Colossians 2:1
I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me face to face,
Sermons
And ComfortW. H. Griffith ThomasColossians 2:1
Nature and Objects of the Apostle's Struggle on Behalf of the SaintsT. Croskery. Colossians 2:1-3
St. Paul's Anxieties for the Colossians, and How They Were AllayedE.S. Prout Colossians 2:1-3
Three Wonderful ThingsU.R. Thomas Colossians 2:1-3
All Riches of the Fall Assurance of UnderstandingN. Byfield.Colossians 2:1-4
Christian UnityW. Williams.Colossians 2:1-4
Earthly and Heavenly RichesColossians 2:1-4
Error is InsidiousDr. R. W. Hamilton.Colossians 2:1-4
Ministerial AnxietyG. Barlow.Colossians 2:1-4
Paul's Striving for the ColossiansA. Maclaren, D. D.Colossians 2:1-4
Satan's MethodC. H. Spurgeon.Colossians 2:1-4
Soul ProsperityW. M. Punshon, LL. D.Colossians 2:1-4
St. Paul's ConflictJ. Daille.Colossians 2:1-4
The Boundless Wealth of Wisdom in ChristJ. Spence, D. D.Colossians 2:1-4
The Full Assurance of KnowledgeW. B. Pope, D. D.Colossians 2:1-4
The Full Assurance of UnderstandingJ. Hughes, D. D., J. Spence, D. D.Colossians 2:1-4
The Hidden Treasures of Wisdom in ChristG. Barlow.Colossians 2:1-4
The Treasures of Christ in Relation to EducationW. Archer Butler, M. A.Colossians 2:1-4
The Triple Fruit of Evangelical DoctrineBishop Davenant.Colossians 2:1-4
The True Safeguard Against ErrorA. Maclaren, D. D.Colossians 2:1-4
This I Say Lest Any Man Should Beguile YouJ. Daille.Colossians 2:1-4
Three Wonderful ThingsU. R. Thomas.Colossians 2:1-4
Introduction to the Polemical Part of the EpistleR. Finlayson Colossians 2:1-7
The Trinity as the Source of Christian Love and ConsolationR.M. Edgar Colossians 2:1-7
For I would have you know how great a struggle I have for you and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh. His object is to justify his urgency in writing to a people whom he had not known personally.

I. THE APOSTLE'S CONFLICT. It marks:

1. His intense anxiety on their account. "Fears within as well as fightings without."

2. His anxious labours in defending the simplicity of the gospel against the corrupting devices of false teachers.

3. His striving in prayer for the saints. (Colossians 4:12.) Ministers who "please not men, but God," have often a great "fight of affliction" on behalf of their flocks, especially when they have to encounter men who "resist the truth" and "withstand the words" of faithful men and "do much evil" (2 Timothy 3:8; 2 Timothy 4:14, 15). The Judaeo-Gnostics had inspired him with a deep concern for the religious integrity of the Colossians, the Laodiceans, and, perhaps, the Christians of Hierapolis, who all dwelt in the valley of the Lycus. What a blessing to them that they had the prayers and the labours of an apostle who had never seen one of them in the flesh!

II. THE OBJECT OF THE APOSTLE'S CONFLICT. "That their hearts maybe comforted, they being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, that they may know the Mystery of God, even Christ, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden." He thus indicates how the threatened danger was to be averted. Their hearts were to be comforted and strengthened so that they might stand fast in the faith.

1. The manner in which the comfort was to reach them. "They being knit together in love."

(1) Love is itself "the bond of perfectness" (Colossians 3:14). The want of love often breaks unity. It is by love "we keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:3).

(2) It seeks a fuller fellowship with the saints in the gospel (Philippians 1:5; Philippians 2:1).

(3) It leads to a union of judgment to the exclusion of everything like "contention and vain glory" (Philippians 2:2, 4). Love is "to abound in knowledge and all judgment," and is thus able to "discern things that are more excellent" (Philippians 1:9, 10). It is thus a protection against error and seduction. This love always springs out of "a pure heart" (1 Timothy 1:5).

2. The end of the consolation and the object of the union in love. "And unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, that they may know the Mystery of God, even Christ, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."

(1) Love gives insight to the understanding. Therefore the apostle prays that the Philippians' "love may abound in knowledge and all judgment" (Philippians 1:9), and that the Ephesians may be "rooted and grounded in love," so that they may know that love "which passeth knowledge" (Ephesians 3:17-19). As we grow in grace we grow in knowledge. The two growths go on together helping and developing each other. There is a necessity that the saints should seek, not merely knowledge, but "a full assurance of intelligence" respecting, not alone the doctrines of the gospel, but the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The knowledge of a personal Saviour is Christianity in its essence.

(2) The mystery for the Christian understanding that solves the problem of humanity is "Christ, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden." It is not Christ, but Christ containing these treasures. Above, it was "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27); here it is Christ with these precious treasures.

(a) The knowledge of Christ is the first and the last thing in religion. The apostle counted all things but loss for "the excellency" of this knowledge (Philippians 3:8). Eternal life is involved in it (John 17:3; Isaiah 53:11). It is the knowledge of him which leads to great boldness and sincerity. "Nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed" (2 Timothy 1:12).

(b) Access to Christ gives access to all his treasures. The treasures of the Gnostics were hid from nil but the initiated; the treasures hid in Christ are made accessible to all, so that we can know "the heavenly things" which he alone knows "who is in heaven" (John 3:12, 13). It is thus he reveals to us the Father, brings life and immortality to light, and enriches the Church with "the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 1:1). The treasures are twofold.

(α

) Wisdom. There is "a word of wisdom" as well as "a word of knowledge" given by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8). Wisdom reasons about the relations of things, and applies to actions as well as doctrines. Christ is made to us "Wisdom" (1 Corinthians 1:30). The wisdom that is "from above" has many noble qualities (James 3:17), essentially moral in their nature. What but ignorance of Christ leads men to listen to deceivers?

(β

) Knowledge. This is more restricted than wisdom applying to the apprehension of truths. "Though I understand all mysteries and all knowledge" (1 Corinthians 13:2). This was the very word that the Gnostics took as their watchword, but the apostle here significantly makes it secondary to wisdom. It is a right thing for believers to sound forth the praises of Christ's wisdom and knowledge. - T. C.







For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you.
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.

(G. Barlow.)

The strain of the apostle's agony for the Colossian Church is here continued. Note the consummate art with which he prepares the way for his warnings.

I. THE CONFLICT ITSELF was that of the arena, and "great."

1. No external conflict can be meant, for he could strike no blows for them; but he could send them ammunition, and this Epistle has been a magazine and arsenal ever since. But the real struggle was in his own heart. In that lonely prison cell, and with burdens enough of his own, like some soldier left behind to guard the base, his thoughts were in the field.

