Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, July 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
Colossians 4

Ironside's Notes on Selected BooksIronside's Notes

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verse 1

It is unfortunate that the chapter break comes just where it does. It would seem far more suitable to close chapter 3 with the next verse, and let chapter 4 begin with verse 2, for it is evident that verse 1 concludes this particular section. It is a message to those in authority: “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.” In every instance it is to the new man He speaks. Ungodly masters could not be expected to take heed to such an admonition as this, but it is addressed to one who, while master in his relationship to his servants, is himself but a servant to his own Master in heaven. He may well give heed to what is here so impressively urged upon him. He is to treat his servants as he would have the Lord treat him. He is to be characterized by fairness, giving to those beneath him that which is just and equal, knowing that all the time his heavenly Master is looking on. When he comes to give account of his service, his relations to those who on earth served under him will all be carefully gone into, when everything will be brought to light.

What marvelous principles are these which we have seen so simply stated. Only one who knows something of the conditions prevailing in the Roman Empire at the time this letter was written can realize how revolutionary they were. In those days, wives, children, and slaves had practically no standing before the law, except as husbands, fathers, or masters might desire to recognize them. But this glorious truth of the new man, this blessed unfolding of the new creation, tinged with glory every earthly relationship in which the Christian was found. It is like the blue border upon the hem of the pious Israelite’s garment. Even on the lower edge where that long flowing robe came most nearly in contact with the earth, this ribbon of blue was seen. Blue, as we well know, is the heavenly color. The Israelite was to look upon it and remember that he had owned the Lord to be his God, He who had said, “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” As he looked upon the ribbon of blue he was to remember his responsibility to honor and to glorify the God of heaven in his life on the earth. We as Christians are to manifest the heavenly character in every lawful relationship which God has established during the present order of things for the blessing of mankind.

There is a story told of one of the Dauphins of France who had an English tutor. This teacher found his princely pupil very difficult to handle. Proud and haughty, and impatient of restraint, the young man submitted unwillingly to schoolroom restrictions and his foreign instructor was often at his wits’ end how to deal with him. One morning as his pupil came to him, the tutor placed upon the lapel of his jacket a purple rosette, saying to him, “This is the royal color. As you wear it I want you to remember that you are the Crown Prince of France, and that it is incumbent upon you ever to behave in a princely way. If you are willful or disobedient I shall, of course, not attempt to punish you, as that is not in my province. But I shall simply point to the purple, and you will understand what I mean, that I do not feel your behavior is worthy of a princely lad.” The appeal to the purple! How striking the suggestion. May we not say that to us there is a similar appeal, but, to use the Old Testament picture, it is the appeal to the blue! Wives, husbands, children, fathers, masters, and servants, are all alike called upon to manifest the holiness of heaven, to display the heavenly character, even in earthly relationships.

It is in just such things as these that the power of the new life is wonderfully manifested. “Holding the Head” is not merely maintaining ecclesiastical truth, but it is shown forth in a holy, godly life-in subjection of heart and mind to Christ, and never more fully than in the way we live in the family, and in connection with business and social responsibilities.

Verses 2-6

Chapter 15 Concluding Exhortations

Colossians 4:2-6

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. (vv. 2-6)

One of the most common sins among Christians today is that of prayerless-ness. No doubt this has been true throughout the centuries. And yet we are again and again not only exhorted, but distinctly commanded, to pray.

· “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”

· “Pray without ceasing.”

· “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.”

· “Praying in the Holy Ghost.”

To these might be added many similar expressions, reminding us that prayer is in very truth “the Christian’s vital breath.” It is the life of the new man. One can no more have a happy, triumphant Christian experience who neglects this spiritual exercise than one can be well and strong physically who shuts himself up in a close room to which the sun never penetrates and where pure air is unknown. The soul flourishes in an atmosphere of prayer.

