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Jesus Creed

Colossians has several references to heaven, one of which we need to pause with today:

Col. 1:5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true word of the gospel
Col. 1:16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
Col. 1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Col. 1:23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
Col. 4:1 Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.

The first one interests us the most: “the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true word of the gospel” (Col 1:5).
Hope is stored up in heaven; it is stored in heaven “for you.” The Christians at Colosse have faith and love because of their hope. They have this hope because of the gospel. [By the way, our next series will be on the meaning of the word “gospel.”]
Here again heaven is a “place” where things are stored. Jimmy Dunn’s commentary on Colossians says this about the idea here: “held in reserve for someone or some occasion as a destiny … and in Jewish and Christian thought of something retained by God for the appropriate time in God’s foreordained plan” (59). But Dunn thinks this hope might be for “being taken up to heaven and transformed into heavenly/spiritual form [and he cites Rom 8:17-25; 1 Cor 15:44-49; 2 Cor 5:1-5; 1 Thess 4:14-17].”
To me the issue here is whether the “place” of that glorious transformation is “heaven” or the “new heavens and the new earth,” and whether or not the latter is an earthly/transformed earthly place.
Colossians doesn’t really help us.

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