Colossians 1:19
For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him,
Sermons
All Fulness in ChristCharles Haddon Spurgeon Colossians 1:19
The Fulness of the Godhead in Jesus ChristT. Croskery Colossians 1:19
Prayer Leading Up to the Person of ChristR. Finlayson Colossians 1:9-23
Christ FirstProfessor Reuss.Colossians 1:14-20
Forgiveness and Remission of SinsJ. Morison, D. D.Colossians 1:14-20
Jesus Christ the End of the CreationC. P. Jennings.Colossians 1:14-20
Pardon, not Justice, WantedColossians 1:14-20
Plan of RedemptionChristmas Evans.Colossians 1:14-20
RedemptionT. Guthrie, D. D.Colossians 1:14-20
Redemption Atonement for and Remission of SinT. Guthrie, D. D.Colossians 1:14-20
Redemption God's Forgiveness as King and FatherG. Calthrop, M. A.Colossians 1:14-20
Redemption Incomplete Until Accepted by Faith in ChristP. Bayne, B. D.Colossians 1:14-20
Redemption Partial and CompleteBishop Davenant.Colossians 1:14-20
The Deity of ChristB. W. Noel, M. A.Colossians 1:14-20
The Greatness of RedemptionP. Bayne, B. D.Colossians 1:14-20
The Value of PardonH. W. Taylor.Colossians 1:14-20
The Witness of Creation to the GospelJ. O. Dykes, D. D.Colossians 1:14-20
We have Redemption Through His BloodColossians 1:14-20
The Dignity of ChristA. J. F. Behrends, D. D.Colossians 1:15-19
The Divine Pre-Eminence of ChristU. R. Thomas.Colossians 1:15-19
The Glory of the SonA. Maclaren, D. D.Colossians 1:15-19
The Person of ChristT. Watson, B. A.Colossians 1:15-19
The Glories of King JesusR.M. Edgar Colossians 1:15-20
Christ All in AllU.R. Thomas Colossians 1:15-29
The Supremacy of Christ in the Moral UniverseE.S. Prout Colossians 1:18-20
Fulness of Christ Cannot be SupplementedC. H. Spurgeon.Colossians 1:19-22
Fulness of Grace in ChristBishop Davenant.Colossians 1:19-22
No Limit to the Fulness in ChristT. Guthrie, D. D.Colossians 1:19-22
Peace by the Blood of ChristC. H. Spurgeon.Colossians 1:19-22
Peace Through the Blood of the CrossJ. Morison, D. D.Colossians 1:19-22
ReconciliationJ. Donne, D. D.Colossians 1:19-22
Reconciliation by ChristF.W. Robertson, M.A.Colossians 1:19-22
The AtonementW. M. Taylor, D. D.Colossians 1:19-22
The FulnessJ. Morison, D. D., T. Guthrie, D. D.Colossians 1:19-22
The Fulness of ChristCongregational RemembrancerColossians 1:19-22
The Fulness of ChristH. Brooke.Colossians 1:19-22
The Fulness of Christ the Treasury of the SaintsC. H. Spurgeon.Colossians 1:19-22
The Nature and Issues of ReconciliationJ. Spence, D. D.Colossians 1:19-22
The Personal Blessings of ReconciliationG. Barlow.Colossians 1:19-22
The ReconcilerT. Guthrie, D. DColossians 1:19-22
The Reconciling SonA. Maclaren, D. D.Colossians 1:19-22
The Reconciling Work of the Great MediatorG. Barlow.Colossians 1:19-22
For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell. The apostle thus explains the headship alike of the Church and of the universe, for he says the indwelling of Deity was the ground of both.

I. THE NATURE OF THIS FULNESS.

1. It is not the mere manifestation of Godhead.

2. It is Godhead itself in the totality of its powers and attributes. It is "the complete fulness and exhaustless perfection of the Divine essence." It is elsewhere described: "In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9) Christ is indeed "God manifest in the flesh" (1 Timothy 3:16). The Jedaeo-Gnostics taught that the fulness of the Godhead was distributed or dispensed among several spiritual agencies - "thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers" - so as to introduce grades of angelic mediators between God and man. The apostle declares that the fulness of the Godhead rests, not in them, but in Christ as the Word of God. Thus he is no mere emanation from the Divine Being.

II. THERE IS A PERMANENTLY INDWELLING FULNESS IN HIM. "That in him all the fulness should have its permanent abode." This is the force of the original word, which is very suggestive in the light of later Gnostic heresies. The false teachers held that the fulness of the Godhead as dispersed among spiritual agencies was partial like a blurred image, and also temporary. The apostle teaches:

1. That the totality of Divine Towers abides in Christ.

2. That it abides in him permanently and remains for ever, not coming and going like a transient phenomenon. Therefore we have an inexhaustible supply for all the needs of the Church.

III. THE PRECIOUSNESS OF THIS INDWELLING FULNESS TO US.

1. It was of the Father's "good pleasure" that it should abide in his incarnate Son for the welfare of the Church.

2. We are to receive "of his fulness and grace for grace." (John 1:16.) We are to grow "unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13). The standard is nothing short of the fulness of Christ.

