Summary Colossians 3:1-11
We, as followers of Jesus, are to set our minds on things of the kingdom of heaven not on things of this earth, and not of our flesh. For we have died with Christ to sin and our lives are now hidden with Christ in God. Jesus is now our life, not the things of this sinful world (Gal 2:20; Rom 6:1-23).
So, by the Spirit we are to be putting to death such things as sexual immorality, impurity of any kind, evil desire, lying, malice, filthy language, and idolatry, etc. They are to no longer be a part of our lives. For, sin should no longer have dominion over us, for Jesus freed us from slavery to sin.
And we are to put on the new self, which is created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. We are now to walk (conduct our lives) according to (in agreement with) God’s Spirit, and no longer according to our flesh. And we are to be in the practice of saying “No!” to sin and “Yes!” to God when we are tempted to sin (Eph 4:17-24; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 8:1-17).
Colossians 3:12-13 ESV
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
So, when we read these verses here, we need to read them in the context of the whole of Colossians 3, and in the context of the whole book of Colossians. And then we can never interpret any of what is being taught here in a way which would be contradictory to what was taught just before this.
Thus, compassionate hearts are not soft on sin. They don’t placate sin. They don’t give free license for “believers” to continue living in sin, for that is not truth, it is not loving, and it is not kind. For, if one continues living in sexual immorality, idolatry, evil desire, lying, slander, etc. he will die in his sin.
So, the way in which we love others, and in which we show them kindness and compassion must agree with what Jesus did, and with the Spirit of God, and with the holiness and righteousness of God, too. Thus, forgiveness of sins says, “Go and sin no more.”
So, if we are compassionate and kind as Jesus was/is, we will tell people the truth about their sin, we will call them to repentance, to faith in Jesus Christ, to submission to him as Lord, to leaving their sins behind them, and to walks of faithful obedience to Jesus Christ and to his commandments (under the New Covenant).
But if we, in sharing the gospel, refuse to talk about sin, repentance, submission and obedience to Christ, because we have accepted the notion that this is not kind and loving, then we must know that we have just sentenced our listeners to eternity in hell on the promise of heaven unless they turn from their sin to follow Jesus with their lives.
For, the most loving and kind thing we can ever do is to tell people the truth about sin, hell, Satan, judgment, forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life, etc. And the truth is that we must die to sin and self, be reborn of the Spirit, and now live to Christ and to his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23; Lu 9:23-26).
For, if we continue living in sin, for self, and we are not obeying our Lord or walking in his ways and in his truth, either because we think we don’t have to or because someone convinced us that, even if we do continue in sin, we can still go to heaven when we die, we must know we will not have eternal life with God, but we will die in our sins.
[Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6]
Colossians 3:14-15 ESV
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
Love is agape, which is Godlike love, which prefers what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, godly, moral, pure, and upright. So, love will do no harm to others. It will not sin against others nor will it encourage others to sin or to make them believe that their sin no longer matters to God.
And the peace of Christ is not absence of conflict or confrontation. Jesus does not give peace as the world does. He doesn’t make nice with the world so that he upsets no one or so people will like him and won’t reject him.
He said, in fact, that he didn’t come to bring peace but a sword. By the preaching of the gospel he came to turn family members one against another so that a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.
Why? Because people will resist the truth of the gospel and they will hate those who deliver it to them, and they will hate those who are living godly and holy lives, too, for that will be an affront to them who are still living in sin. They will not love us as their own.
So, we don’t “love” as the world does in only saying to people what makes them feel good about themselves. And we don’t make peace with the people of the world, either, through compromise of truth and moral principles, so that they won’t reject us, and so that they will like and accept us.
We love others as Christ loves us, and the peace that we spread is the peace of Christ which is peace with God through turning from our sins to follow Jesus in walks of obedience to his commands. It means we are no longer his enemies because he delivered us from our slavery to sin so we would now become slaves (servants) of his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).
Colossians 3:16-17 ESV
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
So, what we teach is the truth that will set the sinner free from his bondage (addiction) to sin. And we need to teach this truth to professed believers in Jesus Christ, too, for not all of them are saved from their sins, for not all of them have died with Christ to sin and are now living to Christ and to his righteousness.
And the songs we sing are not all songs of praise to God, but they are biblical truth shared with the body of Christ for their strengthening and encouragement, too, like the hymns of old, many of which are so rich in biblical doctrine (Eph 5:18-21).
And the songs do not have to be professional by the world’s standards nor do they have to have a great sound or instrumentation. The singers don’t even have to have beautiful voices. For the intention is for spiritual edification, of the Spirit, and not of the flesh of man (humans).
As followers of Jesus, we should be sharing the truths of God’s word in speech or in song with one another to encourage one another in our walks of faith and obedience to our Lord, in holiness, righteousness, integrity and in purity. And all the glory should, thus, go to God and not to us. Amen!
Jesus, Be Near to Me
Words and music by Tommy Walker
Jesus, be near to me
Let me know You are here
How I need You, how I need You
To reveal Yourself to me
Through Your unchanging truth
Through the breath of Your Spirit
In my questions and pain
Whisper words of Your love
Always the same
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