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Colossians 1:27

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The riches of the glory - God manifests to these how abundantly glorious this Gospel is among the Gentiles; and how effectual is this doctrine of Christ crucified to the salvation of multitudes.

Which is Christ in you, the hope of glory - In this and the following verse there are several remarkable particulars: -

    I. We find here the sum and substance of the apostle's preaching.

  • He preached Christ, as the only Savior of sinners.
  • He proclaimed this Christ as being in them; for the design of the Gospel is to put men in possession of the Spirit and power of Christ, to make them partakers of the Divine nature, and thus prepare them for an eternal union with himself. Should it be said that the preposition εν should be translated among, it amounts to the same; for Christ was among them, to enlighten, quicken, purify, and refine them, and this he could not do without dwelling in them.
  • He preached this present and indwelling Christ as the hope of glory; for no man could rationally hope for glory who had not the pardon of his sins, and whose nature was not sanctified; and none could have pardon but through the blood of his cross; and none could have glorification but through the indwelling, sanctifying Spirit of Christ.
  • II. We see the manner in which the apostles preached.

  • They warned every one - they showed every man his danger; they proved that both Jews and Gentiles were under sin; and that the wrath of God was revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men; that time and life were uncertain; and that now was the day of salvation.
  • They taught every man in all wisdom - they considered the world in a state of ignorance and darkness, every man being through sin ignorant of himself and God; and the apostles taught them to know themselves, viz., that they were sinners, wretched, helpless, and perishing; and they taught them to know God, in his purity, justice, and truth, and in his mercy through Christ Jesus. Thus they instructed men in all wisdom; for the knowledge of a man's self and his God constitutes all that is essentially necessary to be known for present and eternal happiness.
  • III. The end which the apostles had in view in thus preaching Christ: to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. The words τελειον εν Χριστῳ, perfect in or through Christ, signify two things:

  • That they should be thoroughly instructed in the doctrines of Christianity, so that they should know the truth as it is in Jesus.
  • That they should be made partakers of the grace of the Gospel, so that they might be saved from all their sins, and be filled with His fullness. The succeeding chapter amply proves that nothing less than this entered into the apostle's design. Men may dispute as they please about Christian perfection, but without it no soul shall ever see God. He who is not saved from all sin here, cannot, to his joy, see God hereafter. This perfection of which the apostle speaks, and to which he labored to bring all men, was something to be attained in and through Christ. The apostles preached Christ in the people; and they preached him as crucified for mankind. He who died for them was to live in them, and fill their whole souls with his own purity. No indwelling sin can be tolerated by an indwelling Christ; for he came into the world to save his people from their sins.
  • IV. We see who were the objects of the apostle's ministry: the Jews and Gentiles; παντα ανθρωπον, every man, the whole human race. Every man had sinned; and for every sinner Christ had died; and he died for them that they might be saved from all their sins. The apostles never restrained the offers of salvation; they made them frankly to all, believing that it was the will of God that all should believe and be saved: hence they warned and taught every man that they might, at the day of judgment, present every man perfect in Christ Jesus; for, although their own personal ministry could not reach all the inhabitants of the earth, yet it is by the doctrines which they preached, and by the writings which they have left on record, that the earth is to be filled with the knowledge and glory of God, and the souls of men brought to the enjoyment of the fullness of the blessing of the Gospel of peace.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    To whom - To the saints.

    God would make known - “Willed (Greek) to make known;” that is, he was pleased to make this known. It was concealed in his bosom until he chose to reveal it to his apostles. It was a doctrine which the Jewish people did not understand; Ephesians 3:5-6.

    What is the riches of the glory of this mystery - The rich glory of this great, long-concealed truth. On the use of the word “riches,” see the notes at Romans 2:4. It is a favorite word with the apostle Paul to denote that which is valuable, or that which abounds. The meaning here is, that the truth that the gospel was to be preached to all mankind, was a truth abounding in glory.

    Among the Gentiles - That is, the glory of this truth is manifested by the effects which it has produced among the Gentiles.

