Colossians 1:4 MEANING

Colossians 1:4
Verse 4. - Having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have (ἤν ἔχετε, Revised Text) toward all the saints (Ephesians 1:15, B.V.; Philemon 1:5, R.V.; 1 Thessalonians 4:9, 10; 1 John 3:23 2John 4 3John 3, 4). "Having heard "more immediately from Epaphras (vers. 8, 9). Note the characteristic recurrence of this word: he had heard of their faith and love, as they had heard before the word of truth (ver. 5); from the day they had heard they had borne fruit (ver. 6), and he, in return,from the day he heard of it, had not ceased to pray for them (ver. 9); see note on ver. 8; and comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:5 and 1 Thessalonians 2:2 with 1 Thessalonians 3:6 (Greek). "In Christ Jesus" is attached to "faith" (as to "brethren" in ver. 2) so closely as to form with it a single idea; to be "in Christ Jesus" is of the very essence of this faith and brotherhood. "Faith in Christ," "believe in Christ," in our English Bible, commonly represent a different Greek preposition, εἰς (literally, into or unto Christ); only in the pastoral Epistles and in Ephesians 1:15 - not in Galatians 3:26 (see Lightfoot) or Romans 3:25 (see Meyer or Beet) - do we find, as here, πίστις ἐν Ξριστῷ. In Christ faith rests, finding its abiding ground and element of life. In the Epistles of this period the Christian state appears chiefly as "life in Christ;" rather than, as in the earlier letters, as "salvation through Christ" (comp. e.g. Romans 5. and Colossians 2:9-15). The "love" of the Colossians evokes thanksgiving, as that which they have "toward all the saints;" for as the Church extended Christian love needed to be more catholic (ver. 6; Colossians 3:11), and Colossian error in particular tended to exclusiveness and caste feeling (see note on ver. 28). The iteration of "all" in this Epistle is remarkable.

1:1-8 All true Christians are brethren one to another. Faithfulness runs through every character and relation of the Christian life. Faith, hope, and love, are the three principal graces in the Christian life, and proper matter for prayer and thanksgiving. The more we fix our hopes on the reward in the other world, the more free shall we be in doing good with our earthly treasure. It was treasured up for them, no enemy could deprive them of it. The gospel is the word of truth, and we may safely venture our souls upon it. And all who hear the word of the gospel, ought to bring forth the fruit of the gospel, obey it, and have their principles and lives formed according to it. Worldly love arises, either from views of interest or from likeness in manners; carnal love, from the appetite for pleasure. To these, something corrupt, selfish, and base always cleaves. But Christian love arises from the Holy Spirit, and is full of holiness.Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus,.... This expresses the matter of their thankfulness, or what it was they gave thanks to God for, their faith in Christ; by which is not only meant their hearty assent to the whole doctrine of faith, concerning the person, offices, and grace of Christ, their soundness and steadfastness in it, and their sincere and constant profession of it; but the grace of faith in them, the operation of the Spirit of God in their souls, which had not Moses, nor any mere man, but Christ for its object; by which they looked unto him as a Saviour, went unto him as such, ventured on him, committed themselves unto him, leaned and relied upon him; that grace which comes from him, has him for its author and finisher, and returns unto him, and lives on him. This Paul and Timothy had heard of by their minister Epaphras; and it shows that they made no secret of it, did not keep it to themselves, but declared, confessed, and published it to others, as is the duty of all believers to do; and thanks being given for it to God, makes it a clear point that it was not of themselves, but was the gift of God, otherwise there would have been no need of thankfulness for it; as also, that it is a very eminent grace, and of great use and service to such who are possessed of it,

And of love which ye have to all the saints; this is another thing for which thanks are given to God. The object of this grace are "saints"; all men indeed are to be loved, and even our very enemies; and good is to be done to all, but especially to holy and good men, to the household of faith; and these are "all" to be loved and respected; nor is any respect or difference of persons to be made on account of country, or natural relation, as Jews or Gentiles, or of outward state and condition, as rich or poor, bond or free, or of greater or lesser gifts and grace, weak or strong believers, or of different sentiments in the lesser matters of religion. It denotes both the grace of love itself, which is a fruit of the Spirit implanted in regeneration, and is an evidence of the new birth, and always is where true faith in Christ is, for faith works by it; and also the effects of it, which lies not in bare words, in expressions of spiritual affection and friendship, but in deeds, by serving one another in love, by relieving in necessity, sympathizing in distress, praying with and for one another, and the like; all which these saints were famous for.

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