HIS SERVANTS' MINISTRY
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Theme: Christ, the fullness of God, poured out in life through believers; thoughts and affections of believers are heavenly; lives of believers is holy
Chapter 3 is the division in this Letter, which goes along with Paul's regular way of dividing his Letters. He always gives the doctrinal section and then the practical section. Chapters 3 and 4 make up the practical section of Colossians.
The preeminence of Christ stands out in chapters 1 and 2. Preeminence is domination, unassailable and omnipotent power, superiority, supremacy. We saw Him as He is, a member of the Triune God. He is actually Man of actual man, but He is also actually God of actual God. He is preeminent (outstanding) in Creation because He is the Almighty Creator (Jn.1:1-3; Col.1:16-17, Heb.1:2). He is preeminent (outstanding) in redemption because He is the Redeemer (Rom.3:24; Eph.1:6-7; Col.1:14; 1 Tim.2:6; Tit.2:14; 1 Pet.1:18-19). He is preeminent (outstanding) in the church because He is the One who gave Himself for the church (Rom.3:24-26; 1 Cor.1:30; 6:20; Gal.1:4; 2:20; 4:4-5; Eph.1:7; 5:2; Col.1:14,20-22; 1 tim.2:6; Tit.2:14; 1 Pet.1:18-19). Now Paul will tell us that Jesus must be preeminent (outstanding) in our lives. Preeminent means He must be #1 in your life!
Today we hear much about dedication. What is dedication? Dedication means that Christ Jesus is foremost and prevailing in our lives. You CANNOT say, "I am a dedicated Christian," and then live your life exactly as you did before you confessed Him as your Saviour and Lord. That will NOT work! But, so many are trying to do this today. IF Christ is preeminent (#1 in your life), then you must live out His life down here on Earth. Paul has already made this clear in the doctrinal section: Col. 2:9-10 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (KJV) . . . You are made full (complete) in Him. You are ready for the voyage of life in Him. My friend, Christ is absolutely the Solution to ALL the problems of life. You must trust Him! Do NOT doubt, but TRUST Him in faith!
In the previous chapters, Paul told us the different things that lead people away from the Person of Christ. He warned about enticing words (Col.2:4), which move people away from Christ. He has warned against philosophy, legality, mysticism and asceticism. ALL these damnable heresies (2 Pet.2:1),lead people AWAY from the Person of Christ, which result in being condemned to Hell (Jn.3:18,36; 8:24).
God wants His TRUE children to live our lives, imitating Christ Jesus. He wants us to know that Jesus is all that we need. In this practical section of the Letter, Paul will show us Christ, the fullness of God, poured out in life through believers . . . for that is the only way He can be poured out (Acts 2:17-18; 10:45). This is an amazing portion of Scripture.
TRUE believers: . . http://www.godcannotlie.org/true_children_of_god.htm
Thoughts and Affections of Believers Are Heavenly (Colossians 3:1-4)
Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (KJV)
If ye then be risen with Christ . . . this refers to what Paul had said (Col.2:12), Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him. Paul had refuted superstitious observances and here concludes that they were risen again with Christ. We saw this same thing Col.1:23, "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled...." There was no question about their continuing in the faith grounded and settled. The lives of these Colossian Christians proved their salvation. What was the evidence? It was faith, hope and love . . . the fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22-23), was in their lives. Paul is telling the Colossians (and us), since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your goal on the certainties of Heaven.
Seek those things which are above . . . things which are above are the things of Christ.
Paul urges them, in the same way our Saviour commands us to seek His Kingdom (Mat.6:33), with persistence, to pursue Heaven and happiness as the end, and holiness as the only means to the attaining it; to have their conversation in heaven (Phil.3:20). Conversation is our life. SO, what are we to do today? "Seek those things which are above." This means we should have a deep desire and goal. We should eagerly seek things of Christ.
Where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God . . . God has a specific throne in Heaven, where He reveals Himself as being personally present, as He does in His Temple (1 Ki.22:19; Ps.11:4), and so Christ is set properly on the right hand of this throne (Heb.1:3; 8:1; 12:2; Rev.3:21).
When you read the Bible, you are looking at the real, living Christ. He is the One at God's right hand. We are to seek those things which are above . . . we are to seek Him. Sincere study of the Word of God will get you to the living Christ. Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.
Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (KJV)
Set your affection on things above . . . the hearts of TRUE believers should be where their treasure is (Mat.6:19-21). Paul here repeats his urging, using another word, saying they should ardently mind things above, the inheritance reserved in heaven for us (1 Pet.1:4), with heart and affections, together with all that God hath appointed to be a furtherance to the enjoyment of it.
Not on things on the earth . . we need to remove from the mind and heart any and all that opposes heavenly things, not only those human, carnal ordinances and ceremonies (Col.2:22; Phil.3:18-19), but also from the eager pursuit of the pleasures, profits and honors of this world, which the men of it do desperately desire (Col.3:5; Mat.6:33; Gal.5:24), and are carried away with (Tit.2:12; Jam.4:4; 2 Pet.1:4; 1 Jn.2:17). Christians should not neglect things spiritual . . . but they must take care of themselves and their families, so as to put them into a place of raising them more heavenward.
Paul does NOT mean to search the deep things of God (1 Cor.2:10), which cannot be found out, but to mind things above with seriousness.
Colossians 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (KJV)
For ye are dead . . . Paul adds another reason why the believing Colossians should not be earthly-minded, because they were dead (spiritually), in the respect of sin and the world. #1. In regard of that carnal, corrupted, sin-infected life, received from our first parents by carnal generation, the life of the old man (Rom.6:6; Eph.4:22), was altogether depraved. The real members of Christ are dead in Him (Col.2:11-12,20; Rom.6:2,4,6-8; 7:9; 8:9; 2 Cor.5:14,17; Gal.5:24). #2. In regard of the world, by communion with Christ their Head (Ps.22:15; Isa.26:19; Gal.6:14; 2 Tim.2:11; 2 Pet.4:1-2).
And your life is hid with Christ in God . . . meaning their spiritual life, as opposed to the life of sin, which comes only by their receiving of Christ, the life they now live by faith, quickened together with Christ (Col.2:13; Jn.11:25; 14:6; Gal.2:20; Heb.10:38; 1 Jn.5:11-12). This is hid with Christ because of their union with Him, as Christ is in God by union with the Father; Christ in God, and our life in Christ (Jn.17:21), because in Him alone, is the source of our spiritual life. We are regenerated, renewed and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and we progress in fruitfulness until we arrive to perfection (Phil.3:10,14; 1 Cor.15:35-57; 2 Cor.3:18; 1 Jn.3:2).
Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (KJV)
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear . . . which will be according to the plan and Promise of God, with whom it is laid up (Col.1:5), when Christ by whom they live shall so appear that they shall be like Him (1 Jn.3:2), and be taken to be with Him in the heavenly inheritance (1 Pet.1:4), then their conformity to Him, which began here, partly in holiness and partly in sufferings (Rom.8:18), shall be completed at last in glory and happiness (Phil.3:21; Heb.11:26,35).
Then shall ye also appear with him in glory . . . then shall these adopted children be brought into glory with Him (Heb.2;10), out of whose hands NONE shall be able to pull them (Jn.10:28). Then they shall see Christ Face to face, all tears shall be wiped away from their eyes (Rev.7:17; 21:4), and at the last day they shall shine as the sun in glory (Mat.13:43; 1 Cor.15:43; 2 Thes.1:7,10,12). Adoption, the spiritual children of God: (Rom.8:15-17,23; 2 Cor.6:18; Gal.4:5-6; Eph.1:5; 1 Jn.3:1; Rev.21:7).
Lives of Believers Must Be Holy (Colossians 3:5-25)
IF we are truly risen with Christ, this will be revealed in two areas of our lives: #1. our personal holiness, and #2. our fellowship with others who are around us.
Christians seem to be afraid of this matter of holiness . . . BUT . . . IF people were half as much afraid of sin as they are of holiness, things would change drastically. People just do NOT like this term holiness. But, it is a very good word, and that is Paul will be talking about here . . . our personal holiness.
Christ was born as a little Baby in Bethlehem, but He is NOT there anymore! And my dear friend, Christ Jesus is NOT a tiny Baby anymore, like the Catholics picture Him! Jesus is NOT a Baby in that inn anymore! He is up in the third Heaven (2 Cor.12:2), at God's right hand at this very moment. He's on His throne, NOT in a cradle at that inn but in Heaven! WHY is he there? He's there for you and me (1 Jn.2:1). IF you are in Christ, IF you have accepted Him as your Saviour, then that will reveal itself in your life down here . . . and IF it does NOT tell in your life down here, then very likely you are not in Him up there! Right Hand of God: (Mk.16:19; Lk.22:69; Acts 2:33; 7:55-56; Rom.8:34; Col.3:1; Heb.10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet.3:22).
