Colossians 1:2 Commentary

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Colossians 1:2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: tois en Kolossais hagiois kai pistois adelphois en Christo; charis humin kai eirene apo Theou patros hemon.

Amplified: To the saints (the consecrated people of God) and believing and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace (spiritual favor and blessing) to you and [heart] peace from God our Father.

Barclay to the dedicated people of God and faithful brothers in Christ who are in Colosse. Grace be to you and peace from God our Father. (Westminster Press)

KJV: To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Lightfoot: to the consecrated people of God in Colosse, the brethren who are steadfast in their allegiance and faithful in Christ. May grace—the well-spring of all mercies—and peace—the crown of all blessings—be bestowed upon you from God our Father.

Young's Literal: to the saints in Colossae, and to the faithful brethren in Christ: Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ!

TO THE SAINTS AND FAITHFUL BRETHREN: tois en Kolossais hagiois kai pistois adelphois:


Who is the recipient of this letter? Consider making of a list of what Paul teaches about the recipients. Ask God's Spirit to renew your mind with the truth about your new position in Christ! (cf Eph 4:23, Ro 12:2) It will change the way you view yourself, for as a man or woman thinks in themselves, in their soul, so they are! (Pr 23:7) In Php 4:8 Paul commands us to continually think upon what is true, and that includes what is true about us now as those who have been delivered from domain of Satan and transferred into the kingdom of Jesus, yea even into Christ Himself, in an unbreakable, eternal covenant and communion with Jesus! So think upon these things beloved, not just the intellectual facts in your head, but as eternal truths which grip your heart. Remember that Jesus promised if we know the truth (not just in our head, but in our heart), the Spirit will use that truth to renew our minds and set us free from those things on this earth which bind and confine us. (See Adrian Rogers' note below)

Saints (40) (hagios, the root hagi- = different, other) properly means different, set apart, distinct, holy. When hagios refers to believers in the NT it is describing them as set apart ones, separated ones, sanctified ones.

Depending on the context hagios refers to whoever or whatever is set apart (sanctified) for a special purpose. As noted the idea of hagios is "different" so that a temple in the first century was called hagios ("holy") because it was different from other buildings. The same idea holds for believers who are called hagios because they are "different from the world" and share a "likeness of nature with the Lord."

Barclay - the root idea of the word (hagios) is separation (or different). A person who is hagios is different from others because he has been separated from the ordinary run in order specially to belong to God. This was the adjective by which the Jews described themselves; they were the hagios laos, the holy people, the nation which was quite different from other peoples because they in a special way belonged to God and were set apart for his service. When Paul calls the Christian hagios he means that he is different from other men because he specially belongs to God and to God's service. And that difference is not to be marked by withdrawal from ordinary life, but by showing there a quality which will mark him out. (1 Corinthians 1 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

Barclay's note on 1Pe 1:15 - The Temple is hagios because it is different from other buildings; the Sabbath is hagios because it is different from other days; the Christian is hagios because he is different from other men. The Christian is God's man by God's choice. He is chosen for a task in the world and for a destiny in eternity. He is chosen to live for God in time and with him in eternity. In the world he must obey his law and reproduce his life. There is laid on the Christian the task of being different. {from Barclay's Daily Study Bible - 1 Peter)

Barclay - The commonest word for the Christian in the New Testament is the Greek hagios (Greek #40), whose basic meaning is different. The Christian is not conformed to the world but transformed from the world (Romans 12:2). It is not a question of retiring from the world; it is a question of living differently within the world. (Revelation 18 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

Barclay's note on Heb 12:14 "pursue...holiness" - "He must aim at holiness (hagiasmos). Hagiasmos has in it the same root as the adjective hagios, which is usually translated holy. The root meaning (of hagios) is always difference and separation. Although he lives in the world, the man who is hagios must always in one sense be different from it and separate from it. His standards are not the world's standards, nor his conduct the world's conduct. His aim is not to stand well with men but to stand well with God. Hagiasmos, as Westcott finely put it, is "the preparation for the presence of God." The life of the Christian is dominated by the constant memory that its greatest aim is to enter into the presence of God. (Hebrews 12 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

In the phrase the Holy Spirit, hagios describes the One Who is absolutely different, absolutely holy.

The idea inherent in hagios is the taking something filthy, washing it and setting it apart as something brand new, useful for a different purpose, which is a picture of salvation for we who were filthy with sin were washed in the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, and set apart to now be God's own possession.

Saints are those set apart from the world "delivered...from the domain of darkness" (Col 1:13-note)

This deliverance is effected "by the sanctifying work of the Spirit" (1Pe 1:2-note)

This deliverance is unto God "transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son" (Col 1:13-note)

The upshot of this divine transaction is that believers should now live holy lives (for example Col 3:5-note).

A saint is like a boat -- the boat's purpose is fulfilled when it is in the water, but it's function and usefulness deteriorates when water gets in the boat. So too for saints when too much of the world gets into them. Saints must keep their "vessels" in the water of this world but not let the water of the world get into their "vessel"! Do you need to "bail" some of the water out of your "boat"? Paul has a parallel thought writing to young Timothy to take of the truth that "if a man cleanses himself from these (things, people that have an unholy influence), he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified (hagiazo - verb form of saint), useful to the Master, prepared for every good work." (2Ti 2:21-22-note) A Chinese proverb speaks to those saints trying to live in the world and of the world "One foot cannot stand on two boats!"

To reiterate the saint lives in the world, but he or she must always in one sense be different from the world and continually choose to separate himself or herself from the world. His standards are not the world's standards. (click for expository note on Romans 12:2 regarding not being squeezed into world's mold) He is "in the world" but not "of the world".

A saint is someone who has become different from the world through salvation and is now set apart as "holy (different)" because he is "sanctified" (made like the Lord). This progresses as the believer advances in the process of "sanctification" (progressive sanctification)

Saints have been supernaturally set apart (sanctified by the Holy Spirit, 1Pe 1:2-note; 2Th 2:13, Ro 15:16-note, Acts 20:32, 26:18, 1Co 1:30, 6:11) for a special purpose (cp s 43:7, Ep 2:10-note, Mt 5:16-note, Php 2:15-note), set apart from the world (Gal 6:14, cp Jas 4:4, 1Jn 2:15, 16, 17), the power of Sin and the fallen flesh (Ro 6:6-note, Ro 6:11-note, Ro 6:12, 13, 6:14-note) and the dominion of the devil (Col 1:13-note, Acts 26:18, Heb 2:14, 15-note) and unto God (Ro 14:7, 8, 9-notes).

The fundamental ideas of a saint include...

One who is separated from sin (cf Ro 6;11, 12, 13, 14-notes)

One who then has the responsibility to choose to consecrate themselves daily to God as "living sacrifices" (Ro 12:1-note)

One who is devoted to His service

One who is a partaker of the divine nature (2Pe 1:4-note)

One who continually chooses to abstain from worldly defilement (1Th 4:3-note 1Th 5:22-note, 2Ti 2:19-note, 1Pe 2:11-note)

Kenneth Wuest - "The believer in the Lord Jesus is set apart for God by the Holy Spirit, out of the First Adam with the latter’s sin and condemnation, into the Last Adam (Christ) with the latter’s righteousness and life. Thus, the worshipper of the God of the Bible partakes of the character of the God for Whom he is set apart. This is positional sanctification, an act of God performed at the moment a sinner puts his faith in the Lord Jesus (1Co 1:2). The work of the Holy Spirit in the yielded saint, in which He sets the believer apart for God in his experience, by eliminating sin from his life and producing His fruit, a process which goes on constantly throughout the believer’s life, is called progressive sanctification (1Th 5:23-note). When our Lord sanctifies Himself, He sets Himself apart for God as the Sacrifice for sin (Jn 17:19, Heb 10:7-note)....There is positional sanctification, the (one time) act of God the Holy Spirit setting believing sinners apart in Christ Jesus. This is an act (occurring the moment we believed in the Gospel of Jesus) resulting in a position. There is progressive sanctification, the work of the Holy Spirit producing (over time) in the lives of believers, a set apart life consistent with their new position. This (progressive sanctification) is a process, resulting finally in conformity to the image of Christ in glorification." (Greek Word Studies)

Wuest - "The word "saint" is the translation of a Greek word meaning "to set apart," in its verb, and "set apart ones," in its noun form. The pagan Greeks set apart buildings as temples, consecrating them for non-secular, and therefore, religious purposes. These became the objects of veneration and reverence. Thus, saints are believing sinners set apart from sin to holiness, set apart from Satan to God, thus being consecrated for Gods’ sacred fellowship and service. The word "saint" as a designation of a Christian, brings at once to our attention the duty of every believer, that of living a separated life. The words, "saint, sanctify, holy," are all translations of this same Greek root. They all speak of the absolute separation from evil and dedication to God, that must always be true of the Christian believer." (Ibid)

Vine - The holy person is not holy because some change has been wrought in him or her, but because such a one has been set apart for God. The designation is common to all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 1:1- note, etc.), and not merely to persons of exceptional godliness, whether living or dead. Sainthood, or sanctification, is not an attainment, but a state into which God calls those who believe on Christ, and in which they begin their course as believers. Sanctification is firstly a relationship with God; it is used also of the separation of a believer from evil things and ways, and must be pursued earnestly and undeviatingly (Heb 12:14-note)."

