Colossians 1:27 MEANING

Colossians 1:27
(27) To whom God would--i.e., God willed. The expression is emphatic. It was of God's own pleasure, inscrutable to man. So in Ephesians 1:9, we read "the mystery of His will." Note also, in Ephesians 1:4-6, the repeated reference to the predestination of God in His love.

The riches of the glory.--See Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 3:16; and Notes there.

Which is Christ in you.--This mystery specially committed to St. Paul to declare is. in Ephesians 3:6, defined thus, "That the Gentiles should be (or, are) fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel"; and the nature of this promise is explained below, "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith." Here the mystery itself is boldly defined as "Christ in you;" just as in 1 Timothy 3:16, according to one interpretation of that difficult passage, "the mystery of godliness" is Christ Himself, "who was manifest," &c. Here we have again a significant illustration of the difference between the characteristic ideas of the two Epistles. In the Ephesian Epistle the unity of all in God's covenant is first put forth, and then explained as dependent on the indwelling of Christ in the heart. Here the "Christ in you" is all in all: the unity of all men in Him is an inference, but one which the readers of the Epistle are left to draw for themselves. On the great idea itself, in the purely individual relation, see Philippians 1:21, and also Galatians 2:20; in the more general form, see Romans 8:10; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 4:19.

The hope of (the) glory.--So in 1 Timothy 1:1, "The Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope." "The glory" is the glorified state of perfection in heaven, wrapt in the communion with God, and so "changed from glory to glory." Again we note (as in Colossians 1:5; Colossians 1:23) the special emphasis laid on the hope of heaven. Christ is "our hope," as He is "our life," i.e., the ground of our sure and certain hope of the future, as of our spiritual life in the present.

Verse 27. - To whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery amongst the Gentiles (Ephesians 3:5-10; Acts 11:17, 18; Romans 11:11, 12, 25-32; Romans 15:9-12). "Willed" stands emphatically first in the Greek. The revelation was so momentous in its issue, so signal in its method, and so contrary to human foresight and prejudice, that it proceeded evidently from" the will of God" (vers. 1, 9; Colossians 4:12; comp. Romans 9:18): "Who was I," said St. Peter, "that I could withstand God?" The Ephesian letter delights to dwell on God's will as the cause of the whole counsel and work of salvation. The Revisers have rendered the verb by "was pleased," the equivalent of εὐδοκέω (ver. 19; Ephesians 1:5, 9; etc.). There is no need to seek a reference to free grace in the verb "willed;" the two ideas are concurrent, but distinct (see, however, Lightfoot). The apostle's mind is filled with amazement as he contemplates the boundless riches which the salvation of the Gentiles revealed in God himself (comp. Romans 11:33-36; Romans 16:25-27; Ephesians 3:8-10). "The glory of this mystery" is the splendour with which it invests the Divine character (on "glory," see note, ver. 11; and for "riches of glory," Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 3:16; Philippians 4:19; Romans 9:23). Amongst the Gentiles: "semi-local clause, defining the sphere in which the riches of the glory is more specially evinced" (Ellicott). At last this mystery is defined: which is Christ in you (Colossians 2:2, 3; 1 Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 3:17; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 4:19; Romans 8:10). By a bold metonymy, the mystery is identified with its subject or content. It is "Christ" himself (see Colossians 2:2, note), the Divine secret of the ages, the burden of all revelation; and "Christ in you" (Colossians 3:11), Christ dwelling in Gentile carts - this is the wonder of wonders! So the "sinners of the Gentiles" receive "the like [equal] gift" with the heirs of the promises (Acts 11:17). By a further and yet bolder apposition, this mystery of Christ in Colossian believers is made one with the hope of glory (vers. 5, 23; Colossians 3:4; Ephesians 1:12-14, 18; Philippians 3:20, 21; Romans 2:7; Romans 8:18-25; 1 Corinthians 15:43; 1 John 3:2), of which it is a pledge and a foretaste (vers. 4, 5; Colossians 3:15; Ephesians 1:13, 14; Romans 8:10-17). This glory is that which the Christian will wear in his perfected, heavenly state (Colossians 3:4; 1 Corinthians 15:43; Romans 8:18), when he will fully reflect the glory he now beholds in God through Christ ("the glory of this mystery"): compare the double "glory" of 2 Corinthians 3:18. The rights of the Gentile believer in Christ are therefore complete (Ephesians 3:6). Possessing him now in his heart, he anticipates all that he will bestow in heaven (on "hope," see ver. 5).

