Colossians 1:4
Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,
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1:1-8 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.Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus - To wit, by Epaphras, who had informed Paul of the steadfastness of their faith and love; Colossians 1:7-8. This does not prove that Paul had never been at Colossae, or that he did not establish the church there, for he uses a similar expression respecting the church at Ephesus Ephesians 1:15, of which he was undoubtedly the founder. The meaning is, that he had heard of their faith at that time, or of their perseverance in faith and love.

Which ye have to all the saints - In what way they had manifested this is not known. It would seem that Paul had been informed that this was a character of their piety, that they had remarkable love for all who bore the Christian name. Nothing could be more acceptable information respecting them to one who himself so ardently loved the church; and nothing could have furnished better evidence that they were influenced by the true spirit of religion; compare 1 John 3:14.

4. Since we heard—literally, "Having heard." The language implies that he had only heard of, and not seen, them (Col 2:1). Compare Ro 1:8, where like language is used of a Church which he had not at the time visited.

love … to all—the absent, as well as those present [Bengel].

He instanceth in principal graces, as the matter of his thanksgiving, beginning with faith, described and differenced from the special object of it, Christ Jesus, implying not a bare knowledge or assent, but a trust in him alone for salvation; so Romans 1:8. Understanding this saving grace with the consequent was wrought in them, as he heard it was in the Ephesians, and Philemon, it, was a cogent motive to engage them in solemn thankfulness to God: see on Ephesians 1:15, compared with Philemon 1:5. He joins love, or charity, to all the saints, with faith to our Saviour, because they are in effect inseparable, there being no real embracing of Christ without loving of him, and all his members for his sake, Galatians 5:6 2 Timothy 1:13: not as if believers were not to show love or charity to others, who are of the same nature, and so bear the image of God, for this Christ requires of them, Matthew 5:44,45; but by how much the nearer any are brought to God by sanctification, by so much the more a special love is to be showed to them, as fellow citizens, of the household of God, and the hosehold of faith, Romans 15:26, with Galatians 6:10 Ephesians 2:19.

Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus,.... This expresses the matter of their thankfulness, or what it was they gave thanks to God for, their faith in Christ; by which is not only meant their hearty assent to the whole doctrine of faith, concerning the person, offices, and grace of Christ, their soundness and steadfastness in it, and their sincere and constant profession of it; but the grace of faith in them, the operation of the Spirit of God in their souls, which had not Moses, nor any mere man, but Christ for its object; by which they looked unto him as a Saviour, went unto him as such, ventured on him, committed themselves unto him, leaned and relied upon him; that grace which comes from him, has him for its author and finisher, and returns unto him, and lives on him. This Paul and Timothy had heard of by their minister Epaphras; and it shows that they made no secret of it, did not keep it to themselves, but declared, confessed, and published it to others, as is the duty of all believers to do; and thanks being given for it to God, makes it a clear point that it was not of themselves, but was the gift of God, otherwise there would have been no need of thankfulness for it; as also, that it is a very eminent grace, and of great use and service to such who are possessed of it,

And of love which ye have to all the saints; this is another thing for which thanks are given to God. The object of this grace are "saints"; all men indeed are to be loved, and even our very enemies; and good is to be done to all, but especially to holy and good men, to the household of faith; and these are "all" to be loved and respected; nor is any respect or difference of persons to be made on account of country, or natural relation, as Jews or Gentiles, or of outward state and condition, as rich or poor, bond or free, or of greater or lesser gifts and grace, weak or strong believers, or of different sentiments in the lesser matters of religion. It denotes both the grace of love itself, which is a fruit of the Spirit implanted in regeneration, and is an evidence of the new birth, and always is where true faith in Christ is, for faith works by it; and also the effects of it, which lies not in bare words, in expressions of spiritual affection and friendship, but in deeds, by serving one another in love, by relieving in necessity, sympathizing in distress, praying with and for one another, and the like; all which these saints were famous for.

Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,
Colossians 1:4. Paul now introduces the grounds of his thankfulness, the good report he has heard as to the faith and love of the Colossians. He refers to it again (Colossians 1:9).—πίστιν ἐν Χ. ἐν may be equivalent to εἰς, but probably indicates “the sphere in which their faith moves rather than the object to which it is directed” (Lightf.). This faith rests upon Christ. πίστ. is wrongly taken by Ewald to mean “fidelity”.—πάντας, i.e., all Christians throughout the world, whose unity in the universal Church was a thought much in Paul’s mind at this time.

4. since we heard] More simply, having heard. He refers to the information given by Epaphras (Colossians 1:7), probably quite recently. On the question whether he had ever visited Colosssæ, see on Colossians 2:1 below, Introd., pp. 20, 21, and Appendix A. This verse gives no decisive evidence in the matter.

faith in Christ Jesus] Cp. Ephesians 1:15 for a closely parallel passage. “The preposition [‘in’] here … denotes the sphere in which their faith moves, rather than the object to which it is directed” (Lightfoot). But it is not easy to draw a clear distinction between “sphere” and “object” in this case. And surely Mark 1:15 (Greek) (cp. Romans 3:25; John 3:15; and, in the LXX., Psalms 77 :(Heb. and Eng. 78.) 22) proves the possibility of reference here to the Object of faith, on and in whom it reposes, as an anchor in the ground. On the other hand 2 Timothy 1:13 (quoted by Lightfoot) shews the possibility of explaining, “faith maintained by union with Christ.” But this more recondite meaning scarcely fits this context, where the parallelism of clauses seems to suggest the saints’ regard towards Christ first and then one another.

and of the love … saints] “This is His commandment, that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another” (1 John 3:23). Divine faith, in true and full exercise, issues by its nature in a life and work of love towards men, regarded as either actual (as here) or potential brethren of Him who is faith’s goal and rest.

all the saints] Doubtless not at Colossæ only, but everywhere. It was one of the earliest glories of the Gospel, illustrated everywhere in the N.T., to bind together in love a world-wide family. Cp. Colossians 3:11 below.—The words which ye have are probably in the true text.

Colossians 1:4. Πάντας, all) present and absent.

Verse 4. - Having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have (ἤν ἔχετε, Revised Text) toward all the saints (Ephesians 1:15, B.V.; Philemon 1:5, R.V.; 1 Thessalonians 4:9, 10; 1 John 3:23 2John 4 3John 3, 4). "Having heard "more immediately from Epaphras (vers. 8, 9). Note the characteristic recurrence of this word: he had heard of their faith and love, as they had heard before the word of truth (ver. 5); from the day they had heard they had borne fruit (ver. 6), and he, in return,from the day he heard of it, had not ceased to pray for them (ver. 9); see note on ver. 8; and comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:5 and 1 Thessalonians 2:2 with 1 Thessalonians 3:6 (Greek). "In Christ Jesus" is attached to "faith" (as to "brethren" in ver. 2) so closely as to form with it a single idea; to be "in Christ Jesus" is of the very essence of this faith and brotherhood. "Faith in Christ," "believe in Christ," in our English Bible, commonly represent a different Greek preposition, εἰς (literally, into or unto Christ); only in the pastoral Epistles and in Ephesians 1:15 - not in Galatians 3:26 (see Lightfoot) or Romans 3:25 (see Meyer or Beet) - do we find, as here, πίστις ἐν Ξριστῷ. In Christ faith rests, finding its abiding ground and element of life. In the Epistles of this period the Christian state appears chiefly as "life in Christ;" rather than, as in the earlier letters, as "salvation through Christ" (comp. e.g. Romans 5. and Colossians 2:9-15). The "love" of the Colossians evokes thanksgiving, as that which they have "toward all the saints;" for as the Church extended Christian love needed to be more catholic (ver. 6; Colossians 3:11), and Colossian error in particular tended to exclusiveness and caste feeling (see note on ver. 28). The iteration of "all" in this Epistle is remarkable. Colossians 1:4
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