Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Colossians 3:12-16

Day 17

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just a the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.


Paul has now spent quite a few verses refuting the false teaching present in the church at Colossae. Part of that false teaching involved an idea of elitism, where only a select few would receive the special knowledge necessary for salvation. This invoked disunity among the people. Paul, in reaction, stressed the unity that we have in Christ. The fighting and verbal abuse must end. Harmony should be what marks the people of God.

The Colossians needed to replace their prideful interactions with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. They should bear with one another and forgive what had gone on before. Why? Because Christ had forgiven them of much worse. If we are following Him, we will imitate Him. And forgiveness is a part of that package.

The Colossians were to function as one body. There were two things Paul names that make that kind of unity possible. The first is love. The second is peace.

1. Love
To find a good biblical definition of love, go to 1 Corinthians 13. Love, according to biblical standards, is not an emotion. Rather, it is an action. The actions of love place the other person’s needs above our own agenda. Words Paul uses, like patient, kind, does not seek its own, does not hold an account of wrongs, etc. all paint a picture of selfless devotion to another. Here in Colossians, Paul echoes this idea. Loving actions are described with the additional: compassion, humility, gentleness, and forgiveness.

Imagine what an awesome body of believers we would be if we followed Jesus’ example of love. Philippians 2 gives a thumbnail account of this. Christ emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the most shameful kind of death: crucified on the cross like the worst kind of criminal. He didn’t hold back-- He gave until our needs were satisfied.

2. Peace
How can we love like that? It is not possible unless we are satisfied ourselves. That’s where the peace of God is essential. When we know our every need is met in Christ, we can give with others in mind. We can rest in His promises. We can rest in the fulfillment only He can bring. We can rest in His sovereignty and intimate involvement in our lives.

Knowing that we are filled to abundance, the need to promote ourselves and our agenda becomes a rather meaningless effort. The peace of Christ allows us to love like we should.

What other selfless actions do you associate with love? Make your own list. Check out Ephesians 4 for some ideas.

1 comment:

Shanita Waters said...

Grace and Peace... I enjoyed your blog. I'll be back soon. I just wanted you to know that I stopped by..