2. For all Christians, sympathy in the battle of God, which is being waged all over the world, is a plain duty. Wheresoever our prison may be, we are bound to take an eager share in the conflict by interest, such help as we can render, and that intercession which may sway the fortunes of the field though the uplifted hands grasp no weapons. The men who bear the brunt of the battle are not the only combatants. In many a quiet home where wives and mothers sit there is an agony as intense as in the battle. It was a law in Israel, "As his part is," dec. (1 Samuel 30:24). So all Christians who in heart and sympathy have taken part shall be counted as combatants and crowned as victors.

II. THOSE FOR WHOM THE CONFLICT WAS ENDURED. "As many as have not seen," etc. The Colossians might think that he cared less for them than for those communities he had planted or watered. They had never felt the magnetism of his personal presence, and were at a disadvantage from not having had the inspiration and direction of his personal teaching. But Paul shows them that from this very fact they had a warmer place in his heart. He was not so enslaved by sense that his love could not travel beyond the limits of his eyesight.

III. THE OBJECT IN VIEW.

1. That their hearts might be comforted.(1) Heart, in Scripture, means thought as well as emotion.(2) Comfort is more than consolation. The cloud that hung over the Church was not about to break in sorrows needing consolation, but in practical errors needing strength to resist. So Paul desires that they may be encouraged not to quail, but to fight with good cheer. And what we want is the brave spirit and the serene assurance of victory in our struggles. What have we to do with fear, seeing that One fights by our side who teaches our hands to war?

2. The way to secure this is union in love.(1) Love is the true bond which unites men, and therefore adds to the strength of each. Little faggots bound together are strong. The solitary heart is timid and weak, but many weaknesses brought together make a strength, as slimly built houses in a row hold each other up. Loose grains of sand are moved by a breath; compacted they are a rock against which the Atlantic beats in vain. A real moral defence against even intellectual error is found in the compaction of Christian love. A community so interlocked will throw off many evils, as a Roman legion with linked shields roofed itself over against missiles from the walls of a besieged city, or as the imbricated scales of a fish keep it dry.(2) But the love is not merely love to one another, but common love to Christ, the bond of union and true strengthener of men's hearts.

3. This compaction in love will lead to a wealth of certitude in the possession of the truth. It tends to "all riches of the full assurance," etc.(1) In times of religious unsettlement Christian men are tempted to lower their own tone, and to say "It is so" with less certainty, because so many are saying "It is not so." Some are so afraid of being thought narrow that they seek the reputation of liberality by talking as if there were a film of doubt over even the truths "most surely believed." Few things are more needed now than this full assurance.(2) This wealth of conviction is attained by living in the love of God. If we love we shall possess an experience which verifies the truth for us. Rich in the possession of this confirmation of the gospel by the blessings it brings, and which witness to their source as verdant banks do to the stream, we shall have a right to oppose to many a doubt the full assurance born of love; and while others are disputing whether there be any Lord, or living Christ, or forgiveness, or providence, we shall know that they are ours because we have felt the wealth and power they have brought into our lives.

4. This unity of love will lead to full knowledge of the mystery of God.(1) That mystery has its stages. The revelation is finished, but our apprehension of it may grow, and although we shall never outgrow it, reflection and experience will explain and deepen it. Suppose a man could set out from the great planet that moves in the outermost rim of our system, and travel slowly inwards to the great central sun, how the disc would grow, and the light and warmth increase with each million of miles, till what had seemed a point filled the whole sky!(2) The stages are infinite because in Him are all the treasures, etc. These four words are all familiar on the lips of later Gnostics, and were no doubt in the mouths of the false teachers. The apostle would claim for his Gospel all which they falsely claimed for their dreams.(a) All wisdom and knowledge are in Christ. He is the Light of men, and all thought and truth of every sort came from Him who is the Eternal Word. All other media of revelation have but uttered broken syllables. Christ still pursues this work.(b) In Christ, as in a great storehouse, lie all the riches of spiritual wisdom, the massive ingots of solid gold, which when coined into creeds and doctrines are the wealth of the Church.(c) In Christ these treasures are hidden, but not as the heretic's mysteries from the vulgar crowd, but only from eyes that will not see them; hidden that seeking souls may have the pleasure of seeking, and the rest of finding; hidden as men store provisions in the Arctic regions, in order that the bears may not find them, and shipwrecked sailors may. Conclusion: Such thoughts have a special message for times of agitation. We are surrounded by eager voices proclaiming profounder truths and wisdom than the gospel gives us. In joyful antagonism Christian men have to hold fast by the confidence that all Divine wisdom is laid up in Christ. The new problems of each generation will find their answers in Him. We need not cast aside the truth learned at our mothers' knees; but if we keep true to Christ and strive to widen our minds to the breadth of that great message, it will grow as we gaze, even as the nightly heavens expand to the eye which steadfastly looks into them and reveal violet abysses, sown with sparkling points, each of which is a sun.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. A NOBLE ANXIETY. Paul pictures here his eagerness as that of the racer and wrestler. So far there is nothing very rare, for the spectacle of anxious men struggling with keenest eagerness to gain some purpose of their own is common. But the elements of nobleness here discovered in Paul are —

1. His anxiety for others. He says to the men of Colossae, "My conflict is for you." It is no self-centred life that Paul lives when he spends himself lavishly for these early churches.

2. His anxiety for the absent. There is a counterfeit coin in current speech, "Out of sight, out of mind." It is a proverb coined in the mint of a very shallow and selfish life. Such a spirit

(1)limits power,

(2)narrows character.Whilst real care for the absent —(1) Increases the power of the mind. It gets strong enough to wing its pinions over oceans, and even to pierce other worlds.(2) Cultivates spiritual habit. It delivers a man from being the creature of sense.

3. His anxiety for those with whom he had no direct connection. He is caring for a group of churches on the Lycus that he had not even visited. It was pure, disinterested love. Wherein does the modern gospel of altruism excel this gospel Paul believed and practised? and where has altruism the motives with which Christianity pulsates, or the examples that Christianity can cite?

II. A BLESSED EXPERIENCE. Analyzing these verses we find signs —

1. Of personal comfort. The word "comfort" here, as in the word "Comforter," points to more than solace, it tells of encouragement and strengthening. What better experience could he desire for the members of this young Church than that their hearts should be comforted? But to that is added the blessing of social security. Few expressions can describe a completer unity than this "knit together." It means an interweaving of sympathies, an interlinking of destinies; and this is obtained by the highest and surest method "in love."

3. Of firm conviction, "and all assurance." There is much more than opinion, there is conviction; and conviction of man's noblest faculty, the understanding, which is more than the reason alone. And this supreme conviction is, as to the truth, of the supremest importance, viz., the acknowledgment of the open secret about God.

