(Vs. 9-11.) "For this cause we also, since the day we heard of it, do not cease to pray for you." Their pastor, Epaphras, had declared unto Paul the love the Colossians had for Christ and for one another. This brought forth from Paul a prayer of thanksgiving and a prayer for their further growth in grace, wisdom and understanding. The believers' graces at their best are imperfect and subject to decay (1 Col. 13:9; Rev. 2:4) and may be abused (2 Cor. 12:7). Therefore Paul prays for them.
1. "That you may be filled with the knowledge of his will." This is the revealed will of God, to be learned from his Word and in his Son: his will of redemption, his will of purpose, his will of conduct and attitude and his will of eternal glory. He prayed not only that they should have a knowledge of these, but be "filled" inwardly with a knowledge of his "wisdom and spiritual understanding". Oh, that we may be delivered from the dead letter of the law and the dry tradition of religious orthodoxy! That we may have wisdom and spiritual understanding of our sins, our need and our inability! That we may have understanding of God's manifold mercies in Christ how he can be just and Justifier, of the riches of his grace in his kindness toward us in Christ! May ours be not a profession of religion but a true possession of Christ.
2. "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing." This is our godly conduct and behaviour, not only in the church, but in the home, on the job and on the street. We will live and talk as those who are in Christ, seeking to please and glorify God.
"Being fruitful in every good work." Believers are trees of righteousness, planted by the Lord to bear the fruit of the Spirit and good works of the kingdom of Christ (Eph. 2:10).
"Increasing in the knowledge of God." Ignorance in believers dishonours God as much as fruitlessness! Both fruitfulness and a growth in knowledge of our Lord are necessary to walk worthy of the Lord!
3. "Strengthened with all might according to his glorious power." We are not expected to walk worthy of the Lord, be fruitful and grow in grace and knowledge in our own strength and power, but in his! (2 Cor. 12:9.) This power and grace will enable us to bear afflictions and trials with patience, perseverance and real joy. His power and grace will subdue the whole man his hand, his heart and his tongue! (Ps. 37:1-8.)
(Vs. 12.) Paul is continually giving thanks to God. Here he gives thanks that God (by his grace in Christ) has qualified us, has made us fit, to partake of heaven, the bright and glorious inheritance of the saints. Every man in his natural state is unfit for heaven and God's presence! However, he has given us in Christ all that we need! (1 Cor. 1:30.)
(Vs. 13,14.) He explains how God makes us qualified and fit for heaven by drawing us out of that corrupt state in which we were born and translating us into the state of grace, called "the kingdom of his dear Son" (Rom. 14:17). This he does in effectual regeneration by his Spirit. He redeems us from sin, the law, his justice and wrath by the blood of his Son. No way of redemption can be accepted that does not totally ransom the sinner, fully honour God's law and completely satisfy his justice.
(Vs. 15.) The apostle, having spoken of our redemption, takes up a description of the redeemer!
"He is the image of the invisible God." Christ is the exact likeness of the unseen God. He is the visible representation in the flesh of the invisible God (John 14:8-10; 2 Cor. 5:19). Every attribute of God is seen in Christ (Heb. 1:1-3).
"The first-born of every creature." This does not mean that he was the first of creation, or the first creature made, for in the next verse it is said that all things were created by him. But Paul is saying he is the King, Lord and Owner of all creation. The Jews make the first-born to be synonymous with "king". He is the King, Owner and Heir of all creation, for it was all made by him.
(Vs. 16,17.) It was by him and in him that all things were created and by him that all things are held together.