Colossians 1:2
To the saints in Colossae, the faithful brothers in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
Sermons
Grace and PeaceBp. Davenant.Colossians 1:2
In ChristA. Maclaren, D. D.Colossians 1:2
Motives to SaintlinessP. Bayne, B. D.Colossians 1:2
SaintsT. Watson, B. A.Colossians 1:2
Saints, Believers, BrethrenAlexander MaclarenColossians 1:2
Address and SalutationR. Finlayson Colossians 1:1, 2
The Apostolic SalutationU.R. Thomas Colossians 1:1, 2
The SalutationE.S. Prout Colossians 1:1, 2
The Apostolic SalutationU. R. Thomas., J. Morison, D. D.Colossians 1:1-5
The Writer and the ReadersA. Maclaren, D. D.Colossians 1:1-5
The Hope Laid Up in HeavenR.M. Edgar Colossians 1:1-8
This Epistle, written from Rome to meet and overmaster the "Colossian heresy," begins with a salutation somewhat similar to those at the beginning of other Epistles. There is the assertion of Paul's apostleship as direct from Christ; there is the statement of the brotherhood of Timothy, and the desire that grace and peace may be the constant portion of the saints and faithful brethren at Colossal. But, having thus started, Paul immediately passes to an account of their character as he had got it from Epaphras, and how this character had been produced. He is thankful for it, and he wishes them to remember how it had been formed within them. And here we have to notice that -

I. JESUS CHRIST IS THE OBJECT OF THE COLOSSIANS' FAITH. (Ver. 4.) They had happily been led to this - to trust in the personal Saviour. It is not the promises, but the Promiser; not the proposition, but the Person pledging himself to the fulfilment of the proposition, in whom we believe. Now, the heresy, which will appear more clearly afterwards, made a good deal of angelic and intermediate personages; there was, in fact, a tendency to a mystic peopling of the unseen with needless, forms, explanatory, as the Colossians supposed, of the mysteries of creation. It was important in these circumstances to state with precision that Jesus Christ is the great Object of faith. Faith in such a Being becomes a glorious simplicity. It is a simple extension of that trust to him which we extend to our fellow men. But his glorious personality, embracing a Divine as well as human nature, makes all the difference between faith in men and faith in him. The latter is true saving faith.

II. THE SAINTS WERE THE SPECIAL OBJECTS OF THE COLOSSIANS' LOVE. (Ver. 4.) While faith goes out to a personal Saviour, it worketh by love towards all the saints. For it cannot but be that, in trusting and loving the perfect Saviour, we learn almost instinctively to love those in his image. The saints, all the saints, are seen to have their claim upon the believer's love. The love of good men is the note of a true Christian.

III. HEAVEN WAS INDISPENSABLE TO THE CONSUMMATION OF THEIR HOPE. (Ver. 5.) It is the characteristic of the Christian system to relegate a goodly portion of its promise to the world to come. It has certainly a promise for the life that now is, but chiefly has it a promise for that which is to come. In heaven the hope is laid up. And into this hope the Colossians heartily entered. They looked for more to follow - for a purity, for a power, for a perfection impossible in the present life. There is thus a faith, a love, and a hope characteristic of the saints at Colossae as well as elsewhere.

IV. THIS HOPE HAD BEEN COMMUNICATED THROUGH THE PREACHED GOSPEL. (Vers. 5-8.) Had the Colossians not had the gospel preached to them, they would never have entered into such glorious, heavenly hopes. The word of the gospel is fruit-bearing. It kindles the hopes of men. Everywhere it has the same blessed effects in lifting men's hearts to heaven. It would seem that Epaphras had been the instrument in the Lord's hand in evangelizing the Colossians. He had, as a faithful minister of Christ, preached the Word to them, and they had received it and become the loving disciples he represented them to be in his report to Paul. "Love in the Spirit" was the leading idea in their lives. All this was matter for profound gratitude to God, and so the apostle pours out his thanksgiving to God the Father (ver. 3) because of it. In such circumstances it surely becomes us to see that we rise on the wings of hope to heaven and appreciate the glorious consummation which there awaits us. We need such a hope to complete the demands of our immortal being. We cannot be satisfied with the seen, with the present life, with the present world; we must have more. And this the gospel gives us in that hope which is laid up for us in heaven. - R.M.E.







To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ.
I. THEIR CHARACTER. Holy persons. The idea is derived from the sacred vessels of the temple, which might not be appropriated to common uses. In a more general sense, saints are those who are eminent for piety, not all who are flattered or derided as such. One who is truly a saint —

1. Acknowledges that he was once a lost and undone sinner, and who daily brings his sins for pardon and his graces for increase to the throne of grace.

2. Has a new heart and a right spirit. He is a new creature — loving what God loves, and hating what He hates.

3. Is zealous for the cause of his Divine Master. Where there are no spiritual actions there is no spiritual life. The chief motives are fortitude and the constraining love of Christ.

4. Grows in grace.

II. THEIR RELATION TO EACH OTHER.

1. There are three kinds of brotherhood — natural, such as that between Esau and Jacob; national, such as existed among the Jews; spiritual, by adoption and grace. The last is the strongest, purest, and most enduring.

2. Of this Christ is the Elder Brother, and as He is not ashamed to own this relationship should we be either in regard to Himself or the poorest member of the family?

3. Love should spring out of this relationship. This is most natural! Christ has made love the badge of Christian discipleship; it is "good and pleasant for brethren to dwell together in unity."

4. Its distinguishing attribute is fidelity. Be thou faithful in defending your brother when defamed, in admonishing him when in the wrong, in helping him in difficulty, in comforting him in trouble. A false brother is worse than an open foe.