3. The Church is his very fulness - "the fulness of him who filleth all in all," because his fulness is communicated to her (Ephesians 1:23).

IV. LESSONS TO BE DRAWS FROM THIS TRUTH.

1. Great is the mystery of godliness. (1 Timothy 3:16.)

2. Great is the comfort of the believer in virtue of this infinite fulness. There is fulness of wisdom to keep us from error, fulness of grace to subdue our sin, fulness of joy to keep us from despair, fulness of mercy and pity to succour us in our distresses. "Therefore let no man take thy crown" (Revelation 3:11); "Cast not away your confidence" (Hebrews 10:35).

3. Great is the security of the believer. It is a permanent fulness. - T. C.







For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell.
I. As before we have CHRIST IN RELATION TO GOD.

1. In the use of the term "fulness," which was a very important term in Gnostic speculations, there is a reference to some of the heretical teachers' expressions. What fulness? (Colossians 2:9). The abundance or totality of the Divine attributes. We have no need to look to nature for fragmentary revelations of God's character — that He has fully and finally declared in His Son.

2. "Dwell" implies permanent abode, chosen, perhaps, to oppose the view that the union of the Divine and human in Christ was but temporary.

3. This is the result of the Father's good pleasure. The Father determined the work of the Son, and delighted in it.

II. Again, as before, we have CHRIST AND THE UNIVERSE, Of which He is not only the Maker, Sustainer, and Lord, but through the blood of the Cross reconciles all things to Himself. Probably the false teachers had dreams of reconciling agents. Paul lifts up in opposition the one Sovereign Mediator whose Cross is the bond of peace for the universe.

1. Observe the distinct reference of these words to the former clauses. "Through Him" was creation; "through Him" is reconciliation. "All things" were made, sustained by, and subordinated to Him; the same "all things" are reconciled. A significant change in the order is noticeable. "In the heavens and upon the earth" the order of creation; but in reconciliation the order is reversed.

2. The correspondence shows that the reconciliation affects not only rational and responsible creatures, but "things." The width of reconciliation is the same as that of the creation. Then these words refer mainly to the restitution of the material universe to its primal obedience, and represent Christ the Creator removing by His Cross the shadow that has passed over nature by reason of sin.

1. Man's sin has made the physical world "subject to vanity." Man by sin has compelled dead matter to be his instrument in acts of rebellion against God. He has polluted the world by sin, and laid unnumbered woes on the living creatures. This evil shall be done away by the reconciling power of the blood of the Cross. The universe is one because the Cross pierces its heights and depths.

2. The reference to things in heaven may also be occasioned by the dreams of the heretical teachers. As to reconciliation proper among spiritual beings in that realm, there can be no question of it. There is no enmity among angels. Still, if the reference be to them, then we know that to the principalities and powers in heavenly places the Cross has been the teacher of unlearned depths in the Divine nature and purposes, the knowledge of which has drawn them nearer to the heart of God and made their union with Him more blessed and close.

3. Sublime and great beyond all our dreams shall be the issue. Certain as the throne of God is it that His purposes shall be accomplished. The great sight of the Seer of Patmos is the best commentary on our text (Revelation 5:9-13).

III. CHRIST AND HIS RECONCILING WORK IN THE CHURCH. We have still the parallel kept up. As in verse 18 He was representing as giving life to the Church in a higher fashion than to the universe, so, with a similar heightening of the meaning of reconciliation, He is here set forth as its giver to the Church.

1. Observe the solemn description of men before it. "Alienated," not "aliens," but having become so. The seat of the enmity is in that inner man which thinks and wills, and its sphere of manifestation is "in evil works" which are religiously acts of hostility to God because morally bad. This is thought nowadays a too harsh description. But the charge is not that of conscious, active hostility, but of practical want of affection as manifested by habitual disobedience or inattention to God's wishes and by indifference and separation from Him in heart and mind.

2. Here as uniformly God Himself is the Reconciler, it is we who are reconciled. The Divine patience loves on through all our enmity, and though perfect love meeting human sin must ever become wrath, it never becomes hatred.

3. The means of reconcilition.(1) "The body," etc., an exuberance of language to correct, perhaps, the error of that our Lord's body was only a phantasm, or to guard against the risk of confounding it with "His body the Church," or as showing how full His mind was of the overwhelming wonder of the fact.(2) But the Incarnation is not the whole gospel; "through death" Christ's death has so met the requirements of the Divine law, that Divine love can come freely forth and forgive sinful men.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. THE UNIQUE QUALIFICATION OF THE GREAT MEDIATOR.

1. In Him all fulness dwells.

2. It is the good pleasure of the Father that this fulness should reside in the Son.

II. THE RECONCILING WORK OF THE GREAT MEDIATOR.

1. The extent of the reconciliation.

(1)Sinful creatures on earth are reconciled to God in Christ.

(2)Sinful and sinless creatures are reconciled.

(3)Sinless and unfallen creatures are brought nearer to God in Christ.