And yet the Christian has sometimes been asked, “Why do we need to pray? If God is infinitely wise and infinitely good, as the Holy Scriptures declare Him to be, why need any of His creatures petition Him regarding anything which they conceive to be either for their own good or for the blessing of others? Is it not a higher and purer faith that leads one to ignore these exercises altogether and simply to trust Him to do what He sees to be best in every circumstance?” Those who reason thus manifest but little acquaintance with the Word of God, and little realize the needs of the soul.

Prayer is, first of all, communion with God. Our blessed Lord Himself, in the days of His flesh, is seen again and again leaving the company of His disciples and going out into some desert place on a mountainside or into a garden that His spirit might be refreshed as He bowed in prayer alone with the Father. From such reasons of fellowship He returned to do His mightiest works and to bear witness to the truth. And in this He is our great Exemplar. We need to pray as much as we need to breathe. Our souls will languish without it, and our testimony will be utterly fruitless if we neglect it.

We are told to continue in prayer. This does not mean that we are to be constantly teasing God in order that we may obtain what we might think would add most to our happiness or be best for us, but we are to abide in a sense of His presence and of our dependence upon His bounty. We are to learn to talk to Him and to quietly wait before Him, too, in order that we may hear His voice as He speaks to us. We are bidden to bring everything to Him in prayer, assured that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. But because we are so ignorant and so shortsighted we need ever to remember that we are to leave the final disposal of things with Him who makes no mistakes. Without anxiety as to anything, we may bring everything to Him in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, making known our requests in childlike simplicity. Then, leaving all in His hands, we go forth in fullest confidence as our hearts say, “Thy will be done,” knowing that He will do for us exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.

We need to be often reminded that we cannot pray as we should unless we are careful as to our walk before God, and so we are told not only to continue in prayer but to watch in the same, and that with thanksgiving. “Watch and pray.” Here are two things that must never be separated. It is so easy to slip into a careless condition of soul, to become entangled amid worldly and unholy snares, so that we lose all spiritual discernment and our prayers become selfish. When this is the case, it is vain to think that we shall obtain anything from the Lord. But where there is watchfulness and sobriety, with honest confession and self-judgment when we realize failure has come in, we can pray in fullest confidence, knowing that all hindrance is removed.

Here, as in Philippians 4:0, we are reminded that thanksgiving for past mercies should accompany prayer for present and future blessing. To receive God’s good gifts as a mere matter of course soon dries up spiritual affection, and we become self-centered instead of Christ-centered and foolishly imagine that God is in some way bound to lavish His mercies upon us whether we are grateful or not. In our dealings with one another we feel it keenly if ingratitude is manifested and kindness goes unacknowledged. Even though we may give unselfishly we like appreciation, and a hearty “thank you” makes one all the more ready to minister again where there is need. And we may be assured that our God finds joy in His people’s praises. He loves to give, but He delights in our appreciation of His benefits.

Paul, unquestionably the greatest preacher and teacher that the Christian dispensation has known, was not above requesting the prayers of the people of God. He felt his need of their prayer help, and so he says, “Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” He did not feel that because he was in prison his work was over. Although unable to face the multitudes in public places as in past years, he was ever on the lookout for opportunities of service, and he would have the saints join with him in prayer that even in his prison cell a door of utterance might be open to him. How natural it would have been for him to give up in despair and settle down in utter discouragement, or simply to endure passively the long, weary months of imprisonment, taking it for granted that nothing could really be accomplished for God so far as gospel fruit was concerned until he should be free. But he was of another mind entirely. His circumstances did not indicate that God had forsaken him nor that He had set him to one side. He was eagerly looking for fresh opportunities to advance upon the enemy.

We are told that just before the first battle of the Marne in the World War of 1914-1918, Marshal Foch, the great French general, reported: “My centre is giving; my left wing is retreating; the situation is excellent; I am attacking.” This was not mere military bombast, for the marshal realized that apparent defeat could be turned into victory by acting with resolution and alacrity at the very moment when the enemy seemed to be triumphant.

