on Colossians 1 :27
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.
1. He preached Christ, as the only Savior of sinners.
2. 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.
3. 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.
1. 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.
2. 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:
1. That they should be thoroughly instructed in the doctrines of Christianity, so that they should know the truth as it is in Jesus.
2. 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.
on Colossians 1 :27
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.
on Colossians 1 :27
1:27 Christ dwelling and reigning in you, The hope of glory - The ground of your hope.