Colossians 1:7-10

Love in the Spirit. Knowledge of God’s will. Bearing fruit in good deed.

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Dear friends,

The positive qualities Paul attributes to the Colossians appear to be a continuation of our previous study from Colossians 1:1-6, particularly verse 5: "3We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4since we heard about your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the saints. 5Your faith and love have arisen from the hope laid up for you in heaven, which you have heard about in the message of truth, the gospel 6that has come to you."


7You learned the gospel from Epaphras, our dear fellow slave – a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf – 8who also told us of your love in the Spirit.” (Colossians 1:7-8)

Love is one of the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22), so the “love in the Spirit” must be derived from the same fruit. A “fruit of the Spirit” cannot be forced because it is the manifestation of God’s very Life in a person.

Love is not only a wonderful characteristic of a Christian; it is also expected. The apostle John discusses it extensively in his epistles, to the point where it appears that Christians are commanded to love. But, even by Jesus’ love commandment, we know that love cannot be commanded. While we understand that Jesus uses the love commandment to demonstrate how far we fall short of his glory, how do we interpret John’s writing, which sounds so much like a love commandment?

“23Now this is his commandment: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he gave us the commandment.” (1 John 3:23)

The law, through a commandment, can never produce genuine love because love grows as a fruit of the Spirit in the life of a believer. Thus, a lack of love indicates that a professed Christian may not be one at all. In short, an act of love does not make one a Christian; however, a genuine Christian will always bear the fruit of love. This could be how Jesus distinguishes “wheat” from “chaaf” in the end.

As a result, Paul qualifies the Colossians’ love with the phrase “in the Spirit.”


9For this reason we also, from the day we heard about you, have not ceased praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Colossians 1:9)

If you ask 100 Christians what they believe God’s will is for each of them, you’ll get 100 different answers. But are you supposed to seek and discover his will for your life? Is he the one who, according to the verse quoted above, will “fill you with the knowledge of his will”? It must be the latter, according to Colossians 1:9, and because humans cannot know God’s mind: “Who has known the Lord’s mind? Or who has served as his advisor?” (Romans 11:34–36)

But God did reveal his will in the Bible, and it is clearly stated in the Scriptures:

*“28</29>So then they said to him, “What must we do to accomplish the deeds God requires?” 29Jesus replied, “This is the deed God requires – to believe in the one whom he sent.””* (John 6:28-29)

This truth is further affirmed in the following verse:

“But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33)

However, God’s righteousness that you seek is contingent on your faith in the One God has sent. Everything else you believe is God’s will for your life is pure conjecture.

I believe that most people mix up God’s will and God’s plan. With God’s will, man has a choice, but the entire universe must follow his plan. God loves the world, but he gives people the choice of believing in his Son or not, with consequences. God’s plan in creation, on the other hand, will be carried out according to his plan, which includes, among other things, ordaining each person with a life of ease or toil, abundance or want, good or bad health, being born with sight or blindness, and a task to serve him in his kingdom.

According to his plan, the good works are already prepared for you. You won’t have to read God’s mind because he will tell you.

“For we are his creative work, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we can do them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

So leave God’s plan to him, and if you’re not sure what God’s will is for your life, simply obey Jesus’ command in John 6:28-29 to “believe in the one whom he has sent.” No one should deprive you of this opportunity.


10so that you may live worthily of the Lord and please him in all respects – bearing fruit in every good deed, growing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10)

According to John 17:3, eternal life is knowing God, and knowing God is knowing his Son, because Jesus “is the invisible image of God,” as stated in Colossians 1:15, which we will study in our next Sunday School class. Now that Jesus has returned to the Father, the Holy Spirit has come to teach us everything we need to know about God.

To “grow in the knowledge of God,” to “bear fruit in every good deed,” you must walk according to the spirit, not the flesh. This is where most people go wrong. Consider the following passage from Romans:

3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4)

What couldn’t the law do? It couldn’t do what everyone hoped. It could not reconcile us with God. It could not cleanse us of our sins. It could not bring us God’s righteousness so that we could approach him. In fact, it exposes our sins and creates a schism between us and God. God, on the other hand, sent his Son so that we might know the Father through faith in him.

So, what are you going to do? If you still believe that the works of the law will bring you closer to God, you are greatly mistaken. You can’t possibly know him that way. You can only know God by “believing in the One he has sent.” (John 6:29)

Nghi Nguyen

- Scripture quoted by permission. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: This is my own opinion on the topic, which does not necessarily reflect the church's theology, or beliefs of the individuals in it — Nghi Nguyen

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