Doubtless the Devil thought he had gained a great advantage when he shut Paul up in prison, but from that prison cell came at least four of the great church epistles and some of the pastoral letters, which have been the means of untold blessing to millions throughout the centuries. And from that cell, too, the gospel went out. First to the prison guards and through them to many more in Caesar’s palace who might not otherwise have been reached. How important it is not to give ground to Satan, but in prayer and faith to turn every defeat into a victory by seizing the opportunity and advancing against the foe, assured that our great Captain knows no retreat.

Alas, we spend so much time halting between two opinions, debating what we should do, and doing nothing. We need the grace of decision that will enable us to seize the opportune moment and act upon it in the fear of God. And this is emphasized in the verse that follows: “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.” In our relationships with men of the world, how we need to remember that opportunities to warn of judgment to come and to point them to Christ once given may never come again. Therefore, the tremendous importance of buying up such privileges of service in the light of the judgment seat of Christ.

The day of grace is fast passing away. We meet men once, perhaps, never to see them again. While it is perfectly true that we cannot be forever pestering people about what they would call our religious notions, yet it is the part of wisdom to be on the lookout for every opening that will give us the privilege to minister Christ to their souls.

To each man’s life there comes a time supreme,

One day, one night, one morning or one noon,

One freighted hour, one moment opportune,

One rift through which sublime fulfillments gleam,

One space when faith goes tiding with the stream,

One Once in balance ‘twixt Too Late, Too Soon,

And ready for the passing instant’s boon

To tip in favor of uncertain beam.

Ah, happy he who, knowing how to wait,

Knows, also how to watch, and work, and stand,

On Life’s broad deck alert, and at the prow

To seize the passing moment, big with fate,

From Opportunity’s extended hand,

When the great clock of Destiny strikes NOW!

But if we would witness to the Lord in such a way that our testimony will really count we must be careful that our walk agrees with our speech. Careless behavior when in the company of worldlings will only make them feel that we do not ourselves believe the tremendous truths which we would press upon them. How careful preachers need to be in regard to this! The world is so quick to judge and will only turn away with disgust from a man who is serious on the platform but frivolous among men. He who is solemn as he preaches of divine realities but is a giggling buffoon when out in company need not think that he will make any permanent impression for good upon the hearts and consciences of those among whom he mingles. Many a servant of Christ in his anxiety to be accepted of men and to become what is called today “a good mixer,” sincerely hoping thereby to commend his message, has found to his sorrow that he has paid too high a price for his popularity. He has but cheapened himself and his ministry by coming down to the level of natural men who know not the power of the new life.

I remember well a friend speaking once of two preachers. One was perhaps a bit unduly serious, not that anyone can be too sober as he faces the realities of eternity, but the man in question was perhaps a bit too stern to readily make friends among those whom he wished to help. The other was the very soul of cordiality. He would tell a good story, smoke a good cigar, and make himself hail-fellow-well-met with all and sundry with whom he came in contact. Speaking of him my friend said, “Dr. Blank is a fine fellow. I do enjoy an hour in his company. He makes me forget all my troubles, but,” he added thoughtfully, “if I were dying I’d rather have Mr. So-and-So come and pray with me.”

Ah, my brethren, let us not forfeit our high and holy calling as Christ’s representatives in order that we may obtain popularity among men who have little relish for divine things. This does not mean that we are called upon to be disagreeable in our behavior or conversation, for we are told, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Gracious speech flows from a heart established in the grace of God. Of Jesus the psalmist wrote, “Grace is poured into Thy lips.” He could say, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” But this did not make Him indifferent to evil nor unfaithful in dealing with those who needed rebuke.

“Seasoned with salt” suggests the preservative power of faithfulness. There is always a danger that a gracious man will become a weak man and will lack courage to speak out faithfully when occasion demands it. In the law it is written, “Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, [thou shalt] not suffer sin upon him.” We are all our brothers’ keepers to a certain extent. While nothing is more contrary to the spirit of Christ than an overweening, captious, fault-finding spirit, yet where Christ’s honor is at stake, or where we realize a brother is standing in dangerous places, we need the salt of righteousness to season gracious speech in order that we may know how to speak to every man.

