Colossians 3:25
But he that does wrong shall receive for the wrong which he has done: and there is no respect of persons.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) He that doeth wrong is clearly here the master (see Ephesians 6:9), though, of course, the phrase cannot be limited to him.

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. 25. But—The oldest manuscripts read, "for," which accords with "serve ye," &c. (Col 3:24), the oldest reading: the for here gives a motive for obeying the precept. He addresses the slaves: Serve ye the Lord Christ, and leave your wrongs in His hands to put to rights: (translate), "For he that doeth wrong shall receive back the wrong which he hath done (by just retribution in kind), and there is no respect of persons" with the Great Judge in the day of the Lord. He favors the master no more than the slave (Re 6:15). But he that doeth wrong; but if the reward will not engage to a right discharge of these relative duties, the injurious person,

whether he be bond or free, Ephesians 6:8, an inferior servant or a domineering master, who doth violate the rules of right, agreeing with the law natural and eternal,

shall receive for the wrong which he hath done; shall have the just recompence of that injury, whereby he wrongs his correlate; the penalty apportioned to his fault, Romans 2:6 2 Corinthians 5:10 2 Peter 2:13.

And there is no respect of persons; from the impartiality of Divine justice, there is no respect of persons with God, Romans 2:11, or with Christ, in the place parallel to this, Ephesians 6:9, who is so righteous a Judge that he is not swayed by the outward circumstances and qualifications of men, whether potent or poor, Leviticus 19:15 Job 34:19: he seeth not as man seeth, he looketh not on the outward appearance, but on the heart, 1 Samuel 16:7: in the distribution of justice, he will put no difference between the mightiest monarch and the most enslaved peasant; the purloining servant, and oppressing master shall certainly receive answerable to their doings from his impartial hand: the mean one who is at present abused without relief, and the great one who doth tyrannize without control, shall one day have right, and be reckoned with by the righteous Judge, 2 Timothy 4:8, who will show to all the world that he will honour those that honour him, and lightly esteem those that despise him, 1 Samuel 2:30, and that he is the avenger of all those that are wronged, 1 Thessalonians 4:6 2 Thessalonians 1:6. But he that doth wrong,.... Which may be understood, both of servants that do wrong to their masters through sloth and idleness, neglecting their business, embezzling their masters' goods, and defrauding them of their substance; and of masters that injure their servants by withholding from them proper food, and raiment; by cheating them of their wages, either giving them none at all, or too little, or detaining them too long, and by giving them bad language, and hard blows, and such like severe usage:

shall receive for the wrong which he hath done; either in this world, or in the other; God will avenge all such injuries, sooner or later; so that these words may be considered either as said with a view to deter servants from evil practices, or to comfort them under the maltreatment they may meet with from cruel masters:

and there is no respect of persons. The Vulgate Latin and Arabic Versions add, "with God"; which undoubtedly is the sense; he regards not the rich more than the poor; he makes no difference between bond and free, the servant and the master; he will not take the part of the one, because he is a master, nor neglect, the other, because he is a servant, but will do that which is just and right with regard to them both; See Gill on Ephesians 6:9.

{15} But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

(15) He requires of masters, that being mindful how they themselves also will render an account before that heavenly Lord and Master, who will avenge wrongful deeds without any respect of masters or servants, they show themselves just and upright with fairness to their servants.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Colossians 3:25. Ground of encouragement (γάρ, see the critical remarks) to fulfil the precept τῷ κυρ. Χ. δουλεύετε: for he who does wrong shall carry off (the penal recompense of) what wrong he has done,—a locus communis, of which the slaves were to make the application, that the unjust treatment which they experienced from their masters would not go unpunished; hence they could not but feel themselves the more encouraged to be in their relation of servitude slaves of no other than Christ, and to permit no unjust treatment to make them deviate from that principle. Paul therefore adds for their further encouragement:[166] καὶ οὐκ ἔστι προσωποληψία, and there is no partiality, of which likewise general proposition the intended application is, that in that requital the impartial Judge (Christ, comp. Colossians 3:24) will not favour the masters, and will not injure the slaves, comp. Ephesians 6:9. The correct view is held substantially by Theodoret, Beza, Calvin, Estius, Zachariae, Ewald, and others. Others have understood ὁ ἀδικῶν as referring to the slave who violates his duty, in which case ἀδικεῖν is taken either in the strict sense of the trespass of him who intentionally injures his master (Hofmann, comp. Philemon 1:18), or loosely and generally in the sense of doing wrong, comp. Revelation 22:11 (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Bengel, Heinrichs, Storr, Flatt, Steiger, and others). But against this view the κ. οὐκ ἔστι προσωπολ. may be decisively urged, which assumes that the subject to be punished is higher, of superior rank; for the idea which has been imported into the passage is purely fanciful: “Tenues saepe putant, sibi propter tenuitatem ipsorum esse parcendum; id negatur,” Bengel, in connection with which Theophylact appeals to Leviticus 19:15. And if on account of οὐκ ἔστι προσωπολ. the unjust masters must be taken as meant by ὁ αδικῶν in the application of the sentence, the reference to both parties, to the masters and the slaves (Erasmus, Grotius, and others, including Bähr, Huther, Baumgarten-Crusius, and Bleek, following Jerome and Pelagius), is thereby excluded, since προσωπολ. is appropriate only to the masters.

