Colossians 1** This epistle was sent because of some difficulties whicharose among the Colossians, probably from false teachers, inconsequence of which they sent to the apostle. The scope of theepistle is to show, that all hope of man's redemption is foundedon Christ, in whom alone are all complete fulness, perfections,and sufficiency. The Colossians are cautioned against thedevices of judaizing teachers, and also against the notions ofcarnal wisdom, and human inventions and traditions, as notconsistent with full reliance on Christ. In the first twochapters the apostle tells them what they must believe, and inthe two last what they must do; the doctrine of faith, and theprecepts of life for salvation. * The apostle Paul salutes the Colossians, and blesses God fortheir faith, love, and hope. (1-8) Prays for their fruitfulnessin spiritual knowledge. (9-14) Gives a glorious view of Christ.(15-23) And sets out his own character, as the apostle of theGentiles. (24-29)1-8 All true Christians are brethren one to another.Faithfulness runs through every character and relation of theChristian life. Faith, hope, and love, are the three principalgraces in the Christian life, and proper matter for prayer andthanksgiving. The more we fix our hopes on the reward in theother world, the more free shall we be in doing good with ourearthly treasure. It was treasured up for them, no enemy coulddeprive them of it. The gospel is the word of truth, and we maysafely venture our souls upon it. And all who hear the word ofthe gospel, ought to bring forth the fruit of the gospel, obeyit, and have their principles and lives formed according to it.Worldly love arises, either from views of interest or fromlikeness in manners; carnal love, from the appetite forpleasure. To these, something corrupt, selfish, and base alwayscleaves. But Christian love arises from the Holy Spirit, and isfull of holiness. 9-14 The apostle was constant in prayer, that the believersmight be filled with the knowledge of God's will, in all wisdom.Good words will not do without good works. He who undertakes togive strength to his people, is a God of power, and of gloriouspower. The blessed Spirit is the author of this. In praying forspiritual strength, we are not straitened, or confined in thepromises, and should not be so in our hopes and desires. Thegrace of God in the hearts of believers is the power of God; andthere is glory in this power. The special use of this strengthwas for sufferings. There is work to be done, even when we aresuffering. Amidst all their trials they gave thanks to theFather of our Lord Jesus, whose special grace fitted them topartake of the inheritance provided for the saints. To bringabout this change, those were made willing subjects of Christ,who were slaves of Satan. All who are designed for heavenhereafter, are prepared for heaven now. Those who have theinheritance of sons, have the education of sons, and thedisposition of sons. By faith in Christ they enjoyed thisredemption, as the purchase of his atoning blood, wherebyforgiveness of sins, and all other spiritual blessings werebestowed. Surely then we shall deem it a favour to be deliveredfrom Satan's kingdom and brought into that of Christ, knowingthat all trials will soon end, and that every believer will befound among those who come out of great tribulation. 15-23 Christ in his human nature, is the visible discovery ofthe invisible God, and he that hath seen Him hath seen theFather. Let us adore these mysteries in humble faith, and beholdthe glory of the Lord in Christ Jesus. He was born or begottenbefore all the creation, before any creature was made; which isthe Scripture way of representing eternity, and by which theeternity of God is represented to us. All things being createdby Him, were created for him; being made by his power, they weremade according to his pleasure, and for his praise and glory. Henot only created them all at first, but it is by the word of hispower that they are upheld. Christ as Mediator is the Head ofthe body, the church; all grace and strength are from him; andthe church is his body. All fulness dwells in him; a fulness ofmerit and righteousness, of strength and grace for us. Godshowed his justice in requiring full satisfaction. This mode ofredeeming mankind by the death of Christ was most suitable. Hereis presented to our view the method of being reconciled. Andthat, notwithstanding the hatred of sin on God's part, itpleased God to reconcile fallen man to himself. If convincedthat we were enemies in our minds by wicked works, and that weare now reconciled to God by the sacrifice and death of Christin our nature, we shall not attempt to explain away, nor yetthink fully to comprehend these mysteries; but we shall see theglory of this plan of redemption, and rejoice in the hope setbefore 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 aboundin holy duties; and live no more to yourselves, but to Christ.Christ died for us. But wherefore? That we should still live insin? No; but that we should die to sin, and live henceforth notto ourselves, but to Him. 24-29 Both the sufferings of the Head and of the members arecalled the sufferings of Christ, and make up, as it were, onebody of sufferings. But He suffered for the redemption of thechurch; we suffer on other accounts; for we do but slightlytaste that cup of afflictions of which Christ first drankdeeply. A Christian may be said to fill up that which remains ofthe sufferings of Christ, when he takes up his cross, and afterthe pattern of Christ, bears patiently the afflictions Godallots to him. Let us be thankful that God has made known to usmysteries hidden from ages and generations, and has showed theriches 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. Wemust be faithful to death, through all trials, that we mayreceive the crown of life, and obtain the end of our faith, thesalvation of our souls.
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