on Colossians 1 :12
Giving thanks unto the Father - Knowing that ye have nothing but what ye have received from his mere mercy, and that in point of merit ye can never claim any thing from him.
Which hath made us meet - Ἱκανωσαντι· Who has qualified us to be partakers, etc. Instead of ἱκανωσαντι, some MSS. and versions have καλεσαντι, called; and B (the Codex Vaticanus) has both readings. Giving thanks unto the Father, who hath called and qualified us to be partakers.
Of the inheritance - Εις την μεριδα του κληρου. A plain allusion to the division of the promised land by lot among the different families of the twelve Israelitish tribes. The κληρος was the lot or inheritance belonging to the tribe; the μερις was the portion in that lot which belonged to each family of that tribe. This was a type of the kingdom of God, in which portions of eternal blessedness are dispensed to the genuine Israelites; to them who have the circumcision of the heart by the Spirit, whose praise is of God, and not of man.
Of the saints in light - Light, in the sacred writings, is used to express knowledge, felicity, purity, comfort, and joy of the most substantial kind; here it is put to point out the state of glory at the right hand of God. As in Egypt, while the judgments of God were upon the land, there was a darkness which might be felt yet all the Israelites had light in their dwellings; so in this world, while the darkness and wretchedness occasioned by sin remain, the disciples of Christ are light in the Lord, walk as children of the light and of the day, have in them no occasion of stumbling, and are on their way to the ineffable light at the right hand of God. Some think there is an allusion here to the Eleusinian mysteries, celebrated in deep caves and darkness in honor of Ceres; but I have already, in the notes to the Epistle to the Ephesians, expressed my doubts that the apostle has ever condescended to use such a simile. The phraseology of the text is frequent through various parts of the sacred writings, where it is most obvious that no such allusion could possibly be intended.
on Colossians 1 :12
Giving thanks to the Father - This is another mode by which we may "walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing" Colossians 1:10; to wit, by rendering appropriate thanks to God for his mercy. The particular point which the apostle here says demanded thanksgiving was, that they had been called from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. This had been done by the special mercy of the Father who had provided the plan of salvation, and had sent his Son to redeem them. The connection shows that the word "Father" refers, in this place, not to God as the Father of his creatures, but to the Father as distinguished from the Son. It is the "Father" who has translated us into the kingdom of the "Son." Our special thanks are due to the "Father" in this, as he is represented as the great Author of the whole plan of salvation - as he who sent his Son to redeem us.
Who hath made us meet - The word used here - ἱκανόω hikanoō - means properly to make sufficient, from ἱκανός hikanos - sufficient, abundant, much. The word conveys the idea of having sufficient or enough to accomplish anything; see it explained in the notes at 2 Corinthians 3:6. The verb is not elsewhere used in the New Testament. In its use here, there seems to be implied the idea of conferring the privilege or the ability to be thus made the partakers of the kingdom, and the idea also of rendering us fit for it. The sense is, he has conferred on us grace sufficient to make it proper that we should partake of the blessings of his kingdom. In regard to this "fitness" or "meetness" for that kingdom, we may remark:
(1) that it does not mean that we are rendered fit by our own merits, or by anything which we have done; for it is expressly said that it is God who has thus rendered us "meet" for it. No one, by his own merits, even made himself fit for heaven. His good works cannot be an equivalent for the eternal rewards of heaven; nor is the heart when unrenewed, even in the best state, fit for the society and the employments of heaven. There is no adaptedness of such a heart, however amiable and however refined, to the pure spiritual joys of the upper world. Those joys are the joys of religion, of the love of God, of pleasure in holiness; and the unrenewed heart can never be wrought up to a fitness to enter into those joys. Yet.
(2) there is a fitness or meetness which Christians possess for heaven. It consists in two things. First, in their having complied with the conditions on which God promises heaven, so that, although they have no merit in themselves, and no fitness by their own works, they have that meetness which results from having complied with the terms of favor. They have truly repented of their sins, and believed in the Redeemer; and they are thus in the proper state of mind to receive the mercy of God; for, according to the terms of mercy, there is a propriety that pardon should be bestowed on the penitent, and peace on the believing. A child that is truly brokenhearted for a fault, is in a fit state of mind to be forgiven; a proud, and obstinate, and rebellious child, is not. Secondly, there is, in fact, a fitness in the Christian for the participation of the inheritance of the saints in light. He has a state of feeling that is adapted to that. There is a congruity between his feelings and heaven - a state of mind that can be satisfied with nothing but heaven. He has in his heart substantially the same principles which reign in heaven; and he is suited to find happiness only in the same objects in which the inhabitants of heaven do, He loves the same God and Saviour; has pleasure in the same truths; prefers, as they do, holiness to sin; and, like the inhabitants of heaven, he would choose to seek his pleasure in holy living, rather than in the ways of vanity. His preferences are all on the side of holiness and virtue; and, with such preferences, he is fitted for the enjoyments of heaven. In character, views, feelings, and preferences, therefore, the Christian is made suitable to participate in the employments and joys of the saints in light.
To be partakers of the inheritance - The privileges of religion are often represented as an heirship, or an inheritance; see the notes at Romans 8:17.
Of the saints in light - Called in Colossians 1:13, "the kingdom of his dear Son." This is a kingdom of light, as opposed to the kingdom of darkness in which they formerly were. In the East, and particularly in Persia, there prevailed early the belief that there were two great kingdoms in the universe - that of light, and that of darkness. We find traces of this opinion in the Scriptures, where the kingdom of God is called "light," and that of Satan is called "darkness." These are, of course, figurative expressions; but they convoy important truth. Light, in the Scriptures, is the emblem of holiness, knowledge, happiness; and all these are found in the kingdom over which God presides, and of which Christians are the heirs. Accordingly, we find the word "light" often used to describe this kingdom. Thus, it is said of God, who presides over it, that he "is light, and in him is no darkness at all," 1 John 1:5; of Christ, that he is "the light of man," John 1:4; that he is "the true light," John 1:9; that he is "the light of the world," John 8:12; compare John 12:35; Luke 2:32. The angels of that kingdom are "angels of light," 2 Corinthians 11:14. Those who compose that kingdom on earth are "the children of light," Luke 16:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:5. And all the descriptions of that kingdom in heaven represent it as filled with light and glory, Isaiah 60:19; Revelation 21:23; Revelation 22:5.
on Colossians 1 :12
1:12 Who, by justifying and sanctifying us, hath made us meet for glory.