J C Ryle - Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find it in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing in God's judgment, hating what He hates, loving what He loves, and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word. He who most entirely agrees with God, he is the most holy man.

Richard A. Young "The adjective hagios (holy) is often used as a noun, meaning 'that which is holy.' In the singular it can be used for the sanctuary, sacrificial items, and Christ. In the plural it is used for angels, believers, and other devout persons. In reference to believers it is usually translated 'saints'" (Intermediate New Testament Greek, 82).

Hagios is Paul's favorite description of believers and designates the believer's position in Christ (see discussion of in Christ and in Christ Jesus) as holy or set apart from that which is secular, profane, and evil and dedicated unto God. 

Saints are now to live in this present evil age (Gal 1:4) in a manner which reflects what we were redeemed and "re-created" to be (1Pe 2:24, 25-note; cp 2Co 7:1 - note) --- holy ones in character (character is what God knows we are; reputation is who other people think we are) and conduct, set apart by God to be exclusively His possession (1Co 6:19, 20, Titus 2:14-note) manifesting holiness of heart.


Gregg Allen - "A man or a woman doesn't become a "saint" by being good. Rather, they're already declared to be "saints" by God's grace; and are commanded to be good, because of what they already are." (God's Grace in a Greeting)

Contrary to some religious teachings, the Bible itself never uses the word hagios or saint to refer to a "special class" of believers who are a "notch above" the rest. In other words, the term saint does not refer to a condition bestowed on someone after death. Although you may have been taught that saints are a special, higher order of Christians who have accomplished extraordinary good deeds and lived an exemplary life, the Bible teaches that sainthood is not an attainment but a state into which God by grace through faith calls men and women of all stations of life, whether under the Old or New Covenant. So now next time you meet a believer, address then as "Saint so-and-so" and watch the reaction! It goes without saying however that we often do not think or act like saints, in the popular sense. Remember that once we are saved, God sees us as He sees His Son, as "those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling." (1Co 1:2) Certainly the Christians at Corinth were not saints because of their spiritual maturity (many were very immature - cf. 1Co 3:1, 2, 3), but because they were “saints by calling” a reference to their call to salvation.

A saint in Scripture is not flawless, but is someone who pursues holiness, which is a process, that begins at conversion and continues until death (Heb 12:14; 1Pet 1:16). And note that holiness is distinct from being "sanctimonious" ("religious") which often lacks true spirituality! Saints are people who sin less, but are not "sinless!"

Remember that we are all equal at the foot of His Cross! (cp 2Cor 3:5,6, saints have "a faith of the same kind" as Peter! - 2Pe 1:1-note)

Those who are holy in position (in Christ) now have the responsibility (and the power) to live holy in their experience (Christ like). Positional holiness is tantamount to justification, while experiential holiness represents progressive sanctification (growth in holiness or Christ likeness). (See related topic - Three Tenses of Salvation)

Hagios - 233x in 221v in the NT NAS -

Mt 1:18, 20; 3:11; 4:5; 7:6; 12:32; 24:15; 27:52, 53; 28:19; Mk. 1:8, 24; 3:29; 6:20; 8:38; 12:36; 13:11; Lk 1:15, 35, 41, 49, 67, 70, 72; 2:23, 25, 26; 3:16, 22; 4:1, 34; 9:26; 10:21; 11:13; 12:10, 12; Jn. 1:33; 6:69; 14:26; 17:11; 20:22; Acts 1:2, 5, 8, 16; 2:4, 33, 38; 3:14, 21; 4:8, 25, 27, 30, 31; 5:3, 32; 6:5, 13; 7:33, 51, 55; 8:15, 17, 19; 9:13, 17, 31, 32, 41; 10:22, 38, 44, 45, 47; 11:15, 16, 24; 13:2, 4, 9, 52; 15:8, 28; 16:6; 19:2, 6; 20:23, 28; 21:11, 28; 26:10; 28:25; Ro 1:2, 7; 5:5; 7:12; 8:27; 9:1; 11:16; 12:1, 13; 14:17; 15:13, 16, 25, 26, 31; 16:2, 15, 16, 1Co 1:2; 3:17; 6:1, 2, 19; 7:14, 34; 12:3; 14:33; 16:1, 15, 20; 2Co. 1:1; 6:6; 8:4; 9:1, 12; 13:12, 13; Ep 1:1, 4, 13, 15, 18; 2:19, 21; 3:5, 8, 18; 4:12, 30; 5:3, 27; 6:18; Php 1:1; 4:21, 22; Col 1:2, 4, 12, 22, 26; 3:12; 1Th 1:5, 6; 3:13; 4:8; 5:26; 2Th 1:10; 1Ti 5:10; 2Ti 1:9, 14; Titus 3:5; Philemon 1:5, 7; He 2:4; 3:1, 7; 6:4, 10; 8:2; 9:1, 2, 3, 8, 12, 24, 25; 10:15, 19; 13:11, 24; 1Pe 1:12, 15, 16; 2:5, 9; 3:5; 2Pe 1:18, 21; 2:21; 3:2, 11; 1Jn 2:20; Jude 1:3, 14, 20; Re 3:7; 4:8; 5:8; 6:10; 8:3, 4; 11:2, 18; 13:7, 10; 14:10, 12; 16:6; 17:6; 18:20, 24; 19:8; 20:6, 9; 21:2, 10; 22:11, 19)

Hagios - Translated (NAS) Holy(92), holy(62), Holy of Holies(1), holy one(5), holy ones(1), holy place(7), most holy(1), saint(1), saints(59), saints'(1), sanctuary(2).

Hagios - some 523 uses in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX) -

Ex 3:5 (holy ground); Ex 12:16; 15:11, 13; 16:23; 19:6; 22:31; 23:22; 26:33f; 28:2ff, 23, 30, 35, 38, 43; 29:29ff, 33, 37; 30:10, 13, 24f, 29, 31f, 35f; 31:11, 14f; 35:2, 19, 21, 35; 36:1, 3f, 6, 8; 37:29; 38:24, 26; 39:1, 30, 41; 40:9f, 13; Lev 2:3, 10; 4:6, 17; 5:15f; 6:16f, 25ff, 29f; 7:1, 6; 8:9, 31; 10:4, 10, 12ff, 17f; 11:44f; 12:4; 14:13; 16:2ff, 16f, 20, 23f, 27, 32f; 18:21; 19:2, 8, 24, 30; 20:3, 7, 26; 21:6ff, 12, 22f; 22:2ff, 6f, 10, 12, 14ff, 32; 23:2ff, 7f, 20f, 24, 27, 35ff; 24:9; 25:12; 26:2, 31; 27:3, 9f, 14, 21, 23, 25, 28, 30, 32f; Num 3:28, 31f, 38, 47, 50; 4:4, 12, 15f, 19f; 6:5, 8, 20; 7:9, 13, 19, 25, 31, 37, 43, 49, 55, 61, 67, 73, 79, 85; 8:19; 10:21; 15:40; 16:3, 5, 7; 18:1, 3, 5, 9f, 16f, 19, 32; 19:20; 28:7, 18, 25f; 29:1, 7, 12; 31:6; 35:25; Deut 7:6; 12:26; 14:2, 21; 23:14; 26:13, 15, 19; 28:9; Josh 5:15; 6:19; 24:15, 19; Jdg 13:7; 16:17; 1 Sam 2:2, 10; 6:20; 21:4; 1Kgs 6:16; 7:50f; 8:4, 6ff, 10; 2Kgs 4:9; 12:4, 18; 19:22; 1Chr 6:49; 9:29; 16:10, 29, 35; 22:19; 23:13, 28; 24:5; 26:26, 28; 28:12; 29:3, 16; 2Chr 3:8, 10; 4:22; 5:1, 5, 7, 9, 11; 6:2; 8:11; 15:18; 20:21; 23:6; 24:7; 29:5, 7, 21; 30:19, 24, 27; 31:14, 18; 35:3, 6, 13, 15; Ezra 2:63; 8:28; 9:2; Neh 7:65; 8:9ff; 9:14; 10:31, 33, 39; 11:1; Job 5:1; 6:10; 15:15; Ps 2:6; 3:4; 5:7; 11:4; 15:1; 16:3; 18:6; 20:2, 6; 22:3; 24:3; 28:2; 29:2; 33:21; 34:9; 43:3; 47:8; 48:1; 51:11; 56:1; 60:6; 63:2; 65:4; 68:5, 17, 24, 35; 71:22; 74:3; 77:13; 78:41; 79:1; 83:3; 87:1; 89:5, 7, 18, 20, 35; 96:9; 98:1; 99:3, 5, 9; 102:19; 103:1; 105:3, 42; 106:16, 47; 108:7; 110:3; 111:9; 134:1; 138:2; 145:21; 150:1; Prov 9:10; 30:3; Eccl 8:10; Isa 1:4; 4:3; 5:16, 19, 24; 6:3; 10:20; 11:9; 12:6; 14:27; 17:7; 23:18; 26:21; 27:1, 13; 29:23; 30:11f, 15, 19, 29; 31:1; 33:5; 35:8; 37:23; 40:25; 41:16, 20; 43:3, 14f, 28; 44:28; 45:11; 47:4; 48:2, 17; 49:7; 52:1, 10; 55:5; 56:7; 57:13, 15; 58:13; 60:9, 13f; 62:9, 12; 63:10f, 15, 18; 64:10f; 65:9, 11, 25; 66:20; Jer 2:2f; 3:16, 21; 4:11; 11:15; 25:30; 31:23; 50:29; 51:5, 51; Lam 4:1; Ezek 5:11; 7:24; 8:6; 9:6; 10:6f; 20:39f; 21:2; 22:8, 26; 23:38f; 24:21; 25:3; 28:14; 36:20ff, 38; 37:26, 28; 39:7, 25; 41:4, 21, 23, 25; 42:13f, 20; 43:7f, 12, 21; 44:1, 5, 7ff, 11, 13, 15f, 19, 23, 27; 45:1, 3f, 6f, 18; 46:19; 47:12; 48:8, 10, 12, 14, 18, 20f; Dan 4:1, 8f, 13, 17f, 22f, 34; 5:12; 6:3; 7:8, 18, 21f, 25, 27; 8:11, 13f, 24f; 9:16f, 20, 24, 26; 11:28, 30f, 45; 12:7; Hos 11:9, 12; Joel 2:1; 3:17; Amos 4:2; Obad 1:16f; Jonah 2:4, 7; Mic 1:2; Hab 1:12; 2:20; 3:3; Zeph 3:4, 11; Hag 2:12; Zech 2:12f; 8:3; 9:16; 14:5, 20f; Mal 2:11;