III. THE MEANS BY WHICH THE RECONCILIATION IS EFFECTED. Lessons: —

1. The great Mediator has every qualification for His stupendous work.

2. The reconciliation of a disorganized universe is beyond the power of any subordinate agent.

3. Rebellious man can be restored to peace with God only as he yields himself up to the great Mediator.

(G. Barlow.)

I. IN THE PERSON THAT REDEEMS US WE FIND FULNESS.

1. And there had need be so.(1) He found our measure of sin full towards God. When a river swells it will find out all the channels and overflow the whole field; so sin hath found an issue at the ear, eye, tongue, hands, feet, and so overflows all.(2) God's measure of anger was full too.(3) Then it pleased the Father that there should be another fulness to overflow these.

2. This is" all fulness," and is only in Christ. Elijah had a great portion of the Spirit; Elisha sees that that will not serve Him, and so asks a double portion; but still but portions. Stephen is full of faith, a blessed fulness where there is no room for doubt; Dorcas is full of good works, a fulness above faith; Mary is full of grace, which is a fulness above both; but yet not "all fulness." I shall be as full as Paul in heaven, i.e., have as full a vessel, but not so full a cellar. Christ only hath an infinite content and capacity, and so an infinite fulness.

3. But was Christ God before, and is there a supplementary fulness? Yes. To make Him a competent person to redeem man something was to be added to Christ though He were God; wherein we see the incomprehensibleness of man's sin, that even to God Himself there was required something else than God before we could be redeemed. Perfect God, there is the fulness of the Redeemer's dignity; perfect man, there is the fulness of His capacity to suffer and pay our debt. This was a strange fulness, for it was a fulness of emptiness, all humiliation and exinanition by His obedience unto death.

4. How came Christ by all this fulness? "It pleased the Father."

II. THE PACIFICATION. It is much that God would admit any peace; more that for peace He should require blood; more still that it should be the blood of Him who was injured; most of all that is should be the blood of the Cross, i.e., death.

1. Then there was a heavy war before; for the Lord of Hosts was our enemy; and what can all our musters come to when He is against us?

2. But what is the peace, and how are we included in it? A man must not think himself included in it because he feels no effects of this war. Though there be no blow stricken, the war remains in the time of truce. But hero is no truce. All this while that thou enjoyest this imaginary security the enemy undermines thee, and will blow thee up at last more irrevocably than if he had battered thee with outward calamities all the time. But in this text there is true peace, and one already made, and made by Him who lacked nothing for the making of it.

3. Is effusion of blood the way of peace? That may make them from whom it is drawn glad of peace. But here mercy and truth are met together. God would be true to His own justice and be merciful to us. Justice required blood, for without it is no remission. Under the law it was blood of bulls and goats; here it is His blood. "Greater love," etc. (John 15:13); but He who said so laid down His life shamefully and painfully for His enemies.

III. THE APPLICATION THEREOF TO ALL TO WHOM THAT RECONCILIATION APPERTAINS. All this was done, and yet the apostle prays us to be reconciled to God. The general peace was made by Christ's death, as a general pardon is given at the King's coming; we have to accept it.

1. There is a reconciliation of things in heaven.

(1)The saints, who reached forth the hand of faith to lay hold of Christ before He came.

(2)Angels, who were confirmed in perfect holiness and blessedness.

2. Things on earth.

(1)The creature who by virtue of it shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption.

(2)Men.

3. But the most proper and literal meaning is that all things in heaven and earth be reconciled to God; i.e., His glory, to a fitter disposition to glorify Him, by being reconciled to one another in Christ; that in Him, as Head of the Church, they in heaven and we on earth be united together as one body in the communion of saints (Ephesians 1:10).

4. Here there is still reconciliation to be made, not only toward one another on the bond of charity, but on ourselves. In ourselves we find things in heaven and on earth to reconcile. There is heavenly zeal to be reconciled to discretion; heavenly purity to one another's infirmities; heavenly liberty to a care for the promotion of scandal. Till the flesh and spirit be reconciled this reconciliation is not accomplished; but both are, in Christ, when in all the faculties of soul and body we glorify Him.

(J. Donne, D. D.)

I. A PARTICULAR FULNESS dwelt in Christ. The definitive article "the" has reference not to fulness in general. It would not be to the honour of Jesus to have all fulness whatsoever. We read of some whose cups and platters were full of extortion and excess; of Elymas, who was "full of subtlety," etc.; of men who were "full of envy, murder," etc. In Jesus it is some conspicuously glorious fulness.

II. A DIVINE FULNESS. The apostle refers to it in Colossians 2:9 — the fulness of the Godhead, not only really and spiritually, but bodily, in an incarnated condition, and thus conspicuously, and in such a way as made it a reasonable thing to ascribe to our Lord the work of creation on the one hand, and the headship of the Church on the other.

1. The Godhead is full of power. "Nothing is too hard for the Lord." All that fulness, too, is in Jesus, so that He is able to wheel the worlds in their orbits and "to save to the uttermost," etc.