Holy, holiness . . . what is it? What does it mean for us to be holy? When God told Israel to be holy in Leviticus 11 & 19, He was instructing them to be distinct (separate) from the other nations by giving them specific regulations to govern their lives. Israel is God's chosen nation and God has set them apart from all other people groups. They are His special people, and so they were given standards that God wanted them to live by so the world would know they belonged to Him. http://www.hisservants.org/israel_h_s.htm
When Peter repeats the Lord's words in: 1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (KJV) . . . He is talking specifically to believers. As believers, we need to be "set apart" from the world unto the Lord. We need to be living by God's standards, not the world's standards. God is NOT calling us to be perfect, but to be separate from the world. 1 Pet.2:9 describes believers as "a holy nation." TRUE believers are separated from the world; we need to live out that reality in our day-to-day lives, which Peter tells us how to do (1 Pet.1:13-16).
HOW can we become holy? Holiness results only from a right relationship with God by believing in Jesus Christ as Saviour (accepting His gift of eternal life Eph.2:8; Rom.6:23). If we have not placed our faith in God's Son, Jesus alone, to save us from our sins, our pursuit of holiness is in utter vain (Jn.14:6; Acts.4:12). SO, we must first make sure we are born-again (Jn.1:12-13; 3:3-8). If we are TRUE believers, then we are familiar with our position in Christ and that position automatically sets us apart from the world (1 Pet.2:9). In this amazing position, we have a relationship with the living God! THEN, we must live a daily set-apart life, never blending in with the world . . . but striving to live according to God's Word as we study and grow in it daily. Holy: (Eph.1:4; 3:5; 5:27; 1 Thes.5:27; 1 Pet.1:15-16; 2:5,9; 3:5; 2 Pet.1:21).
Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: (KJV)
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth . . . since TRUE believers are dead to sin (Rom.6:2,11; 1 Pet.2:24), and dead to the world, and are to appear with Christ in the glory of His Kingdom, they must cast off every carnal and evil tendency of their nature. The word mortify means, to put to death (Rom.8:13; Gal.5:24), and the meaning here is, that the Colossians were to completely subdue (bring under control) their evil tendencies, they were not to indulge in them at all. The word "members" here refers to the different members of the body . . . as the seat of evil desires and passions (Rom.6:13). They were to totally exterminate those evil passions which Paul specifies as having their seat in the various members of the earthly body. Mortify: (Rom.8:13; Gal.5:24; Eph.5:3-6).
Fornication . . . (Rom.2:29).
Uncleanness . . . (Rom.11:24).
Inordinate affection . . . called vile affections in (Rom.1:26), and in (1 Thes.4:5) it is called lust, which is its meaning here. Inordinate affection is unnatural passion.
Evil concupiscence . . . evil desires; licentious (lustful, immoral) passions (Rom.1:24).
And covetousness, which is idolatry . . . it is amazing that the apostle always ranks covetousness with these corrupt and detestable passions. The meaning here is: #1. covetousness is a low and debasing passion, like those which Paul had indicated; and #2. that covetousness secures the affections which properly belong to God, and is therefore idolatry. Of all corrupt and immoral passions, this one is the one that dethrones God from your soul most often. See this more fully explained in Ephesians 5.
Colossians 3:6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: (KJV)
For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience . . . see Ephesians 5:6, where the same expression occurs. The wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience . . . men are NOT lost simply because they do these things, neither are they lost because they have not heard of Christ. Men are lost because they are sinners, sinners in their hearts. And since the heart is where all that we do or say begins (Mk.7:21), and because they are sinners, they do these immoral and wicked things.
Colossians 3:7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. (KJV)
In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them . . . they still lived among such disobedient ones . . . but now they were believers in Jesus. They (and we), also walked some time . . . had before practiced and continued in sin (1 Jn.3:9); and had not only been infected with the poison of them, in descending from polluted parents, but lived in them, were servants to them (Rom.6:17,19), while they were in their old course of life, were carried away with them (1 Cor.12:2). Before their conversion (and ours), sin did live and reign in their mortal bodies (Col.1:21; 1 Cor.6:11; Eph.2:3,11; 5:8).