In the Old Testament many things and people were divinely set apart by God for His own purposes. The Tabernacle and Temple and all their furnishings-supremely the Ark of the Covenant and the holy of holies-were set apart to Him. The tribe of Levi was set apart for His priesthood, and the entire nation of Israel was set apart as His people. The tithes and offerings of the people of Israel consisted of money and other gifts specifically set apart for God. Under the New Covenant, however, such holy things as the Temple, priesthood, Ark, and tithes no longer exist. God’s only truly holy things on earth today are His people, those whom He has sovereignly and graciously set apart for Himself through Jesus Christ. The new temple of God and the new priesthood of God are His church.

Hagios is used throughout the New Testament to speak of anyone or anything that represents God’s holiness: Christ as the Holy One of God, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Father, holy Scriptures, holy angels, holy brethren, and so on. The secular and pagan use pictured a person separated and dedicated to the idolatrous "gods" and carried no idea of moral or spiritual purity. The manmade gods were as sinful and degraded as the men who made them and there simply was no need for a word that represented righteousness! The worshipper of the pagan god acquired the character of that pagan god and the religious ceremonies connected with its worship. The Greek temple at Corinth housed a large number of harlots who were connected with the "worship" of the Greek god. Thus, the set-apartness or holiness of the Greek worshipper was in character licentious, totally depraved, and sinful.

Moule writes that saints are "Holy ones; men separated from sin to God. The word takes the man, or the community, on profession; as being what they ought to be. This is not to lower the native meaning of the word, but to use a well-understood hypothesis in the application of it. A saint is not merely a professing follower of Christ, but a professing follower assumed to be what he professes. He who is not this is in name only and not in deed a saint, faithful, a child of God, and the like. (The Epistle to the Philippians)

Matthew Henry comments that "Saints are accepted only by virtue of their being in Christ Jesus, or as they are Christians. Out of Christ the best saints (Ed note: are "ain'ts so to speak) will appear sinners, and unable to stand before God.

John Wesley - "The first priority of my life is to be holy, and the second goal of my life is to be a scholar."

C. S. Lewis - "Sainthood lies in the habit of referring the smallest actions to God."

William Barclay on hagios -

The word translated saint is hagios; and saint is a misleading translation. To modern ears it paints a picture of almost unworldly piety. Its connection is rather with stained glass windows than with the market-place. Although it is easy to see the meaning of hagios it is hard to translate it. Hagios, and its Hebrew equivalent qadosh (Hebrew 06918), are usually translated holy. In Hebrew thought, if a thing is described as holy, the basic idea is that it is different from other things; it is in some sense set apart. The better to understand this, let us look at how holy is actually used in the Old Testament. When the regulations regarding the priesthood are being laid down, it is written: "They shall be holy to their God" (Leviticus 21:6). The priests were to be different from other men, for they were set apart for a special function. The tithe was the tenth part of all produce which was to be set apart for God, and it is laid down: "The tenth shall be holy to the Lord, because it is the Lord's" (Leviticus 27:30; Leviticus 27:32). The tithe was different from other things which could be used as food. The central part of the Temple was the Holy Place (Ex 26:33); it was different from all other places. The word was specially used of the Jewish nation itself. The Jews were a holy nation (Ex 19:6). They were holy unto the Lord; God had severed them from other nations that they might be his (Lev 20:26); it was they of all nations on the face of the earth whom God had specially known (Amos 3:2). The Jews were different from all other nations, for they had a special place in the purpose of God. But they refused to play the part which God meant them to play; when his Son came into the world, they failed to recognize him, and rejected and crucified him. The privileges and the responsibilities they should have had were taken away from the nation of Israel and given to the Church, which became the new Israel, the real people of God. Therefore, just as the Jews had once been hagios , holy, different, so now the Christians must be hagios ; the Christians are the holy ones, the different ones, the saints. Thus Paul in his pre-Christian days was a notorious persecutor of the saints, the hagioi (Acts 9:13); Peter goes to visit the saints, the hagioi, at Lydda (Acts 9:32). To say that the Christians are the saints means, therefore, that the Christians are different from other people. Wherein does that difference lie? Paul addresses his people as saints in Christ Jesus. (Ed: See more on this phrase in comments below) No one can read his letters without seeing how often the phrases in Christ, in Christ Jesus, in the Lord occur. In Christ Jesus occurs 48 times, in Christ 34 times, and in the Lord 50 times. Clearly this was for Paul the very essence of Christianity. What did he mean? Marvin R. Vincent says that when Paul spoke of the Christian being in Christ, he meant that the Christian lives in Christ as a bird in the air, a fish in the water, the roots of a tree in the soil. What makes the Christian different is that he is always and everywhere conscious of the encircling presence of Jesus Christ. When Paul speaks of the saints in Christ Jesus, he means those who are different from other people and who are consecrated to God because of their special relationship to Jesus Christ--and that is what every Christian should be. (Philippians 1 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

Adrian Rogers describes a saint in his sermon entitled "Developing a Positive Self-Image" in which he discusses 3 truths that will set the captive free:

Number one, the first truth is this, if you would be free, you need to recognize your righteousness. Now, look in Ephesians 1:1, Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.

Now, let me tell you something, friend, tonight if you are in Christ Jesus, that is, if you have received Christ as your personal Savior. if you have been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ. if you have repented of your sin trusted Christ and you've been saved, you are a saint. You are a saint.

Now, sometimes our Roman friends take certain individuals who have achieved certain things in their Christian lives and they say we're going to canonize them. That doesn't mean they're going to shoot them out of a gun. but it means we're going to make them a saint. Well, friend, nobody can make me a saint, I am already a saint. You're looking at Saint Adrian. That's right. I am! And, you say, "How arrogant." No, my dear friend, you are a saint, too. Now, there are only two classes of people in the world, the saints and the ain'ts, that's all. And, you are one or the other.

Now, what the word saint means..."a sanctified one." It means one that God has made righteous and set aside for Himself. Well, you say, "I'm not a whole saint." No, you're either a saint or an ain't. Nobody is half saved, nobody is half saint. To be half saved is to be altogether lost.

Now, what is humility? You may say, "Well, you know, I just don't think I ought to call myself a saint." Well, let me tell you what real humility is. Real humility is accepting what God says about you. That's real humility. Not what you think about it, but what God says about you.

Now, there are some people, have you ever tried to lead a person to Christ, and that person you just couldn't lead that person to Christ because that person would never believe what God said about his sinnership. All right, I have talked to some Christians and I've never been able to lead them to victory because they will not understand, they will not receive what God says, not only about their sinnership when they were lost, but about their sainthood now that they're saved. Some Christians just resist the idea. They don't get victory because they cannot accept the fact that they're saints.

Now, if you asked a Christian if he's a saint, he says, "Well, I wouldn't call myself a saint. I'm saved, but..." Why wouldn't you call yourself a saint? He says, "Well, I am, you know, I'm just no good." Who said you were no good? Jesus died for you. If you're one of his saints, what right have you got to say that you're no good.

I hear people say, "Well, you know, I'm just not what I ought to be." Now, you know, that sounds humble. That's not humble. You know what that is? A man says, "Well, I know I'm just not what I ought to be." That's rebellion. I mean, let me ask you a question. If you're not what you ought to be, why not? Why aren't you what you ought to be? Do you think God is going to take that as an excuse? No. If you ought to be that way, then get that way.

Now, I'm telling you dear friend, God calls you a saint. You're saying, "Well, you mean that I'm supposed to be sinless?" No, dear friend, you can't be sinless. But I'm going to tell you one thing, you can be blameless.

