“We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,”
Verses 3-8 comprise one sentence. This sentence sets forth a threefold thanksgiving. Verses 3-5 give a reason for thanksgiving — linking a trio of graces in the Colossians: faith, love, hope. Verses 6-8 present the source for thanksgiving. Paul gave thanks for the Colossian faith, v3-4a; love; 4b; hope,v5; fruit, v6.
Throughout this passage, the impact of the gospel upon them is central. Wherever the gospel is preached, it will do the same thing. Life is in the seed, not in the sower. It is the gospel that saves, not the messenger of the gospel. Always the seed is good, but sometimes the ground may be poor. That will affect the harvest.
The first of the threefold thanksgiving is the Colossian’s faith, v4.
“We give thanks”
As is his custom, Paul gives thanks for those to whom he writes, 1:3-8. Paul did not give thanks for the Galatians or the Corinthians (2 Corinthians). If he can honestly thank God for the people to whom he writes, he always does so. As soon as the salutation is complete, he introduces what he thanks God about them (compare Rom. 1:8). He could not honestly thank God for the Galatians. Amazingly, he could thank God for the Corinthians (1 Cor 1:4).
This thanksgiving is a prayer for people Paul never saw. Paul had met two of their members, Epaphras and Philemon. Both may have been converts of Paul in other areas such as Ephesus. He never saw their face (Col 2:1), yet he thanked God for them. “Everything we heard about you, we heard second-handed.” We thank God for those who are born again because they are a miracle of God’s grace.
Thanksgiving ought to be a part of every prayer.
Whatever the matter of our rejoicing ought to be the matter of our thanksgiving, how much time do you spend giving thanks for other Christians? Are you thankful for the people who are a blessing to your Christian life? Do you thank God for the person who led you to Christ or the person who took an interest in you and helped you through the hard places even though they may be miles away?