Vol.XIII No.V Pg.3
July 1976

The Hope Of The Gospel

Dan S. Shipley

After reminding the Colossians of their reconciliation to the Father through Christ, Paul admonishes them to continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel. . (Col. 1:23). The hope of sinful man must ever be peculiarly identified with the gospel of Christ. The very point and purpose of the gospel involves this hope. To the Ephesians Paul writes that ye were called in one hope of your calling (4:4). He prays that they might be enlightened in knowing what is the hope of this calling (1:18). Similar enlightenment should be sought by all who have aspirations concerning such a hope--especially in view of popular unscriptural notions concerning this subject.

The hope of the gospel is not an earthly millennial reign of Christ. It is not world peace or social reform. In fact, such hope is not oriented to this world at all. Paul says we would be most pitiable if our hope in the Lord was confined to this life (1 Cor. 15:19). The hope of the gospel is the hope of immortality! As Paul points out to king Agrippa, it is the hope of Israel and involves the raising of the dead (Acts 26:6-8). It is the hope held by Paul and others of the Way that there shall be a resurrection both of the just and unjust (Acts 24:15). In Rom. 8 it is called the redemption of the body. The hope of the gospel is the hope of eternal life (Titus 1:2) and is further identified as the hope which is laid up for you in the heavens (Col. 1:5). Despite the fact that certain door-knocking disciples tell us they dont want to be in a place called heaven despite Garner Teds spoofing the idea of anyone being saved in heaven. God says that is where our hope is laid up. Peter connects our living hope with the inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you (1 Pet. 1:4). The Bible knows no other hope and Bible believers aspire to no other.

The hope of the gospel is just that — it is of the gospel because no other source reveals such hope. Paul says that life and immortality have been brought Ii, light through the gospel (2 Tim. 1:10). Thats where the Colossians heard it (Col. 1:5), in the word of the truth of the gospel. It is a gospel-connected hope because nothing else has the power and promise of God behind it. Only He who raised Christ can give life to our mortal bodies (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 6:14) and He has promised just that: . .in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before times eternal.. (Titus 1:2). Such hope is of the gospel because it is only there that we learn how to attain it. From no other place can we learn how we ought to live so as to please God (1 Thss. 4:1), not even from an adulterated or perverted almost gospel. Only the pure gospel can lead men to its objective, the salvation of souls (Jas. 1:21) according to Gods eternal purpose.

As an anchor for the soul, the hope of the gospel keeps us where God wants us. Paul says that we are not to be moved away from the hope of the gospel. You might say it keeps us as we keep it.