"We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus
and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is
laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word
of the truth of the gospel" (Col. 1:3-5).
Paul gives thanks to God because of the hope which was laid up
in heaven for the saints. "Hope" (elpida) denotes a confident
expectation of receiving something in the future. A Christian's
hope of eternal life (Titus 1:2; 3:7) is confident because of God's
promises - not because of himself (Heb. 6:13-18).
But, if it (i.e., hope) is certain, why is it called hope? Paul
explains in Romans 8:24-25 that it is hope because it is not seen
- it has not been received.
But how can we be certain of receiving something that has not been
seen? Hebrews 11:1 says: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped
for, the evidence of things not seen." So, our hope of eternal life
is: hope because it has not been seen or received, and is confident
because of faith.
Paul told the Colossians that their hope was laid up for them in
heaven (Col. 1:5). Laid up (apokeimenn) denotes: laid away,
reserved, stored up. Nothing on earth illustrates a certain hope.
But, it is similar to a young child who has a certain expectation
of eating tomorrow. He has not received the next day's food, yet
he is confident that the food will be there to eat. And, it is similar
to reserving a hotel room with a credit card - the room is reserved
and awaiting the traveler; it cannot be given to anyone else and
cannot be canceled except by the one who has reserved the room.
The traveler has not seen the room, the traveler has not received
the room, but the traveler has a confident expectation of receiving
"Laid up" is also used of the crown of righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8),
death (Heb. 9:27), and subsequent judgment. There are two things
reserved and inescapable for each person - death and judgement.
For Christians, there is one other thing laid up - eternal life,
a crown of righteousness.
Jesus says: "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were
not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive
you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (Jn. 14:2-3).
Think about this: If you are a Christian, you have a mansion in
heaven laid up for you, reserved for you, and awaiting your arrival.
Metaphorically: Your mansion in heaven has your name on it; It cannot
be taken or occupied by anyone else. You are the only person that
can cancel your reservation - if you don't cancel it, you'll receive
it after your brief pilgrimage on earth.
Do you have an earnest expectation and hope (Phil. 1:20) of eternal
life? If not, nothing is keeping you from it but yourself. If you
do, then give thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers
of the inheritance of the saints in the light (Col. 1:12).