2. The Godhead is full of righteousness. In God is "no darkness at all." Our Lord is "Jesus Christ the righteous," whom no one can convict of sin; and He is so full that His righteousness is available, not to Himself alone, but "unto all and upon all them that believe."

3. The Godhead is full of love. "God is love." Jesus said, "Greater love than this," etc.

4. Hence, too, there was in Him fulness "of grace and truth," of meekness, tenderness, gentleness.

III. A PERMANENT FULNESS. "Dwelt." The Father did not desire that the fulness of Godhead should stream through our Saviour, illuminating and glorifying His nature as it passed, and then vanish. It is the same in glory "to-day, yesterday, and for ever."

(J. Morison, D. D.)

I. THE FULNESS THAT IS IN CHRIST.

1. All fulness. Ahasuerus promised Esther that her request should be granted though it cost him half his kingdom. Christ offers nothing by halves. "It pleased the Father," etc. Transferring Divine wealth to our account in the bank of heaven, and giving us an unlimited credit there, Jesus says: "All things whatsoever ye ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."

2. All fulness of mercy to pardon sin. The gospel proclaims a universal amnesty. When the last gun is fired, and pardon proclaimed in reconquered provinces, is it not always marked by notable exceptions? But from Christ's pardoning mercy none are excepted save those who except themselves. It reaches the vilest sinner. It binds a zone of mercy round the world, and perish the hands that would narrow it by a hair's breadth. None shall be damned but those who damn themselves. One might fancy that now all are certain to be saved. Who will not accept of it? Offer a starving man bread, a poor man money, a sick man health, a lifeboat in the wreck, how gladly will they be accepted! But salvation, the one thing needful, is the one thing man will not accept. He will stoop to pick up a piece of gold out of the mire, but he will not rise out of the mire to receive a crown from heaven. What infatuation!

3. All fulness of grace to sanctify. Why are the best of us no better, holier, happier? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? No. He who justified can sanctify, and with holiness give fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore. There is efficiency and sufficiency in Jesus to complete what He has begun. There are stores of grace which are like the widow's barrel that grew no emptier for the meals it furnished. "My grace is sufficient for thee." With a well ever flowing our vessels need never be empty. No earthly fortune will stand daily visits to the bank, but this will. You may ask too little, but you cannot ask too much; you may go too seldom, but you cannot go too often to the throne.

II. THERE IS A CONSTANT SUPPLY OF SANCTIFYING AND PARDONING GRACE IN CHRIST. "Dwell," not come and go, like a wayfaring man, like a shallow, noisy, treacherous brook that fails when most needed, but like the deep-seated spring that, rising silently, though affluently, at the mountain's foot, and having unseen communication with its exhaustless supplies, is ever flowing over its grassy margin, equally unaffected by the long droughts that dry the wells and the frosts that pave the neighbouring lake with ice.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

Congregational Remembrancer.
I. THE FULNESS OF CHRIST.

1. A fulness of all Divine attributes and perfections. Omnipotence in creation; omniscience, wisdom, and goodness in providence; grace in the dispensation of the Spirit; justice in the grand assize, etc., are all His. Hence fulness of worship is offered Him in heaven (Revelation 3:2) and earth.

2. A fulness of truth and wisdom for the instruction of man. John tells us that He is full of truth; Christ says, "I am the truth"; and Paul says, "In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."(1) All the rays of Divine truth which have ever enlightened prophets and apostles, guided wandering sinners back to God, and blessed the Church with purity and consolation, were emanations from Him, the great Prophet of the Church.(2) In the Scriptures we have the mind of Christ.(3) But while the Bible is sufficient, such is the power which prejudice, unbelief, and ignorance exert over the mind, that the influence of Christ is requisite to the reception of the truth. Our prayer, then, before the open Bible should be, "Open mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things," etc.

3. A fulness of merit to justify every believer in His name.(1) Convinced of sin, our great question is, "How can man be just with God?" It is evident that we cannot be just in our own righteousness, nor in that of the holiest saints, for they were indebted to another for the robe they wear; nor in that of angels, for no creature, however elevated, can render an obedience exceeding the law of his creation, and consequently can have no works of supererogation which can be disposed of for the benefit of others.(2) No cheering answer can reach us but that which comes from Calvary. By His obedience unto death, the law broken by us is honoured, its precepts fulfilled, and its penalty endured.(3) By faith we become interested in Jesus, and thus are justified freely by His grace.

4. A fulness of power to accomplish all the purposes for which the mediatorial office was instituted. He sits upon the throne wielding the omnipotent sceptre of universal dominion, and reigns over all for the benefit of the Church.

5. A fulness of grace and compassion to relieve and comfort His afflicted servants (Hebrews 4:14).

II. IT IS THE PLEASURE OF THE FATHER THAT THIS FULNESS SHOULD DWELL IN CHRIST.

1. It is in harmony with the Divine counsels.

2. It meets with the Divine approbation.Conclusion: The subject —

1. Directs believers to the source of all consolation.

2. Sinners to the source of all salvation.

(Congregational Remembrancer.)

