This Week's Focus Passage

Colossians 1:12-13 ‘Who made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.’


This Week’s Focus Passage: Colossians 1:12-13

‘Who made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.’


    Considering the phrase utilized by the apostle Paul in this epistle to the church, that is the ‘saints at Colosse,’ when he speaks to them as those, along with himself, and as he does so in verses twelve and thirteen of the first chapter of Colossians, saying, giving thanks unto the Father, who made us to be meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; who delivered us out of the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love. We were led in our investigations to a commentary upon this letter of Paul to the Colossians by John Eadie. This John Eadie, we are informed in the Dictionary of Scottish Church History & Theology among other biographical notices, that he was, “Born and raised among the working classes of Lowland Scotland, Eadie never lost his interest in and ability to relate to the average person. He was a big man physically and surprisingly taciturn in conversation, but he was diligent as a pastor and affectionate in his manner. In his preaching Eadie favored biblical expositions, very often on one of Paul’s letters. His later commentaries grew out of some of these early discourses to his Glasgow congregations and Bible classes.” We trust that we may be forgiven for ‘inserting’—pun intended, lengthy remarks upon this particular phrase, partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. We were sincerely moved by them:


    ‘For heaven is a region of light. The radiance of Him who is Light streams through it and envelops all the children of the light who live and walk in its lustre. A happy and unfailing intuition, sustained by its vicinity to the Uncreated mind, is the source of unchequered and perfect knowledge. Intellectual refinement is robed in “the beauty of holiness.” The brilliancy of the Divine image is reflected from every stainless heart, and the material glory of the residence is only surpassed by its spiritual splendor. That “light” is liable to no revolution and suffers no eclipse; it glows with unchanging permanence, and meeting with no obstruction creates no shadow. For they are “saints” who dwell in this kingdom—adorned with purity and perfection. Now such being the nature of the inheritance, it is not difficult to discover what are the elements of meetness for it. Man is incapable of enjoying it by nature; for darkness covers his mind, and impurity has seized upon his heart, and he must needs be changed. John iii 5. He has no loyalty to its God, no love to its Saviour, no relish for its pursuits, and no sympathy with its inhabitants. His nature must be brought into harmony with the scene, and into congeniality with the occupations of such a world of light. So that every element of mental obscurity, all that tends to the dark and dismal in temperament, and all that vails the nobility of an heir of God is dissolved, and fades away in the superior glory. The “saints” possess it—therefore, their sanctification is complete. No taint of sin remains, no trace of previous corruption can be discerned. The language of prayer is superseded by that of praise, and the tongue shall be a stranger for ever to moaning and confession. None but the saints, as being “light in the Lord,” can dwell in that light. An unregenerate spirit would feel itself so solitary and so unhappy, especially as it saw its hideousness mirrored in that sea of glass which sleeps before the throne, that is would rather plunge for relief into the gloom of hell, and there for a moment feel itself at ease among others so like it in punishment and crime. Again, the one inheritance is shared by many participants, and they who are to enjoy it are made meet for social intercourse. Selfishness vanishes before universal love, the intense yearnings of a spiritual brotherhood are developed and perfected, for the entire assemblage is so united as if only one heart thrilled in their bosom, while one song bursts from their lips.   


    In fine, all this moral fitness is a paternal process, the work of the Father, qualifying His children for their patrimony. They do not infuse this maturity into themselves—this transformation is not a natural process, nor do they ripen of necessity into purity and love. The Father meetens [makes fit] them: and from Him are the blood that pardons, the Spirit that purifies, the truth which nourishes, the hope which sustains, the charter which secures—the whole preparation which meetens [makes fit] for the heavenly inheritance. He therefore, is to be thanked, by all whose experience assures them of this auspicious training. If they are sensible of growth in truth, holiness, and affection—if they feel that they are travelling from stage to stage of spiritual assimilation—if their sanctified instincts and susceptibilities are finding congruous satisfaction and luxury in spiritual exercises, then, in spite of every drawback which is inseparable from their present condition in its trials and wants—they are only giving utterance to irrepressible emotion when they are giving thanks “unto the Father.” Nay, more, the very fact that a renewal is requisite, and that the present state, by its ills and emptiness, renders imperative the exercise of patience and long-suffering, gives a purer relish to celestial enjoyments. So sudden and vast is the change from expectation to enjoyment, and from pain to rapture, that the translated saint will feel a zest on entering heaven which cannot be tasted by those who have never had experience of any other state or sphere of existence. Nor do we deny that in the present state the inheritance of light is partially enjoyed, for heaven begins on earth, or as Chrysostom says, the apostle speaks “of things present and things to come.”  The translation out of darkness is effected here, and the dawning of the perfect day is already enjoyed, though cloud and gloom are often intermingled with it, and vail its beams. And when the inheritance is reached, the spirit of this thanksgiving shall still rule the heart. Conscious of its meetness, it shall pour itself out in hearty and prolonged hallelujahs. The world of perfection is a world of universal happiness and song, for no tongue is ever mute, no harp ever unstrung, and the harmony is never disturbed by the mournful echo of a plaintive strain. 


    The apostle glides insensibly out of the language of prayer into that of direct theological statement. Still, the statement is virtually a portion of the prayer, as it describes Him who in His redeeming love and power imparts the knowledge of Himself and His revealed will, who confers His own might upon His people, and prepares them for glory—the very God who has delivered us out of the kingdom of darkness.’


    May our God be pleased to bless John Eadie’s words, the words he wrote upon God’s own Word, to build each of us up in Love and Truth.


David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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