Look if you will in Ephesians 1:4: "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:" Every one of us tonight ought to be blameless before the Lord Jesus Christ. We are saints of God. You say, "Well, but I'm not perfect." That makes no difference. Dear friend, in God's sight, you're His saint. In God's sight, God sees you as perfect.

I want to show you something. Look in Romans 4 for just a moment. Now, remember in Ephesians, Paul is talking about the grace of God. Now, look in Romans 4:4: "Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt." Romans 4. That means, if you could be saved by being a good boy, it would mean that you've earned your salvation and God is in debt to you. Well, I want to tell you, God is no man's debtor. "Now, to him that worketh the reward is not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."

Now, look at what he goes on to say: "Even as David also describes the blessedness of the man, to whom God imputes righteousness without works." Do you know what the word "impute" means? It means to put that on your account. Now, you say, "Well, that's a term I don't use." Well, you use it all the time. If you go into one of these department stores, you say, "Charge it." What you're really saying is put that on my account. Impute that to my bill. Next time you go to one of these department stores, say impute it. It means the same thing. God puts righteousness on your account, not of works.

    I cannot work my soul to save that work my Lord has done,
    but I'll work like any slave for the love of God's dear Son.

But, I want to tell you my dear friend, that the Bible teaches that we are saved by grace through faith, not of ourselves, not of works. And, when I trust Christ, the moment I trust Christ, the moment I give my heart to the Lord Jesus Christ, at that moment, I become a saint, I am righteous. "Well," you say, "What if you sin?" Well, what do you mean, what if? Is there anybody here who has not or does not?

But, now let's go on to read here Romans 4:7: "Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered." You say, "That's all past. Yes, for the past sins but what about the fresh ones?" Look in verse 8: "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." God never will impute sin to one of his children.

You know, some people say, "Well, what if you sin after you get saved, won't you lose your salvation?" Friend, is there anybody who hasn't sinned after he got saved? I wouldn't trust the best 15 minutes I ever lived to get me to Heaven, not the best. I am telling you dear friend, when you understand what the Bible's definition of sin is, the thought of foolishness is sin. "... to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (James 4:17) "... for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." (Romans 14:23)

Every one of us, every day would say yes, in some way we've failed. But, I want to tell you put it down big, you put it down plain, you put it down straight. If you've repented of your sin and trusted Jesus Christ to save you, you are righteous in God's sight and you are a saint of God. You better understand that, because until you see who you are, you're not going to behave like you ought to behave. You see, your behavior comes out of the conception of who you are, and when you see that you're the righteousness of God in Christ, then you're going to begin to behave that way.

...And, so the very first thing I want you to see, if you would have this proper self-image, if you would see who you are in Christ, if you would have a healthy, wholesome, well-balanced personality, you must recognize your righteousness. And, your righteousness does not relate to your works at all, it relates to your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm not saying that you ought not to do good work (cf Eph 2:10), we'll deal with that, but I'm saying, dear friend, your righteousness is an imputed righteousness. God puts it on your account and it comes to you through what the Lord Jesus Christ did on the cross, it is grace all the way. (Developing a Positive Self-Image)

Guy King notes that the word saint...

The word in itself has no moral or ethical connotation, but simply means, set apart.

- We speak of a church as a holy place - not that there is anything special about its brick and stone and wood, except that it is set apart for the worship of GOD.

- We speak of the Bible as a holy book - not that there is anything particular about its pages or binding, except that it is set apart for the conveyance to man of the inspired message of GOD.

- We speak of the sacramental element as holy bread - not that it is in any sense different from ordinary bread, except that it is set apart in the service to be a reminder to us of the broken body of the crucified Son of GOD.

In just that sense the Christian becomes, as it were automatically, a saint, a holy person - he is set apart from the company of ordinary people, set apart for GOD. Only, unlike our illustrative objects mentioned above, he is a sentient being, a personality. They can only be holy in use, and can never be changed in themselves, but he can proceed from being merely holy in position to being holy in condition.

That is, of course, the Justification of the translators of the Authorized Version when, In Romans 1:7, and in 1Corinthians 1:2, they add two little words that are not in the Greek. but which they infer to be the intention of the apostle. They render the phrase, not "called saints" - which, as we have seen, is an accurate statement of the fact - but, "called to be saints."

In other words we are called to be what we are.

- A soldier must by his bearing and behaviour, live up to his possession.

- A rich man should not belie his resources by living the life of a pauper.

- Christians, too, must live up to their name and resources.

Some "blaspheme that worthy Name by the which ye are called", James 2:7, but we must not blaspheme it by any vestige of unworthy character or conduct. By the grace of GOD, are we "called saints"? Then, by that same grace, we are "called to be saints". (Colossians 1:1-2 His Tactful Approach)

Faithful (4103)(pistos from peitho = to persuade - induce one by words to believe, have confidence) is something or someone who is worthy of trust, one who keeps promises and clearly is supremely applicable to God (Jesus is called "the Amen, the faithful and true Witness" - Rev 3:14) and His Word, but in this context refers to believers who are trustworthy, stedfast, unswerving in their Christian walk. They are worthy of trust - they are reliable and dependable. They maintained a firm adherence to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Would Paul describe you or me as
faithful brother or sister?

Vincent gives a nice summary of the meaning of pistos, faithful, writing that it is used "(1), of one who shows Himself faithful in the discharge of a duty or the administration of a trust (Mt 24:45). Hence, trustworthy (2Ti 2:2-note). Of things that can be relied upon (2Ti 2:11-note). (2), Confiding; trusting; a believer (Gal 3:9; Acts16:1; 2Cor 6:15; 1Ti 5:16) (Word Studies in the New Testament)

Webster's 1828 says that Faithful means "Firm in adherence to the truth and to the duties of religion. 1. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Rev. 2:10 ("Be faithful until death). 2. Firmly adhering to duty; of true fidelity; loyal; true to allegiance; as a faithful subject. 3. Constant in the performance of duties or services; exact in attending to commands; as a faithful servant."

Brethren (80) (adelphos from collative a = denoting unity + delphús = womb) is literally one born from same womb and so a male having the same father and mother as reference person. Figuratively, adelphos as in this verse refers to a close associate of a group of persons having well-defined membership, specifically here referring to fellow believers (including sisters!) in Christ who are united by the bond of affection which creates (or should create) an atmosphere of intimacy. Believers are closer to us in many ways than blood relatives who are not believers.

Each for all,
and all for each

Guy King explains faithful brethren writing that - These Christians are brothers and sisters because they "are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus", Galatians 3:26. That basic fact, whatever be our country, clime, or colour, whatever be our denomination, constitutes all Christians as "brethren" - whatever our outward differences we are all alike bound together by the tie of our individual family relationship to our Heavenly Father. But that raises an enquiry in our minds. Are we faithful brethren? In some human families there is little evidence of a spirit of fidelity - rancor in the home, selfish purpose of individual interests, no love, no loyalty. Can it be so among the members of the Family of GOD? Well, what about ourselves? How delightful is that opposite picture of the harmony that should prevail, wherein "whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it", 1Corinthians 12:26. As the late beloved, epigrammatic Bishop Taylor Smith used to say, "Each for all, and all for each." While we Christians are to be helpful, so far as we may, to those outside the family, we are to be particularly mindful of the welfare of each other, "as we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, and especially unto them who are of the household of faith", Galatians 6:10-note. "Learn first to shew piety at home", says 1Timothy 5:4. Our apostle was glad to have evidence among the Colossian believers of family fidelity: loyalty to one another, and loyalty to the one Father. Timothy, whose name he joins with his own in addressing this letter, was just a "brother", who in spite of his delicate health, 1Ti 5:23, remained, through thick and thin, so loyal to his big brother, Paul. (Colossians 1:1-2 His Tactful Approach)

In Christ: en Christo:


What are the 2 "locations" of the saints in Colossians 1:2?

Barclay comments on the fact that the Christians have two addresses "in Colossae Christ. A Christian always moves in two spheres. He is in a certain place in this world; but he is also in Christ. He lives in two dimensions. He lives in this world whose duties he does not treat lightly; but above and beyond that he lives in Christ. In this world he may move from place to place; but wherever he is, he is in Christ. (Ed: Note Barclay's application) That is why outward circumstances make little difference to the Christian; his peace and his joy are not dependent on them. That is why he will do any job with all his heart. It may be menial, unpleasant, painful, it may be far less distinguished than he might expect to have; its rewards may be small and its praise non-existent; nevertheless the Christian will do it diligently, uncomplainingly and cheerfully, for he is in Christ and does all things as to the Lord (Col 3:23-note). We are all in our own Colossae, but we are all in Christ, and it is Christ Who sets (Ed: Or at least "SHOULD SET") the tone of our living. (Colossians 1 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

John Eadie - The concluding words, in Christ, belonging to the entire clause, describe the origin and circuit of the believing brotherhood. Their union to Him created this tender and reciprocal connection in Him. Out of Him there was neither faith nor fraternity, for He is the object of the one and the centre of the other. (Colossians 1 Commentary)

H C G Moule on in Christ - Compare the Lord’s language, John 6:56; John 14:20; John 15:1-7, and the illustration given by e.g. Ephesians 5:30.—These “brethren” are regarded as one with their Lord in respect of inseparable interest, holy dearness, and union by the life-giving Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17); especially the latter. They are “brethren in Christ,” brothers because “in” the Firstborn Son (Romans 8:29). (Colossians 1 Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

In Christ - see additional discussion of the present and eternal "address" of all believers - in Christ

Click (and scroll down) for over 150 passages with the phrase in Christ (in Him, in the Lord, etc) If you need to be encouraged and renewed in your mind about who you are "in Christ" and Whose you are, consider making a list of the truths you glean from these NT passages and then walk out in trust and obedience to experience the fullness thereof!