I. By FULNESS OF GRACE we understand all those perfections to which the term grace extends itself.

II. WHY WAS IT NECESSARY THAT THIS FULNESS OF GRACE SHOULD DWELL IN CHRIST?

1. The fitness of things required it, on account of the union of His soul with the Word. For it is proper that in proportion as anything is nearer to the influential cause, so much the more abundantly should it partake of the influence itself. Since, therefore, God Himself is the fountain of grace, the soul of Christ, so near to God, cannot but abound in grace.

2. Necessity requires it, from consideration of the end, on account of the relation between Christ and the race. For grace was to be bestowed on him, not as on a private person, but as the universal fountain from whom it might be transfused into the rest of men. But in this fountain all the parts ought to be full and combined. The evangelist shows that grace is shed abroad from Christ (John 1:16; Ephesians 4:7).

III. THIS FULNESS OF GRACE IS PECULIAR TO CHRIST ALONE. To prove which, notice: In the saints militant there is not a fulness of grace; for it cannot consist with so many remains of the old man: for a fulness of grace leaves no room for sin. But not even in the very saints triumphant. For if one star differeth from another star in light and magnitude, then how much more does it differ from the sun? But an objection is raised, that the Virgin Mary, for instance, is said to be "full of grace" (Luke 1:28); and Stephen also "full of grace and power" (Acts 6:8); and that therefore a fulness of grace is not peculiar to Christ. I answer, The fulness of grace is twofold: one may be regarded on the part of grace itself, when a man hath it in the greatest extent, both as to every kind of grace, and in the greatest perfection as to degree. This is the fulness of Christ alone. The other regards grace on the part of the possessor when a man hath it as fully and as sufficiently as his state and condition can contain. Hence observe —

1. That God is not accustomed to impose an office upon any one without at the same time conferring upon him all those powers which are necessary for the discharge of it: He lays upon Christ the office of Head of the Church; but He also imparts to Him a fulness of grace. Therefore, whoever thrust themselves into offices, for the administration of which they are altogether incompetent, are not called to them by God, but are impelled either by avarice or ambition.

2. Since there is a fulness of grace in Christ alone, we must expect its streams to flow to us from Him alone: they who seek grace elsewhere commit two evils (Jeremiah 2:13).

(Bishop Davenant.)

I. THERE IS A GLORIOUS FULNESS IN JESUS.

1. Enough to enable a saint to rise to the highest degree of grace. If there be anything lacking for the attainment of the Divine image, it is not a deficiency Christward; it is occasioned by shortcomings in ourselves. If sin is to be overcome, the conquering power dwells in Him in its fulness; if virtue is to be attained, sanctifying energy resides in Him to perfection.

2. Enough for the conquest of the world. The Lord God omnipotent shall reign from shore to shore. We have in Christ all the might that is needed for subduing the nations; let us go into His armoury, and we shall receive invincible weapons and almighty strength.

3. Every fulness for teaching, convincing, converting, sanctifying, and keeping unto the end.

II. THE FULNESS IS IN JESUS NOW.

1. The glory of the past exercises a depressing influence over many Christians. Scarcely any Church realizes that it can do what its first promoters did. A people are in an evil case when their heroism is historical. In Jesus all fulness dwells for Paul, Luther, Whitfield, you and me. Christianity has not lost its pristine strength; we have lost our faith. Why should we not have a greater Pentecost than Peter saw? The times have altered, but Jesus is the Eternal.

2. A great many have their eye on the future only. But it doesn't say that the fulness shall dwell. Whatever shall yet be done by His grace may be done to-day. Our laziness puts off the work of conquest; and want of faith makes us dote upon the millennium instead of hearing the Spirit's voice to-day.

3. Our churches believe that there is great fulness in Christ, and that sometimes they ought to enjoy it. The progress of Christianity is to be by tides which ebb and flow. There are to be revivals like spring, which must alternate with lethargies like winter. But it is not the Lord's pleasure that a fulness should reside in Jesus during revivals, and then withdraw. May we feel that we have not to drink of an intermittent spring, nor to work with an occasional industry!

III. THE POSITION OF THIS FULNESS IS ENCOURAGING TO US IN THE MATTER OF OBTAINING IT. It is "in Him," where you can receive it, in your Brother, who loves to give it. It is yours. Since Christ is yours, all that is in Him is yours. It pleases God for you to partake of it. It is a matter for gratitude that it is not placed in us, for then we should not have to go so often to Christ; nor in an angel, who would not be so attractive as Christ.

IV. WE OUGHT TO USE THIS FULNESS.

1. Believe in great things.

2. Expect them.

3. Attempt them.

4. Do not talk about this, but set about it.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The fulness of power which creation manifests, and the fulness of glory which the Church reveals, and the fulness of grace which the Godhead contains, dwell in Christ. That is His fulness. But oh, "how small a portion is heard of Him!" (Job 26:14). A little child is led down to our sea-coast, and is told, "That is the ocean"; a little child is taken to the sea-coast in Canada, and is told, "That is the ocean"; and a little child is taken to the sea-coast in Australia, and is told, "That is the ocean." But the ocean fills the intervening two thousand five hundred miles between the first and second, the fourteen thousand miles between the second and third, and the fifteen thousand miles between the third and the first. They have seen the ocean, but its fulness fills all that lies between them, and all that is beyond the horizon which bounds their vision.

