Petition and Praise to Be United
"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light" (Col. 1:12). This is the closing section of our prayer. Notice that in it the apostle exemplifies his exhortation: "Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God" (Phil. 4:6). When we come to the throne of grace, petition and praise should always accompany each other. There should be the thanksgiving of grateful love for mercies already received: of confident faith in God’s promises, that He will certainly bestow the things for which we now ask, so far as to do so will be for His glory and our highest good; of joyous expectation of the things which He has prepared for us on high. The general relation of this verse to those preceding is apparent. The being "filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding" (Col. 1:9) is to find expression in a worthy walk (Col. 1:10), in the exercise of patient endurance (Col. 1:11), and in grateful thanksgiving (Col. 1:12).
The order of those things is not only according to the Analogy of Faith but it is verified in the experience of the saints in the several stages of their growth in grace. A knowledge of God’s will (as made known in the Word) most engages the attention of the babe in Christ who is conscious of his ignorance. As the Spirit graciously opens the Scriptures to his understanding and applies them to his heart, he becomes more concerned with honoring the Lord in his daily walk and being fruitful in every good work. As he grows still older and meets with more trials and tribulations, he has an increasing realization of his need for being divinely strengthened so that he may not faint beneath the burdens of life and the difficulties of the way; that he may not become weary in well doing but run the race set before him, and meekly submit to all the dispensations of God’s providence. Finally, as he approaches the end of his journey he is more and more occupied with the glorious inheritance awaiting him wherein he will be done forever with sin and suffering. The more joyful he is (Col. 1:11) the more he will be filled with the spirit of thanksgiving.
The order of these things here also inculcates, in a most searching manner, an important practical lesson. This giving of thanks to the Father does not occur at the beginning of the prayer but at its close. Thereby it is intimated that none of us is warranted in concluding that he is among the number whom He has made "meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints" unless the things previously mentioned are in some measure really found in him. It would be highly presumptuous for me to complacently assume that I am fit for heaven unless I am sincerely endeavoring to walk worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in all things, being fruitful in every good work, and unless I possess my soul with patience and long-suffering, and rejoice when I am persecuted for Christ’s sake. Not that these things are qualifications for heaven, but rather the evidences that divine grace has suitably fashioned my soul for it. Not that these things are the procuring cause for which I shall enter the glory. They are but the marks that God has already wrought in me for the glory.