III. THEIR SITUATION IN THE WORLD.

1. Christians in the midst of heathens, and exposed to temptation and persecution.

2. Believers surrounded by heretics — their faith exposed to subtle undermining and bold attack.

3. Few as against many. Churches are often thus situated, but if they retain their holiness and faithfulness become more than conquerors.

(T. Watson, B. A.)

I.AS OUR GOD IS HOLY SO MUST WE BE (1 Peter 1:15).

II.IT IS THE END OF OUR DIVINE CHOICE (Ephesians 1:4).

III.OUR CALLING BINDETH US (1 Thessalonians 4:7).

IV.OUR REDEMPTION (Titus 2:14).

V.THE GRACE OF GOD TEACHES US THIS (Titus 2:11-12).

VI.THE FINAL JUDGMENT PERSUADES US THEREUNTO (2 Peter 5:2; 1 John 3:3).

VII.THE RIGHT CONSTITUTION OF THE CHURCH PROHIBITS THE UNHOLY (Matthew 7:6). Conclusion:

1. This discovers to us the vanity of the Pope in restraining a title common to all believers while they live to some few whom it pleaseth him to canonize after death.

2. We see the lewdness of many profane Esaus who scoff at the name.

3. We must remember what kind of men we must be even such as must profess and practice holiness.

(P. Bayne, B. D.)

This mystical but most real union of Christians with their Lord is never far away from the apostle's thoughts, and in the Epistle to the Ephesians it is the very burden of the whole. A shallower Christianity tries to weaken that great phrase to something more intelligible to the unspiritual temper and poverty-stricken experience proper to it; but no justice can be done to Paul's teaching unless it be taken in all its depth as expressive of the same mutual indwelling and interlacing of spirit with spirit, which ,is so prominent in the writings of John. There is one point of contact between the Pauline and Johannean conceptions, on the difference between which so much exaggeration has been expended; to both the inmost essence of the Christian life is union to Christ, and abiding in Him. If we are Christians we are in Him in a profounder sense than creation lives and moves and has its being in God. This is the deepest mystery of the Christian life. To be "in Him" is to be complete. "In Him" we are "blessed with all spiritual blessings." "In Him" we are "chosen." "In Him" God "freely bestows His grace upon us." "In Him we have redemption through His blood." "In Him" "all things in heaven and earth are gathered." In Him is the better life of an that live. In Him we have peace though the world be seething with changed all storm. In Him we conquer though earth and our own evil he all in arms against us. If we live in Him, we live in purity and joy. If we die in Him, we die in tranquil trust. If our gravestones may truly carry the sweet old inscription, carved on many a nameless slab in the Catacombs, "In Christo," they will also bear the other, "In pace." If we sleep in Him, our glory is assured, "For them also that sleep in Jesus, will God bring with Him."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Grace is introductory good; peace is final good: he therefore who wishes these two blessings includes every intermediate benefit.

I. GRACE denotes —

1. The gratuitous act of the Divine will accepting man in Christ and pardoning his sins (Ephesians 2:5; Romans 3:24). This free love of God is the first gift in which all other gifts are bestowed.

2. All those habitual gifts which God infuses for the sanctification of the soul. So faith, love, and all virtues and salutary endowments are called graces (Ephesians 4:7).

3. The actual assistance of God, whereby the regenerate, after having received habitual grace, are strengthened to perform good works, and to persevere in faith and godliness. For to man renewed and sanctified by grace, the daily aid of God is still necessary for every single act. The union of all these is necessary: inherent grace is not given unless the grace of acceptance has preceded it; neither being given is it available to the production of fruits, unless also the efficacious help of God follow and accompany it through every individual action.

II. PEACE. The Hebrews used this expression as we use the expression health or joy: it signifies prosperity marked by no calamities either public or private (Genesis 43:27; Psalm 122:6). But with the apostles it is used more extensively, and comprehends more especially spiritual joy and prosperity. Therefore under this term Paul desires for them —

1. Internal peace, or peace of conscience, which arises from the grace of God accepting us for Christ's sake (John 14:27; Romans 5:1; Philippians 4:7).

2. Brotherly peace; "breaking peace they exclude grace." This is a great and desirable good, and is frequently celebrated as the special gift of God (1 Corinthians 14:33; 2 Corinthians 13:11). The seeds of schism had been scattered abroad; there was therefore need of peace.

3. That external peace which is the well-being of the Church; but only yet so far as it does not militate against their spiritual good; for sometimes it conduces more to the welfare of the faithful that they be afflicted than that they enjoy external tranquility.

III. WE MAY GATHER —

1. From the order itself, as he places grace before peace, he teaches us —(1) That this is first of all to be desired, that we may have God propitious. If He be hostile, even blessings will be turned into a curse.(2) That true peace cannot belong except to those only who are in favour with God. "There is no peace to the wicked."(3) That all good things which fall to the lot of the godly are streams from this fountain of Divine grace.

2. From the thing itself desired —(1) Paul shows us by his own example the duty of every minister of the gospel; which is, not only to preach grace and peace to his people, but from their inmost souls to intreat and implore the same from God by incessant prayer: neither is sufficient of itself.(2) He reproves the folly of this world, in which almost all wish for themselves and their friends, health, riches, and honours; but grace, peace, and other spiritual good things, they neither regard nor think of. But Christ commands us to seek "first the kingdom of God" (Matthew 6:33).(3) He comforts the godly and faithful by showing them that the grace of God, and the peace of God they always possess; in comparison of which good things whatsoever fall to the wicked are refuse. "A God appeased," says Bernard, "tranquillizes all things, and to behold Him at peace is to be ourselves at peace."

(Bp. Davenant.)

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