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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Colossians 3

Verse 1

Observe here, 1. The nature of the duty to which we are exhorted; this is expressed both affirmatively and negatively; affirmatively, Seek the things above, and set your affections on them; negatively, Not on the things here on earth; it being impossible to seek and set our affections upon both in an intense degree.

Quest. But what is it to seek those things that are above, and to set our affections upon them?

Ans. In these two words, four things are comprehended;

1. An act of our understanding, that we know the worth of these things.

2. An act of the will, to chuse these things, and with the ardour and vehemency of our affections to love them.

3. An act of industry and endeavour in the pursuit of these things, if by any means we may attain them. Our affections are so many springs of motion to set our endeavours on work for the obtaining of what we love and desire.

4. It implies a clear preference of the things above to things below, when they come in competition; set your affections more on things above than on the things below, and shew it by your readiness to part with these things.

Observe, 2. What is the object of this act, or what it is that we are to seek and set our affections upon, namely, the things which are above; God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, together with the blessed state and condition of heaven, and the happiness above; as also those dispositions and qualifications which are requisite for the obtaining of this happiness and bringing us to the fruition of it; all these are comprehended in the latitude of the object, the things which are above.

Observe, 3. The arguments which our apostle uses to excite us to this duty:

1. If ye be risen with Christ, that is, if ye believe that Christ is risen, and if ye will bear a conformity and resemblance to him in his resurrection, and be made partakers of the power and virtue of it; for Christ's resurrection is of the power and virtue of it; for Christ's resurrection is not only a pattern, but a principle; it has a power and efficacy in it to raise us up to a spiritual life; If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above.

2. A second argument is drawn from Christ's exaltation in heaven: he sitteth on the right hand of God; which words declare the exaltation of his human nature, and his being advanced to be the supreme King and Governor of his church.

Now the force of this argument lies in the relation that is between the Head and the members, between Christ and Christians; as the Head has an influence upon the members, so the members have an affection for the Head, which makes them aspire heavenwards, where their Head is; because their glorified Saviour, sitting at the right hand of God, by the power of his Spirit, draws out their affection towards him: If ye be risen with Christ, seek the things above.

As if St. Paul had said "I'd Christ our Head risen, and ascended into heaven? Let us in our hearts and affections follow him thither, and patiently wait till he receive our souls, and raise our bodies, and take us wholly to himself, that we may be forever with the Lord."

Verse 3

Here we have a fresh argument to enforce the foregoing exhortation, Seek the things above, for ye are dead, that is, dead to sin, dead to the world, therefore be not over eager in the pursuit of the things below.

How affrighting a sight would it be, to see a dead man rise out of his grave, and converse with the world, and follow the things here below!

As affecting is it to see Christians, who by baptismal profession do own themsleves to be dead to the world, yet buried in the world; and instead of setting their affections on things above, pursuing, with the full bent of their desires, the things below. Ye are dead, it follows, your life is hid with Christ in God:

Your life, that is, your spiritual life of grace, and your eternal life of glory, they are both hid with Christ, now with God in heaven.

Hid in Christ, 1. As the effect is in the cause, as the life of the branchs is hid in the root, so is the life of a Christian hid in Christ; he is our root.

Again, hid in Christ, that is, 2. Deposited and laid up with Christ, committed to his care and custody, securely put into his hands.

3. Hid with Christ, that is, dispensed by him, and derived from him at his pleasure; of his fulness we receive, when and in what measure he pleaseth.

Note here, 1. Our life, short and uncertain in itself, and common to us with the brutes, deserves not comparatively, the name of life.

Note, 2. That Christ is the believer's life, he is both the author and efficient cause of it, the meritorious cause of it, and the exemplary cause and pattern of it.

Note, 3. That the Christian's life is hid with Christ.

The phrase imports, 1. Security and safety; what is hidden in Christ, and with him, must be safe, and out of the reach of danger; grace is incorruptible seed, that shall never die: The world, Satan, and sin, may assault, but shall not overcome; neither lust within, nor the devil, nor the world, shall be able to vanquish that life which is hid in Christ.

2. It imports obscurity; what is hidden, is concealed: The life of grace is totally hidden from the wicked, and hid, in some sort, from winnowings of temptation, under the prevalencey of corruption; much more is the life of glory hidden, it doth not yet appear; we can no more conceive of it by all we have heard, than we can conceive what the sun is by seeing a glowworm.

3. Our life being hid with Christ, it imports plenty and abundance: I am come, that ye may have life more abundantly, John 10:10.

Verse 4

That is, "When Christ, who is the author, and purchaser, and preserver of our life, shall appear to judge the world at the great day, then shall all believers, who have received spiritual life from him, be sharers in glory with him.

Here note, 1. That Jesus Christ, by whom believers live a life of grace, and from whom they expect a life of glory, shall certainly appear, yea, and have a very glorious appearing; he shall be glorious in his person, glorious in his attendants, glorious in his authority, &c.

Note, 2. That when Christ appears in glory to judge the world, then it is that all believers shall enjoy a full glorification with him.

Note, 3. That the faith of approaching glory, at Christ's second appearance, is a strong argument to take off our affections from things below, and place them on things above.

St. Paul's argument is, to press the Colossians to set their affections on things above, because Christ is above, and, when he appears, they shall appear with him in glory.

Verse 5

Note here, 1. That although the apostle told them in the third verse, that they were dead to sin, yet here, in the fifth verse, he bids them mortify sin; intimating, that the work of mortification, at the best, is but imperfect, and must be carried on daily and progressively; they were mortified but in part; the old man has a strong heart, and is a long time a dying, after it has received its deadly wound: Sin lives a dying life, and dies a lingering death; Mortify therefore, &c.

Note, 2. What it is they are called upon to mortify, their members upon earth; where, by members, we are to understand all the lusts and corruptions of our hearts and natures, all the relics and remains of sin unsubdued and unpurged out of the soul; he instances in fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affections and desires and covetousness, which loveth the world above God, and is therefore no better than idolatry.

But why are these called members, and members upon earth?

Ans. They are called members, in allusion to what St. Paul had called sin before, namely, a body of sin Colossians 2:11; therefore he calls particular lusts members of that body; and also because they require and call for the members of the body, as instruments to bring them into act; likewise, because these lusts are naturally as dear to men as their bodily members, they can as soon part with a right hand or a right eye, as with a bosom and beloved lust; they are also called members upon the earth, because they are conversant about earthly things, because they will cleave to us as long as we live upon earth; and to intimate, that none of these must be carried to heaven with us, but be mortified on earth.

But what is it to mortify these members?

Ans. To mortify sin is to deny our consent to the solicitations of sin, to suppress the first motions of sin, to enervate the power and activity of sin.

Learn hence, 1. That in the holiest and best of God's children and servants, there are relics and remains of sin, to be daily mortified, and gradually subdued.

Learn, 2. That after God has brought a person into a state of grace, it is his duty, and ought to be his endeavour, daily to mortify sin, and all the remains of unsubdued corruption. A caution, Take heed of concluding sin is mortified, because it is restrained, because the acts of sin are intermitted, because some particular sins are subdued: Is all sin hated of thee, loathed and left by thee? It is more to loath a sin, than it is to leave a sin; sin may be left, and yet be loved; but no man can loath a sin, and love it at the same time.

Learn, 3. That covetousness is a sin, which, above others, a Christian should set himself against, and endeavour to mortify and subdue, it having a sort of idolatry in it, drawing our love, our trust, our fear, our joy, from God, and placing the supremacy of our affections in and upon the creatures. True, the covetous man does not believe his money to be God; but by his inordinate loving of it; and fiducial trusting in it he is as truly guilty of idolatry, as if he bowed his knee unto it: for God more regards the internal acts of the mind, than he doth the external acts of the body.

In like manner, the Papist do not believe their saints and angels to be gods; but by praying to them, and trusting in them for relief and help, they give them the inward worship of the soul, and consequently they are as guilty of idolatry as if they did believe them to be God.

Verse 6

Here our apostle backs his exhortation to mortify sin, with strong arguments and motives; the first is taken from the wrath of God, which, in its dismal effects, falls upon those who continue in, and under the power of those sins: For which things sake, that is, for the committing of which things, and for continuing impenitent after the commission of them, the wrath of God cometh upon them.

Here note, 1. God's wrath is the due desert of man's sin; yet it is not so much sin, as obduration and impenitency in sin, that draws down wrath.

Note, 2. That believers themselves do stand in need of arguments drawn from the wrath of God, to make them afraid of sin, and to excite them to mortify and subdue it; for here the apostle propounded the terrors of divine wrath to these believing Colossians.

The second argument is taken from their former continuance, yea, long continuance in these sins; in which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them; that is, in the forementioned sins ye yourselves also walked before your conversion, when ye lived in them, and took delight in the practice of them.

