Walking in the Newness of Life Happens Through Faith, Hope, and Love
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 God’s people–the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is being fruit and growing throughout the whole world–just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace (Colossians 1:3-6).
Walking in the newness of life happens through faith, hope, and love. These are the traits that mark every believer. These are the “laws” of the kingdom of God placed in our minds and wrote on our hearts (Hebrews 8:10).
Hope is the guarantee of what is to come. This hope is tied to the promised Holy Spirit. He is the seal that guarantees our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14). He is the one who keeps our eyes squarely on Jesus. He anchors us to all that we are and all that we have in him. We don’t fully see these realities, but hope says…
We are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made know. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure (1 John 3:2-3).
From this hope spring forth faith and love. Notice in Colossians that Paul centers Jesus Christ as the object of our faith. “Faith” is not a stand-alone word. It is meaningless apart from Jesus. As Paul wrote, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17).
Before faith came, you lived in the kingdom of darkness as an unbeliever. You lived in unbelief. Jesus identified this as the sin of the world. Concerning the work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “When he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will prove the world to be wrong about sin and righteousness and judgement: about sin because people do not believe in me…” (John 16:8-9).
The message concerning Christ turned your heart from unbelief to belief. The grace of God engendered your response of faith. This radical change equipped you for life in the kingdom. As Paul wrote to the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
The way of the kingdom is faith.
At first, faith feels strange to us. For so long, all we knew was unbelief. Those trails of unbelief we once walked are well worn and familiar. When circumstances get tough, those old paths call to us saying, “This is the way to happiness.” Sometimes we listen and move down those paths of darkness. But as soon as we do, we are keenly aware we don’t belong there anymore.
Here is the wonderful news. Faith in Jesus expresses itself in love toward others. He is love. He has come to live inside you. When you abide in him, love is the fruit. Remember, you’ve been “brought into the kingdom of the Son he loves.”
Faith, hope, and love are the way of the kingdom.
Jesus is the first answer to all the tough questions from skeptics. We know that everything in the Bible points to him, but the person consumed with fear and uncertainty can't see Jesus, at least not yet. This is why a respecful answer to them is so important.
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