Colossians 1

** This epistle was sent because of some difficulties which

arose among the Colossians, probably from false teachers, in

consequence of which they sent to the apostle. The scope of the

epistle is to show, that all hope of man's redemption is founded

on Christ, in whom alone are all complete fulness, perfections,

and sufficiency. The Colossians are cautioned against the

devices of judaizing teachers, and also against the notions of

carnal wisdom, and human inventions and traditions, as not

consistent with full reliance on Christ. In the first two

chapters the apostle tells them what they must believe, and in

the two last what they must do; the doctrine of faith, and the

precepts of life for salvation.

* The apostle Paul salutes the Colossians, and blesses God for

their faith, love, and hope. (1-8) Prays for their fruitfulness

in spiritual knowledge. (9-14) Gives a glorious view of Christ.

(15-23) And sets out his own character, as the apostle of the

Gentiles. (24-29)

1-8 All true Christians are brethren one to another.

Faithfulness runs through every character and relation of the

Christian life. Faith, hope, and love, are the three principal

graces in the Christian life, and proper matter for prayer and

thanksgiving. The more we fix our hopes on the reward in the

other world, the more free shall we be in doing good with our

earthly treasure. It was treasured up for them, no enemy could

deprive them of it. The gospel is the word of truth, and we may

safely venture our souls upon it. And all who hear the word of

the gospel, ought to bring forth the fruit of the gospel, obey

it, and have their principles and lives formed according to it.

Worldly love arises, either from views of interest or from

likeness in manners; carnal love, from the appetite for

pleasure. To these, something corrupt, selfish, and base always

cleaves. But Christian love arises from the Holy Spirit, and is

full of holiness.
9-14 The apostle was constant in prayer, that the believers

might be filled with the knowledge of God's will, in all wisdom.

Good words will not do without good works. He who undertakes to

give strength to his people, is a God of power, and of glorious

power. The blessed Spirit is the author of this. In praying for

spiritual strength, we are not straitened, or confined in the

promises, and should not be so in our hopes and desires. The

grace of God in the hearts of believers is the power of God; and

there is glory in this power. The special use of this strength

was for sufferings. There is work to be done, even when we are

suffering. Amidst all their trials they gave thanks to the

Father of our Lord Jesus, whose special grace fitted them to

partake of the inheritance provided for the saints. To bring

about this change, those were made willing subjects of Christ,

who were slaves of Satan. All who are designed for heaven

hereafter, are prepared for heaven now. Those who have the

inheritance of sons, have the education of sons, and the

disposition of sons. By faith in Christ they enjoyed this

redemption, as the purchase of his atoning blood, whereby

forgiveness of sins, and all other spiritual blessings were

bestowed. Surely then we shall deem it a favour to be delivered

from Satan's kingdom and brought into that of Christ, knowing

that all trials will soon end, and that every believer will be

found among those who come out of great tribulation.
15-23 Christ in his human nature, is the visible discovery of

the invisible God, and he that hath seen Him hath seen the

Father. Let us adore these mysteries in humble faith, and behold

the glory of the Lord in Christ Jesus. He was born or begotten

before all the creation, before any creature was made; which is

the Scripture way of representing eternity, and by which the

eternity of God is represented to us. All things being created

by Him, were created for him; being made by his power, they were

made according to his pleasure, and for his praise and glory. He

not only created them all at first, but it is by the word of his

power that they are upheld. Christ as Mediator is the Head of

the body, the church; all grace and strength are from him; and

the church is his body. All fulness dwells in him; a fulness of

merit and righteousness, of strength and grace for us. God

showed his justice in requiring full satisfaction. This mode of

redeeming mankind by the death of Christ was most suitable. Here

is presented to our view the method of being reconciled. And

that, notwithstanding the hatred of sin on God's part, it

pleased God to reconcile fallen man to himself. If convinced

that we were enemies in our minds by wicked works, and that we

are now reconciled to God by the sacrifice and death of Christ

in our nature, we shall not attempt to explain away, nor yet

think fully to comprehend these mysteries; but we shall see the

glory of this plan of redemption, and rejoice in the hope set

before us. If this be so, that God's love is so great to us,

what shall we do now for God? Be frequent in prayer, and abound

in holy duties; and live no more to yourselves, but to Christ.

Christ died for us. But wherefore? That we should still live in

sin? No; but that we should die to sin, and live henceforth not

to ourselves, but to Him.
24-29 Both the sufferings of the Head and of the members are

called the sufferings of Christ, and make up, as it were, one

body of sufferings. But He suffered for the redemption of the

church; we suffer on other accounts; for we do but slightly

taste that cup of afflictions of which Christ first drank

deeply. A Christian may be said to fill up that which remains of

the sufferings of Christ, when he takes up his cross, and after

the pattern of Christ, bears patiently the afflictions God

allots to him. Let us be thankful that God has made known to us

mysteries hidden from ages and generations, and has showed the

riches of his glory among us. As Christ is preached among us,

let us seriously inquire, whether he dwells and reigns in us;

for this alone can warrant our assured hope of his glory. We

must be faithful to death, through all trials, that we may

receive the crown of life, and obtain the end of our faith, the

salvation of our souls.

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