…tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope (Col 1 5 MSG).
That’s a powerful rendition from Eugene Peterson.
Clearly, you go towards what you aim at.
So what are you aiming at? What is your purpose…your plan? I remember in pre-SatNav days, driving across London clutching an A to Z with my finger firmly on my destination! If I lost track it was because I lost my grip (literally) on where I was heading!
And so Paul commends this community to hang on in there, because their lines of purpose are kept taut by…what? What keeps you on track? Paul narrows it down to one word. HOPE.
Because of the hope – This states the cause or reason for their commitment. NIV adds “the faith and love that spring from the hope…” What does this imply? HOPE is the root of FAITH (the plant) and of LOVE (the fruit).
In other words a believer’s hope or confidence in what God will do in the future leads to a greater faith or trust in God and a deepening of love for others in the present. Hope is the certainty that, in spite of the world’s ways, God’s way of love has the last word.
The hope that is laid up – Paul uses the present tense to emphasize that our hope is continually laid up, which signifies that our hope is being kept safe, secure, sure.
We are coupled to what God has done
That word for Laid up is interesting. It’s apokeimai, meaning to “put something away for safekeeping.” It appears in Luke 19:20, (“Master, here is your talent, which I put aside.” And it’s in 2 Tim 4:8, “In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day...” And finally, it’s in the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus instructs his listeners to “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” The present imperative suggests that it’s something that we do with our entire lives!
And that’s our hope. The everyday meaning of squirrelling away a nice little nest egg for future enjoyment, speaks of the the totality of glorious, eternal, blessing that awaits each believer in the life to come.
Peter reminds his readers going through hard times that they have an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you (1Pe 1:4).
And so the present takes on a new perspective. It’s a switch from normal earthly worldview :present glory, comfort, and satisfaction of this present world for the future glory that is his in Christ.
And in that familiar, but glorious quote from Jim Elliot: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose”.
Eternal vision reaches into the future, for it is tied up with Christ’s second advent. This is why Christians are to love Christ’s appearing. Every Christian who lives daily in the anticipation and expectancy of Christ’s return becomes a steady, firmly anchored, unwavering soul.