The Anchor of Hope
An e-publication of Living Hope Presbyterian Church
Colossians 1:11 (pt 2)
“Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;”
As we saw last time in verse 11, this verse springs in anticipation of doubt arising from the previous verse. Verse 10 refers to believers “walking worthy of the Lord”. The doubt that Paul anticipates is whether anyone can live in a worthy manner before the Lord. Verse 11 continues to answer the question, “How shall we fulfill that duty?” Paul begins to answer that question at the end of verse 10 by telling the readers they are to be fruitful. Paul adds at the beginning of verse 11 that we will also be “strengthened with all might”, and it was that clause that we studied in our last visit in Colossians. With this Anchor, we look at the efficient cause, or beginning, of that strength – “His glorious power”.
Since those who are already believers are being addressed in these verses, we are to understand that the power of God not only works on a person’s will at conversion, but also continues that work afterward in sanctification. And these words show a surety of action. God will strengthen His people “according to His glorious power”. Our faith is not focused within us or on any object but God Himself, and God’s promise of Christ’s power to save through His death. But Christ’s power is not a part of faith itself. Therefore, faith has no strength in itself. It is kept from failing by the power of God through Christ (1Pt 1.5). Our faith is always being supported, strengthened, and guarded by the power of God. Thus, true faith will not ultimately fail for our hope is a sure and steadfast anchor (Heb 6.19).
It follows then that our strength by which we stand in affliction is also not of ourselves, but from the actual power of God. Thus Paul says that he may be content in every circumstance by God’s power (Phil 4.12-13). As Ezekiel was sent to give a message to a people whose hearts were greatly hardened, God promised to give him strength to equal their hardness of heart (Ezk 3.8-9). God will not fail us. He will supply the strength we need for those works He has planned for us (Eph 4.10).
Further, since the strength to live by faith does not arise from within ourselves, the error of all who claim some goodness or perfection inherent within man (Roman Catholicism, New Age, etc.) is refuted. To say otherwise, would mean we are stronger than Adam in the time of his innocence (ie before his Fall into sin).
So if our strength is from the Lord, let us learn to follow the exhortation “be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Eph 6.10). But how are we to do this? The Holy Spirit shows us that by the faith of weakness you are made strong (Heb 11.34). By one’s faith will power be drawn from Him. Remember Stephen, who being assured of God’s presence by directing his gaze into heaven, was strengthened to face his persecutors (Acts 7.55).
Keep your eyes of faith upon Him, the Lover of your soul, through whose promises we receive comfort, rest, and peace, whom you have witnessed working on your behalf in the past, and who will glorify Himself through your life. Rest on your faith.