Learn hence, That no argument will prevail more with a Christian to follow on the work of mortification closely for time to come, than the remembrance of his long continuance in sin in time past; in which sins ye walked some time, when ye lived in them; Now mortify therefore &c.

Verse 8

In the foregoing verses, St. Paul exhorted the Colossians to mortify external and outward sins, as fornication and uncleanness; here he presses them to mortify internal and spiritual sins, such as anger, wrath, and malice, sins of the heart. The axe of mortification must be laid to the root of inward corruption, spiritual sins, heart sins: Though they are minoris infamia, of less infamy and reproach before men, yet they are majoris reatus, of greater guilt in the sight of God; therefore a sincere Christian has a special respect to these in the work of mortification; put off all these anger, wrath, malice:

Anger, or the sudden motions and raising of passion:

Wrath is anger advanced to an height and

malice is anger accompanied with a desire of revenge, a rooted displeasure:

As jealousy is the rage of a man, so malice is the rage of the devil; it is the very soul and spirit of the apostate nature. No sin renders a man so like to Satan as wrath and malice. A malicious desire of revenge is so far beneath a Christian, that it is the baseness of a man, yea, the spawn of a devil. This sin indulged, destroys the soul, as sure as murder, yea, it is no less than murder in the account of God, He that hateth his brother is a murderer 1 John 3:15.

Observe next, The apostle exhorts the Colossians to guard against the sins of the heart. Put off blasphemy, filthy communication, and lying; that is, evil speaking, filthy speaking and false speaking.

Sins of the tongue are to be guarded and watched against, as well as sins of the heart; they are most scandalous, they dishonour God, and discredit religion, and wrong our own souls. The sins of the tongue, are little considered, their great guilt not apprehended, but men must account for their open reproaches, secret backbitings, scoffings, derisions, whereby they endeavour to fix an ignominy upon their neighbour; and particularly, the sin of lying here cautioned against, Lie not one to another.

All lying is here condemned; the officious lie, tending to our own or our neighbour's profit; the pernicious lie, tending to our neighbour's prejudice; the jocular and jocose lie, tending to recreation and sport.

The scripture condemneth all, without restriction, All liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, Revelation 21:8

Whosoever loveth and maketh a lie Revelation 22:15. Lying makes a man like the devil, who was a liar as well as a murderer from the beginning.

Observe, lastly, The argument to enforce the exhortation to mortify all sin, the sins of the heart, the sins of the tongue, the sins of the life, and that is drawn from the consideration of their present state; they had in their baptism made a profession to put off the old man with his deeds, that is, their own sinful nature, and put on the new man in baptism, which being renewed by illumination and divine knowledge, and so conformed to the image of God, rendered them now the objects of his special love.

Note here, That there were many ceremonies in baptism used in the primitive church, to which St. Paul alludes in several places in his epistles; as drenching in water, so as to seem buried in and under it, Buried with him in baptism Colossians 2:12: Likewise putting off their old clothes at going in, and putting on new at their coming out of the water, to which St. Paul alludes here, when he tells them they had, namely, in their baptism, put off the old man, and put on the new.

Whence learn, That there is no argument more moving and effectually exciting unto holiness of life, than that which is taken from our baptismal vow and profession; the obligation of this is very strong, if duly considered.

The apostle makes use of it here as a potent argument, to quicken them to the mortification of all sin, seeing they had in baptism put off the old man, that is, professed and solemnly engaged so to do, and had put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Verse 11

Where, that is, in which state of renovation, or under the present gospel-dispensation, there is found with God no respect to any man's person or nation, as before there was under the legal dispensation; now Jew and Gentile, male and female, bond and free, circumcised and uncircumcised, everyone that feareth God, and worketh righteousness, is accepted of God, through Christ, who is all, in all things, to all believers:

But how is Christ all in all unto his people?

Thus, his teaching is all in all in the work of illumination, his Spirit is all in all in the work of conversion, his death is all in all in the work of satisfaction, his righteousness is all in all in the matter of our justification, his grace is all in all in our satisfaction, his intercession is all in all in our acceptation, his peace is all in all in our consolation, his power is all in all in our resurrection, his presence is all in all in our glorification.

O blessed Jesus! art thou thus all to me? I will labour to be all to thee; I will give thee all that I am, my soul with all its faculties, my understanding, my heart, and my affections, particularly my love and my hatred, my joy and my sorrow, my hope and my fear, my body with all its members: For thou hast created, redeemed, and wilt glorify the body as well as the soul; and therefore I will glorify thee with my body and with my spirit, which is thine: I will also give thee all that I have, by consecrating it all to the service of Christ, and resigning up all to the will of Christ, and will intitle thee to all that I do, by making thy word my rule, and thy glory my end, in all my actions and undertakings.

Verse 12

Our apostle having now finished his exhortation to the practice of that great duty of mortification of sin, called here, a putting off the old man, comes next to mention several graces and virtues, which he exhorts them to be found in the practice of; and this he styles, a putting on the new man; teaching us hereby, that a negative holiness, is not sufficient to salvation; it is not enough that we cease to do evil, but we must learn to do wll; a man may go to hell for not doing good, as well as for doing wickedly.

Observe farther, The particular graces and virtues which they are exhorted to put on.

1. Bowels of mercy and kindness; that is, a tender pity towards, and an inward sympathy with, those that are in misery; and this expressed in outward acts of succour and relief, according to our ability.

There is a natural pity which man can hardly put off, it is seated in the very nature of man; and accordingly, unmercifulness is a sin against the light of nature, as well as against the law of God:

But there is, besides this, a spiritual pity, which flows from sure love, and that a divine love; now, this is more an act of grace than of nature; this the apostle here exhorts the Colossians to, Put on bowels of mercy; they who have put on, and are clothed with, garments of holiness, will also put on bowls of mercy as a garment.

2. Humbleness of mind; whereby a man, sensible of God's goodness, and his own infirmities, hath an humble apprehension, and a modest estimation of himself: The more holiness anyh person has the more humility he has; humility is a certain evidence of our holiness, because it is a great part of our holiness.

3. Meekness and long-suffering, which moderate anger, and enable us to put up affronts and injuries. This is a spirit and temper divine, and truly Christ-like; none so abused and affronted as he; but, being reviled, he blessed, and committed himself to him that judgeth righteously. When another hurts thee by unjust provocation, why shouldst thou hurt thyself by sinful passion? Christ was a Lamb for meekness; it doth not become any of his followers to be like lions for fierceness.

4. Forebearance, and mutual forgiveness; Forbearing one another and forgiving one another. No Christians are so perfect, but they are liable to offend one another; he must have no friends, that will have a friend with no faults, and consequently they stand in need of forgiveness from each other.

Learn hence, 1. That Christians are obliged, by the laws of their holy religion, to forbear and forgive one another.

2. They are obliged to imitate Christ in this duty of forgiveness; Christ forgives us universally, freely, sincerely, so as never more to upbraid us with the fault he has forgiven us; such a forgiveness are we to exercise towards our brother. As Christ forgave you; so also do ye.

Observe lastly, The argument which St. Paul makes use of to press the Colossians to the practice of the forementioned duties, and that is drawn from their election and vocation; Put on as the elect of God, bowels of mercy. You that had the favour to be chosen of God out of the heathen world, to be his church and people, and are now holy and beloved of God, let the sense of this divine favour oblige you to humility and meekness, to long suffering and mutual forgiveness, yea, to the love and practice of universal holiness.

Verse 14

Still our apostle makes use of the former metaphor, comparing the graces of the holy Spirit to garments, which he exhorts Christians to put on; he had mentioned the putting on of mercy, meekness, humility, & c. before; now he advises, to put on charity, or the grace of love, as the upper garment over and above all the rest, comparing it to a bond or ligament, which ties and knits all the members of the church together.

Quest. But what is this grace of charity?

Ans. It is a brotherly affection, which every true Christian chiefly bears to all hs fellow-members, in Christ for grace sake; or a gracious propensity of heart towards our neighbour, whereby we will, and do to our power procure all good for him.

Quest. But why does St. Paul compare charity to an upper garment?

Above all, put on charity.

Because, 1. The upper garment is larger and broader than the rest, so ought charity to extend itself to all persons, and upon all occasions.

2. The upper garment is usually fairer than the rest, so doth charity shine brightest amongst all the graces.

3. The upper garment distinguishes the several orders and degrees of men; thus Christians are known by love as by a livery; it is the bond that Christ's sincere disciples wear.

Quest. But how is charity the bond of perfectness?

The meaning is, that it is the most perfect bond of union among Christians, it knitteth together all the scattered members of the church, and makes their graces and gifts subservient to the good of one another, so that the church is hereby made a complete intire body, which was lame without it; in this sense, charity is called the bond of perfectness.

Verse 15

As if the apostle had said, "Let that peace which God has given you within, and calleth you to exercise without, govern your lives, and direct you in all your actions towards men, and live in continual thankfulness to God!"

