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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Colossians 3

 

 

Verses 1-25

Colossians 3:1. If ye then be risen with Christ, above the darkness and torpor of the present world, as in Colossians 2:20, live in conformity to your hope, by seeking those things that are above. This idea often occurs, and is the more worthy of notice here, because it connects together a grand chain of argument. Christ by his resurrection was liberated from the darkness of the tomb, so believers are made light in the Lord. — He was liberated from the power of death, so are the regenerate from their spiritual death in trespasses and sins. — His resurrection was effectuated by the glory of God the Father, so is regeneration by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit. — His resurrection was the joy of heaven and earth, and angels rejoice at the conversion of a sinner. The church also blesses God that sinners are begotten again to a lively hope, to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away. — Christ rose to a spiritual life of communion with the Father, and with all the saints; and it is the same with all the regenerate. — Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father, the seat of power and dominion; so our love to him, amidst all the changes of the present life, teach us to be heavenly minded. See on John 20. and Acts 1:8-9.

Colossians 3:3. Your life is hid with Christ in God. The world knows nothing how this spark was first kindled in your heart; they know not what were your sighs and sorrows till you found peace; they know not what transporting views you had of the Saviour, when you could fully believe with the heart unto righteousness; nor can they at all obtrude on the sweet intercourse which you have in solitude with the Lord. But soon the hidden flame shall blaze out with glory at his appearing.

Colossians 3:5. Mortify therefore your members. See on 1 Corinthians 6:9. Galatians 5:21.

Colossians 3:9-10. Ye have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man. The old man is our corrupt nature, original sin personified, a tyrant more oppressive than Pharaoh. He is sometimes called the strong man armed — the body of the sins of the flesh — the wisdom from beneath, earthly, sensual, devilish — the carnal mind — the sin that dwelleth in us. Here is our oppressor that brings into captivity to the law of sin and death. Yet there is hope, there is deliverance through our great Redeemer. His promise is, If any man keep my word, the Father and I will love him, and come and make our abode with him. Regeneration is the cure. The whole deity will consecrate the soul to be his living temple. He will form the new man, the inner man of the heart, and cause him to grow to the stature of Christ. Faint not in the fight. Grace shall reign to eternal life, as sin has reigned unto death. He will bind the strong man and cast him out, and drive the old dragon from his seat, with his infernal crew.

Colossians 3:16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom. This will be the case, if we read and study it daily with deep attention. The good man meditates in the law of the Lord both day and night, and delights in blessing and praising God. The hymns of the primitive church are often mentioned in ecclesiastical history. Eusebius refers to them as the composition of faithful brethren, which celebrate the divinity of Christ, the Word of God. Senensius says that the hymns of St. Hilary were sung all over France. Chrysostom likewise says, that God has given us those sweet psalms and hymns, to raise our spirits above the sorrows of life.

Colossians 3:18-22. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands. See notes on Ephesians 5:22-25; Ephesians 6:1-5.

REFLECTIONS.

Christians, if you are dead with Christ to the rudiments of this world, live conformably to the glory of his resurrection. Your hope is no longer in the tomb, but on the throne. Seek the things that are above, that you may meet him with joy. Yea, and the more so as your present life is hid with Christ in God.

Whatever our nation or rank, our education or circumstances in life may be, let this be our concern, that we may be in Christ, and Christ in us; on that depends our everlasting all. Happy the most untaught savage, and the most oppressed slave, who is thus related to the incarnate wisdom of God, and the great Lord of all; infinitely beyond the politest greek, the most ceremonious jew, the freest subject, or the most despotic prince, who is a stranger to such a blessing.

If we have any reason to hope that we are beloved by him, let us cherish a compassionate regard to our fellow creatures, and put on bowels of mercy, gentleness, humility, meekness, and longsuffering. Let the grace of Christ, in freely forgiving us, teach us to rejoice in opportunities of imitating it. Do we desire to feel the peace of God presiding in us, let us exercise charity in the bond of perfectness, and let us study to be more and more thankful, in whatever station we are placed; observing attentively its advantageous circumstances, reflecting especially how much worse things might have been, and how unworthy we ourselves are of any distinction which God may be pleased to make in our favour.

We have especially great reason most thankfully to acknowledge the divine goodness, in providing us with so many religious advantages, and particularly with those that relate to the most decent and edifying performance of the duty of psalmody. To furnish us for a right discharge of it, let us carefully treasure up the word of Christ in our minds, and let us ever be more solicitous to preserve the melody of the heart than that of the voice. In this and every other service, let all be done in the name of Christ, and then we may humbly hope that all shall be accepted through him. And if that prevailing name do not recommend us to acceptance, the divine purity will find something in every one of them which will justify God, not only in rejecting them, but also in condemning us.

How happy will particular persons, families, and larger societies be, if these apostolic maxims be carefully pursued. While wives are submissive to their husbands, and husbands affectionate to their wives; children obedient to their parents, and parents tenderly careful of their children; servants revering the commands of their masters, conscientiously and constantly attending to their interest, and masters concerned to maintain all equity in their behaviour to those of their servants who are most entirely in their power, remembering on all sides the account to be given to the supreme Master in heaven, and humbly looking for the reward of the inheritance.

To engage a steady and uniform care in all these various duties, and to make us truly good in every relation of life, let us be daily drawing down grace from above, by continuing instant in prayer; and as our spirits are so ready to grow cold and indifferent in it, let us watch thereunto, lest by insensible degrees we grow remiss in the performance, and from that remissness come entirely or frequently to neglect it. Let every mercy we receive from God awaken our thankfulness, and animate our devotion; and let us not forget in our prayers the ministers of Christ, but ask for them the assistance from on high which may enable them to open their mouth boldly, in declaring that mysterious and important doctrine with which they are charged, and on which the salvation of immortal souls depends. To enforce their labours as much as possible, let us add the influence of a regular and amiable behaviour, conducting ourselves with wisdom towards all, and particularly those who are strangers to religion; and redeeming time, as those that know its infinite importance, because they see eternity connected with it. And that we may not, as is so frequent, lose the time we spend in conversation, let us seek more of the salt of divine grace in our hearts, to correct their innate corruption, and learn the happy art of improving discourse well, and of answering others in such a manner, that without dictating to them, we may gently lead them to the most useful reflections, and make our lips, like those of the righteous, a fountain of life unto them. Proverbs 10:11.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Colossians 3:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/colossians-3.html. 1835.

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