Chapter 3:5-17 (ESV) - Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
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. 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. 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.
Question to consider: What does Paul mean by there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all?
Now that the Colossians were taught about the nature of Christ and His accomplishments for us, and that they had been raised to walk in newness of life in Him, Paul defined what that new life in Christ looked like. The image here is of someone taking off a dirty garment and putting on a clean one. If you went through our study in Zechariah, you may remember that Zechariah received a vision of the high priest of Israel, Joshua, standing before God in his role to intercede for the sins of Israel. However, since there was no temple in which Joshua could perform a sacrifice for his own sin, the vision was of Joshua standing before God in a filthy garment. Satan stood next to him and accused him of coming before God in an unworthy manner, hoping for God to judge him for it. Instead, the LORD rebuked Satan and commanded the angels to remove the filthy garment and put a clean one on him. Joshua’s forgiveness and mercy were a gift from God.
So it is with the Colossians (and with us). We have received forgiveness and mercy as a gift from God. Thus, Paul was saying in today’s passage that we put off the dirty garment of earthly passions which end in the wrath of God, and put on the clean garment of Christ which is born out in compassion and kindness, humility, meekness and patience. In his description of putting to death the passions of the world, Paul was referring to their actions before they came to Christ. Before Christ, we identified with our sin. We may have even worshiped things that aren’t necessarily bad: our work, our families, our hobbies. They were just not done in faith for the glory of God.
However, when we came to know Christ, our worldview changed. Now we are being renewed in knowledge after the image of Christ. We look at each other as fellow Christians regardless of our background or station in life. It’s not that we never sin, but we no longer identify ourselves with our sins, for we have become the saints of God by the righteousness of Christ. So we seek to live at peace with one another and seek to love one another being content and grateful for what the Lord has given us.
In order to walk more closely with Christ, we should let the word of God dwell richly in us. A nightly Bible study is a good start. I guarantee that if we love and serve our brothers and sisters in Christ, spend time in God’s word, live with an attitude of thanksgiving, and do everything to bring glory to Christ, we will stand strong in the faith and be able to bear up under the difficulties of this world.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for giving us a new identity in Christ to unite us with one another and renew our minds. Help us to depend upon You through Your word and through our brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank You for receiving our prayers as our dear heavenly father. Amen.