William MacDonald makes an interesting observation that "In Christ speaks of their spiritual position. When they were saved, God placed them in Christ, “accepted in the beloved.” (Eph 1:6-note) Henceforth, they had His life and nature (2Pe 1:4-note). Henceforth, they would no longer be seen God as children of Adam (1Cor 15:22) or as unregenerate men, but He would now see them in all the acceptability of His own Son. The expression in Christ conveys more of intimacy, acceptance, and security than any human mind can understand. The geographical location of these believers is indicated by the expression who are in Colossae. (Believer's Bible Commentary)

In Christ expresses intimacy of a believers union with Christ. The preposition "in" is locative of sphere meaning that their sainthood was in the sphere of Christ, not because someone named them "saints" and not in the sphere of some worshipper of a pagan deity as the term was commonly used in the so-called "mystery" religions of Paul's day. Christ is the sphere in which the believer has his new life or as Paul phrases it in chapter 3, "Christ -- our life" (see note Colossians 3:4).

Related Resource:

Wuest commenting on the phrase in Christ observes that "Here again we have separation, for that which surrounds the believer, namely, Christ in whom he is ensphered, separates him from all else." (Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)

William Barclay adds "that when Paul spoke of the Christian being in Christ, he meant that the Christian lives in Christ as a bird in the air, a fish in the water, the roots of a tree in the soil. What makes the Christian different is that he is always and everywhere conscious of the encircling presence of Jesus Christ. (Philippians - Daily Study Bible)

Barclay goes on to explain that "There is the life that is dominated by the Spirit of God. As a man lives in the air, he lives in Christ, never separated from him. As he breathes in the air and the air fills him, so Christ fills him. He has no mind of his own; Christ is his mind. He has no desires of his own; the will of Christ is his only law. He is Spirit-controlled, Christ-controlled, God-focused (Ed: O that such would be the case with you dear reader and with this writer!)." (Colossians: The Daily Study Bible)

Paul's whole emphasis is the point to people back to the sufficiency of Christ. The church at Colossae's problem was that they might get their focus off the Lord Jesus. Jesus is enough. We are complete in Him! So many do not find that Jesus is enough and seek some experience, some method, some program. Rather than submitting and bowing to Jesus as a bondslave to his Master, they refuse to surrender their rights. Paul counteracts this "empty deception" by telling them that Jesus is enough and that they need to keep focused on Him.

Guy King in his exposition of Philippians (Joy Way,1952 - online version) comments on the phrase in Christ writing that...

Herein lay

(a) Their (referring to the saints at Philippi but applicable to saints of all places and ages!) protection from evil life. The moral condition of a heathen city would be a constant peril to any new converts, especially as they themselves had but just recently come out of that very heathenism. Philippi may not have been so utterly debased as Corinth, or Rome, but its atmosphere must have been a subversive influence threatening any who would live pure and true. Yet, they could be kept safe. Christians must, of course, remain in such hostile surroundings, for CHRIST must have there, as Mt 5:13 (note), Mt 5:14 (note) teaches, the salt, the light, and the testimony.

So He Himself prays "not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil", John 17:15.

That keeping, that protection, is ministered to us in the fact of our being, not only "in the world", but more closely, "in Christ."

A shipwrecked man writes a message, and throws it into the sea, in the hope that it may reach some shore. But will not the water damage and destroy it? No; for, while it is cast into the sea, it is first sealed in a bottle - and so it arrives. Yes; in Philippi, with all its destructive influences, but "in Christ" - so they are secure, and so, in spite of all antagonistic forces, they arrive at "the haven where they would be." Herein lay also

(b) Their possibility of holy life. We are called not only to a negative but to a positive life - "eschew (abstain from) evil, and do good", as 1Pe 3:11(note) says. But how can a holy life be lived in such unholy surroundings?

Mark that little water-spider going down to the bottom of that pond. It doesn't really belong there, even as we believers are: "in the world" ...but not of it, John 17:11, 16. The little creature has the queer, and amazing, ability of weaving a bubble of air around itself, and hidden in that it is able to pursue its way even amid such inimical conditions - in the water, but in the bubble!

So we come back to our glorious truth - in Philippi, but "in Christ"; then even in the midst of the most uncongenial surroundings, the Christ-life can be lived. (King, Guy: Joy Way: An Exposition of the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians, 1952, Christian Literature Crusade) (Bolding added)

Boice (in his commentary on Ephesians) also comments on in Christ noting that...

The phrases in Christ, in Him, or the equivalent occur nine times just in Ephesians 1:3-23. They occur 164 times in all Paul’s writings. The phrases mean more than just believing on Christ or being saved by His atonement (the work Christ did in his life and death to earn our salvation). They mean being joined to Christ in one spiritual body so that what is true of Him is also true for us...This is a difficult concept, and the Bible uses numerous images to teach it to us: the union of a man and woman in marriage (Eph 5:22-33; notes), the union of the vine and the branches (John 15:1-17), the wholeness of a spiritual temple in which Christ is the foundation and we the individual stones (Eph 2:20, 21, 22 - notes Ep 2:20; 21; 22), the union of the head and other members of the body in one organism (1Cor 12:12-27). But whether we understand it or not, union with Christ is in one sense the very essence of salvation. John Murray, an able expositor of this theme, wrote,

Union with Christ has its source in the election of God the Father before the foundation of the world and it has its fruition in the glorification of the sons of God. The perspective of God’s people is not narrow; it has the expanse of eternity. Its orbit has two foci, one the electing love of God the Father in the counsels of eternity, the other glorification with Christ in the manifestation of His glory. The former has no beginning, the latter has no end. (John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955)

Apart from Christ our condition is absolutely hopeless. In Him our condition is glorious to the extreme. (Boice, J. M.: Ephesians: An Expositional Commentary) (Bolding added)

Guy King in his commentary on Colossians adds "Oh yes, I know they were at Colossae - breathing the fetid atmosphere of this typically pagan city. How could the fair flowers of fidelity and holiness flourish in such a place? Only because they enjoyed the nearer, purer air of being in Christ. The clever little water beetle is able to live in the muddy bed of the pond because it has the gift of weaving around itself a bubble of air. Thus it takes its own atmosphere down with it. I often invert a "let's pretend" story of a man shipwrecked on a desert island, who, happening to have his fountain pen still in his pocket, decides to write a message on a large island leaf to send to his people. Having thrown it into the sea, he could then only wait, and hope for the best. But, silly man, the leaf will soon be pulped and the message obliterated by the ocean. Oh, I forgot to mention that on his island he happened to find a bottle with a sealing top. So his SOS reached home, and led to his rescue, because though it was in the sea, it was in the bottle. Yes, although these Christians were in that Colossian sea of iniquity, they were kept safe and saintly because they were "in Christ". It is one of Paul's chief inspired conceptions, so often reiterated through all his correspondence, that we are "in Him", "in the Lord", "in Christ". What amazing privilege and prediction is here! "Christ in you, the hope of glory", he says in Colossians 1:27; and now it is the other side of the blessed truth: you in CHRIST, the hope of safety. (Colossians 1:1-2 His Tactful Approach )

WHO ARE AT COLOSSAE: tois en Kolossais

All saints on earth have at least 2 addresses as did those at Colossae for we are all also in Christ!

If one visits Colossae today, the only sign of Christianity is a little plaque buried under a Muslim mosque, which has a statement to the appreciation of Epaphras, the man who may have led the Colossians to the Lord. The tragedy is that there is no longer (at the time of this writing - 2014) a church at Honaz (see links), the modern site of Colossae! Apparently very little had been entrusted to faithful men (or there were few faithful men who could be entrusted) (2Ti 2:2-note) by the Colossians who themselves seemed to have been very committed Christians (cf. "we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints"). It is probable also that what was entrusted over the generations became so watered down that it became more and more difficult to discern truth from error. Ultimately the succeeding generations of Colossians were taken "captive through philosophy...rather that according to Christ." The very thing that Paul feared the most apparently happened to them!

GRACE TO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD OUR FATHER: charis humin kai eirene apo theou patros hemon:

  • See similar benedictions/greetings in Ro 1:7, 1Cor 1:3, 2Cor 1:2, Eph 1:2, Phil 1:2, 1Thes 1:1, 2Th 1:2, 1Ti 1:2, Philemon 1:3, 2Ti 1:2, Gal 1:3, Titus 1:4.

C H Spurgeon well says that "Blessed men scatter blessings. When the benediction of God rests upon us, we pour out benedictions upon others." (The Second Coming)

Grace to you - This phrase if found 11x in the NAS - Ro 1:7; 1 Cor 1:3; 2 Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; Phil 1:2; Col 1:2; 1Th 1:1; 2Th 1:2; Philemon 1:3; Rev 1:4

Moule - “Grace” is all the free and loving favour of God in its spiritual efficacy; “Peace” is specially the complacency of reconciliation with which He regards His people, but so as to imply also its results in them; repose, serenity of soul; happiness in its largest sense. (Colossians 1 Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

Here is one of the most accurate and practical definitions of grace I have ever heard...