(H. Brooke.)

I have felt it an interesting thing to stand by the grassy edge of a rolling river, and think how it has been rolling on for six thousand years, slaking the thirst and watering the fields of a hundred generations,: and yet there is no sign of waste or want there; and it is an interesting thing to mark the sun rise above the shoulder of a mountain, or where the sky is thick with clouds to see him leap from his ocean bed, and think he has melted the snows of go many winters, revived the verdure of so many springs, painted the flowers of so many summers, and ripened the corn of so many autumns, and yet is as big and as brilliant as ever, his eye not dimmed, his strength not abated, and his floods of glory none the less for centuries of profusion. But what is that rolling river, what is yon bright sun, but images of the blessed fulness that is in Jesus Christ, a fulness that should encourage the most hopeless of you to hope, a fulness that should prevail upon the vilest sinner to come, and a fulness that should animate the efforts of missionaries and of missionary societies to go on in the strength of Him who has all power in earth and heaven, who shall carry on His triumphs till the whole world has been subdued, and all the nations of this world and its kingdoms shall "become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ."

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

Truly the revelation is by no means scant, for there is vastly more revealed in the person of Christ than we shall be likely to learn in this mortal life, and even eternity will not be too long for the discovery of all the glory of God which shines forth in the person of the Word made flesh. Those who would supplement Christianity had better first add to the brilliance of the sun or the fulness of the sea.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

, T. Guthrie, D. D.
It is great to "reconcile"; greater "through Himself"; greater, again, "through His blood"; greatest of all "through His Cross." Here are five things to be admired — reconciliation, to God, through Himself, by death, by the Cross.

( Chrysostom.)

The Reconciler: —

I. BY NATURE MAN IS AT ENMITY WITH GOD. As God is love, so the carnal mind is enmity; this being so much the nature, essence, element of its existence, that if you took away the enmity it would cease to be. It is not always in activity, but sins, like seeds, lie dormant, and only await circumstances to develop them. This is a doctrine into which the believer does not need to be reasoned. He feels it. The text takes it for granted; for what need can there be to make peace between friends? Not friends require to be reconciled, only foes. But does God appear as reciprocating our enmity, as the enemy of man? No; not even when He condemns him. He does not hate the sinner, though He hates his sins. He hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

II. GOD DESIRES TO BE RECONCILED TO HIS ENEMIES.

1. Man stands upon his dignity. The injured says to the injurer — and each generally thinks not himself, but the other such — "He is to come to me; I am not to go to him." You may tell him that it is noble to make the first advances. "No," he says, "he must acknowledge his offence, and I will not refuse my hand." Strange terms for those to stand on who know the grace of God. If God had so dealt with us, we should have gone to hell.

2. Does God stand upon His dignity, the justice of the ease? If ever any might, it was He. No, He takes the humiliation to Himself, and might be supposed to be the injurer, not the injured. Veiling His majesty, and leaving heaven to seek our door, He stands, knocks, waits there, beseeching us as though it were a favour to be reconciled. Salvation has its fountain, not in the Cross, but in the bosom of the Father.

III. TO MAKE OUR PEACE WITH GOD, JESUS CHRIST LAID DOWN HIS LIFE.

1. The price of pardon was nothing less than "the blood of God."

2. Purchasing our peace at such a price, God has done more for us than for all the universe besides.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

I. The influence of the blood of the CROSS ON GOD. "Peace" cannot mean the actual reconciliation of man to God, for it is prior to and with the design of afterwards effecting it. It must therefore have been peace that looked toward God, for He is the only other party to the enmity. But this could not have been a change in God Himself or His purposes, for He is immutable; nor any alteration in His feelings towards sin, for that must ever be the abominable thing which He hates; still less the purchase of His love for man, for the whole purpose of reconciliation sprang out of His "pleasure." But it is the effect produced by the death of Christ upon God's moral government, so that it became possible for Him to forgive righteously. It will follow —

1. That they are greatly in error who maintain that the only purpose of Christ's death was to reconcile man to God by the simple manifestation of Divine love. The fact is there are two elements in the Cross — love and righteousness — and we must allow neither to overshadow the other. If we do, in one case the gospel will assume the appearance of indifference to evil, in the other it will be made to assume an appearance of terror.

2. That they are greatly in error who make little of the death of Christ. "Without shedding of blood is no remission."

II. The blood of the Cross AS IT RESPECTS MAN. "Things on earth" may perhaps be taken to mean the whole lower creation which "groans and travails in pain," etc.; but as the curse passed on the earth through man, so must the blessing. How, then, are men reconciled to God? More than pardon through the satisfaction of God's justice was needed; for sin has not only broken the law, but filled the sinner's heart with enmity against God. But —

1. The atonement of Christ has also secured the Holy Spirit for the regeneration of human hearts.

2. Then the Spirit uses the story of Christ's love and death to remove the enmity. All along the sinner has been misjudging God; but when he, through the Spirit, is led to see that God has given Christ to secure his pardon, he discovers that he has done God the foulest wrong, and returns in penitence and affection to Him.