Colossians 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. (KJV)
But now ye also put off all these . . . Paul had reminded them of their former condition under paganism in a state of sin, when they served many carnal lusts, Paul says that their present life in Christ is a state of grace, showing them that, now they must walk as children of light (Rom.13:12; Eph.5:8; 1 Thes.5:5,8). They were to cast aside those inordinate affections which were more spiritual (Eph.4:22). He does not mean the passion itself (Eph.4:26,31), but having a vindictive appetite to hurt another unfairly for some insult given by him.
Anger . . . (Mat.5:22; Eph.4:31)
Wrath . . . (Rom.9:22; Eph.2:3); indignation (Rom.2:8), a sudden, hasty and vehement commotion of the offended mind apprehending an injury, revealing itself in a manner very unbecoming a Christian, as in them who with rage thrust Christ out of the city (Lk.4:28-29).
Malice . . . meaning to plan to harm, and then the vicious act of the plan. Malice is a horrible poison which runs through all the passions of the soul, reaching to all sins (1 Cor.5:8; Eph.4:31; Tit.3:3; 1 Pet.2:1).
Blasphemy . . . is contempt, disrespect, irreverence, sacrilege of God and His Word and His people (Rev.13:1,5; 16:11,21).
Filthy communication out of your mouth . . . back stabbing, cursing, dirty jokes, false witness, gossiping, dishonest talk, obscene speech, and should NOT come into the Christian's mouth (Col.4:6; Eph.4:29; 5:4; 1 Cor.15:33). NO wanton, lewd or unclean speech of any kind should proceed from a Christian's tongue (1 Cor.15:33).
Sins that should NOT come from Christians:
1. Anger . . . (Col.3:8; Eph.4:26)
2. Wrath . . . (Col.3:8), See 17 Works of the Flesh, below.
3. Malice . . . (Col.3:8; Eph.4:31)
4. Blasphemy . . . (Col.3:8; Mat.12:31)
5. Filthy communication . . . only here (Col.3:8), but see (Eph.4:29; 5:4).
6. Lying . . . (Col.3:9; Eph.4:25)
7. The old man . . . (Col.3:9; 2 Cor.5:17)
Colossians 3:9Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; (KJV)
Lie not one to another . . . here Paul says they must lay aside that evil which violates the ninth commandment, LIES. Lies are opposite to truth in word and work (Eph.4:25), where Paul more fully urges the putting away lying, from the same argument that follows here . . . a lie is a falsehood expressed by word or deed. Paul requires Christians to put away ALL fraud and delusion in commerce with men and one another, as well as speaking with God (Eph.4:15; Jam.3:14). Lying to one another messes up unity by putting an end to trust. It tears down relationships and often leads to serious struggles in a church. We should not pass on rumors and gossip, or say things to build up your own image. We should always be steadfast in telling the truth. The Lord Jesus wants to clean your life of sexual sin (immorality) and verbal sin (filthy communication and lies). There is NO place in the Kingdom of God for self-indulgent sexual lust or for gossip, rage and backbiting (Rev.21:8). The Lord wants us to witness to the world, we should be like a lighthouse on a dangerous rocky shore, on a stormy night, by displaying Godly love, faith and hope to all around us.
Seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds . . . the old man is the unregenerate nature which we all had before conversion. We have put off our old deeds, and we must NOT pick them up again.
Seventeen Works of the Flesh:
#1. Adultery . . . unlawful sexual relations between married men and women (Mat.15:19; Mk.7:21; Jn.8:3; Gal.5:19)
#2. Fornication . . . unlawful sexual relations between single men and women (Eph.5:3-5; Heb.13:4; Rev.21:8; 22:15)
#3. Uncleanness . . .whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, and all other forms of sexual perversion (Mat.23:27; Gal.5:19; Rom.1:21-32; 6:19; 2 Cor.12:21; Eph.4:19; 5:3; Col.3:5; 1 Thes.2:3; 4:7; 2 Pet.2; Jude).
#4. Lasciviousness . . . immorality, licentiousness, lustfulness, unchaste, lewd (Mk.7:22; 2 Cor.12:21; Gal.5:19; Eph.4:19; 1 Pet.4:3; Jude 1:4). Wantonness (Rom.13:13; 2 Pet.2:18). Filthy (2 Pet.2:7). Lasciviousness is the promoting or partaking of that which tends to produce lewd emotions, anything tending to foster sex sin and lust. Worldly pleasures must be avoided by TRUE Christians.
