The Gospel in Colossians – 1.21-23

21 And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him- 23 provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel. [NRSV]

• Through their comprehension of ‘the grace of God’ in the goodnews (1.6), they have been ‘reconciled’ to God.
• This is so that they may leave behind a life characterized by ‘evil deeds’ and become ‘holy, blameless and irreproachable before him’ for the day of judgment.
• This will only happen if they do not depart from the goodnews, in particular the ‘hope’.
• This ‘hope’ has been given a universal audience.
• Paul has become a servant of ‘this goodnews’.

From this passage and 1.3-7 we can establish that ‘the gospel’ is about actual events (‘word of truth’), and that it includes a forward looking dimension (‘hope’), all of which is of universal relevance (‘the whole world’; ‘every creature under heaven’). Furthermore, the reception of this news brings about a transformation in its recipients (‘bearing fruit’).

Two questions remain: 1) What real world events does the gospel speak of? 2) what is the nature of the ‘hope’ included within this?


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