κομίσεται] shall carry off for himself (sibi), refers to the Messianic judgment, and ἠδίκησε to that which he, who is now ἀδικῶν (present), has (shall have) then done. On the expression κομίζεσθαι κ.τ.λ., used to express the idea of a recompense equivalent to the deed in respect of its guilt, comp. Ephesians 6:8, and on 2 Corinthians 5:10.

Respecting προσωποληψία, see on Galatians 2:6.

[166] Hofmann finds it incredible that Paul should have closed the section referring to the slaves with a proposition couched in such general terms as ver. 25, which applies not to the slaves, but to the masters. This, however, is an erroneous view. For in vv. 22–24 the apostle has instructed the slaves regarding their active bearing in service, and he is now, in the general proposition of ver. 25, suggesting for their reflection and deliberate consideration the proper soothing and elevating point of view regarding their passive bearing in service also. Thus ver. 25 also applies to the slaves, and forms merely the transition to the precept for the masters in Colossians 4:1. This applies also in opposition to the doubts expressed by Holtzmann, p. 44 f.Colossians 3:25. This verse provides the reason (γὰρ) for δουλεύετε. It is disputed whether ὁ ἀδ. means the master who treats his slave unjustly, or the slave who by his idleness wrongs his master. To include both (Lightf., Findl., Ol.) is highly questionable, not only because a double reference is on principle to be avoided in exegesis, but because the connexion with δουλ. implies that one side of the relation only is being dealt with. It is commonly thought that the verse is an encouragement to the slave, based on the assurance that the master who ill treats him will receive his recompense in due course. In favour of this οὐκ ἔστιν προσωπ. is urged, since it implies that they are in a social position which might influence earthly courts, but cannot mitigate the judgment of God. But while a Christian writer could dissuade from vengeance by the thought that vengeance belonged to God alone, it is not credible that Paul should console the slave or encourage him in his duty by the thought that for every wrong he received his master would have to suffer. And, as Haupt says, we should have expected ὑμᾶς after ἀδικῶν and δὲ instead of γὰρ. There is also a presumption in favour of an exhortation to the slave here. If it referred to the masters it would have come more naturally after Colossians 4:1. Nor does προσωπ. necessarily imply that the wrongdoer is socially more highly placed. It equally well applies to favouritism that might be expected from God on the ground of religious position. So we should interpret the verse (with Weiss and Haupt) as a warning to the Christian slave not to presume on his Christianity, so as to think that God will overlook his misdeeds or idleness.25. But he that doeth wrong] The spiritual emancipation of the slave writes the law of duty on his heart.—The case of Onesimus was surely in the Apostle’s mind throughout this passage.

shall receive] from the Divine Master and Judge; the next words, with their parallel in Ephesians, fix the reference. The Gospel, the great charter of liberty for man, always refuses him licence, even where he is the victim of oppression. See Introd. to the Ep. to Philemon, p. 158.

no respect of persons] “with the Master who is in heaven” (Ephesians 6:9).—See Exodus 23:3; Exodus 23:6, for a striking example of Scriptural equity: “thou shalt not countenance a poor man in his cause”; “thou shall not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause.” Here and in Ephesians 6:9 we have identically the same principle, the impartiality of God, applied alike to the conscience of the slave and to the conscience of his owner.Colossians 3:25. Ἀδικῶν, he that doeth wrong) In actual deed and from the heart.—οὐκ ἔστι προσωποληψία, there is no respect of persons) Men of low rank and poor circumstances often think that they should be spared on account of their humble condition. That is denied.

