“Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth”
Today’s verse comes after talking about the hope that is laid up for us in heaven and the word of the truth of the gospel. It talks about the Gospel coming to the saints and faithful brethren in Colosse as well as into all the world. Verse 6 of Colossians 1 indicates that this seed of the word of truth of the gospel was still bringing forth fruit in the lives of the believers up to the present day and had been bringing forth fruit in them since they knew the grace of God in truth.
Although there is a lot that could be talked about in this verse, the part I want to focus on is the last phrase where it says they “knew the grace of God in truth”. What does it mean to know the grace of God in truth? What is the grace of God? Scripture says in 1 Peter 5:12b “…exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.” Our standing as believers is in the true grace of God. We need to see that when Scripture specifically highlights the fact that something is true, it indicates that there is something false that comes under the same name but is not it at all.
Is there a false grace in our day that comes under the name of grace but is not actually grace at all? Yes, absolutely. Jude 1:4 reads: “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” This Scripture tells us that, even in the early days of the church, certain ungodly men crept into the church unawares and twisted the grace of God into a license to sin. In other words, they took the wonderful grace of God and distorted it into a divine excuse to live in an immoral way.
Paul comes against this perversion of the grace of God in a very strong way in Romans 6. He starts Romans 6 asking the question if we should continue in sin that grace may abound? This question is answered with what may be some of the strongest language in Scripture to condemn this idea: “God forbid.” The grace of God is NOT a license to sin; it actually is the divine enablement of God in Christ not to sin!
Not only are we as believers saved by grace through faith, we are also sanctified by grace through faith. We read in Titus 2:11-12: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” We see here from these verses that the grace of God actually teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. This is the opposite of a license to sin!
We are instructed in another place to grow in grace: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 3:18). Grace is like the green house of God, where we as believers grow in our relationship with Him. This is the reason that Paul said that fruit was being brought forth in the life of the believers at Colosse after they knew the grace of God in truth. There seems to be a direct connection between their knowing the grace of God and the fruit that was being born in their lives.
In 1 Corinthians 15:10 Paul writes: “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” Paul says here that it is by the Lord’s grace that he became what he was. Notice it does not say that by the grace of God he was able to stay the way he was; rather, he talks about how the grace of God formed him into who God wanted him to be. He also says that the grace of God laboured in him.
So what is the true grace of God? There are many different facets to God’s grace, and Scripture even says in Ephesians 2:7 that in the ages to come God will be showing us the exceeding riches of His grace, but perhaps a simple picture of grace is this: God’s working in man through Christ. God has worked in us through Christ to save us, God is working in us through Christ to sanctify us, and God will work in us through Christ to glorify us together with Him. This is the true grace of God.
We need to see that grace cannot be separated from the person of Jesus Christ because in John 1 we read that Jesus Christ was full of grace and truth, and that of HIS fullness have we all received and grace for grace (See John 1:14-16). Grace is not just a thing- grace is a Person and His name is Jesus! When that Person works in our hearts and lives, it is called grace. May we, like the church at Colosse, know the grace of God in truth and may it bring forth the fruit of God in our lives as a result.