    Which is Christ in you, the hope of glory - Or, Christ among you. Margin. The meaning is, that the whole of that truth, so full of glory, and so rich and elevated in its effect, is summed up in this - that Christ is revealed among you as the source of the hope of glory in a better world. This was the great truth which so animated the heart and fired the zeal of the apostle Paul. The wonderful announcement had burst on his mind like a flood of day, that the offer of salvation was not to be confined, as he had once supposed, to the Jewish people, but that all men were now placed on a level; that they had a common Saviour; that the same heaven was now opened for all, and that there were none so degraded and vile that they might not have the offer of life as well as others. This great truth Paul burned to communicate to the whole world; and for holding it, and in making it known, he had involved himself in all the difficulties which he had with his own countrymen; had suffered from want, and peril, and toil; and had finally been made a captive, and was expecting to be put to death. It was just such a truth as was fitted to fire such a mind as that of Paul, and to make it; known as worth all the sacrifices and toils which he endured. Life is well sacrificed in making known such a doctrine to the world.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    Both the sufferings of the Head and of the members are called the sufferings of Christ, and make up, as it were, one body of sufferings. But He suffered for the redemption of the church; we suffer on other accounts; for we do but slightly taste that cup of afflictions of which Christ first drank deeply. A Christian may be said to fill up that which remains of the sufferings of Christ, when he takes up his cross, and after the pattern of Christ, bears patiently the afflictions God allots to him. Let us be thankful that God has made known to us mysteries hidden from ages and generations, and has showed the riches of his glory among us. As Christ is preached among us, let us seriously inquire, whether he dwells and reigns in us; for this alone can warrant our assured hope of his glory. We must be faithful to death, through all trials, that we may receive the crown of life, and obtain the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls.
    Ellen G. White
    Fundamentals of Christian Education, 263

    It is a daily working agency that is to be brought into exercise, a faith that works by love, and purifies the soul of the educator. Is the revealed will of God placed as your highest authority? If Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, then the truth of God will so act upon your natural temperament, that its transforming agency will be revealed in a changed character, and you will not by your influence through the revealings of an unsanctified heart and temper, turn the truth of God into a lie before any of your pupils; nor in your presentation of a selfish, impatient, unchristlike temper in dealing with any human mind, reveal that the grace of Christ is not sufficient for you at all times and in all places. Thus you will show that the authority of God over you is not merely in name but in reality and truth. There must be a separation from all that is objectionable or unchristlike, however difficult it may be to the true believer. FE 263.1

    Inquire, teachers, you who are doing your work not only for time but eternity, Does the love of Christ constrain my heart and my soul, in dealing with the precious souls for whom Jesus has given His own life? Under His constraining discipline, do old traits of character, not in conformity to the will of God, pass away and the opposite take their place? “A new heart also will I give you.” Have all things become new through your conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ? In words and by painstaking effort are you sowing such seed in these young hearts that you can ask the Lord to water it, that it shall, with His imputed righteousness, ripen into a rich harvest? Ask yourselves, Am I by my own unsanctified words and impatience and want of that wisdom that is from above, confirming these youth in their own perverse spirit, because they see that their teacher has a spirit unlike Christ? If they should die in their sins, shall I not be accountable for their souls? The soul who loves Jesus, who appreciates the saving power of His grace, will feel such a drawing near to Christ, that he will desire to work in His lines. He cannot, dare not, let Satan control his spirit and poisonous miasma surround his soul. Everything will be placed one side that will corrupt his influence, because it opposes the will of God and endangers the souls of the precious sheep and lambs; and he is required to watch for souls as they that must give an account. Wherever God has, in providence, placed us, He will keep us; as our day our strength shall be. FE 264.1

    Whoever shall give way to his natural feelings and impulses makes himself weak and untrustworthy, for he is a channel through which Satan can communicate to taint and corrupt many souls, and these unholy fits that control the person unnerve him, and shame and confusion are the sure result. The spirit of Jesus Christ ever has a renewing, restoring power upon the soul that has felt its own weakness and fled to the unchanging One who can give grace and power to resist evil. Our Redeemer had a broad comprehensive humanity. His heart was ever touched with the known helplessness of the little child that is subject to rough usage; for He loved children. The feeblest cry of human suffering never reached His ear in vain. And everyone who assumes the responsibility of instructing the youth will meet obdurate hearts, perverse dispositions, and his work is to co-operate with God in restoring the moral image of God in every child. Jesus, precious Jesus,—a whole fountain of love was in His soul. Those who instruct the children should be men and women of principle. FE 264.2