And if we would perfect ourselves in this grace we need to live more in company with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Follow Him through the Gospels in His wondrous ministry of grace and truth here on earth. See how marvelously He met each individual case. F. W. Grant has well said, “Our Lord had no stereotyped method of dealing with souls.” He took up each case on its merits. He did not talk to the woman at the well in the same way He addressed Nicodemus, the ruler of the Jews. He probed the depths of each heart and ministered according to the need.

Jesus’ devoted follower, the apostle Paul, the author of this divinely inspired letter to the Colossians, was ever exercised in regard to the same thing. He was “made all things to all men if by any means he might save some” (author’s translation). In the Jewish synagogue he reasoned out the Scriptures like the most able rabbi or doctor of the law. When he stood on Mars Hill among the Athenian philosophers he was a master of rhetoric and showed full acquaintance with Greek thought and literature. But he spoke “not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth [the] hearts,” until his great address was interrupted by the excited throng about him, who spurned the idea of the resurrection of the body. Addressing the idolaters of Lycaonia he met them on their own ground and appealed from nature to nature’s God, seeking to turn them from their vanities and draw their hearts to the Creator of all things. How different in all this was both the Master and the servant to many who today seem to pride themselves on their outspokenness and indifference to the views and opinions of others.

Is it any wonder that men turn from them in disgust and refuse to listen to what seems to them but the dogmatic utterances of self-centered egotists. On the other hand, as intimated above, there are those who seek to be gracious but who utterly lack faithfulness, and who would gloss over any doctrine or evil in the lives of their hearers rather than run the risk of giving offense. How much divine wisdom is needed, and how close must the servant keep to the Master Himself in order that he may know how to answer every man.

Verses 7-18

Chapter 16 Closing Salutations

Colossians 4:7-18

All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here. Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) and Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen. (vv. 7-18)

This last section, though somewhat lengthy, does not require very much in the way of either exposition or explanation. It is interesting, however, to compare the references to the same person mentioned here with those in other epistles.

We do not know much about Tychicus, mentioned in verse 7, excepting that in Ephesians 6:21-22 he is again spoken of in almost the same terms. It is evident that he was one in whom the apostle had implicit confidence. He speaks of him in each passage as a beloved brother and faithful minister, adding here a third expression-“fellow servant in the Lord.” Beloved and yet faithful! What a rare but blessed combination is this!

So often men who seek to be faithful become almost unconsciously stern and ungracious, thereby forfeiting the tender affection of the people of God, even though they may be looked upon with respect as men of principle who can be depended upon to do and say the righteous thing at all cost to themselves or others. Unhappily, in the last instance, they may manifest very little real concern for the peace of mind or comfort of heart of those who disagree with them. On the other hand, many a beloved brother purchases the affectionate regard of the saints at the cost of faithfulness to truth. It is far better to be true to Christ and His Word, and thus have His approval, than to be approved of men and loved because of weakness in enforcing what is according to truth.

Tychicus evidently went to neither extreme. He was undoubtedly a lovable man because of his gracious demeanor and his tender solicitude for the welfare of the saints, but at the same time he was faithful in ministering the Word of God, rebuking iniquity and also comforting the penitent. Such men are rarer than we realize. In them we see the delightful combination of the shepherd’s heart and the prophet’s spirit. One cannot but think how alike in character were Timothy and Tychicus. Both were loyal to the Word of God, and both sought the comfort and blessing of the people of God.

In verse 9 Onesimus is spoken of in similar terms. He is called a “faithful and beloved brother.” It is evident that he did not have the gift that marked Tychicus, but the two characteristics we have noticed were manifest in him. We know much more of his history than of several others mentioned in this chapter. The brief letter to Philemon tells us a great deal regarding him. He had been a dishonest runaway slave. He had robbed his master and apparently wasted his ill-gotten gains before he was brought to Christ through coming in contact with Paul in Rome. Philemon himself had been converted through the same devoted servant, so we may see, in mercy being extended to the thieving slave, a wondrous picture of sovereign grace.