1:24-29 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.To whom God would make known,.... The spring and cause of the manifestation of the Gospel to the saints, and chosen of God, is not their works, for God does not call them with an holy calling according to them, but according to his own grace; nor any preparations and dispositions in them before such manifestation, towards the Gospel and the truths of it, for there are none such naturally in men, but all the reverse; nor a foresight of their better improvement of it, when made known, for this is not the method of divine grace, witness the instances of Sodom and Gomorrha, Tyre and Sidon; nor any holiness in them, or because they were sanctified, for they became so by the power of divine grace, through the Gospel revelation; but it is the pure sovereign good will and pleasure of God; see Ephesians 1:9; as appears from what they were before the Gospel came unto them, what is made known to them in it and by it; and from this, that they and not others, equally as deserving, are favoured with it:

what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles. The apostle, besides calling the Gospel a "mystery", as before, ascribes "glory" to it; it is a glorious mystery, there is a glory in all the mysteries of it; it is a glorious Gospel, as it is often called, in its author, subject, matter, use, and efficacy: and also "riches" of glory, or glorious riches; containing rich truths, an immense treasure of them, comparable to gold, silver, and precious stones; rich blessings of justification, pardon, reconciliation, adoption, and eternal life; and rich promises, relating both to this life, and that which is to come; all which were opened and made known, not to the Jews only, but "among the Gentiles" also; who before were aliens, enemies, exceeding wicked, poor, blind, and miserable, but now, through the Gospel, were become rich and glorious, wise, knowing, and happy:

which is Christ in you, the hope of glory; this is to be connected with all that goes before: Christ is the riches of the Gospel; the riches of the divine perfections, which the Gospel more clearly displays than the works of creation or providence, are all in Christ, the fulness of them dwells in him; and this is the grace the Gospel reveals, that he, who was rich with all these, became poor to make us rich; the rich promises of the Gospel were all made to Christ, and are all yea and "Amen" in him; the rich blessings of it are all in his hands, righteousness, peace, and pardon, the riches both of grace and glory; the rich treasures of its divine truths are hid in him; and he is the substance of everyone of them: Christ is also the glory of the Gospel, inasmuch as he is the author, preacher, and subject of it; it is full of the glory of his person, both as the only begotten of the Father, and as the only Mediator between God and man; it is the glass through which this is seen: moreover, the glory of God in him is expressed hereby; the glory of his wisdom and power, of his truth and faithfulness, of his justice and holiness, of his love, grace, and mercy, and every other perfection, is eminently held forth in the Gospel; as this is great in the salvation and redemption of his people by Christ, which the Gospel brings the good news of; add to this, that that glory which the saints shall have with Christ, and will lie in the enjoyment of him to all eternity, is brought to light in the Gospel: Christ is also the mystery of the Gospel; he is one of the persons in the mystery of the Trinity; the mystery of his divine sonship, of his divine person, being God and yet man, man and yet God, and both in one person, and of his incarnation and redemption, makes a considerable part of the Gospel: and Christ, who is the sum and substance of it, is "in" his people; not only as the omnipresent God, as the author of the light of nature, as the Creator of all things, in whom all live, move, and have their beings, but in a way of special grace; and the phrase is expressive of a revelation of him in them, of their possession of him, of his inhabitation in them by his Spirit and grace, particularly by faith, and of their communion with him, in consequence of their union to him; and being so, he is the ground and foundation of their hopes of glory. There is a glory which the saints are hoping for, which the glories of this world are but a faint resemblance of; which is unseen at present, and which the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared unto; what is eternal, and which Christ has entered into, and took possession of; and what will greatly consist in beholding his glory, and in everlasting communion with him; this through grace saints have a good hope of, and are waiting for, and even rejoice at times in the hope of it; of which hope Christ is the foundation; for not only the promise of it is with him, but the glory itself is in his hands; the gift of it is with him, and through him; he has made way by his sufferings and death for the enjoyment of it, and is now preparing it for them, by his presence and intercession; his grace makes them meet for it, his righteousness gives them a title to it, and his Spirit is the earnest of it, and the substance of it will be the fruition of himself.

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