III. AN OPEN SECRET. Paul did not mean by mystery an unknowable, mystical something; but rather a truth once hidden but no longer concealed; a truth fully, freely revealed. The self-revelation of Christ is the revelation of man, of duty, of God, of heaven. In Him were stored away all the riches of truth and love for which men cried. He is the exhaustless storehouse of God's supplies for man's higher nature. He is the vast mine of thought, of sympathy, of grace; and only the industrious who sink the shaft of inquiry, fellowship, faith, will know what the mine contains.

(U. R. Thomas.)

The second Colossian prayer is the sequel of the first (Colossians 1:9-14), inasmuch as it shows at once the end of all practical obedience and the ground of all practical knowledge. The words that introduce it show it to be a supplement, and also that the apostle's request now deepens into a "great agony" which is akin to our Lord's. The matter of his supplication is expressed in the form of the end which its answer would obtain, the full assurance of their understanding of Christ, the mystery of God.

I. HOW THIS IS TO BE OBTAINED.

1. It is hardly possible to separate the "full assurance" from the process by which it is reached. It is a branch, together with the "knitting together in love" of the one common trunk, "the comfort of the heart." This last root principle of all religious establishment is the full work of the Paraclete, and the "heart" is the inner man in which the Spirit carries on His renewing work. Hence from this common principle spring two developments — one of charity, the other of knowledge — and these are united. The love of God strong in the heart of each, the bond of perfectness, is as "brotherly love," the bond of union in which all are edified. Thus while carnal knowledge "puffeth up," and makes a hollow fellowship, love "buildeth up" both the individual and the community. They have the riches of the knowledge of God imparted to them in the radiations of Divine light through the Word, by the Spirit. These riches are the common heritage of the sacred Treasury; but every one's individual knowledge is His own.

2. This "full assurance" is the clear, deep, unclouded confidence in the reality of the objects of knowledge which the understanding grasps, excluding hesitation and fortifying against error. This grace comes from the "comfort" of the Spirit, through the diligent study of the mystery hid in Christ. St. Paul speaks of three kinds of assurance.(1) The full assurance of faith — the deeply wrought conviction of the reality, and the possession of the present object.(2) The assurance of hope — the full conviction of the reality of its objects as our own in reservation.(3) The full assurance of understanding is more general in its object, including all the truths of the common salvation, of the unity, harmony, and practical consequences of which the understanding is fully assured. So far as the individual truths of this knowledge are embraced for salvation, the soul exerts its faith in full assurance; so far as they belong to the future, its hope; but so far as they are independent of present and future, and are the possession of the mind and not of the experience, the soul delivers them to the care of the understanding.

II. WHAT IT IS IS ITSELF. The mystery of God which is Christ. This being the precise sentence which St. Paul wrote, we are taught by him that the Person of Christ, God-man, is the central and all-comprehending mystery.

1. The secret as it has been expounded in the previous chapter is impenetrable to human intellect. It is the mystery of God, and He alone can understand it.

2. But it is shown forth in such a manner that we may have a full and distinct knowledge, for this is the word, not acknowledgment. There is a difference between penetrating a mystery and beholding and knowing it. In the richness of its full assurance the understanding collects all the elements that go to the conception of the Divine-human Person, and unites them in one supreme object of knowledge, certitude, assurance.

3. Yet this object contains all other objects. In this are hid "all the treasures," etc. To the riches of full assurance correspond the riches of the truths of which it is assured. All other intellectual treasures are of phenomena and time, and must pass away. If the vast fabric of things be destroyed or reconstructed, all extant physical science becomes obsolete. Bus the knowledge of Christ is always becoming richer. As the individual grows daily in it, so also does the Church behold more and more the development of "the manifold wisdom of God" in Christ.

III. WHAT IT EFFECTS. The apostle's reason for the prayer was his deep desire to defend the Colossians against "oppositions of science," etc. The full assurance of understanding in the mystery of Christ would be their effectual safeguard. The mind once raised to this region of cloudless certitude would not easily be seduced to descend into the region of scepticism, where doubt chases doubt in never-ceasing restlessness of caprice. Gnosticism under other names is still darkening the counsel of the hypostatic union. Hence the necessity of this prayer to-day.

(W. B. Pope, D. D.)

As gardeners are not satisfied with sowing good seed, but also take care to eradicate weeds, so in spiritual husbandry it is not enough to cast the Word into souls; the soil must be cleansed of the pernicious weeds of error sown privily by an enemy's hand, or the Divine tillage will be marred. Hence St. Paul in chap. Colossians 1, having established the truth, now defends it against heresy, and these verses are the entrance to the controversy.

I. THE CONFLICT. What the apostle affirmed at the close of chap. 1. he here particularizes. He means —

1. The solicitude which the consideration of the Churches drew upon him. For though their faith and constancy afforded him satisfaction, the temptations around them and their human weakness led to the apprehension that they might be drawn from piety. Love is never without this, but the apostle's was so great that he felt as though he had suffered their afflictions himself (2 Corinthians 11:29, cf. also verse 3).

2. But more, he comprises here all that he did to avert the danger.(1) He was perpetually in prayer for them (2 Thessalonians 1:2; Philippians 1:4; Colossians 1:9).(2) To prayer he added action, and as he assails the enemy, he smartly appeals to the faithful, admonishing and encouraging them to needful firmness.(3) The combat, however, did not terminate here. He often came to blows, cheerfully suffering persecution. His very chain and prison were part of his conflict, and hence he told them (Colossians 1:24) he suffered for them; because in effect it was for maintaining the liberty of the Gentiles that he was suffering.

3. Admire the zeal and love of this holy man. He stood, as we may say, on the scaffold, yet their danger troubled him more than his own, and neither prison nor death was able to diminish his affection, or make him lay aside the least of his cares.

4. Observe his prudence To dispose their hearts and gain authority for his remonstrances, he sets before them his solicitudes for their salvation.

5. The apostle's conflict is exemplary. Let ministers learn what they owe to their flocks. Without this strife we cannot avoid the censure of the Supreme Pastor.

II. ITS DESIGN. Paul fought to secure to them a treasure and to prevent the enemy snatching it away. Therefore he shows that they were in danger of losing it. It consisted of —

1. Comfort of heart which heresy necessarily disturbs, because it shakes the truth and certainty of the evangelical doctrine on which it is founded. This should make us jealous for the purity of the gospel. Food, however wholesome, will kill if mingled with poison.

2. Union in love. Their seducers troubled that by sowing the seeds of doctrinal division. This union is necessary to comfort, for what joy can there be in the trouble of division?

3. The abounding of a full assurance of understanding. The order here is to be noted. These three things are of such a nature that the first depends upon the second, and the second upon the third.(1) The knowledge of a Christian should be understanding, i.e., he should see in the clearness of heavenly light the verities which God has revealed, not that we are bound to comprehend them, which would be impossible; but we are to know them as far as they are revealed. Here we see how far a blind faith is from the knowledge of a believer. Paul would have the faithful intelligent.(2) "All riches of understanding." Abundance of knowledge, so that we may be ignorant of none of the mysteries of Divine truth. If we do not, how shall we distinguish the voice of the shepherd from that of a stranger?(3) "Assurance." Though matters of faith are not laid. open to the senses or reason, yet the truth of them is so evident, that as soon as the clouds of passion and prejudice are dispersed by the Spirit it shines into our hearts and makes itself to be believed. Thus must it be known with certainty and not with doubting (Ephesians 4:14). Whereby you see how false is the opinion of Rome, which makes the belief of Christianity to depend on the testimony of her prelates.

4. The apostle confines the Christian's understanding within the bounds of its true subject — the mystery of —(1) The Father, because He is the author of the gospel, anal has manifested Himself through it.(2) Of Christ, for He has brought this doctrine from the bosom of the Father and set it in our view; and He is the principal subject of it, without whose teaching and merit we can have no true happiness.Conclusion:

1. Paul's desire teaches us our duty.

2. Urge not the vain excuse that you are not ministers, and therefore do not need extensive knowledge. The Colossians were no more ministers than you. We are all engaged in the same war and privates need arms as much as officers.

(J. Daille.)

I. ITS DESIGN. "That their hearts might be comforted." There may be pleasure in which mirth is frolicsome and laughter mad; a thrill of lone delight may sweep across the soul beneath some grand or peaceful scene. There may be brief and dangerous rapture in some wild moment; but no heart was ever comforted amidst scenes like these, either in possession or memory. The word has a hearty English sound about it, and embodies all the unutterable meanings that lie hidden in that word "home." The leading idea is that of quiet after tempests, a present of peace after a past of trouble. And so no heart can be comforted in Christ which has not agonized in penitence. The great calm comes to the soul after the storm raised by the convincing Spirit, when it finds the atonement sufficient and the Saviour willing. It must spring from faith.

II. ITS CONSTITUENTS.

1. "Being knit together in love."(1) The word applies to the fitting of the parts of a house in harmony. Modern architecture delights in the symmetry of buildings, different parts are arranged to be mutually strengthening without external aid.(2) So the heart in love is to be knit together, the strongest and surest of bonds. It is the root of all other graces, the ground on which the temple is to rise; "rooted and grounded in love." It is the bracelet that clasps the other graces, at once a protection and decoration. "Above all put on charity." It is the mark of the Divine relationship, indwelling, image.(3) The necessity of this to comfort is obvious. Without it hope will be a transient emotion, labour an intolerable drudgery, God alienated, the Church rent.

2. "Unto all riches," etc.(1) The possession of an assured faith, the importance of an intellectual perception of the truth, and of a decisive grasp of its great principles, is often urged by Paul; and Christ prayed that Peter's faith might not fail amidst the siftings of Satan. Do not our own hearts witness to the necessity of this? There is comfort in trust, but none in suspicion and misgiving.(2) Mark the wealthy repetition of the apostle's words. When Solomon speaks of understanding he can scarcely find imagery sufficiently brilliant to set its value forth. The apostle is not satisfied that that only shall be the believer's dowry; there is not only understanding, but "assurance" — knowledge deepening into conviction; "full," no doubt hungering upon the Spirit, the truth so thoroughly appreciated that the principle becomes enfibred with man's nature, a belonging of his, his riches which no panic can scatter and no thief steal.(3) The tendency of the present age is to leave old beliefs behind, and it is considered a proof of manliness to have outgrown the faith of our childhood, which yet was the faith upon which the sturdy manhood of our fathers grew. But surely it were a weary world if in this nineteenth century there is nothing settled. Life is all too short to be spent in dreams. Men die while we are battling with problems. And in all doubt there is discomfort, danger, and death. To the sincere and candid Christianity offers her evidences and all her "riches of the full assurance," etc. Press forward, you shall know if you follow on to know the Lord.

3. There must be testimony if the heart is "knit together in love," etc.(1) It is not to be kept within like a concealed treasure, but it is to be "acknowledged." The duty of confession is parallel with that of faith, and if faith be hid it will die.(2) The "mystery" is to be acknowledged. The greatest triumph of faith is when proud reason bows, the rebel will submits, and the awed senses fear as they enter into the cloud. This is the mystery of God in Christ. Do not let us do the Saviour the dishonour of denying Him either by the lie of speech or the lie of silence. Bold witness-bearing will be found to be a solid comfort to the soul.

4. In regard to this mystery the apostle's words are cumulative, and each has a distinct significance.(1) "Of God." How much of mystery is here! Yet what a comfort! How sad it would be to sit down in a world like ours without a God, with chance as our creator and circumstances our governor; or with gods like those of heathenism. But while the atheist cannot find a God, and the deist denies His existence, and the pantheist reduces Him to an abstraction, the Christian rejoices to believe that there is around him God, living, acting, personal.(2) "Of the Father," a greater mystery. He who is omnipotent, etc., maintains a relationship analogous to that of human fatherhood only, of infinite power and tenderness. What a comfort is this mystery! We live not under a despot's tyranny, but a Father's smile; this makes duty light, and sorrow bearable.(3) "Of Christ." The mystery deepens as we travel on. This makes God "Immanuel." God's own Son stoops to take on Himself a curse that none but Omnipotence could inflict, and none but Omnipotence bear. But vast as is the mystery the comfort is vaster. Heaven and earth reconciled; salvation for the most abandoned.

(W. M. Punshon, LL. D.)

That their hearts might be comforted
The apostle contends that they should persist in this.

I. THAT THEIR HEARTS MIGHT BE COMFORTED. Perseverance in Christian doctrine brings true comfort.

1. Because salvation by Christ alone brings tranquillity to the troubled conscience. For as the modulations of harmony are applied to arouse the mind when sorrowful, so the promises of God in Christ bring peace to men's hearts (Romans 5:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:16; Philippians 2:1).

2. Because the doctrine of innovators harassed men's minds with scruples and anxieties. To be exempt from these is a great part of spiritual consolation.

II. BEING KNIT TOGETHER IN LOVE as carpenters fit together two pieces of wood, so that they adhere in indissoluble union. This concord of minds is —

1. A fruit, because the intellect is the leader of the will (Acts 4:32). Unity of faith is the firmest bond of unity of mind. Love is the fruit of unanimity of faith which so binds the minds of the godly, that though some light offences intervene, yet as the boughs of the same tree, driven asunder by the wind, immediately come together again because fixed in one root, so with the minds of the faithful, because still rooted in the same faith.

2. A condition without which spiritual comfort is not obtained. For comfort is not had out of Christ; if any one lives without love, he is without Christ, and vice versa

III. UNTO ALL RICHES OF THE FULL ASSURANCE OF UNDERSTANDING.

1. The faith of Christians is augmented in richness when they who have learned only the principles and elements proceed to farther attainments. For as in other sciences the principles are few, but contain innumerable conclusions, so here some few necessary principles are presented to tender minds, and afterwards a rich treasury of sacred knowledge is collected for every purpose of salvation by meditation, hearing, and chiefly the internal operation and teaching of the Spirit. They therefore who persevere in the doctrine of the gospel thence obtain all riches. Hence —(1) The laity should not be content with an elementary knowledge in religious matters (Hebrews 6:1).(2) When these riches are sought, the means necessary to their attainment should be sought. He who would have treasure must dig.

2. Full assurance denotes that firm and certain adherence to what is believed which springs from the internal operation of the Spirit illuminating the intellect, inclining the will, and firmly stamping the impress of the things believed on the mind itself. This is at length attained by those who remain firm in the doctrine of faith. For as trees newly planted are swayed by the wind, so the early faith of the godly wavers with many doubts; but the same trees in course of time fix their roots deeper, so faith shoots its roots deeper into the mind, and at length, by grace, acquires that steadiness which cannot be overthrown (Ephesians 4:14). Hence we learn —(1) That the faith of a Christian ought not to depend on others, but be settled by the efficacy of the Spirit, so that if ecclesiastics, or the whole world even, should depart from the faith, yet every one of the laity should hold to it (Galatians 1:9).(2) How Romanists err who think that the assurance of our faith lies in the breast of the Pope. That cannot give lull assurance to my heart, but the operation of the Spirit can and does (1 John 2:27).(3) That their complaint is unjust who aver that we cannot arrive at this assurance since there are so many sects and controversies. We attain truth not by disputing, but from Him who alone can both know and teach.

3. The understanding fully assured (Ephesians 1:17; 1 Peter 2:9). Hence that is not a Divine, but animal faith, which has no comprehension of the things believed. Such a faith Staphylus extols in the collier who professed that he believed what the Church believed, and the Church believed what he held, whilst he was ignorant all the time what either the Church or himself held.

4. To the acknowledgment, etc.(1) Under the word "mystery" the apostle includes the whole doctrine of the gospel which is so called, because human reason of itself would never have found the way of salvation but for it.

(Bishop Davenant.)

Knit together in love
I. ITS NATURE.

1. There are two kinds of Christian unity.(1) Among all believers there exists a vital union. By our faith in Christ we are united to Him and to each other as members of our body connected with the living head. This union exists in spite of all diversities of character and creed. The uniting power is faith. Without that we are dead, and death means separation.(2) But the text speaks of another union, or it is a superfluity. The Colossians were already partakers of the union common to all Christians. Now the apostle prays that they may be knit together in love. This is not a doctrinal union; desirable as that may be, it is only a union of head. Nor is it an ecclesiastical union; desirable as that may be, it is yet mechanical and external. This is eternal, spiritual, vital.

2. The word is translated compacted (Ephesians 4:16), proving (Acts 9:22), assuredly gathering (Acts 16:10), and means to make to come together. The Colossians were not so compacted as the apostle wished them to be. Seducers had disturbed their fraternal concord. So the apostle prays that their affections may intertwine and interlace; or that as a broken joint when reset knits itself to the other members of the body, so the members of the body of believers might be united to one another, love being the uniting power.

3. Each Church should he a confederated body, so consolidated into one as to be invincible in conflict with the powers of evil.

4. We can have this unity without dull uniformity. There is unity in the Godhead, yet not uniformity; unity among the angels, but they have degrees of power and dignity; diversity among the stars, yet they are all related to the central sun. This unity does not destroy our individuality or our right of private judgment. The Church's vesture may have divers colours, but it must be without seam. Individual members may resemble the rainbow which combines the seven prismatic colours into one glorious arch, or like the ocean in its unfettered flow, "distinct as the billows, but one as the sea."

II. ITS NECESSITY.

1. Being destitute of this unity, no body of Christians can answer the end of its existence. It is only where brethren dwell together in unity that the Lord commands His blessing.

2. This unity is essential to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. It is only when believers are "builded together" that they are a fit "habitation of God through the Spirit." Not before the temple was compacted did "the glory of the Lord fill the house." When "they were all of one accord in one place," there came the blessings of Pentecost.

3. It is only when united that a Church is powerful for good. Separate the particles of a ponderous hammer, and each atom will fall harmless as a snowflake; but welded into one, and wielded by the arm of the quarryman, it will split granite. Let the waters of Niagara be divided into separate drops, and they are no more than a Scotch mist.

4. Without it a Christian Church may any day be scattered. It is but a heap of sand the separate particles of which may be separated by a gust of wind.

5. It is necessary to Christian comfort. We are so constituted as to be dependent on each other. To preserve a frigid isolation is to create misery.

III. THE POWER WHICH SECURES IT. Love, without which no real union is possible. The universe has no equal force to that of love. We may think alike on doctrines, polity, and methods of work, but unless our hearts are full of love to Christ and one another we are not united. This power is to be obtained at the Cross, the birthplace of Christian love.

(W. Williams.)

I. THE THINGS OF WHICH WE SHOULD BE ASSURED.

1. The things done by Christ (Luke 1:1).

2. The knowledge of our liberty in things indifferent.

3. The persuasion of the truth of their ministries to whom we subject our souls (2 Timothy 4:5, 17).

4. The doctrine of the religion we profess.

5. The hope of a better life (Hebrews 6:12).

6. Faith in God's favour upon the warrant of God's Word and Spirit.

II. THE SIGNS OF FULL ASSURANCE.

1. It will receive the Word in affliction with much joy (1 Thessalonians 1:6),

2. It will not be carried about by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14).

3. It is industrious in the duties of love to God's children (Hebrews 6:11, 12).

4. It is unrebukable, and full of integrity of life. It cannot stand with any presumptuous sin (Hebrews 10:22).

5. It will give glory to God against all sense and reason (Romans 4:20).

6. It mortifies and extinguishes all headstrong affections (Isaiah 11:7, 9).

7. It is carried with full sails into holy duties, and is faithful in good works.

8. It is able to admonish (Romans 15:14).

III. THE RICHES OF FULL ASSURANCE.

1. Our spiritual riches lie —

(1)In the Word of Christ dwelling in us (chap. Colossians 3:16).

(2)In the Spirit of Christ (Titus 3:6).

(3)In works of mercy and liberality (Ephesians 2:4; 2 Corinthians 8:1; 2 Corinthians 9:11).

(4)In sufferings and patience.

(5)In prayer (Romans 10:11).

(6)In good works. (1 Timothy 6:18).

(7)In utterance and all holy knowledge (1 Corinthians 1:5).

(8)In our faith (James 2:5).

2. Worthily is full assurance called riches, for it does all that riches can do to men. It comforts the heart and defends from dangers much better than outward riches. It gains the godly truer reputation than houses, lands, or money. It abounds more to mercy and well-doing with more sufficiency than out ward riches, and buys for the soul all necessaries. It settles the heart against all changes, makes a man stand against the rage of tyrants and death itself; yea, it prevails with God, and, knowing Him fully, does not fail to trust Him fully in spite of mysterious providences. "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." It brings a man the certain pardon of all his offences, and settles his heart in his religion better than ten thousand arguments and volumes of controversies. Conclusion:

1. This full assurance may be had in this life (1 Thessalonians 1:5; Hebrews 6:11; Hebrews 10:22; Romans 4:21).

2. Therefore we are bound to labour for it.

(N. Byfield.)

I. THE KNOWLEDGE OR UNDERSTANDING TO WHICH ASSURANCE BELONGS.

1. Men have two kinds of knowledge respecting Divine things — the one of the intellect alone, which is the fruit of study, just as the natural sciences are; the other a higher knowledge built upon the former, or the former transfigured. It baptizes the understanding with feeling, and the feeling with Divine influences. It is the product of love and obedience more than of inquiry, and is rather the gift of God than the acquisition of man.

2. But although distinguished these are not to be separated. We can possess the lower without the higher, but not the higher without the lower. Intellectual knowledge of the things of God is right as far as it goes. Its objects are true and its apprehension of them is correct. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing implies an understanding of what is heard. This is the window which admits into the soul the light of heaven; and as the room is lighter if the window be large and clear, so also the spiritual knowledge is likely to be more vivid if the natural knowledge of God's things be abundant. The function of the one is to build the altar, arrange the wood, and plan the sacrifice; the function of the other is to bring the fire from heaven.

3. But this is insufficient, and the super-excellence of spiritual knowledge makes it appear pale and poor in comparison. It is superficial. It does not penetrate down to the heart and will, but lies on the surface of the mind; nor does it pierce beyond the outward aspect of God's truth, and is not in communion with its glory.

4. Look at the texts which explain the nature of the higher knowledge.-11 Corinthians 8:1-3. Its fundamental element is love; love comprehending what the most cultured intellect without love cannot receive. The knowledge which is not grounded in love does not build up, but only puffs up.-2Colossians 1:9, 10. Its nature is spiritual because its source is supernatural, and concerns itself with the highest aspects of God's truth which are hid from the natural man. It is a power which rules the whole man and results in a walk pleasing to God. The highest degree of it, therefore, constitutes the perfection of the religious life.-3Philippians 1:9-11. Here again the chief element is love.

II. THE ASSURANCE BELONGING TO THIS KNOWLEDGE.

1. The assurance is not a property added to the knowledge, but the cream of the knowledge itself, and the higher and more extensive the knowledge the stronger the assurance.

2. Some Christians have an assurance which to some extent is the result of study (Luke 1:4; 1 Peter 3:15). This is not possessed by all the saints. They are not able to impart this assured knowledge concerning things in which they have been but imperfectly instructed. But they have assurance of the greatest personal value. Reasons may be circulated, but not intuitions and experiences. My neighbour must see with his own eyes and feel with his own heart what I see and feel in order to partake of the same assurance. It is a revelation on the one side and an intuition on the other.

(J. Hughes, D. D.)There is no wealth for man's soul like the spiritual consciousness of the glory of the truth of God.

I. BY IT EVERY PART OF OUR INTELLECTUAL AND MORAL NATURE IS ENRICHED.

1. It gives light to the mind, such a light as only comes from the Sun of Righteousness, dissipating darkness, clearing away doubts, solving perplexities that nothing else can remove, so that the man illuminated by it becomes a child of light and of the day.

2. It gives' peace to the conscience, even the peace passing all understanding which the world can neither give nor take away.

3. It sheds abroad in the heart that love which is its true life, the love of God and Christ to man.

4. It gives purity to the life and nobleness to the character, bringing it under the influence of heavenly motives and the Divine operation, so that the man is transformed into the image of God from glory to glory.

5. It gives glory to man hood, making it a partaker of the Divine nature, and enriching it with the prospect of the unfading crown and eternal blessedness.

II. THESE RICHES CAN NEVER PERISH. Other riches may take to themselves wings and fly away, or otherwise disappoint, but the wealth which the gospel gives forms part of ourselves for ever more. Disease cannot affect it; death cannot invalidate its worth; the cares of time and the trials of life only tend to enhance its value and brighten its possession to the soul.

(J. Spence, D. D.)

In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge
Wisdom does not consist in wide and varied knowledge. A student may be a walking encyclopaedia, and yet be far from being a wise man. Wisdom is the practical application of knowledge, the attainment of the highest moral results by the best means. The cry of the human intellect in all ages is for wisdom. The greatest souls have toiled for it and failed. It is a Divine revelation. The world by wisdom knew not God. The wisdom which all need is found only in Christ. Observe —

I. THAT CHRIST IS THE INEXHAUSTIBLE SOURCE OF THE TRUEST WISDOM. The false teachers at Colossae, like certain pretentious philosophers of modern times, boasted of the wast range of their wisdom and knowledge. They discussed questions which are reproduced to-day — the wisdom of this world which comes to naught. But it is only in Christ that we find all the treasures which furnish and enrich the mind and guide in the way of salvation. If we classify the principal sources of human knowledge, only in Christ does each department find its fullest explication and derive its worth.

1. He is the loftiest ideal and purest inspiration of the poet. Poetry occupies an important place in human culture. It has been abused, but the true poet pants after the noblest expression of the beautiful and the good. Of this, Christ is the embodiment, and the poet exhausts all his resources in portraying the lineaments of His character.

2. He is the grandest hero of the historian. History would be an unsolvable enigma could the name of Christ be struck out. The story of redemption unites Christ with the destiny of man in all ages.

3. He is prominent among the sublimest themes of the philosopher. A philosophy that does not recognize the Divine plunges its votaries in labyrinthine darkness. Its legitimate office is to conduct to God.

II. THAT THE TREASURES OF DIVINE WISDOM ARE DISCOVERABLE BY THE SINCERE AND EARNEST SEEKER. They are hid, but not so as to be beyond our reach. They are intended for discovery and appropriation. Their brilliancy sparkles even in their hiding-place. They are like a mine whose riches, though faintly indicated on the surface, are concealed in the depths. The more diligently the mine is worked the more precious and abundant the ore appears. Lessons —

1. Man universally covets wisdom.

2. The highest wisdom is treasured up in Christ for man.

3. If man finds it not, it is his own fault.

(G. Barlow.)

"Where shall wisdom be found?" etc. (Job 28:12-20). These sublime words have been echoed by the inquiring spirits of every age; but the only true reply is in the text. There are modern forms of old Colossian error: those who say that there is no reliable truth but in the facts of nature; no religion but in science; no progress but in rejecting revelation.

I. IN CHRIST ARE HID ALL THE TREASURES OF WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE.

1. They are deposited in Him as the God-man, the image of the invisible God, etc.

2. Knowledge is simply enlightenment, acquaintance with truth; wisdom is the use and result of that enlightenment, the application of the truth. Knowledge is the study, wisdom its fruit.

3. Treasures suggest great value and excellence. All the treasures are in Christ; not select truths, but all kinds of truth.As all things were made and consist by Christ, so all branches of knowledge for the human soul have a relation to Him and find their truest meaning in Him.

1. Jesus Christ is the key to human history.(1) The history of ancient nations cannot be considered thoroughly apart from the Jews, with whom they were brought into contact, and every one sees that the Hebrews had relations with Jesus, clear, manifold, and vital. Their ancient records, too, bear constant reference to One, the light of whose promised and expected advent flashed back on Egypt, Assyria, etc., making every page of this history instinct with living interest.(2) The same holds good in regard to modern nations. The unbeliever may reject Christ, still he has to account for the presence of His religion and to explain its influence as by far the mightiest moral impulse which men or nations have received. The pathway of Christ's name and influence is easily traced among the nations in the lines of light and liberty.

2. Christ is the ground of all true philosophy.(1) Nature is hung with all the insignia of Divine skill, power, and glory. Yet experience proves that the light of nature cannot make this impression an abiding principle of action. It is only when we see the material world as the theatre of redemption, and the work of creation the work of the Reconciler, that nature leads up to nature's God.(2) The philosophy of mind likewise finds its meaning in Christ. How is it possible to estimate the value of the soul without a knowledge of Him whose death was the price of its redemption? Philosophy teaches something of the prerogatives of reason, of the power of conscience, and of the relation of the animal to the spiritual nature: but what do we find? The harmony of this lofty nature disturbed, its liberty gone, the prerogative of reason overborne by the power of passion. Where is the light or wisdom that can secure the harmony between what man is and what he ought to be? Where is the knowledge or power that can bring beauty out of the chaos which religion discovers? It is in Christ alone: in Him are hid all the treasures of the only wisdom which expounds the lofty relations of man's mental being and the value and vigour of his spirit.(3) The philosophy of morals in the relation of man to man, and to society at large, is a perplexing study. We see virtue oppressed and vice triumphant, might supreme over right, etc. The solution is in the gospel. In the knowledge of Christ we see the rule of a "righteous Father" — the triumph of law and of love, the harmony of righteousness and peace, and the evidence that whatever anomalies may appear in society now, all will yet be explained and rectified, and issue in the glory of God and the good of man.

3. Christ is the substance of a true theology.(1) All saving knowledge of God and our relations to Him we find in Christ.(2) The peace with God which men have sought everywhere by sacrifice and prayer is secured by Him who is the propitiation for our sins.(3) The future, which has baffled all human inquiries, has been revealed by Him who has brought life and immortality to light.

II. THE RELATION OF CHRIST GENERALLY TO ALL HUMAN STUDIES.

1. In Him the mind finds its truest stimulus and healthiest impulse. He is the fosterer and guide of all wise intellectual pursuits. It is in countries where He is known and worshipped that literature and science exercise their widest sway. He emancipates the mind from the bondage of corruption and fear, and as the wisdom of God hallows all wisdom.(1) If we investigate nature, does it make no difference whether we examine a world without God, or a world which God has made the object of His special interest?(2) If we study the human mind, will it make no difference whether we view it as a taper to be extinguished or the offspring of an infinite Father?(3) If we examine the human frame, will it make no difference whether we consider it as destined to rot in the grave, or as the tabernacle of the immortal spirit destined to be restored? Who does not see that the light which Christ brings enhances and elevates every branch of knowledge?

2. The word "hid" implies that wisdom and knowledge are stored up in Him in a hidden manner, suggesting —(1) Concealment. All these treasures are not seen at once by the bodily or spiritual eye. They are hid from the thoughtless and unbelieving world, from the vain and unassisted intellect (1 Corinthians 2:8). God has hid these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes. Just as many with an uneducated eye traverse a country rich in mineral wealth, and have no idea of what lies under the surface, so the treasures that are hid in Christ are only seen by the eye of faith, and found by the devout and contrite soul taught by the Spirit of God.(2) But these treasures thus hid are intended for discovery and appropriation. They are gradually unfolded. The number of those enriched daily increases, yet the riches are still inexhaustible, and the oldest disciples are ever discovering some new vein of preciousness in their Lord. So it will ever be.

(J. Spence, D. D.)

"This morning," says Mr. Fuller, "I have read another of Edwards' sermons, on 'God, the Christian's Portion,' from Psalm 73:25. The latter part comes very close, and I feel myself at a loss what to judge as to God's being my chief good. He asks, whether we had rather live in this world rich and without God, or poor and with Him? Perhaps I should not be so much at a loss to decide this question as another; namely, had I rather be rich in this world and enjoy but little of God, or poor and enjoy much of God? I am confident the practice of great numbers of professing Christians declares that they prefer the former; and in some instances I feel guilty of the same thing."

When the apostle spoke of the wisdom hid in Christ, he meant by "wisdom" just what his adversaries meant, that is, the know ledge of man in those sublime relations that connect him with God and God's universal plan. Now this is a sort of knowledge to which everything may be expected to contribute some remote and faint light; but the point here to be observed is, that the revelation of Christ Jesus, alone and unaided, flashes a beam of splendour upon it in which all others are lost and disappear. Nor this only, but as all knowledge is mainly valuable as it helps our efforts for this last and mightiest knowledge of ourselves and God, so when this is attained, through virtue of the Christian truth, it, in its turn, radiates back upon all the departments of knowledge a new and blessed light. And thus the revelation of Christ not merely teaches us in itself a series of truths of inexpressible importance, and without it wholly unattainable, but it also, as a great central discovery, harmonizes all our beliefs, sacred and secular, binds them together as its own servants, gives them a new interest, and position, and colouring, and dignifies the pursuit of them as a labour in the very cause of God Himself, — begun and prosecuted with a view to His glory — for to know the beauty of the temple is to know the glory of the architect. And hence, so far are we who advocate the revelation of Christ as the basis of education, from (as our slanderers have it) restricting or dreading the free search of natural knowledge, that, on the contrary, when once the corner-stone has been fixed in our foundation, we exult in a science and a philosophy that is subservient to the faith of Christ; we hail every bright discovery as a new tribute to the creating and redeeming God whom we adore. Let but the Sun of Righteousness reign in the centre of the soul, and we know that every element of inferior knowledge will dispose itself to revolve harmoniously around it!

(W. Archer Butler, M. A.)

This I say lest any man should beguile you. — As men love and desire only those things which have an appearance of good, so they believe only those which have a semblance of truth. This advantage which truth naturally has over falsehood compels its enemies to counterfeit its mask and wear its livery, as coiners give their copper or lead the colour of gold or silver in order to pass it as current coin; otherwise neither error nor base coin have a chance of acceptance. And as Christianity comprises the most important truths, so there never was a system which impostors have so laboured to corrupt; and so, therefore, ought we to strenuously endeavour to sever the falsehood which has been palmed off as the truth. This is one of the most important duties of our lives. It is loss to take bad money for good; it is hurtful to receive an error for truth in the simplest matters; but here the consequence of imposture is irreparable. So here and elsewhere the apostle warns the faithful against it (Romans 16:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; Ephesians 4:14; Hebrews 5:14).

I. THE DANGER OF THE COLOSSIANS of being deceived with enticing words. There never was a servant of Christ who was not beset by such a temptation. As soon as Satan sees the truth of the gospel appear he raises up impostors to corrupt it, and to alienate its professors from its purity.

1. The term employed means to deceive by false and ensnaring ratiocination. These bad men, knowing that we are not induced to embrace anything without some reason, our nature demanding that the understanding should precede the will, begin there to effect our ruin. It is a sophism, a false arguing which by its vain appearance and fallacious blaze leads men into error, as those fatuous fires which, rising at night, conduct those who follow them over precipices. Satan, the father of all sophisters, took this course first, attacking our first parents' understandings in the first place, and beguiling them that he might destroy them. All whom he has since employed have followed the same method. No heretic ever appeared who did not paint over his impostures with specious reasons. Some act maliciously, and in defiance of their own consciences; others through ignorance (Romans 10:2), like most of those of the Roman communion. But we must take heed of both. As poison fails not to kill the man who takes it, though given in ignorance; so error, from whatever hand it come, has a bad effect.

2. The means which false teachers use are "enticing words" (Romans 16:18; 1 Corinthians 2:4). Under this term are comprehended all that attractiveness of discourse which is apt to touch and win hearts. Eloquence too often makes things, as it were by enchantment, appear quite opposite — honey wormwood, black white, and vice versa. It can subvert a cause, however good; and establish it, however bad. It has frequently procured condemnation for the innocent, while the guilty have been acquitted with applause. But among all the busy people who use it none more perniciously employ it than corrupters of religion. Not that eloquence is to be decried. It has done good service to the gospel, and Paul, who here condemns it as a vehicle of error, does not reject it in the service of the truth. But as innocence is not always the best clothed, so truth frequently is not the most richly decked.

II. THE MEANS OF GUARDING AGAINST IT. "This I say" — what? "In Him are hid all the treasures," etc. None of the wiles of error can stand before these. Whoever has this principle in his heart will receive nothing out of Christ, and so has his ears effectually closed against the seductions of error.

(J. Daille.)

Paul fortifies the disciples by exalting the master and urging the inexhaustible significance of His Person and message. To learn the full meaning and preciousness of Christ is to be armed against error. The positive truth concerning Him, by pre-occupying mind and heart, guards beforehand against the most specious teachings. If you fill the coffer with gold, nobody will want, and there will be no room for pinchbeck. A living grasp of Christ will keep us from being swept away by the current of prevailing popular opinion, which is always much more likely to be wrong than right, and is sure to be exaggerated and onesided at the best. A personal consciousness of His power and sweetness will give an instinctive repugnance to teaching that would lower His dignity and debase His work. If He be the centre and anchorage of all our thoughts, we shall not be tempted to go elsewhere in search of the treasures of wisdom. He who has found the one pearl of great price needs no more to go seeking goodly pearls, but only day by day more completely to lose self, and give up all else, that he may win more and more of Christ his all. If we keep our hearts and minds in communion with our Lord, and have experience of His preciousness, that will preserve us from many a snare, will give us a wisdom beyond much logic, will solve for us many of the questions most hotly debated to-day, and will show us that many more are unimportant and uninteresting to us. And even if we should be led to wrong conclusions on some matters, "if we drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt" us.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

"This is the devil's device, first to maze people, aa birds are with a light and a bell in the night, and then to drive them into the net. If you would keep to wholesome doctrine, keep to a form of wholesome words, and do not place religion in conceited speaking." Would that this advice of Manton's were heeded. We have those about us who are for ever inventing some new thing, and using the old orthodox terms in an altogether novel sense. Their hearers are first dazzled with the clever candle light, and cannot make out what the novel brilliance means; and when they are thoroughly bewildered, a great noise and tinkling is made of pretended wisdom and deep thought, so that the poor souls are ready to fly anywhere and anyhow. Thus the fowler's business is effectually done, and by this means, if it were possible, they would ensnare the very elect. The safest way for simple souls is to keep to a definite and decided gospel ministry.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Error is insidious in its approaches. It flatters by liberality and betrays by sophism. We are not reconciled to it at once. There are disgusts to be allayed and fears to be vanquished. Little by little are we allured. The voyager enters a current which seems propitious, there is no apparent diversion from his course, his bark speeds well, his oar does not toil nor his sail strain. In his confidence all promises success. But while he examines, scarcely does it seem that he has advanced. Much again and again reminds him of what he has noticed just before. A strange familiarity impresses his sense. Still current flows into current, while onward and buoyant is his track. Soon he feels an unnatural vibration. Where he glided, he now whirls along. The truth seizes upon him. He is sweeping a whirlpool. Long since he has entered the verge of a maelstrom, and he is now the sport of its gyrations. No power is left his helm or mast; he is the trembling unresisting prey. He hears the roar; he is drawn into the suck of the vortex. Not only the circle lessens, the very surface slopes. The central funnel and abyss, darkheaving, smooth, vitreous, yawns. The mariner shrieks, the skiff is swallowed up, where the waters only separate to close, where the outermost attraction was but the minister to the famine of this devouring maw.

(Dr. R. W. Hamilton.)

Links
Colossians 2:1 NIV
Colossians 2:1 NLT
Colossians 2:1 ESV
Colossians 2:1 NASB
Colossians 2:1 KJV

Colossians 2:1 Bible Apps
Colossians 2:1 Parallel
Colossians 2:1 Biblia Paralela
Colossians 2:1 Chinese Bible
Colossians 2:1 French Bible
Colossians 2:1 German Bible

Colossians 2:1 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Colossians 1:29
Top of Page
Top of Page