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Author: Ron Graham


Our Progress Toward Life’s Goal
—Christ in You, the Hope of Glory Part 3

In this lesson we continue on from the previous lesson, taking Paul’s phrase "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:26-27) as a key idea in the letter to the Colossians.

We have already looked at the privileges of being a member of God’s family and of having God’s power within us. Now we look at the third privilege of making progress toward life’s goal.

Paul encourages confident progress toward life’s eternal goal which he calls our hope. God has an "eternal purpose" for us (Ephesians 3:8-12). By becoming deeply involved in that purpose, we have the "hope of glory" (Colossians 1:26-27).

A truly happy life consists of being a seeker and fulfiller of that purpose and goal. Paul uses this word when he expresses the wish that "that we may present every man perfected1 in Christ" and "that you may stand perfected1 and complete in all the will of God" (Colossians 1:28, 4:12).

It is said that happiness requires a goal in life. Life must have an “end”. We don't mean this in the simplest sense that our days are numbered and life comes to and end, although that is quite true. Rather, we mean “end” in the sense of purpose, a reason to be, a goal to strive for and fully attain.

1 A hope laid up in heaven

Colossians 1:5 The hope of glory is "The hope laid up for you in heaven". When Paul speaks of this hope as being "laid up for you", he means that it is kept in store with your name on it. It is your appointed inheritance in safekeeping. It is your future life "hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3).

A couple claimed that they had won a million dollar lottery, however on purchasing their ticket they had poked it in with the groceries in a plastic shopping bag. When the bag was thrown out with the rubbish, the winning ticket was still in the bag forgotten, and was unwittingly taken to the city dump and mixed with tons of garbage. Fortunately our hope of Heaven is not so carelessly kept or so easily lost!

2 A hope proclaimed in the gospel

Colossians 1:23 Our hope of Heaven, the goal of our lives, is "of the gospel... proclaimed in all creation under heaven". So whilst it is hidden away safely in heaven, it is no secret, and is proclaimed everywhere under heaven.

We have it in writing, to read whenever we want to be reassured and encouraged —God's very own word in black and white to prove that we are not reaching out for an impossible dream, but for something real and true and certain.

3 A hope that none can take away from us

Colossians 2:18 Paul says, "Let no one deprive you of your reward". This implies that we can let some one defraud us of our goal, but it also implies that we can forbid them to. There are always those who would turn us aside from our true goal to useless and foolish pursuits. We need not let that happen.

From the latter half of chapter two, and the early part of chapter three, Paul shows the superiority of the gospel over the earthly religions. The elementary principles of earth, air, fire, and water, and the things which are of the flesh, are thrown aside by Christ, and heaven transcends.

Not even the darkest powers can reach into heaven and snatch away our hope. Nor can they snatch it from our hearts, unless we allow ourselves to become foolish and deceived so that we let them.

4 Keeping our minds on the goal

Colossians 3:1-4 Paul encourages us to "Set your mind on the things above, not on things that are on the earth". Our hope and goal is kept secure in heaven, and is written in the gospel.

However it must also be set in our own minds and hearts. No one makes progress toward a goal that their hearts are not set on, and that their minds are not focussed upon. As I write this, the Olympic Games are being held in Athens. All who compete there have their hearts set on it.

If we would one day be "revealed with him in glory", then we must "keep seeking the things above where Christ is..."

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.

1Note:— Perfected (Colossians 1:28, 4:12). For perfected Paul uses a word related to τελειος, teleios meaning “end” or “goal”.

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