Grace (5485)(charis [word study]) is is God's unmerited favor and supernatural enablement and empowerment for salvation and for daily sanctification. Grace is everything for nothing to those who don't deserve anything. Grace is what every man needs, what none can earn and what God Alone can and does freely give (see Ro 8:32-note where "freely give" is charizomai [word study] from charis = a grace gift!). Grace addresses man's sin, while mercy addresses man's misery. The gift of grace makes men fit for salvation, miraculously making separated strangers into God's beloved sons (1Th 1:4-note, 1Jn 3:1-note, 1Jn 3:2-note, 1Jn 3:3-note).

One of the most familiar short definitions of grace is God's unmerited favor. Unfortunately, the practical, everyday, working definition of grace in the lives of many believers goes little beyond this basic simple definition. Many believers fall woefully short of experiencing the riches of God's grace in their everyday life as C H Spurgeon wrote "There are many who are barely Christians and have scarcely enough grace to float them into heaven, the keel of their vessel grating on the gravel all the way." Too many of us (yours truly included far too often!) are like the story of the poor European family who saved for years to buy tickets to sail to America. Once at sea, they carefully rationed the cheese and bread they had brought for the journey. After 3 days, the boy complained to his father, “I hate cheese sandwiches. If I don’t eat anything else before we get to America, I’m going to die.” Giving the boy his last nickel, the father told him to go to the ship’s galley and buy an ice-cream cone. When the boy returned a long time later with a wide smile, his worried dad asked, “Where were you?” “In the galley, eating three ice-cream cones and a steak dinner!” “All that for a nickel?” “Oh, no, the food is free,” the boy replied. “It comes with the ticket.” Indeed, Amazing Grace, not cheap, but free, sufficient to save a wretch like me, the first day, and then every day for the rest (pun intended) of my life!

D L Moody - The law tells me how crooked I am. Grace comes along and straightens me out.

Adrian Rogers says the best definition of grace that he has ever heard is that God's grace is "both the desire and the ability to do the will of God."

Comment: It is striking that almost the same words occur in Php 2:13NLT-note "For (term of explanation - explains how it is possible to Work out our salvation - Php 2:12-note) God is working in you, giving you the DESIRE and the POWER to do what pleases Him." When you have a godly desire, that desire is from God, because no good thing can come out of our old vile heart! And only God the Spirit in us can give the supernatural power necessary to accomplish that godly desire! So we could paraphrase Php 2:13, in simple words, by saying that God's Spirit is continually giving us the grace (desire and power) to do what pleases Him! This practical definition of grace ought to free many of us who are "trying to clean ourselves up!" It can't be done! We need His grace to give us the desire to "clean up" and the power to "clean up!" Are you resisting His grace? You can either receive it or resist it! The first way leaves us filled, while the second way leaves us empty, dry, and spiritually barren. O beloved, tell God you desperately need and want Him to pour out His grace on the situation you find yourself entwined. Do you have a root of bitterness? Then confess it (even that act is a reflection of His grace) and cry out for His grace to give you the desire and the ability to eradicate that deadly root and its caustic fruit. And keep crying out until He removes the root, for it is in His will that no child of His should ever have a root of bitterness! And when He removes it, celebrate with a praise and worship service!

The grace which Paul prays will be theirs is grace for daily living as given by the indwelling Spirit of grace (Heb 10:29). The peace is peace of one's heart, a state of Christian tranquility (see Guy King's note below for his practical amplification of the meaning of peace).

The word for grace (charis) is derived from chairo = to rejoice and gives us our English word charity. This is only fitting as beggars need "charity" even as sinners need grace, for we are all spiritual paupers outside of Christ. As Augustine said "God gives where he finds empty hands" (cp Mt 5:3-note)

Eadie writes that grace is "that goodwill on God's part which not only provides and applies salvation, but blesses, cheers, and assists believers." (Ephesians 1 - Commentary on Ephesians)

Charles Allen notes that "In the Bible there are three distinctive meanings of grace; it means the mercy and active love of God; it means the winsome attractiveness of God; it means the strength of God to overcome."

Grace is God’s favor toward man, free and unmerited, while peace is the harmony that exists between God and those who receive that favor in Christ. They are two key aspects of the gospel (see MacDonald's comment below) and represent in a sense cause and effect (compare Ro 3:24-note with Ro 5:1-note). This greeting is used by Paul in all his epistles with the exception of that to Timothy in which he adds mercy.

Barclay - Charis is a lovely word; the basic ideas in it are joy and pleasure, brightness and beauty; it is, in fact, connected with the English word charm. But with Jesus Christ there comes a new beauty to add to the beauty that was there. And that beauty is born of a new relationship to God. With Christ life becomes lovely because man is no longer the victim of God's law but the child of his love. (Philippians 1 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

Barclay on charis in Galatians 1 - He wishes them grace. There are two main ideas in this word. The first is that of sheer beauty. The Greek word charis means grace in the theological sense, but it always means beauty and charm; and even when theologically used the idea of charm is never far away from it. If the Christian life has grace in it, it must be a lovely thing. Far too often goodness exists without charm and charm without goodness. It is when goodness and charm unite that the work of grace is seen. The second idea is that of undeserved generosity of a gift, which a man never deserved and could never earn, given to him in the generous love of God. When Paul prays for grace on his friends, it is as if he were saying, "May the beauty of the undeserved love of God be on you, so that it will make your life lovely, too." (Galatians 1 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

Grace pictures God stooping down to sinful, lost humanity in loving and tender compassion. Peace summarizes all that results in the life of a person when he accepts God’s grace as a free gift. Note the word order first grace, then peace.

Chuck Swindoll notes that "Understanding what grace means requires our going back to an old Hebrew term that meant “to bend, to stoop.” By and by, it came to include the idea of “condescending favor.” If you have traveled to London, you have perhaps seen royalty. If so, you may have noticed sophistication, aloofness, distance. On occasion, royalty in England will make the news because someone in the ranks of nobility will stop, kneel down, and touch or bless a commoner. That is grace. There is nothing in the commoner that deserves being noticed or touched or blessed by the royal family. But because of grace in the heart of the royal person, there is the desire at that moment to pause, to stoop, to touch, even to bless.....To show grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it. Receiving God’s acceptance by grace always stands in sharp contrast to earning it on the basis of works. Every time the thought of grace appears, there is the idea of its being undeserved. In no way is the recipient getting what he or she deserves. Favor is being extended simply out of the goodness of the heart of the giver....One more thing should be emphasized about grace: It is absolutely and totally free (Ed: But not cheap!). You will never be asked to pay it back. You couldn’t even if you tried. Most of us have trouble with that thought, because we work for everything we get. As the old saying goes, “There ain’t no free lunch.” But in this case, grace comes to us free and clear, no strings attached. We should not even try to repay it; to do so is insulting. (The Grace Awakening: Believing in Grace is One Thing. Living it is Another.)

C H Spurgeon - Kindness is the very breath of Christianity, so the apostle will not begin the subject matter of his letter until first of all he has breathed out a benediction upon those to whom he writes. Paul begins with a salutation in which he wishes the Colossian Christians the best of all blessings. It is the very spirit of our holy religion to wish well to others, and I am sure that we cannot have a better wish for our dearest friends than this, “Grace be unto you, and peace.” Grace will save you; peace will make you know that you are saved. Grace is the root of every blessing; peace is the sweet flower that makes life so sweet and so fragrant. May you have both of these blessings “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”! There is no peace for you apart from this blessed combination, God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ; therefore, may you know your adoption, and may you know your redemption! (Spurgeon on Colossians)

John Flavel offers a picturesque description of grace - "Grace is to corruption as water is to fire."

Guy King has the following comments on this greeting (in his commentary on Philippians)

Grace and peace - just the customary greeting: "grace", the Western (or Greek) "peace", the Eastern (or Hebrew) but when the HOLY SPIRIT led Paul to combine them here, we may be sure that He intended their use to be something so much more than formal and usual; both writer and readers would be led to see in them very deep and rich meaning.

Wilson Cash makes the interesting suggestion that "Paul combines both Jewish 'peace' and Gentile 'grace' in one salutation as a pledge of unity between East and West, between Jew and Gentile, in the one Saviour, who unites all in the one fellowship of His Body.

Dr. Hugh Michael, in the Moffatt Commentary, speaks of "the enrichment of the commonplace by the new faith of CHRIST, which elevates a salutation into a benediction.

How arrestingly that is seen in the transmutation of everything, however lowly, that He touched - a common Name, a despised City, a humble workshop, even a felon's Cross.

Dr. Johnson said of Oliver Goldsmith, "He touched nothing that he did not adorn: how infinitely truer of the Master. So here the common greeting is invested with uncommon beauty.

What are these things that the apostle desires for his friends, and which are no less desirable for ourselves?

(a) Grace - a quality which is, at once is an...

