[1]How painful it is to see this beloved church taken afterwards as an example of the first love being lost! But all tends to the end.

[2] The name of Timotheus is not found in the address to the saints at Ephesus.

[3]It is one of the deceits of the heart that, when we really know God's will quite well, we go to ask advice of one no more spiritual than ourselves.

[4]There are three measures given of the Christian's walk in this form: worthy of God who has called us to His own kingdom and glory; worthy of the Lord, here; and worthy of the vocation with which we are called, that is, the Holy Ghost dwelling in the church, Ephesians 2; developed as it is in the end of chapter 3.

[5]The antecedent is, I think, here the Lord; but the Lord and God are greatly merged in one thought.

[6]Take especial notice here, that it is not said "will make us meet," as a thing yet to be done, and in which we make progress.

[7] We shall also see, further on, that the starting-point is somewhat different, and, though Ephesians ground is partially referred to, brings in man as he isfound living in sin, and less absolutely to God, who finds him already dead in sins, and creates him according to His own counsels. But of this hereafter. Further, in Ephesians 1:6 our place is full grace in Christ; in Colossians 1 it is present actual deliverance from the power of darkness and translation into the kingdom of the Son of His love-not 'charis' or 'charitosis en to egapenenoo'.

[8]This belongs to the principle mentioned above. In Ephesians, all is seen from the point of view of God's eternal counsels before evil existed, the good which He purposed in Himself although redemption was necessary when evil had come in, and the glory of God Himself and the basis of our glory in the accomplishment of them, was made good in it. In Colossians man in evil is the object of grace.

[9] One of these preeminences depends on His divine rights as Creator, the other on His work and on the power displayed in His humanity in the act of resurrection. He holds all as man and all by divine power, but in some sort it may be said that one part of His glory depends on His divinity, the other on His victory as man.

[10]Indeed added to the four as supplementary.

[11]When the Christian is viewed as in Christ, there is no "if:" we are in Him. When he is viewed as a pilgrim here, we are on the road to actual glory, and have to reach the goal, and here "if" comes in, and danger, and the need of being kept. But then we have the fullest assurance that we shall be kept and never perish, and be confirmed to the end, and the good work completed. Thus dependence on God is maintained in the saved, and confidence in His faithfulness.

[12] Note here how clear and full the statement is: verse 14, redemption and forgiveness, verse 21, reconciliation with God; verse 13, deliverance and introduction into the kingdom; verse 12, we are made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. All this we have, and so are called to walk worthy of the Lord.

[13] It is not a question here as to the dates of the books, but of the circle of subjects. The law, the kingdom, the Person of Christ, redemption and the ways of God, had already been brought out; the doctrine of the assembly was then to be revealed, in order to make the communications of God complete as to their subjects.

[14]I have already remarked that the Gentiles are especially in view in the Colossians, not the union of Jew and Gentiles in one.

[15] There were some very beautiful legends, embracing partial truths, in the Gnostic system; but they had lost God and truth, and reality of conscience before God.

[16] These expressions relate to the double character of Christ already set before us in chapter 1. They shew us what we have in Christ in a positive way as that which follows applies it to everything here below which would prevent our enjoying it. In Christ is the fullness of the Godhead, the object of our delight, in whom we possess all things. We have also in Him a position above all creation, in the perfection which has placed Christ there. We are complete in Him who is the Head of all principalities and of all power. As regards the phraseology, the change of a word, to one not however better in itself, shews the mind of the apostle. In Him dwelleth all the completeness of the Godhead bodily; and we are complete in Him.

[17] Some do not connect "risen" with baptism. If so, I apprehend the passage must be read thus: "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism; in whom also ye are risen together [meaning with Christ] through faith,". Baptism clearly signifies death, and it is not the baptizing but the coming out of the water which can be applied to resurrection. The giving of life is in no way the sense of baptism even as a figure, but leaving the life of Adam by death (the death of Christ) and entrance through that gate into a wholly new place and position.