#5. Idolatry . . . image-worship (1 Cor.10:14; Gal.5:20; Col.3:5; 1 Pet.4:3). Idolatry includes anything on which affections are passionately set; extravagant admiration of the heart (Eph.5:5; Col.3:5).
#6. Witchcraft . . . sorcery, dealing with evil spirits; magical incantations and casting spells and charms upon one by means of drugs and potions of various kinds (Gal.5:20; Rev.9:21; 18:23; 21:8; 22:15).
#7. Hatred . . . enmity (Lk.23:12; Rom.8:7; Gal.5:20; Eph.2:15-16; Jam.4:4; 1 Jn.3:15). Bitter dislike, loathing, malice and ill will against anyone; tendency to hold grudges against or be angry at someone.
#8. Variance . . . dissensions, discord, quarreling, debating; and disputes (Rom.1:29).
#9. Emulations . . . envy, jealousy; striving to excel at the expense of another; seeking to surpass and out do others; uncurbed rivalry spirit in religion, business, society, and other fields of endeavor. Zeal (Jn.2:17; Rom.10:2; 2 Cor.7:11; 9:2; Phil.3:6; Col.4:13). Fervent mind (2 Cor.7:70. Envy (Acts 13:45; Rom.13:13; 1 Cor.3:3; 12:20; Jam.3”14-15). Jealousy (2 Cor.11:2). Indignation (Acts 5:17; Heb.10:27). Emulation (Gal.5:20).
#10. Wrath . . . (Gal.5:20; Lk.4:28; Acts 19:28; 2 Cor.12:20; Eph.4:31; Col.3:8; Heb.11:27; Rev.12:12; 14:8,10,19; 15:1,7; 16:1; 18:3). Indignation (Rom.2:8). Fierceness (Rev.16:19; 19:15). Turbulent passions; domestic and civil turmoil; rage; determined and lasting anger.
#11. Strife . . . (Gal.5:20; 2 Cor.12:20; Phil.2:3; Jam.3:14,16). Contention (Phil.1:16; Rom.2:8). Arguments; strife about words; angry contentions; fight for superiority or advantage; determined attempt to equal or pay back in kind the wrongs done to one.
#12. Seditions . . .divisions (Rom.16:17; 1 Cor.3:3). Seditions, parties, and factions (Gal.5:20). General disorder; stirring up strife in religion, government, home, or any other place.
#13. Heresies . . . see Acts 5:17-18.
#14. Envyings . . . (Gal.5:21; Mat.27:18; Mk.15:10; Rom.1:29; Phil.1:15; 1 Tim.6:4; Tit.3:3; Jam.4:5; 1 Pet.2:1). Pain, ill will, and jealousy at the good fortune or blessings of another; the most disgusting of all degrading and disgraceful passions.
#15. Murders . . . to kill; to spoil or mar the happiness of another; hatred (1 Jn.3:15). This includes abortion! (Ex.20:13).
#6. Drunkeness . . . (Gal.5:21; Lk.21:34; Rom.13:13). Living intoxicated; a slave to drink; also I would include any vile addiction.
#17. Revellings . . . (Gal.5:21; 1 Pet.4:3). Rioting (Rom.13:13). Lascivious and boisterous feastings, with obscene music, and other sinful activities; pleasures; carousings.
Four Divisions of these sins:
1. sins of lust . . . (Gal.5:19)
2. sins of impiety and superstition . . . (Gal.5:20)
3. sins of temper . . . (Gal.5:20-21)
4. sins of appetite . . . eating, drinking, drugs (Gal.5:21)
Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: (KJV)
And have put on the new man . . . as in natural generation, the removal of the old form is replaced with the new, so too in spiritual regeneration . . . having put off the old Adam, the Colossians had put on the new man. The new man: (Eze.11:19; 18:31; 36:26; 2 Cor.5:17; Gal.6:15; Eph.2:15; 4:24; Rev.21:5). Christ, not only sacramentally (Col.2:12-13; Gal.3:27), but actually, being new creatures in Christ Jesus (2 Cor.5:17; Eph.2:10), renewed in the inward man (Rom.7:22; 2 Cor.4:16; 7:22; Eph.3:16; 4:24), and given a new heart and a new spirit (Eze.11:19; Jn.3:3-8), and new qualities and affections.
