“since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; 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, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth;” (Colossians 1:4-6).
Colossians 1:4-6 offers an example of a recurring theme that appears within several of Paul the Apostle’s New Testament letters: faith, hope, and love. Notice how this theme is woven into the following Pauline epistles…
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
“For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love” (Galatians 5:5-6).
“remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father” (1 Thessalonians 1:3).
“Faith” is important because it represents “a belief in or confident attitude toward God, involving commitment to His will for one’s life.” (1) The New Testament book of Hebrews also tells us that “… faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). It then goes on to say, “…without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
“Hope” is a word that communicates the ideas of optimism, anticipation, or expectancy. It also reflects the characteristics of confidence, expectation, and a sense of pleasurable anticipation with respect to God’s work in our lives. (2)
“Love” is the fulfillment of God’s Law (Romans 13:10) and represents the greatest commandment: “….The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:28-31).
Therefore as one source observes, faith looks upward to God, love looks outward to others, and hope looks forward to the future. (3)
(1) Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers
(2) G1680 elpis Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=nkjv&strongs=g1680
(3) John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, Bible Knowledge Commentary (Colossians 1:5) [p. 669] ® 1983 John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck