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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Colossians 3:25

For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - God Continued...;   Judgment;   Punishment;   Respect of Persons;   Servant;   Wicked (People);   Thompson Chain Reference - God;   Impartiality, Divine;   Justice-Injustice;   The Topic Concordance - Bearing Fruit;   Favoritism;   Iniquity;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Justice of God, the;  
Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Motives;   Wages;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Black People and Biblical Perspectives;   Slave/servant;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Character;   Commandment;   Justice (2);   Labour;   Liberty;   Respect of Persons;   Socialism;   Worldliness;  
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Person;   Respect of Persons;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Verse Colossians 3:25. But he that doeth wrong — It is possible for an unfaithful servant to wrong and defraud his master in a great variety of ways without being detected; but let all such remember what is here said: He that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he has done; God sees him, and will punish him for his breach of honesty and trust. Wasting, or not taking proper care of the goods of your master, is such a wrong as God will resent. He that is unfaithful in that which is little, will be unfaithful in much, if he have opportunity; and God alone is the defence against an unfaithful servant.

There is no respect — God neither esteems nor despises any man because of his outward condition and circumstances; for there is no respect of persons with him. Every man is, in the eye of God, what he is in his soul: if holy, loved; if wicked, despised and rejected.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Colossians 3:25". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Life in the home and in society (3:18-4:6)

Harmony in the home depends on the husband’s showing understanding love to his wife, and the wife’s showing loyal submission to her husband (18-19). Children are to be obedient to their parents, but parents must treat their children with understanding and not be harsh or unreasonable (20-21). When slaves work for their masters as if they were working for the Lord Christ, they will produce work of good quality. Masters, on their part, must reward their slaves fairly, knowing that they too have a master, God, and he will treat them as they treat others (22-4:1).
Christians must be regular and persistent in prayer. They must keep alert as they pray, for they can be easily distracted (2). They should specifically pray for the servants of God with whom they are partners in the gospel, that God’s messengers may have opportunities to make known his message, and that they may do so clearly (3-4). Besides praying for the activity of others, Christians should be careful of their own conduct, and make sure their speech is pleasant to listen to and sensible. In this way they will attract, and not repel, those who are not believers (5-6).

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Colossians 3:25". "Brideway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

For he that doeth wrong shall receive again for the wrong that he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

Some understand this as a warning to slaves not to do wrong; but since the admonition stands as another reason, along with the one in Colossians 3:24, directed to the proper motivation of the slave, it is understood here as a reference to God's judgment of slavemasters if they do wrong. "No respect of persons" favors this view; because it is not likely that the hope of a slave to avoid punishment could be based on any supposed "respect of persons." On the other hand, masters might think that because of their position God might overlook their sins.

Perhaps it is wrong to restrict the meaning of "he that doeth wrong" to either class. Will not God judge and punish all wrongdoers whomsoever? Commentators have long struggled with this question, arriving at different conclusions, thus:

This has reference solely to the master of the slave (Ridderbos).

This refers to the slave (Lenski).

It seems best to suppose that both are included (Lightfoot).[47]

Peake summarized such opinions thus:

To include both is highly questionable, not only because a double reference is on principle to be avoided in exegesis, but because the connection implies that only one side of the relationship is being dealt with. It is commonly thought that the verse is an encouragement to the slave, based on the assurance that the master who treats him will receive his recompense in due course.[48]

The reliance of the Christian, in whatever state of life, upon the eternal justice of God's universe is the great stabilizer of the human heart. Without this reliance, life becomes an idiot's dream where injustice, misery, caprice, chance and luck are supreme. On the other hand, one who learns to trust in the assurance Paul here extended to the slaves of the ancient Roman Empire, perhaps the most unfortunate class ever to live on earth, - one who learns to trust that assurance has already won rest for his soul. No matter what inequalities, no matter what injustice, no matter how much unfairness, partiality and wickedness may torture one's earthly existence, the eternal reward is absolutely sure. God will make all things right. Now people may view this as "pie in the sky" if they wish, but it is surely better than any five-year plan advocated by Marx. Without the divine assurance in view here, there can be no true stability of heart, no genuine serenity of the soul, in fact, no real sanity on earth!


Singled out by the apostle in Colossians 3:8 for one of his apostolic prohibitions was the vice of slander, or "shameful speaking" as our translators have rendered the word, the same being a vice which is universally detested. Something of the pioneer attitude toward this sin is apparent in a story told with reference to the famed cowboy evangelist B. B. (Cowboy) Crimm of San Augustine and East Texas. Crimm (1886-1950) preached extensively in East Texas and Oklahoma in the first half of the current century and became famous for the sensational and outlandish things said in the pulpit.

One night, in a meeting attended by more than one thousand people, a woman came forward saying,

"Oh, Brother Crimm, I have come to lay my tongue on the altar." The woman was a noted gossip in that community.

Crimm replied:

"I'm sorry, Ma'am, our altar is only eight feet long, but go ahead and put whatever part of it you are able to get on it!"


Have you ever heard of Gossip Town On the shores of Falsehood Bay, Where old Dame Rumor in rustling gown Is going the livelong day?

The principal street is called `They Say.' `I've Heard' is the public well; And the breezes that blow from Falsehood Bay Are laden with `Don't you tell.'

Just back of the park in `Slander's Row'; 'Twas there that Good Name died, Pierced by a shaft from Jealousy's bow In the hands of Envious Pride.

It isn't far to Gossip Town For the people who want to go; The Idleness Train will take you down In just an hour or so.

But the people who go to Gossip Town All reap of the seed they sow; And this you will find as they have found If ever you chance to go.

- Anonymous

[47] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 175.

[48] A. S. Peake, op. cit., p. 543.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Colossians 3:25". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Servants, obey in all things ... - ; see the notes at Ephesians 6:5-8.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Colossians 3:25". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Chapter 3

So then,

If then you are risen with Christ [If you are risen with Christ... going back to buried with Christ in baptism, now risen with Him], seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God ( Colossians 3:1 ).

You're not really bound to these things of the world, the rudiments of the world. You're not under the laws: touch not, handle not, taste not. You've risen with Christ. You're living in a new dimension of life, the spiritual dimension of life. And you should be seeking those things which are above where Christ is sitting on the right hand of God.

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God ( Colossians 3:2-3 ).

Now, again, my life is the reflection of what I am and what I believe. And it doesn't mean that Paul is giving these people a license to live after the flesh. It doesn't mean that he's saying it doesn't matter how you live. What he is saying, that these aren't the things that make you righteous. And you shouldn't be living in a negative relationship with God under the law; you should be living a positive relationship with God, seeking the things which are spiritual, seeking and pursuing those things that are above. Setting your affections on things above, not on these things on the earth. For really you are dead to them, and that's the principal he is teaching. I have been crucified with Christ, thus I am dead to the flesh and to the things of the flesh and to the life of the flesh; I should not be living after the flesh. For you are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God. That's where I am now living in Christ, in God. And,

When Christ, who is our life, [Now, you see this is the key to it right here. Can you say that Christ is my life? As Paul said, "For me to live is Christ," and I love this powerful statement.] When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory ( Colossians 3:4 ).

Jesus is going to come again as he said with "the clouds of heaven...and great glory" ( Matthew 24:30 ). "Behold, He cometh...every eye shall see Him" ( Revelation 1:7 ). "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing here into heaven, this same Jesus is going to come again" ( Acts 1:11 ). And when Christ who is our life shall appear, we shall appear with Him in glory. Oh, but how important that we are able to say, "Christ who is my life." That my life be so completely bound up and centered in Christ that He is my life. Christ who is my life. I love it.

Mortify [or put to death] therefore your members which are upon the earth [that is the members of your body, those body desires put them to death]; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience ( Colossians 3:5-6 ):

Now, as Paul is writing to the Ephesians, he tells them much the same things, that for these things the wrath of God is coming upon the earth. Therefore, we should not be guilty of these things. "Know this," he said, "no whoremongers, nor unclean person, nor covetous man who is an idolater has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no man deceive you with vain words for because of these things the wrath of God is coming on the children of disobedience" ( Ephesians 5:5 , Ephesians 5:6 ). As he was writing to the Galatians and was listing the works of the flesh, he said, "That we know that those who do these things shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven" ( Galatians 5:21 ). In Romans one he says, "For the wrath of God is going to be revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth of God in unrighteousness" ( Romans 1:18 ). And then, as he gives this long list of things, parallel list here, he said that, "They which do such things are deserving death" ( Romans 1:32 ).