Here note, That the original word to rule in the heart, signifies to umpire, or to act the part of an umpire, in appeasing strife.

Now, this peace, 1. Inwardly hushes and stills all in the soul, the tumultuous affections are up, and in an hurry; when anger, hatred, and revenge begin to rise in the soul, this calms and composes all.

2. Outwardly, peace of conscience produces peaceableness of conversation; where the peace of God rules in the heart, it disposes it to peaceableness in the life.

Now, this consists in these things, namely, in an unwillingnesss to provoke others, in an unaptness to be provoked by others, in a readiness to be to be reconciled when provoked, and in a forwardness to reconcile others that are at variance.

Verse 16

These words come in by way of direction and advice, to help the Colossians in the exercise of the foregoing graces; seeing it is the word of Christ, or the holy scriptures, which teach the forementioned duties, he advises that that word of God may dwell in, and take up its abode with them, richly and plentifully, that they may be furnished thereby with all true and sound wisdom.

Note here, 1. The title given to the holy scriptures, they are the word of Christ, because they have Christ for their author, Christ for their object, and Christ for their end.

Note, 2. The advice given with respect to the word of Christ, Let it dwell: Not come for an hour, but to tarry; not to tarry for a night, but to take up its fixed residence and abode.

Note, 3. Where it should dwell, not in the ear, nor in the head only, not in the memory barely, nor in the affections, but in the heart and soul, Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee. Psalms 119:11

The law of God is in his heart, none of his steps shall slide. Psalms 37:31

Note, 4. How the word should dwell in us, richly, copiously, and plentifully, in its commands, in its promises, in it threatenings; let the word, the whole word, dwell in you, being diligently searched, heartily received, and carefully observed.

Note, 5. The persons to whom this advice is given by the apostle, all the saints at Colosse, the whole body of the people are injoined an holy familiarity with the Bible, it is to be in their houses, in their hands, and in their hearts, that it may dwell richly in them.

Why then, and with what face dare the church of Rome forbid the common people to read the Bible, calling it an heretical book?

For a reason they very well know, namely, Because it is the most dangerous book against Popery, that ever was written in the world.

Here our apostle declares one special benefit which the Colossians would receive, by having the word of Christ dwell richly in them; it would enable them to teach and admonish one another, and also to excite and stir up the affections of each other, by singing those psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs therein contained, or such others as were composed by the inspiration and direction of the holy Spirit of God: always remembering, not to sing gracefully only, but with grace; that is, with attention and devotion in our hearts to the Lord.

Learn hence, The singing psalms, both in public assemblies, and private families, and therein praising and blessing of God for mercies received, is a great and necessary duty, to be jointly performed by all persons capable of it.

Learn, 2. That in singing, a special regard must be had, that there be an inward harmony, and a gracious melody in the soul, by the exercise of the understanding, and the orderly motion of the affections; if the heart and affections be not stirred up in this duty, the outward grace, though never so graceful, availeth nothing.

Verse 17

Here our apostle lays down a general rule for the right of management of all our words and actions, in the whole course of life; Whatsoever ye do, do all in the name of our Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God for all the mercies you receive by Jesus Christ.

Learn hence, 1. That all our thoughts, words and actions, must and ought to be done in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; that is, to do all by the authority and command of Christ, to do all in the power and strength of Christ, to do all for the honour and glory of Christ, to do all after the pattern and example of Christ.

Learn, 2. That all prayers and thanksgivings, as they are only due to God, so they must be performed by us through Jesus Christ, that so they may find acceptance with God; Giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Verse 18

Observe here, 1. That St. Paul, in the former part of this chapter, having laid down general exhortations, to live suitably to the gospel which the Colossians had received, comes now, in the close of the chapter, to exhort them to the practice fo particular duties in their respective places and relations, as husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and servants.

Learn hence, That the doctrine of the gospel lays the highest and strictest obligations upon all those to whom it is revealed, to perform every personal and relative duty in an holy and acceptable manner, both to God and man.

Observe, 2. The wives duty of subjection here required; Submit yourselves to your own husbands. This implies and comprehends in it, a reverend esteem of them, an affectionate love unto them, speaking respectfully of them, and to them, and yielding obedience to their commands.

Observe also, The qualification and manner of this subjection, as it is fit in the Lord, that is, in all lawful things, and in obedience to the Lord's commands, and not in anything contrary to his will. Thus obeying, the woman's subjection is service done to Christ; which may comfort her, in case of any unkind returns from her husband to her.