[18] These applications flow from chapter 2:11, 12. It is to be remarked that Romans from chapter 5:12 treats of death to sin, in which man (as child of Adam) was alive. In Ephesians man is reckoned as dead in sins as towards God. Colossians takes up both: chapter 2:11,12 follows them out, adding resurrection with Christ. Verse 18 follows Ephesians doctrine. Chapters 2:20, 3:1, follow on chapter 2:11,12. and we have the putting off of the old and putting on of the new man

[19] Although this word has the appearance of learning and of not being scriptural, this is not the case. Science, falsely so called, of which the apostle speaks elsewhere, is in Greek "gnosis" , whence this presumptuous and corrupting philosophy was called "Gnosticism," and its votaries " Gnostics." It plays an immense part in the history of the church, with which I have nothing to do here. But its principles are frequently formed in the New Testament, brought forward by the apostles in order to combat them. The Jews had largely fallen into the notion of a mediatorial work of angels, though not in the form exactly of Gnostic philosophy.

[20]This was working in the apostles' days; Paul withstood it in the energy of the Holy Ghost. After his departure that power was gone. The historical church never had the two great fundamental principles of Christianity, perfection in Christ ("by one offering he hath perfected for ever "), and the presence and leading power of the Holy Ghost down here. These were supplanted by sacraments and the clergy.

[21]Hence we have no justification in Ephesians. It treats of a new creation.

[22]This difference is of deep interest, and brings out the character of the Epistle to the Ephesians in a remarkable way-an epistle in which everything is influenced by the high point of view taken by the Spirit, and flows from the original and eternal counsels of God, and from His operation to bring those counsels to perfection-the settled purposes of His own heart. He desires to have-He creates-something in order to shew forth the immense riches of His grace. He has taken the dead and the lost: but they are only the objects of His operations, suited to make these manifest on account of their own condition. He does not work upon the nature of man, because it is contrary to His own, in order to destroy this contrariety. He quickens from the dead, and creates. In Colossians the death of the old man is spoken of, which it was necessary to take into consideration. God be praised, we are entitled to view it as already dead, because Christ has died for us.

[23]With this difference between the actings of the Spirit, and the existence of the new life, is connected the liberty of the soul. When we are born of God, we have necessarily a taste for holiness- love acts in us- we take pleasure in the righteousness of God. But, by virtue of these sentiments, although my heart appreciates love in God, and this love attracts me and inspires me with a measure of confidence, yet my conscience condemns me, I feel that I am not that which I love. I am under the law, and uncertain of my relationship with God. When I have learnt the value of Christ's blood, that He is my righteousness, the Holy Ghost dwelling and acting in me gives me the sense of my relationship with God. I have the consciousness of it in my soul, and the Holy Ghost bears witness of it. There is liberty.

[24]It is a very different thing from dying to sin. This supposes evil in the thing that dies (save of course in the case of Christ who did it for those who had), whereas putting to death is an act of power in that which is good-the new man.

[24]These three form the whole character of evil in man: generally, violence and corruption, the last taking the twofold form of lust and falsehood. So, before the flood, the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. Falsehood is Satan's form of corruption, and violence also characterises Him. The Lord declares him to be a liar and a murderer. (John 8: 44 ) Man adds the lust because of flesh.

[25] Note here the difference of the corresponding phrase in Ephesians. There the Christian is created after God in righteousness and true holiness. Here it is the new apprehensions of the divine life which knows God. It is our state, not Gods creative act. Not that this contradicts the Ephesian view; on the contrary, " renewed " here is another word from Ephesians. It is that which is wholly new, never was there before (anakainoumenoi). In Ephesians " renewed " is what is kept fresh and new.

[26] Remark here how patience and graciousness and long suffering characterise the Christian. It is remarkable how this is the case everywhere. So must it be in a world like this. So was it in Christ. So in 1 Corinthians 13. the traits of charity are all subjective and of this character. Not that that is a definition of charity, but it is characteristic of it. Where these traits are wanting, charity is.

[27] It is simpler to put the stop after "one another", and only a comma before "teaching".

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