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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO THE COLOSSIANS - Chapter 1 - Verse 12
Verse 12. Giving thanks to the Father. This is another mode by which we may "walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing," Col 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 connexion 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 especial 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 here used ikanow means, properly, to make sufficient, from ikanov sufficient, abundant, much. The word conveys the idea of having sufficient or enough to accomplish anything. See Barnes "2 Co 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, ever 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 favour. 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 broken-hearted 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 fitted 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 "fit" to participate in the employments and joys of the saints in light.
Of the saints in light. Called, Col 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 convey 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 Jo 1:5; of Christ, that he is "the light of man," Joh 1:4; that he is "the true light," Joh 1:9; that he is "the light of the world," Joh 8:12. Comp. Joh 12:35; Lu 2:32. The angels of that kingdom are "angels of light," 2 Co 11:14. Those who compose that kingdom on earth are "the children of light," Lu 16:8; 1 Th 5:5. And all the descriptions of that kingdom in heaven represent it as filled with light and glory, Isa 60:19; Re 21:23; 22:5.
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