So don't be deceived; don't let men deceive you. You cannot live after your flesh and inherit the kingdom of God. The very fact that I have accepted Jesus Christ, the whole concept is that I have renounced the life of the flesh. I'm dead to the flesh that I might be alive unto God in Christ, living after the Spirit. And if I am still living after my flesh, the ritual of baptism is not only negated, but all that I might say is also negated. John said, "If a man says he loves God and yet hates his brother, he is a liar" ( John 4:20 ). "The truth isn't in him" ( John 2:4 ). If a man says he abides in Christ then he ought to be walking as Christ walked. In other words, it's not what you say which really counts; it's how you're walking that counts. And so, are you walking after the Spirit? Have you renounced these hidden things of the world? Have you mortified the deeds of the flesh? For don't be deceived, if you are living after the flesh, you are not an heir of the kingdom of God. It is a spiritual kingdom for those who are living and walking after the Spirit, regardless of what you may say or affirm to be so. They that do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. And so he lists these things and he says, "Look, the wrath of God is coming upon the earth because of these things. Don't presume upon the grace of God." The children of Israel made a tragic mistake thinking, "Well, we are God's chosen people, and we can live like the nations around us." You can't. You must live as God's people. Mortify, therefore, those fleshly things,

In the which you also walked sometime, when you lived in them. But now ye also put off all of these; [not just these more overt sins of the flesh, but put these off too, put off] anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him ( Colossians 3:7-10 ):

So we should be as John says, walking as Jesus walked. He is our example; He is the image into which the Spirit of God is seeking to conform our lives. And so put off the old man, and put on the new.

Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all ( Colossians 3:11 ).

We don't have distinctions in Jesus Christ, religious, ethnic or whatever; Christ is everything. He is all, and He is in all. There is not rich or poor, there is not favored and special class; we are just all one.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, [now, you put on Jesus Christ, you put off these things, put off anger, wrath, and malice and instead, put on] bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, and if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity [love], which is the bond of perfectness [completeness] ( Colossians 3:12-14 ).

So, not only am I to just put off the works of the flesh, the old life, I am to put on Jesus Christ, living after Him.

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body; and be thankful ( Colossians 3:15 ).

So, we're called to thanksgiving; we're called to the peace of God. And then, verse sixteen:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; [And that's why we're here tonight. That the word of Christ might dwell in our hearts richly. That we might teach and admonish one another.] teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord ( Colossians 3:16-18 ).

Now, as we had mentioned when we were going though Ephesians, God gave very simple rules for marriage. Two rules: one for the wife, one for the husband. And if we'll follow these rules we can have a very happy marriage and a happy relationship. But if we violate these rules, we're going to bring misery into our marriage. The rule for the wife: submit yourself unto your own husband. To the husband: love your wife, be not bitter against them. So the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. The wife is to submit to the husband. These two are tied together. God knows that the greatest need that the woman has is to know that she is loved, that she is loved supremely. When she knows she is loved supremely, she is secure, and she feels that security, and thus anything my man does is all right. Then she finds it easy to submit to him, because she knows that he loves her supremely. And as she says, "Well, honey, whatever you want." God knows that the greatest need a man has is to be macho, to feel he's in control. And to challenge that is to court problems. But to play up to that is to open the door for all kinds of demonstrations of love. "Oh, my little sweet heart. Man, what can I do for her today; she's such a doll. She trusts my judgment; she trusts my wisdom. How can I show her how much I appreciate her and love her?" So, as the wife submits, the husband finds it easy to show his love. As she rebels, then he's got to show that he's macho. "I don't need you; I don't need anybody. I'm able to handle. I'm macho. I can do what I want." And so he becomes cold. And as he becomes cold, then she feels all the more insecure and she has to challenge all the more. "This creep! I don't know if he loves me or not. Think what he wants to do is stupid. We have to loose everything, and then he is going to take off. I know he is, because I don't know if he loves me or not." So you feel like you've got to challenge everything. "Are you sure? Do you really know what you're doing?" Macho, "I know what I'm doing. Leave me alone." He gets cold.

Two rules: wives submit, husbands love. Then you have a happy relationship. Because the wife feels the love and the security and she knows, "Hey, he's my man." And the husband, he feels so macho, "Hey, she's my little gal; she's trusting me to do the right thing." And it's beautiful. It's heaven on earth. Simple, isn't it? "Well," you say, "and it would be simple if my husband really knew what he was doing." But she says, "It would be simple if he really loved me, liked Jesus loved the church." Now,

Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord ( Colossians 3:20 ).