III. The blood of the Cross As IT AFFECTS ANGELS. They, of course, cannot be reconciled in the strict sense of the term; but the work of Christ has let them see further into the heart of God, drawn them nearer to Him, and given them a higher degree of blessedness. Conclusion:

1. All obstacles have been taken out of the way of a sinner's salvation as far as God is concerned. If they are not saved, it is because they reject God's overtures of reconciliation.

2. If the sinner passes from earth unreconciled, there is no salvation for him. The text says nothing of "things under the earth."

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

I. THE FATHER MAKES THIS PEACE. This is noteworthy. A different representation might have been given — has been given elsewhere. Christ is our peace, and through Him we can approach the Father without dismay. But the teaching here is that the great transaction of the Cross was not needed to enlist the interest of the Father, or to render Him willing to rescue us, or to procure our love. It was His love that procured the Cross. The Son can do nothing of Himself, but delights to do the will of the Father.

II. THIS PEACE HAS BEEN MADE.

1. The idea is not that war has ceased.

(1)Alas! it has not in our world.

(2)Nor in the human heart (ver. 21).

(3)Nor in other spheres (Ephesians 6:12).

2. But it has been made in this sense that, so far as the earth's populations are concerned, an armistice has been proclaimed by the Lord Paramount of the universe. A halt has been called to the legions of retribution. All the steps have been taken by the Divine Governor that were needful to render it a fit, safe, and glorious thing on His part to conclude peace, and has sent messengers to proclaim peace to them that are afar off and to them that are nigh.

III. He has made peace THROUGH THE BLOOD OF THE CROSS. The idea is that at a very great cost He has made the peace. The Father while infinitely loving the Son saw it to be a fitting thing to surrender Him to a cruel death. But in the endurance of the crucifixion there was a manifestation of high regard for the law, hatred to sin, and love of the sinner.

IV. HE IS NOW LABORING TO SECURE THE ACCEPTANCE AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THIS PEACE. Not only did the Divine Father make peace 1,800 years ago, and then leave sinners to accept it or reject it, indifferent as to the result. "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." Both Father and Son are working together at every point in the world of matter and on every heart in the world of mind.

(J. Morison, D. D.)

There is a young girl in heaven now, once a member of our Church. I went with one of my beloved deacons to see her when she was very near her departure. She was in the last stage of consumption. She said to me, "It is sad to be so very weak, but I think, if I had my choice, I would rather be here than be in health, for it is very precious to me. I know that my Redeemer liveth, and I am waiting for the moment when He shall send His chariot of fire to take me up to Him." I put the question, "Have you not any doubts?" "No, none, sir; why should I? I clasp my arms around the neck of Christ." "And have not you any fear about your sins?'" "No, sir; they are all forgiven. I trust the Saviour's precious blood." "And do you think you will be as brave as this when you come actually to die?" "Not if He leaves me, sir; but He will never leave me, for He has said, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind
1. There are only two kinds of goodness possible, that of those who have never erred, that of those who have been recovered. It is plain that ours must be the latter.

2. Appointed to these are two kinds of happiness, the blessedness of entire ignorance of guilt, and the blessedness of forgiveness, the latter of which is superior in intensity and fulness.

3. There are two kinds of friendship, that which has never had a shock, and that which, after having been doubted, is at last made sure. The happiness of the last is perhaps the greater, as illustrated by the parable of the Prodigal. This leads us to our subject — Reconciliation.

I. ESTRANGEMENT.

1. Its cause. "Wicked works," voluntary deeds. Sin is not merely a foreign disease introduced into the constitution. You are a responsible individual, have done deeds that are wrong of the mind, hand, tongue.

2. Its result.(1) Alienation — the feeling that God is our enemy. Alienation was a more forcible expression then. There is now little difference between the alien and the citizen. But the alien from the Jewish commonwealth had no power to share in its religious privileges, and was popularly regarded as a "dog." In the Roman commonwealth the word had a still stronger meaning; it was to be separated from the authority and protection of Roman law, and to be subject to degrading penalties. Hence Paul's protest at Philippi against scourging, as he was not an alien. Paul's conception of alienation is given in Ephesians 2:12 it is to have no place in the universe, to feel God your enemy, to be estranged from Him and banished from His presence. What is this but hell?(2) Enmity against God. The illustration of the process we have seen in every day life. Strength of attachment settles down to indifference, and at last to hatred.

2. secret sense of wrong intrudes, and we cannot escape, save by throwing the blame somewhere. By degrees a cankered spot begins, you irritate it until the mortification becomes entire, and alienation settles down into animosity. And such is the history of alienation from God. Different characters arrive at it in different ways.(a) Weak minds throw the blame on circumstances, and regard themselves as victims of a cruel fate, the blame belonging not to them, but God.(b) In the case of stronger and more vicious characters, humiliation degrades, and degradation produces anger. The outcast turns with defiance on respectability merely because it is respectable. So some sinners stand at bay, as it were, to their Maker.