Verse 19

Observe, 1. The general duty of the husband declared, to love his wife with a special, peculiar, conjugal affection, and to discover this love by a tender care over her, an affectionate regard to her, cohabitation with her, contentment and satisfaction in her, a patient bearing with her weaknesses, or prudential hiding of her infirmities, a cheerful supplying of her wants, a readiness to instruct and direct her, a willingness to pray for her, and with her; where true love is found these duties will be performed.

Observe, 2. A particular sin, which all husbands are to avoid in their conversation with their wives, and that is being bitter against them: not bitter in affection towards them, that is, cold and indifferent in their love to them; not bitter in expression towards them, speaking reproachfully to them; not bitter in their actions towards them, giving them bitter blows, which is contrary to the law of God and nature.

Learn hence, That it is the will and command of God, that husbands should not behave themselves churlishly, sourly, or imperiously towards their wives; not ruling with rigour or being morose and rough, stern and severe in their carriage towards them, but to treat them with that endearing familiarity that is due to them, as part of ourselves.

Verse 20

Observe here, The duty bound upon all children, and that is, obedience to their parents; this implies inward reverence, outward observance, a pious regard to their instructions, a following their good examples.

Observe, 2. The object of this duty; Obey your parents, that is, both parents; as obedience is due from all children, so it is payable to all parents, to mothers as well as fathers; nay, Leviticus 19:3 the mother is named first, because in regard of the weakness of her sex, she is the most liable to contempt.

Observe, 3. The extent of the duty, in all things, that is, in all lawful things, and in all indifferent things, in every thing that is not sinful; though to the child it may seem unnecessary or unreasonable, yet the parents command is to be obeyed.

Observe, 4. The argument and motive to excite and quicken to this duty, It is well pleasing unto the Lord; thereby they do acceptable service unto the Lord, who will reward it with long life on earth, and eternal life in heaven.

God takes a mighty pleasure in the performance of relative duties; they are not only pleasing, but well pleasing to him; we are no more really, than what we are relatively in the account of God; that which we call the power of godliness, consists in a conscientioius performance of relative duties.

Verse 21

Here the parents duty, that is the duty of both parents, is laid down, provoke not your children to wrath; that is, abuse not your power and authority over them, by being too severe unto them; imbitter not their spirits against you, by denying them what is convenient for them, by inveighing with bitter words against them, by unjust, unseasonable, or immoderate correcting of them; give them no just occasion to be angry.

The reason is added, lest they be discouraged; either dispirited and heartless, or desperate and hardened; lest by dejection of spirit, they become stupid. A parent's conduct must be moderated with prudence, shunning the extremes of too much indulgence on the one hand, and too great rigour and severity on the other.

Verse 22

Observe here, 1. The general duty incumbent upon all servants, and that is obedience to such as are their masters according to the flesh, to execute all their lawful commands; such as are God's freemen, may be servants to men, though not the servants of men.

Observe, 2. The qualifications and properties of this obedience which is due and payable from servants to masters, it must be in singleness of heart, in great simplicity and sincerity of spirit, and with an eye to their great Master in heaven; with an eye to the command of their great Master, with an eye to the presence of their great Master, to the assistance and acceptance of their great Master, and to the honour and glory of him also; and it must be done heartily, and with good will, as to the Lord, and not to men.

Learn hence, That the meanest and basest services in the place and station in which God sets us, being done with right qualifications, and from sincere motives, and for sincere ends, is service done to Christ, and as such, shall be accepted and rewarded by him.

Observe, 3. The mighty reward which the Spirit of God propounds as an encouragement ot poor servants in their obedience to their masters. Of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of their inheritance. No service so mean but shall be rewarded, if conscientiously performed; no distinction in heaven between servants and sons, all shall receive the inheritance there, who have done faithful service here; and as the meanest service done with right qualifications, is service done to Christ, so shall it be accepted of him, and rewarded by him; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ.

Verse 25

That is "Such servants as have wronged their masters, or such masters as have oppressed their servants, God, who respects no man's person, and regardeth the rich no more than the poor, will take this time to revenge the injuries and wrong, done by either to each other."

Note here, The severity and impartiality of divine justice: God, the righteous judge, will revenge the wrong, every wrong, whensoever, and by whomsoever it is done; he will revenge it impartially, he will revenge it proportionably; a just retribution, according to the wrong done, shall be rendered to everyone by the righteous and just God: He that hath done wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done; and there is no respect of persons.

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Bibliographical Information
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Colossians 3". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. 1700-1703.