When we were going through Ephesians, he said, "Obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." And we do recognize that the highest authority in our life is God. And we, the presumption here, is that the parents are Christians and are seeking the spiritual welfare of the child. If the parents are not Christians and are demanding the child do something that would be a violation, if he's conscience before God, then we must obey God rather than man. But assuming that the parents love the Lord and you have a Christian home, children, obey your parents in all things; this is well pleasing unto the Lord.

Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged ( Colossians 3:21 ).

And, to anger, is not in the original text. You notice it's in italics. It's just, "Fathers, provoke not your children, lest they be discouraged." It's easy to discourage the child through unreasonable demands. Isn't it interesting how we want to make sure that our children don't make the same mistakes that we made. How we want them to be better than we were. We don't want them to goof off and get mediocre grades in school. We want them to get all A's. And sometimes, we are guilty of pushing our children with unreasonable demands, and what it does cause is discouragement on their part. Make sure that we're not making unreasonable demands upon them, taking away their humanness, causing discouragement. And so, don't provoke your children so that they get discouraged. Actually, I have seen something that I think is a terrible evil. And that is, I've seen fathers sometimes tease their little babies until the baby screams in frustration. "Here, you want this candy? Ha, ha. Here the candy, ha, ha, ha, ha." And they keep teasing the child, pulling it away until the child just looses control and screams, and then, isn't that funny and then hands them the candy. Don't do that. Don't provoke your children. That's not a wise thing to do. You're not teaching them when you do things like that.

Servants [or employees], obey in all things your masters [bosses] according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men ( Colossians 3:22-23 );

Oh, that you could have employees like that, that are doing things as unto the Lord. They do it heartily; they do it with joyfulness. They do it with a great spirit. Not to be a man pleaser, "Oh, the boss is coming. Look busy." But doing it as unto the Lord,

Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve [are a servant of] the Lord Christ ( Colossians 3:24 ).

Now, you may be making your living by working there at that office, or factory, or wherever. That may be putting bread on the table, but your life really is bound up in Jesus Christ. You're His servant. You're called to serve Him. Now you make your living over here. But, even in making your living, if you will do things heartily as unto the Lord, it will open up many opportunities for you to witness. People will say, "How is it that on Monday you can be so happy; you're whistling. Man, my head aches so bad I can hardly see. You seem to have such a good attitude. Boy, if he'd told me that, I would've just really said, 'Hey you take this job, man and stuff it.' You had such a good attitude. And you just went ahead and did it. How is it?" Hey, it opens up so many opportunities to witness for you. Do it as unto the Lord, you're the Lord's servant. He's watching.

But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he has done: and there is no respect of persons ( Colossians 3:25 ).


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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Colossians 3:25". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". 2014.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Slaves should do their work primarily for the Lord. This view of work transforms a worker’s attitudes and performance. Even the most servile work thereby becomes a ministry and an act of worship.

"He means, ’Don’t keep your eye on the clock. Keep your eye on Christ. He is the One whom you are serving.’ This is the way you ought to do your job.


"If you are lazy on the job, you are not dedicated to Jesus Christ." [Note: McGee, 5:361.]

The Lord will reward such service with an inheritance (1 Corinthians 4:5; Revelation 22:12). Imagine a slave receiving an inheritance! The title "Lord Christ" occurs only here in the New Testament. Evidently Paul coined it to stress Jesus’ lordship. Jesus is the Messiah who as Lord will reward the faithful in the future. There may be an intended contrast with "Lord Caesar."

"The inheritance is a reward which is received as ’wages’ for work done. Nothing could be plainer. The context is speaking of the return a man should receive because of his work, as in an employer-employee relationship. The inheritance is received as a result of work; it does not come as a gift. The Greek antapodosis means repayment or reward. The verb antapodidomi never means to receive as a gift; it is always used in the New Testament of a repayment due to an obligation." [Note: Joseph C. Dillow, The Reign of the Servant Kings, p. 68. See also O’Brien, Colossians . . , p. 231.]

