Colossians 3:24
Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
3:18-25 The epistles most taken up in displaying the glory of the Divine grace, and magnifying the Lord Jesus, are the most particular in pressing the duties of the Christian life. We must never separate the privileges and duties of the gospel. Submission is the duty of wives. But it is submission, not to a severe lord or stern tyrant, but to her own husband, who is engaged to affectionate duty. And husbands must love their wives with tender and faithful affection. Dutiful children are the most likely to prosper. And parents must be tender, as well as children obedient. Servants are to do their duty, and obey their masters' commands, in all things consistent with duty to God their heavenly Master. They must be both just and diligent; without selfish designs, or hypocrisy and disguise. Those who fear God, will be just and faithful when from under their master's eye, because they know they are under the eye of God. And do all with diligence, not idly and slothfully; cheerfully, not discontented at the providence of God which put them in that relation. And for servants' encouragement, let them know, that in serving their masters according to the command of Christ, they serve Christ, and he will give them a glorious reward at last. But, on the other hand, he who doeth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done. God will punish the unjust, as well as reward the faithful servant; and the same if masters wrong their servants. For the righteous Judge of the earth will deal justly between master and servant. Both will stand upon a level at his tribunal. How happy would true religion make the world, if it every where prevailed, influenced every state of things, and every relation of life! But the profession of those persons who are regardless of duties, and give just cause for complaint to those they are connected with, deceives themselves, as well as brings reproach on the gospel.Servants, obey in all things ... - ; see the notes at Ephesians 6:5-8. 24. the reward of the inheritance—"Knowing that it is from the Lord (the ultimate source of reward), ye shall receive the compensation (or recompense, which will make ample amends for your having no earthly possession as slaves now) consisting of the inheritance" (a term excluding the notion of meriting it by works: it is all of grace, Ro 4:14; Ga 3:18).

for ye serve—The oldest manuscripts omit "for," then translate as Vulgate, "Serve ye the Lord Christ;" compare Col 3:23, "To the Lord and not unto men" (1Co 7:22, 23).

Knowing, being fully persuaded of this undoubted truth,

that of the Lord, who superintends all your services, (not for any merit of yours), Ephesians 6:8, the recompence which your Master in heaven hath purchased, Ephesians 1:14,18, shall be freely settled upon you whom he hath adopted into his family, Romans 8:17 Galatians 4:7 Ephesians 1:5; for in those duties you Christianly perform to masters of the same mould with yourselves, he really looks upon you as his own servants, {see Ephesians 6:6} yea, and free-men, 1 Corinthians 7:22; so that, as Onesimus, Philemon 1:10, ye may more cheerfully submit to your masters’ yoke, according to the command and for the sake of Christ, who reckons what you do upon that account as done to himself, Matthew 25:40, and will instate you in that eternal inheritance, to which neither you nor any mortal man had naturally any right at all.

Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance,.... This is said for the encouragement of Christian servants, who, though they may receive little or nothing from their earthly and carnal masters; yet they shall be used and treated as children by the Lord, and by whom they will be possessed of an eternal inheritance, after their work and labour is over: by "the reward of the inheritance" is meant the heavenly glory, called a reward, because the apostle is speaking to servants and therefore uses language agreeable to them; and who, though they may have no reward in this world, yet as there is a God that judgeth in the earth, there is verily one for them in the world to come: and though it is not given for working, yet it is given to those that do good, and continue in well doing; whose works follow, though they do not go before them; and is enjoyed after their work is over, as the servant receives his wages at evening and when he has done his work; though this will not be received as a reward of debt, but of grace; it cannot be of merit, as is clear from the nature of good works themselves, which are all due, to God, prior to the performance of them; and when done in the best manner, are no more than a man's duty, and are done not in his own strength, but by the grace of God; and in many things, yea in everything, he comes short of performing what is incumbent on him; and besides, there is no manner of proportion between: the best services of the saints, and eternal glory: to which may be added, that eternal life is the free gift of their heavenly Father to them, and is here called an inheritance, which never becomes the property of servants in a way of merit, but is the portion of children, from their Father's good pleasure. Wherefore the heavenly glory is such a reward as that it is an "inheritance"; or, as the Syriac version renders it, "in an inheritance"; it lies in an inheritance, an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, that fades not away, reserved in the heavens; and which is not got by industry, or obtained by the works of the law, nor bought with a price, but is a free bequest of God as a Father to his children; for an inheritance is peculiar to children, and this to the children of God, as these believing servants were; and which comes to them by and through the death of the testator; and it may be called an inheritance, because the heavenly glory is substantial, it is substance, a better and a more enduring substance than any inheritance in this world; and is a very plentiful possession and estate, it consists of all things, yea, God himself is the portion of his people, and they that are his children are heirs of God; there is not only a glory, but riches of glory, a plenty, a fulness of it in this inheritance; the way in which they come by it, is receiving it from Christ; "of the Lord ye shall receive it". It is in a way of receiving, and so by gift, as a man can receive nothing but what is given him; and as all grace is in a way of receiving, and therefore boasting in it is excluded, so glory is enjoyed in the same way, and from the same hands, even from Christ, the righteous Judge, that will give it; it is in him they obtain this inheritance, and are in him chosen and predestinated unto it; it is by his resurrection from the dead, and in consequence of it, that they through the power of his Spirit and grace are begotten unto it; it is his grace that makes them meet for it; and he has it in his hands for them; he is a feoffee in trust on their behalf, and is able to give it to them; and will at the last day introduce them into the full possession of it. Now these Christian servants "knowing" all this, having a lively hope of this inheritance, a full persuasion, and a firm faith of right unto it, and meetness for it, and having the Spirit of God as an earnest and pledge of it; the consideration of it must greatly tend to make them quiet and easy in their present servitude, and to encourage them, to the discharge of their duty with diligence, faithfulness, and cheerfulness: since they might assure themselves of the inheritance hereafter, how small soever their reward was now:

for ye serve the Lord Christ; who is a good master, and faithful to all his engagements and promises, all whose servants are respected by him, and honoured by his Father, and shall be for ever where he is.

Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the {p} reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

(p) Because you will have duly obeyed your masters, the time will come, that you will be changed from servants to sons, and you will know this for certain, which will be when you are made partakers of the heavenly inheritance.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Colossians 3:24. However their earthly master may reward their service, there is a Master who will give them a just recompense; although they cannot receive an earthly, He will give them a heavenly inheritance.—ἀπὸ Κυρίου: in Ephesians 6:8 παρὰ Κ. The absence of the article is noteworthy. It emphasises the position rather than identifies the Person of Him who gives the reward (cf. the anarthrous ἐν υἱῷ, Hebrews 1:1). Haupt thinks that there is no significance to be attached to its omission; but, as Lightfoot says, “it is studiously inserted in the context”.—ἀνταπόδοσιν τῆς κληρονομίας: the “just recompense consisting in the inheritance”. κλ. is a genitive of apposition.—δουλεύετε. This may be taken as an indicative (Lightf., Findl., Moule, Haupt) or as an imperative (Mey., Ell., Alf., Abb.). The indicative is defended on the ground that it is needed to explain who is meant by ἀπὸ Κυρίου (but this was surely obvious), and that the imperative seems to require ὡς τῷ Κ. But Lightfoot himself quotes Romans 12:11, where ὡς is absent. On the other hand the indicative gives a somewhat flat sense, and the imperative seems to yield a better connexion with Colossians 3:25. It is best then to take it as an imperative.

24. knowing] as a certainty of the Gospel. So Ephesians 6:8. For the Christian’s prospect of “reward” cp. Matthew 5:12; Matthew 6:1; Matthew 6:4; Matthew 16:27; Luke 6:35; Luke 14:14; Romans 2:6-10; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 10:35; Revelation 22:12; &c. The obedience of love is infallibly remembered by Him to whom it is rendered. “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21; Matthew 25:23), is His certain ultimate response to every true act of the will given up to Him. This, as presented in Scripture, is entirely harmonious with the sure doctrine of our justification for Christ’s Merit only, embraced by faith only (Art. xi). It is the recognition of love by love, of grace by the Giver.

receive] The Greek may be rendered, receive as your due. The reward, from one point of view mere grace and gift, is from another, because God has promised it, a debt.

the reward] The Greek implies an exact requital. See Lightfoot’s note. Even “the cup of cold water” (Matthew 10:42) has its remembrance and loving recompense.