(i) Attitude, which He adopts towards us, as in Eph 2:8 (note);

(ii) Activity, which He exerts for our help, as in 1Corinthians 15:10 ; and

(iii) Accomplishment, which He works in, and out from, us, as in Acts 4:33.

Paul ardently, and prayerfully, desires this for his converts everywhere - for he uses the word in all his church letters - that they may experience to the full this "grace", which the late Bishop Handley Moule describes as "love in action".

Then comes:

(b) Peace - the "God of all grace" is the "God of peace", 1Pe 5:10 (note); Ro 15:3-(note); and it is only by, and after, His grace that we can enjoy His peace.

- Peace of heart - no condemnation before God

- Peace of conscience - no controversy with God

- Peace of mind - no anxiety about life

- Peace of action - no grit in the machinery

This gift is an immensely precious boon; and it may be the possession, should be the possession, of every believer. Paul will have some deep things to say about this later.

These two joys come, says Php 1:2-note, "from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ" - the Father is the Source, from Whom they come; the Saviour is the Medium, through Whom they come (Ed: And the Spirit is the "Administrator", the "Chief Operating Officer," so to speak, making grace and peace effective in our lives). Not from the world arise such blessings, nor from our circumstances, however affluent and pleasant, nor from our own inner being, however much we strive, but only from Him, through Him, and "all the fulness of the Godhead . . . and ye are complete in Him" (Col 2:9, 10-note) (King, Guy, Joy Way,1952)

From God our Father - The Source (as noted above) note adds "the Lord Jesus Christ")

H C G Moule - "To St Paul, God is the Pater Noster (Latin for "Our Father") of Christians, in the inner sense of their union by faith with His Son."

The phrase and peace is found 25x in the NT -

Rom 1:7; 2:10; 8:6; 14:17; 15:13; 1 Cor 1:3; 2 Cor 1:2; 13:11; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; 2:17; Phil 1:2; Col 1:2; 1Th 1:1; 2Th 1:2; 1Ti 1:2; 2Ti 1:2; 2:22; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:3; 1 Pet 1:2; 2 Pet 1:2; 2 John 1:3; Jude 1:2; Rev 1:4

Peace (1515)(eirene) (or here) is derived from the verb "eiro" which means to "join together". Peace is not just the absence of strife. It describes the situation where two things come together and there is nothing in between to cause friction. There is no longer a barrier between the two. Peace means to set at one again or join together that which is separated. Our Lord made peace through the blood of the Cross in the sense that through His atonement (the work Christ did in His life and death to earn our salvation) He binds together again, those who by reason of their standing in the First Adam had been separated from God and who now through faith in Christ are bound again to God in their new standing in the Last Adam (justification) (1 Cor 15:22). In Col 1:20-note Paul says by grace through faith sinners and enemies of God now permanently possess "peace with God" where the Greek word for “with” is pros which means “facing.” In other words, the justified sinner has peace facing or face to face (Coram Deo) with God and because of Jesus' precious, perfect shed blood (1 Pe 1:18-note), he is able to stand in God's presence (Ro 5:2-note, 1Pet 5:12-note), guiltless and with no condemnation and righteous in a righteousness which God accepts, that is the righteousness of Christ (1 Cor 1:30).

Thus the picture inherent in the Paul's greeting is that of binding or joining together what is broken or divided setting the divided parts at one again.

Webster defines peace as a state of tranquility or quiet, freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions, harmony in personal relations, a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity and who are now in a state of repose not a state of strife or turmoil.

Peace is defined by Cremer as "a state of untroubled, undisturbed well being.”

Alexander Maclaren - Peace comes not from the absence of trouble, but from the presence of God.

MacDonald has said that the combination of "grace and peace" is in one sense "in miniature, the Gospel for the whole world." The essence of the Gospel is "grace, therefore peace". Through the Gospel we are all brought under His grace and therefore have peace with Him and peace within. The Gospel is not so much about “not fighting” but about wholeness of life (shalom) as God intended it. The peace flows out of the grace, and both together flow from God our Father and were made effective in human history through the Lord Jesus Christ.

John Eadie - Peace, is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Shalom—a term of familiar and beautiful significance. It includes every blessing—being and well-being. It was the formula of ordinary courtesy at meeting and parting. “Peace I leave with you,” said our Lord; but the term was no symbol of cold and formal politeness—“not as the world gives, give I unto you.” (John 14:27). The word in this connection denotes that form of spiritual blessing which keeps the heart in a state of happy repose. It is therefore but another phase, or rather it is the result, of the previous charis...A conscious possession of the divine favor (grace) can alone create and sustain mental tranquility. To use an impressive figure of Scripture, the unsanctified heart resembles “the troubled sea,” (Is 57:20 KJV) in constant uproar and agitation—dark, muddy, and tempestuous; but the storm subsides, for a voice of power has cried, “Peace, be still,” and there is “a great calm” (Mk 4:39 KJV, cp Mt 8:26 KJV) -- the lowering clouds are dispelled, and the azure sky smiles on its own reflection in the bosom of the quiet and glassy deep. The favor of God and the felt enjoyment of it, the apostle wishes to the (recipients of this letter). (Ephesians 1 - Commentary on Ephesians)

Below is a compilation of William Barclay's notes  (there is some duplication)

(1) Note on Galatians 5:22 - "Peace in contemporary colloquial Greek...had two interesting usages. It was used of the serenity which a county enjoyed under the just and beneficent government of a good emperor; and it was used of the good order of a town or village. Villages had an official who was called the superintendent of the village’s eirene, the keeper of the public peace. Usually in the New Testament eirene stands for the Hebrew Shalom and means not just freedom from trouble but everything that makes for a man’s highest good. It is interesting to note that Chara (Grace) and Eirene (Peace ~ "Irene") both became very common Christian names in the Church." (Galatians 5 )

(2) Note on Galatians 1 - Peace is "everything which will make his mind pure, his will resolute and his heart glad. It is that sense of the love and care of God, which, even if his body is tortured, can keep a man's heart serene." (Galatians 1)

(3) Note on Ephesians 1 - "In the Bible peace is never a purely negative word; it never describes simply the absence of trouble. Shalom means everything which makes for a man's highest good. Christian peace is something quite independent of outward circumstances. A man might live in ease and luxury and on the fat of the land, he might have the finest of houses and the biggest of bank accounts, and yet not have peace; on the other hand, a man might be starving in prison, or dying at the stake, or living a life from which all comfort had fled, and be at perfect peace. The explanation is that there is only one source of peace in all the world, and that is doing the will of God. When we are doing something which we know we ought not to do or are evading something that we know we ought to do, there is always a haunting dispeace at the back of our minds; but if we are doing something very difficult, even something we do not want to do, so long as we know that it is the right thing there is a certain contentment in our hearts. "In his will is our peace." (Ephesians 1)

(4) Note in Matthew 5 - "In Hebrew peace is never only a negative state; it never means only the absence of trouble; in Hebrew peace always means everything which makes for a man's highest good. In the east when one man says to another, Salaam--which is the same word--he does not mean that he wishes for the other man only the absence of evil things; he wishes for him tile presence of all good things. In the Bible peace means not only freedom from all trouble; it means enjoyment of all good." (Matthew 5)

(5) Note on grace and peace in Philippians 1:2 - "When Paul put together these two great words, grace and peace, (charis and eirene), he was doing something very wonderful. He was taking the normal greeting phrases of two great nations and molding them into one. Charis is the greeting with which Greek letters always began and eirene the greeting with which Jews met each other. Each of these words had its own flavor and each was deepened by the new meaning which Christianity poured into it. Charis is a lovely word; the basic ideas in it are joy and pleasure, brightness and beauty; it is, in fact, connected with the English word charm. But with Jesus Christ there comes a new beauty to add to the beauty that was there. And that beauty is born of a new relationship to God. With Christ life becomes lovely because man is no longer the victim of God's law but the child of his love. Eirene is a comprehensive word. We translate it peace; but it never means a negative peace, never simply the absence of trouble. It means total well-being, everything that makes for a man's highest good. It may well be connected with the Greek word eirein, which means to join, to weave together. And this peace has always got to do with personal relationships, a man's relationship to himself, to his fellow-men, and to God. It is always the peace that is born of reconciliation. So, when Paul prays for grace and peace on his people he is praying that they should have the joy of knowing God as Father and the peace of being reconciled to God, to men, and to themselves--and that grace and peace can come only through Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1)

(6) Note on "wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable" in James 3:17 - "The true wisdom is eirenikos (1516). We have translated this peaceable but it has a very special meaning. Eirene means peace, and when it is used of men its basic meaning is right relationships between man and man, and between man and God The true wisdom produces right relationships. There is a kind of clever and arrogant wisdom which separates man from man, and which makes a man look with superior contempt on his fellows. There is a kind of cruel wisdom which takes a delight in hurting others with clever, but cutting, words. There is a kind of depraved wisdom which seduces men away from their loyalty to God. But the true wisdom at all times brings men closer to one another and to God. (James 3)

Kenneth Wuest adds that "when things are disjointed, there is lack of harmony and well being (no peace). When they are joined together (the essence of peace), there is both. Hamlet cried, “The times are out of joint. O, cursed spite that I was ever born to set them right.” Peace is defined by Cremer as follows: “a state of untroubled, undisturbed wellbeing.” It is used in contrast to strife, and to denote the absence or end of strife. Our Lord “made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20-note) in that He by His death, satisfied the just demands of the law which we broke, thus making it possible for a righteous and holy God to bestow mercy upon a believing sinner and do so without violating His justice. Our Lord thus bound together again the believing sinner and God, thus making peace. There is therefore a state of untroubled, undisturbed wellbeing for the sinner who places his faith in the Saviour. The law of God has nothing against him, and he can look up into the Father’s face unafraid and unashamed. This is justifying peace. But Paul, in writing to the Ephesian saints, was writing to those who were enjoying this kind of peace already. Therefore, the peace he is speaking about is sanctifying peace, that state of untroubled, undisturbed tranquility and wellbeing produced in the heart of the yielded saint by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22). We have this peace to the extent that we are yielded to the Spirit and are intelligently conscious of and dependent upon His ministry for us.

