Colossians

Oct 8, 2011
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The epistle to the Ephesians has already carried us to the height of our Christian position. Consequently, we have no further step to take in this direction; but as ever, the carrying out of the truth thus revealed is now to be proved in practice. Hence Colossians gives us, in fact, if not exactly the walk through the world, at least the furnishings for that walk. A consequence of this is, that we necessarily find the truths of the former epistles brought forward into this one.

The growth truths of Romans, Galatians and Ephesians are all found in Colossians. With Romans, we have the man in Christ, dead to sin, and to law (Rom 6:2, 11, 14—NC). With Galatians, we find him also as having died to the world (Gal 6:14), while the truth in Ephesians, that we are quickened with Christ and raised up with Christ (Eph 2:5, 6) is equally before us; but none of them gives us, on the other hand, what characterizes Colossians. We need all these truths for practical use in walking through the world; but the great and governing truth in Colossians is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, not even our position in Him—although that enters into it—but the Lord Jesus Himself, the blessed Object before the heart.

Thus, if in Ephesians the apostle says that “God in Christ has forgiven you” (Eph 4:32), Colossians has it: “Even as Christ hath forgiven you” (Col 3:13). If Ephesians speaks of the “new man” as “created in righteousness and holiness of truth” (Eph 4:24), Colossians speaks of the “new man” as “renewed in knowledge . . . where there is neither Greek nor Jew, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all and in all” (Col 3:10). If Ephesians bids us “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called” (Eph 4:1), Colossians bids us “walk worthy of the Lord.” The central verse in Colossians is that “all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Him bodily” (Col 2:9) and that we are filled up “in Him” (v 10).

Hence, the soul, as most needed for a walk through the world, is under government here (control of this epistle—NC). We have received Christ Jesus the Lord and we are to “walk in Him” (Col 2:6). We are to “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing” (Col 1:10), and we are “translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son” (Col 1:13). This then is our main furnishing for the path; while we are told directly of the strength that we receive by the power of His glory before the soul (Col 1:11), and are exhorted to hold fast the Head, from which the whole Body is ministered to and “increases with the increase of God” (Col 2:19). The truth of the Church is here, but it is not dwelt on. It is the Head upon which the apostle Paul insists.

A kindred and beautiful thing (at first sight however, seeming unaccountable) is that the Spirit of God is only mentioned once, and that incidentally (Col 1:8). We have no doctrine of the Spirit (in Colossians). How completely in accordance this is with what we know of His work, who has come to take of the things of Christ and to show them to us—and not to speak of His own (Jhn 16:13-15). In the doctrinal epistles which have preceded this, the Spirit is dwelt upon in all connections. Here we are face to face with the blessed Object that the Spirit presents. The dew has brought the manna, and the dew exhales and leaves the manna for our food. Thus, then, we have the character of Colossians.

There is not in it the truth of our being seated together in heavenly places in Christ (to all the more center on Himself—NC), but this results from the peculiar character of Colossians, as giving us the path through the world, while, if our own position is less fully developed, the glory of the Lord Jesus compensates for this, and, the very truth fundamental to our position, that we are in the Lord Jesus before our Father, in measure involves this.


— Frederick William Grant (1834-1902)