The New Testament revelation concerning the inheritance that believers can merit by faithful perseverance in the faith and good works is extensive. All believers will receive much inheritance simply because God chooses to bestow it on all (cf. John 3:3; John 3:5; John 3:16; John 3:36; Romans 5:1; Romans 5:9; Romans 8:1; Romans 8:31-39; 1 Corinthians 15:53-57; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 Peter 1:9). Nevertheless believers who remain faithful to the Lord will receive even more inheritance (cf. Matthew 5:12; Matthew 5:46; Matthew 6:1-2; Matthew 6:4-6; Matthew 6:16; Matthew 6:18; Matthew 10:41-42; Matthew 16:27; Matthew 25:21; Matthew 25:23; Mark 9:41; Luke 6:23; Luke 6:35; Luke 19:17; Luke 19:19; John 12:26; John 15:14; 1 Corinthians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 3:14; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 9:16-18; 1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:5; Philippians 4:1; Colossians 3:24; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 1 Timothy 4:14; 1 Timothy 5:18; 2 Timothy 2:5; 2 Timothy 2:12; 2 Timothy 4:8; Hebrews 11:6; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:7; 1 Peter 5:4; 2 John 1:8; Revelation 2:7; Revelation 2:10-11; Revelation 2:17; Revelation 2:23; Revelation 2:26-27; Revelation 11:18; Revelation 22:12). Some passages indicate that this inheritance involves participation in the wedding banquet at the beginning of the messianic kingdom (e.g., Matthew 25; et al.). Other passages speak of it as reigning with Christ (Matthew 19:27-28; Luke 19:17-19; Luke 22:28-30; Romans 8:17-21) or as treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21; Matthew 6:29; Matthew 19:21; Luke 12:32-33; 1 Timothy 6:17-19). It also involves receiving praise and honor from Jesus Christ and the Father (Matthew 6:1; Matthew 6:5; Matthew 6:16; Matthew 25:21; John 12:26; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 1 Peter 1:6-7; 2 Peter 1:10-11). These honors are sometimes spoken of as crowns (Philippians 4:1; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 2 Timothy 4:6-8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2:10; Revelation 4:9-10). [Note: See Dillow, pp. 551-83.]

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Colossians 3:25". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But he that doth wrong,.... Which may be understood, both of servants that do wrong to their masters through sloth and idleness, neglecting their business, embezzling their masters' goods, and defrauding them of their substance; and of masters that injure their servants by withholding from them proper food, and raiment; by cheating them of their wages, either giving them none at all, or too little, or detaining them too long, and by giving them bad language, and hard blows, and such like severe usage:

shall receive for the wrong which he hath done; either in this world, or in the other; God will avenge all such injuries, sooner or later; so that these words may be considered either as said with a view to deter servants from evil practices, or to comfort them under the maltreatment they may meet with from cruel masters:

and there is no respect of persons. The Vulgate Latin and Arabic Versions add, "with God"; which undoubtedly is the sense; he regards not the rich more than the poor; he makes no difference between bond and free, the servant and the master; he will not take the part of the one, because he is a master, nor neglect, the other, because he is a servant, but will do that which is just and right with regard to them both; :-.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Colossians 3:25". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Relative Duties. A. D. 62.

      18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.   19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.   20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.   21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.   22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:   23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;   24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.   25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

      The apostle concludes the chapter with exhortations to relative duties, as before in the epistle to the Ephesians. The epistles which are most taken up in displaying the glory of divine grace, and magnifying the Lord Jesus, are the most particular and distinct in pressing the duties of the several relations. We must never separate the privileges and duties of the gospel religion.

      I. He begins with the duties of wives and husbands (Colossians 3:18; Colossians 3:18): Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Submission is the duty of wives, hypotassesthe. It is the same word which is used to express our duty to magistrates (Romans 13:1, Let every soul be subject to the higher powers), and is expressed by subjection and reverence, Ephesians 5:24; Ephesians 5:33. The reason is that Adam was first formed, then Eve: and Adam was not deceived, but the woman, being deceived, was in the transgression,1 Timothy 2:13; 1 Timothy 2:14. He was first in the creation and last in the transgression. The head of the woman is the man; and the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man; neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man,1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Corinthians 11:8; 1 Corinthians 11:9. It is agreeable to the order of nature and the reason of things, as well as the appointment and will of God. But then it is submission, not to a rigorous lord or absolute tyrant, who may do his will and is without restraints, but to a husband, and to her own husband, who stands in the nearest relation, and is under strict engagements to proper duty too. And this is fit in the Lord, it is becoming the relation, and what they are bound in duty to do, as an instance of obedience to the authority and law of Christ. On the other hand, husbands must love their wives, and not be bitter against them,Colossians 3:19; Colossians 3:19. They must love them with tender and faithful affection, as Christ loved the church, and as their own bodies, and even as themselves (Ephesians 5:25; Ephesians 5:28; Ephesians 5:33), with a love peculiar to the nearest relation and the greatest comfort and blessing of life. And they must not be bitter against them, not use them unkindly, with harsh language or severe treatment, but be kind and obliging to them in all things; for the woman was made for the man, neither is the man without the woman, and the man also is by the woman,1 Corinthians 11:9; 1 Corinthians 11:11; 1 Corinthians 11:12.

