore to me the joy of my salvation” (Ps. 51:12). He had lost the wonder and joy of the saving grace he had experienced.
Similarly for the church, there have been times throughout history where it has lost the joy of the gospel. For many it was viewed as something only for non–believers. Churches were big on evangelism, revivals, and the proclamation of the gospel to all who had never heard, but had marginalized the importance of it for believers.
In the midst of the church’s focus on sharing the gospel with the lost, the gospel became simply the ABC’s for a believer. It became something that a believer knew to be saved and to share, but not something that the believer continued to marvel at and drank deeply from. Scripture says even the angels continually desire to look into the things of the gospel (1 Peter 1:12).
Fortunately, today we have had a renaissance in the teaching of the gospel. It is readily accepted that this good news is not just something for unbelievers, but it is something we need to hear over and over again even as Christians. It is something that should daily be transforming us, and it is something that should be guarded and protected. It has been said that we should preach the gospel daily to ourselves because we are prone to forget.
Similarly, as Paul wrote the letter of Colossians, the church of Colosse had lost the glory of the gospel. They had forgotten how important Christ was, not only for salvation, but for their daily lives. Consequently, they were open to the deceptions of a Gnostic cult that had entered the church. They were attacking the very core of the gospel, which was Christ. They taught Christ was not sufficient for salvation. The Colossians needed more—they needed a new spiritual knowledge to have salvation.