Illustration of the meaning of "PEACE" - Jim Walton was translating the NT for the Muinane people of La Sabana in the jungles of Colombia. But he was having trouble with the word peace. During this time, Fernando, the village chief, was promised a 20-minute plane ride to a location that would have taken him 3 days to travel by walking. The plane was delayed in arriving at La Sabana, so Fernando departed on foot. When the plane finally came, a runner took off to bring Fernando back. But by the time he had returned, the plane had left. Fernando was livid because of the mix-up. He went to Jim and launched into an angry tirade. Fortunately, Walton had taped the chief's diatribe. When he later translated it, he discovered that the chief kept repeating the phrase, "I don't have one heart." Jim asked other villagers what having "one heart" meant, and he found that it was like saying, "There is nothing between you and the other person." That, Walton realized, was just what he needed to translate the word peace. To have peace with God means that there is nothing--no sin, no guilt, no condemnation--that separates us. And that peace with God is possible only through Christ (Ro 5:1-note). Do you have "one heart" with God?

THREE POINTS ON THE "ROCK"- AMONG the safety rules mountain climbers must remember as they scale rocky cliffs is this: Keep three points on the rock (Ed: Meditate on your "Rock" Christ Jesus - Ps 31:2, Ps 62:7, Ps 71:3, Ps 89:26, Ps 94:22, Ps 95:1-see also Christ Our Rock). In other words, before you move a foot, make sure the other foot and both hands are firmly positioned on solid rock (Ed: When you walk spiritually speaking, make sure you feet are firmly planted on the Solid Rock! Play On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand

hat's a good safety tip for our spiritual lives as well. To keep from falling, we need to keep a grip on three rock-solid truths: grace, mercy, and peace, the words the apostle Paul often used to begin or conclude his letters.

The first message I heard Dr. M. R. DeHaan preach was part of a series of lessons called "Three Sisters of Salvation," which were about these three words. I made up my mind then that I would make these three qualities part of my life.

We are given our salvation as a gift of God's grace. His wrath is withheld from us because of His abundant mercy. And His peace enables us to stand in quiet confidence when the howling gales of adversity swirl around us. They will give us security during our spiritual mountain climbing experience.

We can appropriate these gifts through prayer and obedience. In the storms of temptation we will not fall if we always keep three points on the Rock. —D C Egner


The peace of God is that eternal calm which lies far too deep in the praying, trusting soul to be reached by any external disturbances. (A. T. Pierson)

The Peace of God “is not a pretense of peace but a divine reality that the world can neither create nor destroy.” “If we lose inward peace, we lose more than a fortune can buy.” (C H Spurgeon)

Other Illustrations of the Peace of God...

(1) In 1555, Nicholas Ridley was martyred by burning at the stake because of his witness for Christ. On the night before Ridley’s execution, his brother offered to remain with him in the prison chamber to be of assistance and comfort. Nicholas declined the offer and replied that he meant to go to bed and sleep as quietly as ever he did in his life. Because he knew the PEACE OF GOD, he could rest in the strength of the everlasting arms of his Lord to meet his need. So can we!

(2) Horatio Spafford had just been ruined financially by the great Chicago Fire of October, 1871. Shortly thereafter, while crossing the Atlantic, all four of Spafford’s daughters died in a collision with another ship. Spafford’s wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, “Saved alone.” Several weeks later, as Spafford’s own ship passed near the spot where his daughters died, the Holy Spirit suddenly overwhelmed him with what can only be described as an inrush of SUPERNATURAL PEACE (the peace of God). With tears streaming down his face, he picked up a pen to record his feelings & from his heart filled with the peace of God flowed the timeless words that speak of that peace God provides even though our world is falling apart.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
(Play Hymn)

(3) The Compass on a Steamboat - The compass on board an iron steamboat is placed aloft (at great height in the air), so that it may not be influenced by the metal of the ship. Though the compass is surrounded by that which would put it out of place, the needle faithfully adheres to the pole, because it is set above misleading influence. So it is with the child of God when the Lord has given him/her peace: he/she is lifted beyond the supremacy of his sorrowful surroundings, and his heart is delivered from its sad surroundings. (Spurgeon)

(4) When Australian pastor H. B. Macartney visited Hudson Taylor in China, he was amazed at the missionary's serenity in spite of his many burdens and busy schedule. Macartney finally mustered up the courage to say, "You are occupied with millions, I with tens. Your letters are pressingly important, mine of comparatively little value. Yet I am worried and distressed while you are always calm. Tell me, what makes the difference?" Taylor replied, "I could not possibly get through the work I have to do without the PEACE OF GOD which passes all understanding keeping my heart and mind." Macartney later wrote, "He was (abiding) in God all the time, and God was in him. It was the true abiding spoken of in John 15:5." Peace floods the soul when Christ rules the heart (Our Daily Bread)

(5) A contest was held in which artists were invited to paint a picture of PERFECT PEACE. The judges eventually narrowed the number of competitors to two. The first had created a scene of a quiet mountain lake. The second depicted a thundering waterfall with the branch of a birch tree bending over the foam. On the fork of that limb, wet with spray, a robin sat undisturbed on her nest. The first picture spoke of tranquility, but the second won the prize because it showed in dramatic detail that absolute calmness can be found in the midst of turbulent surroundings. Yes, it is easy to remain unruffled when everything is quiet and serene. But to rest while the storm is raging—that is "perfect peace." (Our Daily Bread)

(6) During World War II in London there was a blitz bombing at night. The people stayed each night in underground protection. But one Christian lady just stayed at home and slept through all the bombing. When asked about it, she said, “Well, my God neither slumbers nor sleeps, and there’s no need for both of us to stay awake!

(7) One night an unexpected storm swept over a passenger ship sailing from England to New York, tossing the ship violently and awakening everyone on board, including the captain's eight-year-old daughter. "What's the matter?" the frightened child cried. After her mother explained about the storm, she asked, "Is Father on deck?" Assured that he was, the little girl snuggled back into her bed and in a few moments was sound asleep. Although the winds still blew and the waves still rolled, she had peace because her father was at the helm. Although the squalls of life strike us, we are assured of our Father's presence. He controls our lives and upholds us with His right hand. We may not dodge the storm, and the winds may still blow, but the Master of wind and wave is on board. And if we trust Him, He will either calm the waves or quiet our hearts. We need not nervously pace the deck if the Captain of our salvation is at the helm. Christ calls the restless ones to find their rest in Him. (Our Daily Bread)

(8) PEACE WITH GOD is “JUDICIAL” which means that for the believer the “war with God” is over forever. PEACE OF GOD is “EXPERIENTIAL” for it describes the believer’s day by day experience of peace which can be forfeited. This truth was tragically illustrated by the story of the post-WWII Japanese soldier who failed to experience peace, because he had not received news of the end of the war & as a result had hidden in the jungle, more than 20 years after peace had been declared between the United States and Japan.

(9) There is what is called "the cushion of the sea." Down beneath the surface that is agitated with storms, and driven about with winds, there is a part of the sea that is never stirred. When we dredge the bottom and bring up the remains of animal and vegetable life, we find that they give evidence of not having been disturbed in the least for hundreds and thousands of years. The peace of God is that eternal calm which, like the cushion of the sea, lies far too deep down to be reached by any external trouble and disturbance, and he who enters into the peace of God, and has the peace of God enter into him, becomes partaker of that undisturbed and undisturbable calm. (James Hastings, Editor - The Christian Doctrine of Peace)

(10) There is a story about a submarine that was being tested and as part of its test, it had to remain submerged beneath the surface for a long time. While the submarine was submerged, a powerful storm passed through the area, causing a great deal of damage. When the submarine returned to the harbor, the head of the team that was evaluating the submarine asked the captain, “How did that terrible storm affect you?” The captain looked at the man in surprise and exclaimed, “Storm? We didn’t even know there was one!” The reason for the captain’s surprise was that his submarine had been so far beneath the ocean’s surface that it reached this area known to sailors as “the cushion of the sea.” Although a storm’s high winds may whip the surface into huge waves, the waters in the “cushion” are not even stirred. So while vessels up above were being subjected to turmoil and damage, the submarine down below was not affected. It remained "at peace" so to speak safely set on the “cushion.” This illustration pictures the supernatural peace of God which guards the believer's heart, in response to thankful prayer (Php 4:6-note).