Sov’reign grace o’er sin abounding;

Ransomed souls the tidings swell!

Tis a deep that knows no sounding;

Who its length and breadth can tell?

On its glories

Let my soul forever dwell.

After Onesimus was brought to Christ, Paul sent him back to his master, offering himself to become his surety in the tender words, “If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that to my account; I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it.” What a gospel picture is this! It is Christ Himself who has assumed the responsibilities of the penitent sinner. “We are all God’s Onesimuses,” said Luther. Christ paid our debt that we might be accepted in Him before God.

He bore on the tree, the sentence for me,

And now both the Surety and sinner are free.

And when thus redeemed, it is our happy privilege to serve Him in glorious liberty and say with the psalmist, “Truly I am thy servant;… thou hast loosed my bonds.”

Of Aristarchus, whom Paul here calls his fellow prisoner, we read in Acts 19:0 that he was a Macedonian traveling with Paul and endangered his very life on behalf of the gospel at the time of the uproar in Ephesus. He is also mentioned again in Philemon 1:24 as a fellow laborer with the apostle. His name would imply that he was of the so-called upper classes, an aristocrat of Macedonia, who for the sake of the kingdom of God had renounced his place of prominence in the world to become a bondman of Jesus Christ.

We are glad to see the affectionate way in which Paul here writes of Marcus, the nephew of Barnabas. Years before, this young man had been the cause of serious contention between these two devoted men of God. Paul had lost confidence in John Mark because of his leaving the work and returning to his mother in Jerusalem upon the completion of the evangelistic tour in Cyprus. Barnabas, kindly in spirit and evidently moved by natural affection, wanted to give the unfaithful helper a second chance, but Paul was obdurate. He felt he could not afford to jeopardize the success of their work by again taking with them one who had proved himself a weakling. Which one really had the mind of God, we are not told. But we are thankful indeed to find that Mark “made good,” as we say, and became a trusted and honored man of God, companion to Peter (see 1 Peter 5:13), and dear to Paul as well as to his uncle Barnabas. He is again mentioned in Philemon 1:24 as a fellow laborer, and Paul requests Timothy to bring Mark with him, in 2 Timothy 4:11. The fact that he needed the spiritual commendation of verse 10 would seem to imply that at the time of writing there were some who still stood in doubt of him, but the apostle’s recommendation would remove all that.

The next name, “Jesus, which is called Justus,” might well remind us of the humiliation to which our blessed Lord stooped in grace when He became a man in order to give His life for sinners. To us there is only one Jesus. That name is now above every name and shines resplendent in highest glory, unique and precious, a name with which none other can ever be compared. But we need to be reminded that Jesus represents the Hebrew name Joshua and was in common use when our Lord was here on earth. And so we have here a brother otherwise unknown bearing the same name as his Savior, and not only that but surnamed The Just. This latter title was given to men because of their recognized integrity as in the case of Joseph Barsabas of Acts 1:23 and an otherwise unknown Justus in Acts 18:7.

There is something peculiarly suggestive in the way the apostle eulogizes these brethren whose salutations he thus conveys to the Colossians. “These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.” It is evident that then, as now, gift and grace did not necessarily go together. There were others who were perhaps energetic enough in service but who were anything but brotherly in their attitude toward Paul.

Of Epaphras we have already had the apostle’s estimate in 1:7. Here he draws special attention to this man’s fervency in prayer. It was he who had come from Colosse to visit Paul and to acquaint him with the conditions that called forth this letter. That he had some ability as a preacher and teacher we know, for it was through his ministry these Colossians had been won to Christ and the assembly formed there. But his greatest ministry was evidently one of prayer. In that he labored fervently, striving earnestly in supplication before God, so deeply concerned was he for the saints that they might enter into the truth in all its fullness and thus in practical experience stand as full-grown and filled full, or complete, in all the will of God. In this prayer Paul joined, as we have seen in 1:9. This earnest apostle of prayer, Epaphras, had not confined his ministry or interest to Colosse, but he bore in his heart, in the same intense zeal, the neighboring assemblies of Laodicea and Hierapolis.

