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.”
As followers of Jesus Christ, we have God/Christ living within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. So, we have all that we need to live godly and holy lives for the praise and glory of God. But we must access that power within us via submission to Christ as Lord, and via obedience to his commands.
For, we still live in flesh bodies. We still are tempted to sin, and we have the propensity to sin. And this is why the Scriptures give us many instructions on how to live godly and holy lives, in Christ Jesus. Daily we must die with Christ to sin and to self and live to him and to his righteousness.
For, the grace of God trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. And the Scriptures teach much on the subject of what we must put off (out of our lives) and what we must put on (apply to our lives).
In the verses before this passage, we read a list of the things we must put off, and now we learn what kinds of things we must put on. But we are not going to be able to put these things on if we have not yet put off the things listed previously. For one will cancel out the other.
So, if we are now walking in purity of devotion to the Lord, and if he is truly our master, then these are the things we must put on, and we must put into practice. And putting them on doesn’t mean faking them. It means this is who we become in character, in attitude, and in deed.
In the power of God’s Spirit living within us, we now become those who are compassionate, kind, humble, meek, patient, gentle, and forgiving. However, these qualities must be consistent with God’s divine character and will for our lives, so kindness never placates or encourages sin.
Put on Love
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.”
This love is not human love. This love comes from God, for God is love, and therefore it prefers (chooses) what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, godly, pure, upright, honest, moral, and faithful. So, this love will not comfort people in their sins, but it will call them out of their sins.
This love will not refuse to repent of sin and to obey Jesus Christ and to submit to him as Lord. This love will also not hide the gospel from people so as not to offend them. This love will openly declare Jesus as Lord and his gospel as that which delivers us from our slavery to sin.
This love will speak the truth in love to people for their good without fear of being rejected, mistreated, or falsely accused by others. And that is because this love comes from God. And Jesus Christ, in love, died on that cross so we would die with him to sin and live to his righteousness.
And the peace of Christ, as well, is not world peace. It involves no compromise with the world of sin, no compromise of morals or of our Lord’s commands (New Covenant). We make no compromises with the teachings of Scripture, either, in order to be at peace with the people of the world.
The peace of Christ, which must rule our hearts, is peace with God. It is being made right with God through the blood of Christ shed on that cross for our sins and through God-ordained and God-persuaded faith in Jesus Christ which submits to him as Lord, repents of sin, and walks in obedience to him.
It is no longer being at enmity with God because of our sins, and that is because we have now been delivered from our slavery to sin and we have been given new lives in Christ Jesus, our Lord, to be lived to him and for his glory and praise, so that we now follow Jesus with our lives.
The Word of Christ
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.”
If the word of Christ is dwelling in us richly, it isn’t just because we are reading or studying or memorizing the Scriptures so that we have them in our heads. It is because we are applying the Scriptures to our lives in all practicality, and we are living what they teach, by the grace of God.
So, before we teach and admonish one another with the Scriptures, we need to be living what they teach, so that we are not being hypocritical. And I am not saying that we have to be absolutely perfect, but that we should be walking (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.
We have no business teaching others the Scriptures, in other words, if we can’t control our own minds and bodies. So, before we expound the Scriptures to others, we need to make certain that we are doing what they say and that we are not habitually and deliberately continuing in sin.
BUT… as followers of Jesus Christ we should most certainly be encouraging one another with the Scriptures, sharing with other believers what the Lord is teaching us through them, and how we are applying them to our own lives, where that fits the context.
And we should be encouraging one another with spiritual poems, psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, which could be ones other people have written, as long as we give them the credit, or they could be poems or songs the Lord has given us to write to share with the body of Christ, too.
And let me just say this here. Please don’t judge other people’s songs by the standards of this world. A spiritual song doesn’t have to be professional sounding or professionally recorded with live instrumentation and sung by people with professional sounding voices.
Honestly, a singer could be tone deaf, and if he/she is singing for the glory of God, in the Spirit, singing a song God has given him/her for the body of Christ for their encouragement, then listen to the song with spiritual ears and not with physical and critical ears. Listen for the message.
And whatever you do, do it all in the name (character, divine will) of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Don’t just use God’s name, but make sure what you are doing is God’s will and it is not contrary to God’s express will written down for us in the Scriptures. And be thankful in all things. Amen!
The Great Redeemer
Lyrics by Francis Foster, 1915
Music by Samuel W. Beazley, 1915
How I love the great Redeemer
Who is doing so much for me;
With what joy I tell the story
Of the love that makes men free.
Till my earthly life is ended,
I will send songs above,
Then beside the crystal sea
More and more my soul shall be
Praising Jesus and His love.
He has purchased my redemption,
Rolled my burden of sin away,
And is walking on beside me,
Growing dearer day by day.
That is why I sing His praises,
That is why joy is mine,
That is why forevermore
On the everlasting shore
I shall sing of love divine.
Glory be to Him forever!
Endless praises to Christ the Lamb!
He has filled my life with sunshine,
He has made me what I am.
Oh, that everyone would know Him,
Oh, that all would adore!
Oh, that all would trust the love
Of the mighty Friend above
And be His forevermore.
He is everything to me, to me,
He is everything to me,
And everything shall always be;
I will never cease to raise
A song of gladness in His praise;
Here, and in the world above,
My soul shall sing of saving love;
Life and light and joy is He,
The precious Friend who died for me.
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