Part 2 Chapter 2

Section 3—Colossians 3:12.

Put on therefore (as the elect of God, holy am beloved) bowels of mercies, etc.

Our author goes on to observe,[1] "that suitable to this notion of the word election, where it respects the Jewish nation, or the Jewish converts, is the import of it in these epistles, where whole nations, communities, or churches, are styled the elect;" that is, that it means converts to the Christian faith, or true believers. But surely, whole nations are never styled the elect in such a sense; and, indeed, this author does not attempt to propose one instance of it, and only takes notice of churches or communities. And,

1. Observes, that "all the faithful brethren in Colosse, are styled (Col. 3:12) the elect of God;" and the same apostle saith to the whole church of Thessalonica, Knowing your election of God (1 Thess. 1:4); and in his second epistle, he saith, We ought to give thanks for you, that God hath elected you from the beginning to salvation" (2 Thess. 2:18). All which he might say without a special revelation, in a judgment of charity; for, though every individual member of these churches were not chosen to salvation, yet, inasmuch as they were all under a visible profession of religion, and the major part of them were truly believers, he might write to them as such: nor do the cautions, exhortation, care and fear, expressed by him, militate against this their character; since these might be all designed, and be made use of for their perseverance as such in grace unto glory.

2. Another instance is in 2 Timothy 2:10, where the apostle says, I endure all things for the elect's sake; And we are told[2] that "if we compare this with a parallel place in Colossians 1:24, 25, we shall find the elect to be no other than the whole church of Christ, of which he was a minister." But by comparing this text with that in Colossians, it appears that the church of which the apostle was a minister, is no other than the body of Christ; and intends the general assembly and church of the first-born which are written in heaven (Heb. 12:28), and not any particular society, or community of men, under a profession of Christianity; for of such a particular church the apostle was no minister. Nor would this have been agreeable to his character as an apostle, who was not fixed with any particular church, but had the care of all the churches upon him. Besides, the elect here were such who were not yet called by grace, for whose sake the apostle endured, and was willing to endure, reproach and persecution, in preaching the Gospel; that they also, as well as such as were already converted, might obtain that salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

3. The apostle in Titus 1:1, styles himself an apostle according to the faith of God's elect;which is interpreted[3] of the faith of Christians in general. But this interpretation will not hold good of nominal, only of real Christians, who become so because they are God's elect, to whom true saving faith in Christ is peculiar; for all men have not faith; to the elect only is it given, whilst others believe not in him, because they are not of his sheep.


[1] Whitby, p. 45; ed. 2.44.

[2] Whitby, p. 47; ed. 2.46.

[3] Whitby, p. 47; ed. 2.46.

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