It is most pathetic to compare verse 14 with 2 Timothy 4:10-11. Here we read, “Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.” But in writing to Timothy the apostle says, “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and [hath] departed unto Thessalonica… Only Luke is with me.” From the day he joined Paul’s company (as intimated in Acts 16:0 where the change of the pronoun from “they” to “us” showed that Luke formed one of the party at Troas, vv. 8-9), “Luke, the beloved physician,” was one of Paul’s most devoted helpers. He remained with him to the end and possibly saw him martyred.

Demas and Luke seem to have been intimately associated, for both here and in Philemon 1:24 the two names are found together, but upon the occasion of Paul’s second imprisonment we learn that the love of the world had been too much for Demas. He found the itinerant preacher’s lot too hard, and he left the apostle in his hour of need and went off to Thessalonica. There is no hint that he plunged into a life of sin. He may have gone into some respectable business, but the Holy Spirit relentlessly exposes the hidden springs of his changed behavior. He loved this present world. No longer are he and Luke joined in devoted service. Demas had chosen an easier path.

Salutations are sent to the Laodicean brethren, and Nymphas, who was evidently prominent among them and in whose house they met for worship, is especially mentioned. We may gather from verse 16 how the apostolic letters were early circulated among the churches. This Colossian epistle was not only to be read locally but was to be read also in the assembly of the Laodiceans. And a letter sent to the latter church was to be sent on to Colosse. This epistle from Laodicea (observe not to Laodicea) is probably our epistle to the Ephesians, and is generally regarded as a circular letter that went first to Ephesus and then to other churches in the Roman proconsular province of Asia, thus reaching Colosse from Laodicea. We have already seen how important it is to study the two together as they are divinely linked in such a wonderful way.

In verse 17 Paul gives a special admonition to Archippus, also mentioned in the letter to Philemon, who was apparently a servant of Christ ministering the Word at Colosse but had a tendency not uncommon in some young preachers to settle down comfortably and take things easily. To him the aposde sends the message, “Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.” Promptness and energy are as important in spiritual service as in anything else.

There is an incident related in connection with two leading generals of the Southern Confederacy of America that might well speak to every servant of Christ. General Robert E. Lee once sent word to General Stonewall Jackson that he would be glad to talk with him at his convenience on some matter of no great urgency. General Jackson instantly rode to Headquarters, through most inclement weather. When General Lee expressed surprise at seeing him, Jackson exclaimed, “General Lee’s slightest wish is a supreme command to me, and I always take pleasure in prompt obedience.” It is to be hoped that this same spirit laid hold of Archippus, and that he profited by the prodding of the aged apostle.

The epistle was signed in accordance with Paul’s usual custom with his own hand. According to the note at the end, Tychicus and Onesimus acted as his amanuenses in producing this letter, but he appended his signature. How much would one give to have an autographed copy of this or any other of his letters! He would have them remember his bonds both as stirring them up to prayer and to remind them that the servant’s path is one of suffering and rejection.

He closes with the customary benediction, “Grace be with you. Amen.” This is not so full as that in the last verse of 2 Thessalonians, which he tells us is the token of genuineness in every epistle of his. But as we go over all the thirteen letters that bear his name and the anonymous letter to the Hebrews we see that in every one there is some message about grace at the end. He was preeminently the apostle of grace, and it is no matter of surprise that this precious word should be his secret mark, as it were, thus authenticating every letter. May that grace abound in us as it already has abounded toward us through the abundant mercy of our God.

Grace is the sweetest sound

That ever reached our ears,

When conscience charged and Justice frowned,

Twas grace removed our fears!

We began with grace, we are kept by grace, and it is grace that will bring us home at last.

Bibliographical Information
Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Colossians 4". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/isn/colossians-4.html. 1914.
Ads FreeProfile