Colossians 4:1-6
Col 4:1 (KJB)
Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
Servants - Slaves
Knowing - Know fully or understand
Paul instructs the masters who owned slaves that they were to be fair and equitable to them. Paul makes sure they know that they too have a Master in heaven who will be fair and equitable with them. Apparently Paul is speaking to those masters who are saved. Sometimes the masters and the slaves worshipped in the same assemblies and preference in certain things may have been given to the masters. We see this practice today in the churches. If a rich man walks in, they are overly greeted and when a poor man walks in, they are greeted. (James 2:2-3 KJV) For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; {3} And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: James wrote of this evil practice where the rich are exalted and the poor are abased. In today’s churches who gets the best treatment? It is not the poor but the rich. (James 2:5-6 KJV) Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? {6} But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? James continues on by stating that the rich are the ones who cause the most problems for the Christians. He also states that the poor of this world are the greatest in faith, therefore when it comes to a spiritual situation, those with the greatest spirituality and not the deepest pockets should be consulted.
Col 4:2 (KJB)
Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
Continue - Persist in or remain devoted to
Watch - Be vigilant and be alert
Paul gives this instruction that the Christians, whether slaves or masters must persist in prayer. The word “continue” is in the Imperative mood making it a command. Dr. Robert A. Cook used to tell his students when he was President of the Kings College “to pray your way through the day.” Here Paul is teaching them that prayer is not to be a dreaded, half-hearted practice. He is teaching them that prayer needs to be done with the idea of being vigilant and to not become a routine matter. He also teaches that thanksgiving to God must accompany each prayer. (Phil 4:6 KJV) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Philippians 4:6 teaches us that anxiety is reduced according to the way we pray. We will continue to be anxious if our prayers are just cold repetitions but if we remain truly vigilant in prayer, then we will watch our anxiety level drop as we transfer our burdens to the Lord. We continue to remain alert when situations arise in our life and then we take those concerns to the Lord.
Col 4:3 (KJB)
Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
Of utterance - Proclamation, words, speech
Paul never feared to ask people to pray for him. It was not for selfish reasons that Paul asked but he was praying that God would open a door to preach the Gospel, which is the mystery of Christ. Paul was in prison because of his gospel witness but nevertheless desired that God would move somehow to continue to get the Gospel out. If you notice, the word “us” is used which may indicate Paul’s colleagues which are mentioned later in this letter. By including in this letter that Paul was in bonds, he was relaying to his readers that he was willing to suffer for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. We can pray a prayer similar to Paul’s where he hoped to see the Gospel go forth but it may not happen the way we think it should. God will work out all the details on how He chooses to answer that prayer. Remember His thoughts and ways are not our thoughts and ways, they are higher than ours.
Col 4:4 (KJB)
That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
Ought - It is necessary, must, compels
Paul’s desire is to make the mystery of Christ known so others may experience the same thing which he has. Paul would speak about it in a pastoral way and the Spirit of God would apply it to the individual. Paul had a great desire to preach the word to as many as possible but he was hindered because of his prison sentence. Having the Holy Spirit indwelling you makes you want to speak about the Gospel all the time, it was a compelling thing for Paul. (Jer 20:9 KJV) Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay. Jeremiah had the same overwhelming desire to preach the Gospel. He said he would no more speak the name of the Lord to Judah but the word of God burned in him and he had to continue. The word of God burned inside Paul also and he felt compelled to continue to preach the Word. When a true Christian does not have the desire to preach the word or support those who preach it, then something is drastically wrong. The true Christian will have a strong desire to proclaim the Word of God.
Col 4:5 (KJB)
Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
Walk - Live or conduct oneself
Them that are without - Figuratively those who are unsaved
Redeeming - Deliver or buy back - Figuratively making the best use of time
Christians are not only to walk in wisdom toward those who are Christians but we are also to maintain a good testimony to those who are unbelievers. Unbelievers seek to find any wrong thing, no matter how small it is so they can make an accusation against the Christian and discredit them. This is why we are to abstain from all appearances of evil, because only the appearance of doing something wrong is enough to scar a reputation for good. Christians must redeem the time, that is, they must make the best use of the time the Lord has given us. (Psa 90:12 KJV) So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. We must learn to number our days. We must realize that we only have a certain amount of time on this earth and it should not be tied up with the things of the world. Christians can best redeem the time becoming involved with some phase of the Lord’s work, whether it be proclaiming the word, or helping to train the next generation, or whatever. Christians need to occupy the time by not wasting it on worldly adventures but to be involved in sending forth the Gospel. (Mark 16:15 KJV) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. We are commanded to go into the world and proclaim the Gospel. I became saved at 27 and today as I write this I am 55. I look back and wonder in amazement how fast the 28 years have flown by. Don’t think because you are 18 or 25 that the clock has stopped ticking on you. If you are younger, now is the time to begin your ministry.
Col 4:6 (KJB)
Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
The Christian must always have a tone of grace in their speech. The Christian should be in conversation about the things of the Lord and not about worldly things such as sports. If a person knows more about sports than they do the Bible, how can they give an answer to every man? The truth is they cannot and that is the problem permeating the church today. The majority of Christians are filled with the words of men because books are always being advocated from the pulpit. Instead of instructing the Christians in the pews to get to know their Bibles, they are instructed to read the works of man on subjects such as apologetics, theology, sociology, urban studies, psychology, philosophy and almost every other subject which Satan can use to draw Christians away from the Scriptures.
To season something with salt speaks of preservation and in the case of Christians, eternal preservation. Let us take a quick look at Mark 9:49-50 concerning salt from a different vantage point.
(Mark 9:49-50 KJV) For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. {50} Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.
Those whom the Lord was speaking about in the previous verses in Mark 9, are those who are unsaved and if they remain unsaved they shall be cast into eternal Hell. The fact that they will be salted with fire means they will be tormented in the flames of eternal damnation for eternity. Then the Lord uses the same analogy but a different group of people are in view. The first half of the verse deals with unbelievers that He previously spoke of but now there is a different application for the same principle. (1 Pet 1:7 KJV) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Every true believer is considered a sacrifice. (Rom 12:1 KJV) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. As the unbeliever in hell is salted with the fire of judgment, the believer as a living sacrifice is salted with the fire of trials as we read in 1 Peter 1:7 and 1 Peter 4:12. (1 Pet 4:12 KJV) Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
As salt is used as a preservative, as believers we have the salt of the Gospel within us. (Num 18:19 KJV) All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the LORD, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the LORD unto thee and to thy seed with thee. In Numbers 18:19, God speaks of a covenant of salt, but that covenant is one of eternal nature. The only covenant which lasts throughout eternity is the covenant of grace, so here in Numbers 18:19, the covenant of salt has foreshadowed the covenant of grace in that it is an eternally preserving covenant. (Jude 1:1 KJV) Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Jude 1 speaks about those who are sanctified by God and that would be the believers, and then the verse goes on to say that they are preserved in Jesus Christ and that is exactly what the second half of Mark 9:49 is speaking about when it speaks about every sacrifice being salted with salt. It is giving a great promise that Christians will be preserved in Christ Jesus forever.