      II. The duties of children and parents: Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing unto the Lord,Colossians 3:20; Colossians 3:20. They must be willing to do all their lawful commands, and be at their direction and disposal; as those who have a natural right and are fitter to direct them than themselves. The apostle (Ephesians 6:2) requires them to honour as well as obey their parents; they must esteem them and think honourably of them, as the obedience of their lives must proceed from the esteem and opinion of their minds. And this is well-pleasing to God, or acceptable to him; for it is the first commandment with promise (Ephesians 6:2), with an explicit promise annexed to it, namely, That it shall be well with them, and they shall live long on the earth. Dutiful children are the most likely to prosper in the world and enjoy long life. And parents must be tender, as well as children obedient (Colossians 3:21; Colossians 3:21): "Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Let not your authority over them be exercised with rigour and severity, but with kindness and gentleness, lest you raise their passions and discourage them in their duty, and by holding the reins too tight make them fly out with greater fierceness." The bad temper and example of imprudent parents often prove a great hindrance to their children and a stumbling-block in their way; see Ephesians 6:4. And it is by the tenderness of parents, and dutifulness of children, that God ordinarily furnishes his church with a seed to serve him, and propagates religion from age to age.

      III. Servants and masters: Servants, obey your masters in all things according to the flesh,Colossians 3:22; Colossians 3:22. Servants must do the duty of the relation in which they stand, and obey their master's commands in all things which are consistent with their duty to God their heavenly Master. Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers--not only when their master's eye is upon them, but when they are from under their master's eye. They must be both just and diligent. In singleness of heart, fearing God--without selfish designs, or hypocrisy and disguise, as those who fear God and stand in awe of him. Observe, The fear of God ruling in the heart will make people good in every relation. Servants who fear God will be just and faithful when they are from under their master's eye, because they know they are under the eye of God. See Genesis 20:11, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place.Nehemiah 5:15, But so did not I, because of the fear of God. "And whatsoever you do, do it heartily (Colossians 3:23; Colossians 3:23), with diligence, not idly and slothfully:" or, "Do it cheerfully, not discontented at the providence of God which put you in that relation."--As to the Lord, and not as to men. It sanctifies a servant's work when it is done as unto God--with an eye to his glory and in obedience to his command, and not merely as unto men, or with regard to them only. Observe, We are really doing our duty to God when we are faithful in our duty to men. And, for servants' encouragement, let them know that a good and faithful servant is never the further from heaven for his being a servant: "Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for you serve the Lord Christ,Colossians 3:24; Colossians 3:24. Serving your masters according to the command of Christ, you serve Christ, and he will be your paymaster: you will have a glorious reward at last. Though you are now servants, you will receive the inheritance of sons. But, on the other hand, He who does wrong will receive for the wrong which he has done," Colossians 3:25; Colossians 3:25. There is a righteous God, who, if servants wrong their masters, will reckon with them for it, though they may conceal it from their master's notice. And he will be sure to punish the unjust as well as reward the faithful servant: and so if masters wrong their servants.--And there is no respect of persons with him. The righteous Judge of the earth will be impartial, and carry it with an equal hand towards the master and servant; not swayed by any regard to men's outward circumstances and condition of life. The one and the other will stand upon a level at his tribunal.

      It is probable that the apostle has a particular respect, in all these instances of duty, to the case mentioned 1 Corinthians 7:1-40 of relations of a different religion, as a Christian and heathen, a Jewish convert and an uncircumcised Gentile, where there was room to doubt whether they were bound to fulfil the proper duties of their several relations to such persons. And, if it hold in such cases, it is much stronger upon Christians one towards another, and where both are of the same religion. And how happy would the gospel religion make the world, if it every where prevailed; and how much would it influence every state of things and every relation of life!

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Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Colossians 3:25". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.