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Faith That Works

Colossians 1:4-6a
... 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. (NIV)

Some people think that faith is a personal fantasy to make the believer feel better. That is not the truth about faith in the Lord Jesus. Trusting in Him is a life-changing adventure which affects every part of who you are.
Paul the Apostle was giving thanks to God for a church he had never visited, and he did not know most of the believers there. Why? His warm enthusiasm was because reports had reached him (probably in prison in Rome) that their faith was working. True Christian faith is not just a private matter; it affects the way people live. And Paul had heard that the believers in Colosse loved each other. Despite their different religious backgrounds (Jewish and pagan), different cultural roots (Hebrew, Greek and Roman), different social status (slaves and freemen), different educational opportunities, genders and ages, their faith had resulted in genuine mutual love. That was a Christ-like miracle!
Their love and faith had a common destiny because they had a common origin. Their practice of loving, respecting and serving each other came from understanding that they were all part of God's eternal kingdom. Their background did not matter any more: what counted was that they knew they would all be equally accepted in heaven. That truth was part of the gospel of Jesus they had believed. So, it made sense to love the others in the church, not only because of a brotherly bond to encourage each other each day, but also because they would share heaven one day.
The church is not a consumer organisation where we get what we demand or pay for! It is a serving family where the hope of heaven stirs us to love each other until we are received into Glory. That sort of behaviour validates our faith and demonstrates it to others (John 13:34-35). Although the pressure of the modern workplace places more emphasis on results than relationships, Christians in the workplace need to understand that they belong to each other there, just as they do in the church. Christian fellowship matters: it is intended to be a taste of heaven. So we also need to be careful that our work does not eclipse our family responsibility to meet with others in the church (Hebrews 10:25). How we treat other believers in church will set the pattern for the way we treat other Christians at work. And wherever our faith works together with others in love, we will validate the unique nature of the gospel.

Great God of Glory. Thank You for the confidence that all who trust in Jesus have already received eternal life, and one day will share the glories of heaven with Him. Please forgive me when I am so focussed on today's tasks that I cannot see the church and the rest of life in Your eternal perspective. Please help me to understand the family nature of my life in Christ, and enable me to express it in loving fellowship. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams