Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Colossians 1:9 - 1:14

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Colossians 1:9 - 1:14


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

The apostle's intercession for the Colossian Christians:

v. 9. for this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding,

v. 10. that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

v. 11. strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness;

v. 12. giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light;

v. 13. who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son;

v. 14. in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.

The good report from Colossae, which had caused Paul to break forth in a prayer of thanksgiving, now also prompts him to add an earnest intercession in behalf of the Colossian congregation: For this cause also we, since the day we heard, do not cease praying in your behalf and desiring that you might be filled with reference to the understanding of His will in all wisdom and spiritual insight. Just when the condition of a congregation is most gratifying and hopeful, this prayer for the continued success of the Gospel is most necessary. The prayer of Paul had been unceasing from the very first day that the good news from Colossae had reached him. But it had culminated in a definite request, in a specific petition, a cordial, urgent supplication. He wanted the Colossian Christians to be filled with the understanding, with the knowledge of the will of God. All Christians should know that the domain of the gracious will of God extends to them, that God's thoughts toward them, as toward all men, are thoughts of peace and mercy and love. This knowledge has been in their hearts from the beginning of faith, but it must grow ever fuller, ever more perfect. The true and complete knowledge of the gracious will of God in Jesus Christ is not only wrought in the heart by faith, but is maintained and increased in its certainty by the Gospel. It is effected, moreover, in all wisdom and spiritual insight. The enlightened mind of the Christian bears down upon, tries to penetrate ever more deeply into, the wonderful truths of the Gospel. The knowledge of God works true wisdom in us, it increases spiritual understanding in our hearts. All this is the work of the Spirit, it cannot be effected by any purely natural development of human mental life, it is an enlightenment from above. In this way the Christian moves forward day by day toward the perfection of the knowledge of God, the consummation of which will take place in heaven.

The aim of such understanding and knowledge is: To walk, to lead a life, worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, in every good work bringing forth fruit and increasing through the knowledge of God. If a Christian is fully equipped with the wisdom and knowledge from above, if the eyes of his understanding are enlightened through the power of the Spirit, then he is able to make the proper choice of paths in life, then he will know what will please the Lord under certain circumstances, in certain positions and situations. Then his object will be to conduct himself at all times in such a way as to agree with the exalted position of the Lord, to avoid everything that is apt to bring shame and disgrace upon the name of Christ. Pleasing to Christ a believer's life and conduct must be, that everything which he map say or do will meet with the approval of Him whose name the Christian bears. "To that end our wisdom and knowledge in the understanding of God shall serve and be of use, that we become such people as are an honor and praise to God, that He be praised through us, and that we thus live to the pleasure of God and in every way please Him according to His Word. " This is done, first of all, if the Christians in every good work bring forth fruit. The fruits of a Christian's faith are his good works, as the apostle writes, Gal_5:22. In every good work the Christian should become proficient, not only in this or that individual case which just happens to strike his fancy. In this way the believers grow through the understanding of God, they increase in sanctification, make progress in every good work, because they are growing up to manhood, to the full stature demanded by the will of God. Thus the knowledge of God is the means, the instrument, of our spiritual growth. As we get to know God better and ever better in His essence, we also advance in the knowledge of His will and are thus enabled to make headway in such conduct and life as will meet with the approval of God on every hand.

Another point that Christians should strive for is: in all strength made strong according to the power of His glory unto all patience and long-suffering. It is impossible for the believers, by their own reason and strength, to lead the life demanded by the will of God. But they have a source of strength and spiritual power which is unlimited, since it flows from the divine supply. They are strengthened with power from above, and the strength thus obtained they apply in every direction, in all efforts of will and understanding, in the home and outside of the home, in the Church and outside of the Church. God gives this strength in proportion to His own almighty power; for through this power His glory is revealed, first to the believer, and through him to all with whom he comes in contact. But above all does the power of God enable the Christian to observe the right attitude in times of tribulation, when poverty, sickness, and various temporal afflictions, when scorn, mockery, persecution come upon him. It is then that patience and long-suffering are needed, which the believer cannot obtain by his own efforts, but which must come to him according to the measure of God's majesty and glory. In His power he can patiently endure all sufferings and tribulations unto the end, if he be but instant in prayer.

Another feature of the Christian's conduct in life is: With joy giving thanks to God the Father, who has qualified us to take part in the inheritance of the saints in light. The thanksgiving of the believers is not one which is dictated to them by a sense of duty: it is a free and joyful, almost a spontaneous outgrowth of their relation to God. Their entire life, both in good and evil days, both in joy and in sorrow, is one continued round of thanksgiving to God for His unspeakable gifts. This attitude and its expression is wrought in the Christians by the fact that they realize that God is their Father. By keeping this fact in mind, that the Father above, the great God of heaven and earth, guides and governs His children's lives according to His gracious and good will, and that He will surely lead them home, whether through clouds or through sunshine, these children will always find new cause for rejoicing, and their praise of His fatherly love and care will be ever more sincere and joyful. But the most wonderful gift of the heavenly Father is this, that He has made us meet, ready, has qualified us for taking part in the inheritance of the saints in light. Two things are here stated of the inheritance of heaven; first, that it belongs to the saints, being intended for all believers; secondly, that it consists in light. The final, eternal glory of salvation, the consummation and realization of the Christians' highest hopes, is given to the believers by God's free grace. For this He made us ready by having mercy upon our sinful state, by making us His children through faith in Christ Jesus, by guaranteeing to us the glory of heaven for our everlasting possession. It is not an uncertain, indefinite expectation with which the Christians are trying to bolster up their own courage, but a definite certainty, resting upon the promise of the ever-faithful God.

This thought is now expounded at greater length: Who has torn us out of the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have the redemption, the forgiveness of sins. By nature we Christians, with all other men, were under the power, in the slavery, of darkness, in the kingdom of Satan, where there is only curse, wrath, punishment, damnation, not one ray of light or hope. As sinners by nature we were held captive in this slavery and could look forward only to death and damnation. But God rescued us, He tore us away forcibly from the power of the devil. By the same act and at the same time He transferred us to, gave us a position in, the kingdom of His beloved Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. By sending His one, His beloved Son, in whom the full love of the Father is realized, into this world, by giving Him into death for our sakes and reconciling the world to Himself, God has established the kingdom of His Son, the Church, the realm of light, where righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost are ever present. Moreover, by working faith in our hearts, He has made us citizens in this Kingdom; we are Christ's own, and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and happiness. In Christ, through Christ's atoning work, we have redemption; He paid the ransom by which we were delivered from the power of Satan. In His immeasurable mercy and love toward us Christ gave Himself as our Substitute, He shed His holy blood in payment of our debt of sins and transgressions. We now have forgiveness of sins in Him; for His blood cleanses us from all sins, it makes us free from their guilt and power. That deliverance, with all its resulting blessings, is our abiding possession.