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    Ellen G. White
    The Acts of the Apostles, 476

    “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. Through the power of Christ, men and women have broken the chains of sinful habit. They have renounced selfishness. The profane have become reverent, the drunken sober, the profligate pure. Souls that have borne the likeness of Satan have become transformed into the image of God. This change is in itself the miracle of miracles. A change wrought by the Word, it is one of the deepest mysteries of the Word. We cannot understand it; we can only believe, as declared by the Scriptures, it is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” AA 476.1

    When the Spirit of God controls mind and heart, the converted soul breaks forth into a new song; for he realizes that in his experience the promise of God has been fulfilled, that his transgression has been forgiven, his sin covered. He has exercised repentance toward God for the violation of the divine law, and faith toward Christ, who died for man's justification. “Being justified by faith,” he has “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1. AA 476.2

    But because this experience is his, the Christian is not therefore to fold his hands, content with that which has been accomplished for him. He who has determined to enter the spiritual kingdom will find that all the powers and passions of unregenerate nature, backed by the forces of the kingdom of darkness, are arrayed against him. Each day he must renew his consecration, each day do battle with evil. Old habits, hereditary tendencies to wrong, will strive for the mastery, and against these he is to be ever on guard, striving in Christ's strength for victory. AA 476.3

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    Ellen G. White
    The Acts of the Apostles, 507

    Paul's life was an exemplification of the truths he taught, and herein lay his power. His heart was filled with a deep, abiding sense of his responsibility, and he labored in close communion with Him who is the fountain of justice, mercy, and truth. He clung to the cross of Christ as his only guarantee of success. The love of the Saviour was the undying motive that upheld him in his conflicts with self and in his struggles against evil as in the service of Christ he pressed forward against the unfriendliness of the world and the opposition of his enemies. AA 507.1

    What the church needs in these days of peril is an army of workers who, like Paul, have educated themselves for usefulness, who have a deep experience in the things of God, and who are filled with earnestness and zeal. Sanctified, self-sacrificing men are needed; men who will not shun trial and responsibility; men who are brave and true; men in whose hearts Christ is formed “the hope of glory,” and who with lips touched with holy fire will “preach the word.” For want of such workers the cause of God languishes, and fatal errors, like a deadly poison, taint the morals and blight the hopes of a large part of the human race. AA 507.2

    As the faithful, toilworn standard-bearers are offering up their lives for the truth's sake, who will come forward to take their place? Will our young men accept the holy trust at the hands of their fathers? Are they preparing to fill the vacancies made by the death of the faithful? Will the apostle's charge be heeded, the call to duty be heard, amidst the incitements to selfishness and ambition that allure the youth? AA 507.3

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    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 389

    When His words of instruction have been received, and have taken possession of us, Jesus is to us an abiding presence, controlling our thoughts and ideas and actions. We are imbued with the instruction of the greatest Teacher the world ever knew. A sense of human accountability and of human influence gives character to our views of life and of daily duties. Jesus Christ is everything to us—the first, the last, the best in everything. Jesus Christ, His Spirit, His character, colors everything; it is the warp and the woof, the very texture of our entire being. The words of Christ are spirit and life. We cannot, then, center our thoughts upon self; it is no more we that live, but Christ that liveth in us, and He is the hope of glory. Self is dead, but Christ is a living Saviour. Continuing to look unto Jesus, we reflect His image to all around us. We cannot stop to consider our disappointments, or even to talk of them; for a more pleasant picture attracts our sight—the precious love of Jesus. He dwells in us by the word of truth. TM 389.1

    What said Christ to the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well? “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water.” “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” The water that Christ referred to was the revelation of His grace in His word; His Spirit, His teaching, is as a satisfying fountain to every soul. Every other source to which they shall resort will prove unsatisfying. But the word of truth is as cool streams, represented as the waters of Lebanon, which are always satisfying. In Christ is fullness of joy forevermore. The desires and pleasures and amusements of the world are never satisfying nor healing to the soul. But Jesus says, “Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life.” TM 390.1

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