For I would that you knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea…
This anxiety was occasioned by the subtle errors prevalent in Colossae. Error cannot come into collision with truth without creating confusion of ideas, mental distraction, and moral restlessness. This anxiety was —
I. INTENSE. The thought of the preceding verse is here expanded. The conflict refers not so much to outward trial, etc., as to his fervent and importunate wrestling with God. The error must have been serious to occasion this struggle; great souls are not affected with trifles. People little know what their pastors pass through. A knowledge of this anxiety, however, is often necessary to create a responsive sympathy, and to teach the people the care they should have for their own salvation.
II. DISINTERESTED. "As many as have not seen my face" — not only Colossians and Laodiceans.
III. HAD REFERENCE TO THE HIGHEST SPIRITUAL ATTAINMENTS OF BELIEVERS. Paul was solicitous —
1. For the confirmation of their faith, "comforted," i.e., encouraged, confirmed. He knew how error disintegrated the heart's confidence and produced trouble, doubt, perplexity.
2. For their union in love. Without this no solid comfort. Error snaps the bond of love and splits the Church into parties.
3. For their enrichment with the unspeakable wealth of the Divine mystery.
(1) This mystery is explained in the unique Person and endowments of Christ.
(2) The believer is privileged to attain to a full knowledge of the Divine mystery.
(3) This understanding is the true enrichment of the mind. "Unto all riches." This vast store is opposed to the poverty of the mind which has only a few confused unconnected truths about the gospel. "Full assurance" means unclouded perception and firm conviction. This is secured only by diligent study and inner illumination of the Spirit. Every other kind of knowledge is poor and unsatisfying.
IV. PROMPTED THE APOSTLE TO FAITHFULLY WARN THE CHURCH. Error is seductive. It is needful to keep a vigilant outlook in regard to its enticing words. The most effectual antidote to any heresy is the simple proclamation of the doctrine of Christ. Lessons —
1. The true minister is anxious to promote the highest good of the people.
2. All truth finds its explanation and error its refutation in Christ, the source of eternal wisdom.
3. False doctrine should be fearlessly and faithfully exposed.
Parallel VersesKJV: For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;