Summary Colossians 3:1-11
We, as followers of Jesus Christ, are to set our minds on things above, on the things of God, and not on things that are of this earth. And we are to put to death what is earthly (worldly, fleshly) in us – such things as sexual immorality, impurity, sinful passion, evil desire, and covetousness. For, on account of these the wrath of God is coming.
For, in these types of things we once walked, meaning this is to be in our past, not in our present. So, we are to not lie to one another or be wrathful or slanderous, etc. For, if we are in Christ, we should have put off the old self with its sinful practices, and we should have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of God/Jesus Christ.
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.”
Do you know that the whole premise of the gospel of our salvation is based upon this concept of putting off the old sinful nature and its practices and putting on Christ and his righteousness and holiness?
For, Jesus Christ died for us on that cross, not just to forgive us our sins, and not just to give us the hope of eternal life with God, but he died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. And he died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15, 21; Gal 2:20).
First, by faith in Jesus Christ, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, then we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And we are delivered from our slavery to sin, by God’s grace, so that we might now be slaves of God and of his righteousness (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; Tit 2:11-14).
Therefore, now that we have put off what is of our earthly nature, and as daily we continue, by the Spirit, putting the deeds of the flesh to death, we now put on the things of God in our lives, that are of the nature of God. And we now walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh (Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-32; 1 Jn 1:5-9).
So, instead of deliberately sinning against God and against other humans, as a matter of practice (habit, addiction), we now are people of God who show others love, compassion, kindness, meekness, and patience. Patience, though, does not equal tolerance of or approval of sin.
As well, forgiveness does not mean approval of sin, nor is it permission for the person who sinned against us to continue in his/her sinful ways. For, when God forgives us, he delivers us from our slavery to sin, and he empowers us to live righteously for his glory and honor. He does not give us carte blanche to continue living in sin without guilt or remorse.
So, when we forgive others, it means we no longer hold a grudge against them. We don’t want payback. We are not looking to punish them for what they did to us. But if we love them as Jesus loves us, we will encourage and help them, if they are willing, to put their sinful practices behind them and to now walk in purity of devotion to God, in his power and strength.
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.”
God is love. Love comes from God. Love is like God in character and deed. So, we are to love others as God/Jesus loves us. And this kind of love prefers what God prefers. And what he prefers (chooses) is what is holy, righteous, pure, upright, godly, moral, and honest.
So, we aren’t going to encourage others to sin, or to help them to sin, and we aren’t going to deliberately sin against them, to cause them harm.
For, to love like God is to want to do what is in the best interest of others, to do to them what is for their good – that which will be spiritually, morally and/or physically beneficial, and not to cause them harm in any way.
Love does for and to others what is for their good, but good as defined by God, not by the world. So, this is not just about making people feel good about themselves, especially if they are living in sin, but this is about doing what is truly best for others, which sometimes means speaking the truth in love to them so that they will leave their sins behind and follow Jesus.
This kind of love, too, is willing to be hated, rejected, mistreated, and lied about, etc. in order to do for others what is right, what is for their good. For, this is how Jesus loved us and gave himself up for us so we would now be free from our slavery to sin and now walk in his holiness.
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.”
Do you know that this is to be the norm for Christians? Yet, if we actually do this, many other Christians think we are odd. Or they will not do this themselves, because they are concerned about what others will think about them, and they want to be liked by others.
But this should be the standard, not the exception. If we are loving others, especially our fellow Christians, with the love of God, then we are going to love them as God loves us. And we are going to be sharing with them spiritual encouragements from God’s word and from the hymns and psalms (can be new ones), and from spiritual songs (can be new).
So many Christians today act and speak and think like the world and so they just joke with each other and talk about the same things the world talks about but you don’t hear or see them actually encouraging one another spiritually with the word of God and with spiritual songs.
But we all need this! And we all need to be making this our practice. We need to stop worrying about what other people will think about us, and we need to be thinking about what is for their best, as God defines best. And then we need to be doing what we do for the good of others and for the glory and praise of God. For, this is how Jesus loves us.
The Way That He Loves
By W. Elmo Mercer
Scripture: I John 3:1; I John 3:16
The way that He loves is as fair as the day,
That blesses my way with light.
The way that He loves is as soft as the breeze,
Caressing the trees at night.
So tender and precious is He,
Contented with Jesus I’ll be.
The way that He loves is so thrilling
Because His love reaches even me…
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