II. RECONCILIATION.

1. Christ has reconciled man to God.(1) By exhibiting the character of God. The sacrifice of Christ was the voice of God proclaiming love.(2) When the mind has comprehended this, then comes the blessed feeling of reconciliation. The change of feeling within us changes God to us.

2. Christ has reconciled man to man.(1) Men have tried other methods. Let the political economist come forward with his principle of selfishness and tell us that this is that by which alone the wealth of nations can accrue. He may get a nation in which there are a wealthy few and a miserable many, but not a brotherhood of Christians. Try the principle of moral rule; say that men should love one another — will that make them? You may come forward with the crushing rule of political authority. Papal Rome has tried that and failed. She bound up the masses of the race as a gigantic iceberg; but she could give only a temporary principle of cohesion.(2) Therefore we come back to the Cross: through this alone we learn that there is one Father, one Elder Brother, in whom all can be brothers. Catch the spirit of that Cross, the spirit of giving, suffering, loving, and man will be reconciled to man.

3. By the Redeemer's atonement man becomes reconciled to himself. That is necessary because it is so hard to forgive ourselves. You may obtain remission, but you cannot get back the feeling of self-respect and unity within. The sacrifice of Christ was surrender to the will of God; go and sacrifice yourself for the happiness of others, and the calm feeling will come.

4. Man becomes reconciled to duty. There is no discord more terrible than that between man and duty. There are few of us who fancy we have found our proper places in this world. We think that we are fit for higher things. But study that marvellous Life and you will see that the whole of its details are ungenial, mean, trivial, wretched circumstances. It is not by change of circumstances, but by fitting our spirits to the circumstances in which God has placed us, that we can be reconciled to life and duty. If the duties be not noble, let us ennoble them by doing them in a noble spirit.

(F.W. Robertson, M.A.)

I. THE CHRISTIAN'S PAST CONDITION.

1. Alienation. The idea is that of belonging to a different community, morally at a distance from God. Man's spirit formed for God is naturally averse from Him. No sooner was our first father guilty than he fled from the presence of his Maker.(1) This alienation is spiritual death, for the soul cannot realize its true life away from God.(2) The spirit of alienation is hostility.

2. The seat of this enmity is in the thought and feeling. It need not be apparent. If we are wilfully separated from one to whom we owe love and allegiance, hard thoughts of him to justify ourselves will arise and then enmity of heart. Men may profess to like an ideal God, but the God of the Bible who claims their affection and service is no object of attraction to the natural mind. Take any gathering of men and you can introduce no subject more forbid ding than that of God.

3. This hostility has an outward embodiment in the practical sphere of wicked works not necessarily into flagrant vice. Every act of disobedience is evil, however compatible with social virtue and refinement, because rebellion against God.

4. This is a melancholy indictment, but a true one. Perhaps the darkest count against humanity is that in regions of civilization and culture there can be so much that is pleasant and elevating without any recognition of God.

II. THE CHRISTIAN'S PRESENT PRIVILEGE.

1. It is not God who is said to be reconciled. God is reconciled in Christ, and is seeking to reconcile the world unto Himself.

2. In this reconciliation —(1) Friendship is restored. The alienation and enmity are removed, and the sinner brought nigh. No friendship can be compared with this: that of the world worketh death, this is life and glory.(2) Fellowship is resumed. Man was formed for this, but sin interrupted it, and now in it man finds his highest enjoyment.

3. But how does it come? "In the body of His flesh," etc.(1) The assumption of a human body brought Jesus into fraternal relationship with men.(2) His death brings us into relationship.

4. The apostle utterly demolishes these theories which make little of the death of Christ while they profess to make much of His life and teaching.

III. THE CHRISTIAN'S FUTURE PROSPECT (ver. 23).

(J. Spence, D. D.)

I. SIN HAS PLACED MAN IN ANTAGONISM TO GOD.

1. Man is estranged from God. Sin severs the soul from God. The principle of cohesion — the consciousness of rectitude — is gone, and the sinner, breaking away from the centre of all goodness, drifts into the wilderness of alienation. Sin leads man to shun the Divine presence and disregard the Divine overtures. It is a state of danger and spiritual death. How few are conscious of it!

2. Man is hostile to God. Enmity follows estrangement, and both have their seat in the mind. The mind of man opposes the mind of God, sets up a rival kingdom, and organizes an active rebellion against the Divine Ruler (Romans 8:7). If the hostility is not always open, it is in the mind.

3. Man's estrangement and hostility are evident in his actions.

II. MAN IS RECONCILED TO GOD IN CHRIST.

1. The distinguished blessing. "Now hath He reconciled."

2. The gracious medium of the blessing. "In the body of His flesh through death."

III. THE DIVINE PURPOSE IN RECONCILIATION IS TO PROMOTE MAN'S HIGHEST BLESSEDNESS.

1. The highest blessedness of man consists in his moral purity. "To present you holy."

2. In His personal blamelessness.

3. In His freedom from censure.

(G. Barlow.)

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