Sunday, September 7, 2014

Grace and a word picture

“…because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.  You have heard of this hope before in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you.  Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God.”  Colossians 1:5-8  (NRSV)

Teachers are professional communicators.  When Christ lived on earth, his predominate work was teaching.  Jesus used word pictures in the form of parables to convey his ideas to his followers.   Word pictures are a form of communication that helps people to understand complex or intangible ideas.
The word "word" has a complex meaning.  "Word" can means the vocalization of sounds that form a unit of meaning, but "word" also represents the idea of complete understanding and communication. The word of God means all of the ways that God communicates to us to help us understand Him, such as through the printed word, through prophets, through Christ, and through the Holy Spirit.  We can experience God's word with our eyes, feel it in our hearts, and experience it through the touch and care of our brethren. 
In the passage from Colossians that is quoted above, Paul uses a word picture (a metaphor) of the "word" bearing fruit to help us understand an intangible concept--hope.  We hope for something better than this life, and Jesus, the word of God, communicates to us just that.  Grace gives us hope for a future life in a perfect heaven with Christ.