of the inheritance] That is, the reward consists in the inheritance; is involved in the bright prospect of it.—For a somewhat similar phrase cp. Colossians 1:12 (and notes). But the reference here is, surely, to the eternal future. So 1 Peter 1:4, and Ephesians 1:14. That future is but the issue of the present, in which “Christ is in us, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). But the issue is so “far better” (Php 1:21) than its prelude and embryo that it is relatively a new thing in prospect.—Lightfoot remarks that, by a beautiful paradox, the slave is here also an heir, which by human law he could not be. He is God’s heir (Galatians 4:7) by Divine law. Elsewhere, in other connexions, “slave” and “heir” are contrasted: e.g. Galatians 4:1.

for] Probably the word is to be omitted. It is a good note to the sentence, so to speak, pointing the meaning: “ye shall receive your reward from the Master; for Christ is the Master, and He never fails in requital.”

ye serve the Lord Christ] We may render, Christ is the Master whose bondmen ye are. Cp. Ephesians 6:6.—The Greek may be rendered, “serve, &c.,” imperatively. But the context favours the indicative.

Colossians 3:24. Τῆς κληρονομίας, of the inheritance) Although you have no inheritance in the world, but are part of an inheritance passing from your Master to His children.—Χριστῷ, Christ) who rewards them that serve Him.—δουλεύετε, ye serve) while you thus serve.

Verse 24. - Knowing that from (the) Lord you will receive the just recompense of the inheritance (Ephesians 6:8; Romans 2:6-11; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 22:12; Psalm 62:12). "Knowing" (εἰδότες) - that of which one is aware, not merely learning or "getting to know" (γινώσκω): see both words in Ephesians 5:5 and John 14:7, Revised Text; also Romans 6:6 and 9; 1 John 5:20. "The absence of the definite article" before Κυρίου "is the more remarkable, because it is studiously inserted in the context" (Lightfoot). St. Paul virtually says, "There is a Master who will recompense you, if your earthly masters never do" (comp. Colossians 4:1). "Just" renders the ἀντὶ in ἀνταπόδοσιν (a word common in LXX), implying "equivalence" or "correspondence" (comp. ἀνταναπληρῶ in Colossians 1:24; also Romans 11:35; Romans 12:19; 1 Thessalonians 3:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:6; Luke 6:38; Luke 14:12, 14) - a reward in the case of each individual, and in each particular, answering to the service rendered to "the Lord" (comp. Matthew 25:14-30). The opposite truth is asserted in ver. 25; Ephesians 6:8 combines them both. The recompense of the faithful Christian slave is nothing less than "the inheritance" of God's children (Colossians 1:12; Ephesians 1:5, 11, 14; Ephesians 3:6; Ephesians 5:5; Romans 8:17; Galatians 3:29; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; 1 Corinthians 15:50; Titus 3:7; 1 Peter 1:4), which the apostle has so often under other terms assured to his readers (Colossians 1:5, 23, 27; Colossians 2:18; Colossians 3:4, 15). For a slave to be heir was "a paradox" (Lightfoot): see Galatians 4:1, 7; Romans 8:15-17. No form of praise could be more cheering and ennobling to the despised slave than this. "In Christ," Onesimus is "no longer as a slave, but a brother beloved" (Philemon 1:16), and if a brother, then a joint heir with his master Philemon in the heavenly inheritance (Colossians 3:11). Ye serve the Lord Christ (vers. 22, 25; Colossians 2:6; Ephesians 6:6; Romans 14:8, 9; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 7:22, 23; John 13:13); that is, Christ is the Lord whose bondmen ye are. "For" is probably a correct gloss, though a corrupt reading. Its insertion indicates that the sentence was read indicatively (Lightfoot, and R.V.); not imperatively ("serve the Lord Christ"), as Meyer, Alford, Ellicott, with the Vulgate, construe it. The verse amounts to this: "Work as for the Lord: he will repay you; you are his servants." Colossians 3:24Of the inheritance

Which consists or is in the inheritance. Compare the similar construction, Colossians 1:12. See Matthew 21:35-38, where the δοῦλος bond-servant and the κληρονόμος heir are contrasted; and Romans 8:15-17; Galatians 4:1-7.

For ye serve (γὰρ δουλεύετε)

Omit for. Some take the verb as imperative, serve ye; but the indicative is better as explaining from the Lord.

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