—————Verse 25. - For he that doeth wrong shall receive again that he did wrong; and there is no respect of persons (Ephesians 6:8, 9; Philippians 1:28; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-7; 1 Peter 1:17; Romans 2:11; Galatians 2:6). "For" is replaced by "but" in the same inferior copies which insert it in the last sentence. Here we have the ether side of the recompense promised in ver. 24 a, to which the explanatory "for" points back. The impartial justice which avenges every wrong guarantees the reward of the faithful servant of Christ. So the Old Testament saints rightly argued (Psalm 37:9-11; Psalm 58:10, 11; Psalm 64:7-10) that the punishment of the evil doer affords hope to the righteous man. This warning is quite general in its terms, and applies alike to the unfaithful servant and to the unjust master (comp. Ephesians 6:8). At the judgment seat of Christ there will be no favouritism: all ranks and orders of men will stand on precisely the same footing (Colossians 3:11). The word ἀδικέω, twice employed here, denotes a legal wrong or injury (1 Corinthians 6:7, 8); e.g. the conduct of Onesimus towards Philemon (ver. 18). The verb "receive" (κομίζομαι, carry off, gain; Ephesians 6:8; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Peter 5:4; Matthew 25:27) looks more to the receiver, whereas ἀπολήμψεσθε ἀπό (ver. 24) points to the giver. Προσωπολημψία (literally, accepting of the face) is a pure Hebraism, found in St. James twice, and four times in St. Paul. The apostle turns from the slave to address his master. Ch. 4:1. - Ye lords, show just dealing and fairness to your servants [bondmen] (Ephesians 6:8, 9; Matthew 18:23-35; Luke 6:31). The verb "show" (παρέχεσθε, afford, render) is middle in voice, and, as in Luke 7:4 and Titus 2:7, implies spontaneity - "show on your part," "of yourselves." Τὸ δίκαιον ("the just"), a concrete expression, denotes the justice of the master's dealing (comp. τὸ χρηστόν in Romans 2:4, "the kind dealing of God"). Τὴν ἰσότητα gives the principle by which he is to be guided, that of equity, fairness (so Alford, Ellicott, Lightfoot). "Equity is the mother of Justice" (Philo, 'On the Creation of Magistrates,' § 14; see other illustrations in Lightfoot). Meyer contends for the stricter sense, "equality" (2 Corinthians 8:13, 14) - i.e. of Church status and brotherhood (Philemon 1:16; Colossians 3:11). But the context suggests no such special reference; it deals with the family and social relationship of master and servant "Equity" is a well-established sense of the Greek word. The law of equity bearing on all human relations Christ has laid down in Luke 6:31. Here is the germinal principle of the abolition of slavery. Moral equity, as realized by the Christian consciousness, was sure in course of time to bring about legal equality. Knowing that ye also have a Lord in heaven (Colossians 2:6; Ephesians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 7:22; Philippians 2:11; Romans 14:9; Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16). (On "knowing," see ver. 24 a.) "Ye also," for Christ is "both their Lord and yours" (Ephesians 6:9, Revised Text). The lordship of Christ dominates the whole Epistle (Colossians 1:15, 18; Colossians 2:6, 10, 19, etc.). The assertion that the proud master who deemed his fellow man his chattel is himself a mere slave of Christ, sets Christ's authority in a vivid and striking light. This consideration makes the Christian master apprehensive as to his treatment of his dependents. He is "in heaven" (Colossians 3:1; Ephesians 1:21; Ephesians 6:9; Ephesians 4:10; Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Acts 3:21; John 3:13; John 8:23; Hebrews 9:24), the seat of Divine authority and glory, whence he shall soon return to judgment (comp. Psalm 76:8; Romans 1:18).



He that doeth wrong (ὁ ἀδικῶν)

Compare Plm 1:18. The reference is primarily to the slave; but the following clause extends it to the master. If the slave do wrong, he shall be punished; but the master who does wrong will not be excused, for there is no respect of persons. Tychicus, who carried this letter to Colossae, carried at the same time the letter to Philemon, and escorted Onesimns to his master.

Shall receive (κομίσεται)

See on 1 Peter 1:8. Compare Ephesians 6:8.

Respect of persons

See on James 2:1. In the Old Testament it has, more commonly, a good sense, of kindly reception, favorable regard. In the New Testament always a bad sense, which came to it through the meaning of mask which attached to πρόσωπον face.

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