Faith, Truth, & Love

By Caleb Westbrook

Faith, Truth, & Love

Faith, Truth, & Love

By Caleb B. Westbrook

With so much uncertainty in the world around us there are many times where we feel lost or adrift in our own lives. While the world around us presents many options for us to invest our time and hope, none of these earthly things provide true permanence or fulfillment. The Word of God presents a far different picture of the foundation and faith of a Christian. To better understand our hope and the necessary order of life, we will look to the book of Colossians to give us insight into the anchor that we can have amidst the turbulent trials and uncertainty of life.


After his initial greeting to the brethren at Colossae, Paul mentions the source of their faith and the common fellowship that they have together. This section of the text in Colossians 1:3-8 serves as a building block for Paul in this epistle. Not only does this show Paul's connection with the Colossian brethren, but it also lays the groundwork of authority from which Paul can begin to discuss pertinent teachings and applications for the brethren there. To understand this text, and its application for us, let us examine many of the basic teachings this text presents.


Faith is from the Word


Paul states in Colossians 1:4, "since we heard of your faith..." He opens with noting the fidelity of the brethren there and moves to explaining in verse 5 where that faith was rooted, "because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel." Paul makes it very clear that the faith and hope that the Colossians had was generated from their hearing the Word of truth. This is very similar to Paul's statement in Romans 10:17, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ."


This emphasis on hearing the word is also mentioned in verses 6-7. In verse 6 Paul notes that the saints' efforts and fruit had been growing, "since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth." This truth had been shared and communicated to the Colossians by the faithful servant Epaphras (v. 7). The faith of the Colossians was grounded on this word of truth, the gospel, that had been shared with them. They were partakers of the "one faith" that binds all Christians together in fellowship in Christ (Ephesians 4:5).


The Truth is Universal & Communicable


We live in a world where many people deny the objective nature of Truth. Some even affirm that Truth is not universal and that it cannot even be known. While these tenets of post-modernism and relativism are widely seen as "truth" today, the Scripture presents a very different view of the nature of Truth.


Speaking in regards to the "word of the truth of the gospel" which was the foundation of faith (v. 5), Paul shares with them important concepts connected to the Truth they believed. In verses 5 and 6 Paul notes that this Truth had been "heard" by the Colossians. He also describes the communicable nature of this Truth in verse 7 saying that the Colossians "learned" of this Truth from Epaphras. The Holy Spirit is clearly teaching us that Truth is something that can be communicated and understood. Paul makes a similar point in Ephesians 3:4, "By which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ."


Paul also describes the universality of the Truth of the gospel in verse 5b-6 by stating, "The word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world." The gospel was not something meant only for Jews, but for all peoples, nations, and languages. The same is true for us today. The Truth is universal. It is not only for a select group of people, but for everybody. It will be the standard that judges each person regardless of their nationality or culture (John 12:48; Acts 17:30).


To say that Truth cannot be communicated or known not only contradicts the teaching of the Bible, but it contradicts itself. If we cannot communicate or know truth then how can we communicate or know the "truth" of the affirmed idea that we cannot communicate truth? Such a premise is self-defeating and illogical. However, the Bible presents a consistent picture of truth: one that is harmonious, objective, knowable, and communicable!


United in Love


The foundation of Truth is not the only thing that Paul brings to light in laying the groundwork in Colossians 1. Notice what he says in Colossians 1:4: "Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints." Paul makes note of their faith and their love. This connection is also  in verse 8 where he states "who also declared to us your love in the Spirit." Love is a vital part of the foundation that we share in Christ Jesus.



Faith is based on the word of the truth of the gospel and is given its purpose through love. This is why Paul brings in both concepts together in this text. We should always strive to abound in our "love for all the saints," and in our "love in the Spirit." To have faith, but to lack love is totally insufficient in one's efforts to please God. Likewise, to have love without faith in truth is incomplete. To truly find the foundation and hope that is in Christ we must be grounded in our faith both in truth and in love!