Which is renewed in knowledge . . . spiritually enlightened, with the will powerfully motivated by the effective work of the Holy Spirit (Eph.1:18-20; 4:23; Phil.2:13; 2 Thes.2:13-14), which brings them (and us), to an active and capable knowledge.
After the image of him that created him . . . we are able to put off old habits and form new ones, for the believer has the power of the Holy Spirit within him (Rom.8:9). We put on the new man, and that new Man is Christ. In this way, TRUE believers are able to represent Christ Jesus on this Earth. We are created in His image (Gen.1:27), which consists in knowledge and righteousness; so it was necessary that the spiritual image restored by grace should consist in the rectifying the abilities of the soul, give us understanding of spiritual knowledge, and the desire and will to embrace the things that please God. 1 John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. (KJV)
Nine Things We Put On: (Col.3:10,12)
1. The new man . . . (Eph.4:24)
2. Bowels of mercies . . . (2 Cor.6:12)
3. Kindness . . . (1 Cor.13:4)
4. Humbleness of mind . . . (Col.3:12). Humility (1 Pet.5:5; Col.2:18,23). Humility of mind (Acts 20:19). Lowliness (Eph.4:2). Lowiness of mind (Phil.2:3).
5. Meekness . . . (1 Cor.13:4)
6. Longsuffering . . . (1 Cor.13:4)
7. Forbearance . . . (Gal.5:22)
8. Forgiveness . . . (Mat.18:35)
9. Divine love . . . (1 Cor.13:4)
Colossians 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. (KJV)
Where there is neither Greek nor Jew . . . see Galatians 3:28. The meaning is, that all are on one level, there is no division of nation in the church; all are to be regarded and treated as brethren, and that no one should be false to another, or lie to another. Neither Greek nor Jew . . . this was a religious division or distinction that was made in Paul's day.
Circumcision nor uncircumcision . . . this was also a religious division. No one is admitted into the church because he is circumcised, and no one is excluded because he is not circumcised. Circumcision was a name for the Jews, and uncircumcision was a name for the Gentiles. ALL are to be treated as brethren.
Barbarians, Scythian . . . Scythian does not occur anywhere else in the New Testament. These people lived on the north and north-east of the Black and Caspian Seas, a region stretching indefinitely into the unknown countries of Asia. They occupied the lands now occupied by the Monguls and Tartars. Scythian was almost identical with barbarian, for they were regarded as a wild and savage race. The meaning here is, that even such a ferocious and uncivilized people were NOT excluded from the Gospel. They were just as welcome as any other, and were entitled to the same privileges as others. NO one was excluded because he belonged to the most rude and uncivilized portion of mankind (Rom.1:14).
Bond nor free . . . see Gal.3:28.
But Christ is all, and in all . . . the great thing that establishes the uniqueness of the church is, that Christ is its Saviour, and that ALL people can be His friends and followers. Its members lay aside all other differences, and are known only as His friends. John 15:14-15 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. (KJV) . . . Are YOU His friend?
They are NOT known as Jews and Gentiles; as of one nation or another, as slaves or freemen; they are known as Christians! They are distinguished from all the rest of mankind as the united friends of the Redeemer. Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. (KJV)
Urging Them to Humility, Love, etc.
Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; (KJV)
Put on therefore, as the elect of God . . . the fact that you belong to one and the same church, and that you have been redeemed by the same Blood, and chosen by the same grace, and that you are all brethren, should lead you to manifest a spirit of kindness, gentleness, and love.
All TRUE Christians are:
Holy . . . (Rom.11:16; 12:1; Eph.1:4; 3:5; 5:27; Col.1:22; 3:12; 1 Thes.5:27; 1 Tim.2:8; Tit.1:8; Heb.3:1; 1 Pet.1:15-16; 2:5,9; 3:5; 2 Pet.1:21; Rev.22:11)
Beloved of God . . . (Rom.1:7; 2 Cor.7:1; Col.3:12; 1Thes.1:4; 2 Thes.2:13; 1 Jn.3:1-2; 4:1,7,11)
Bowels of mercies . . . (Phil.2:1) Bowels of mercies means heart of compassion.
Kindness . . . (Eph.4:32). The language here is a little different from what it is there, but the sentiment is the same.
Humbleness of mind . . . humbleness is meekness, gentleness. Being meek does NOT mean being weak. Paul's stresses here the humbleness of mind.
Meekness . . . Jesus was meek (Isa.53:7; Mat.11:29; 1Pet.2:23), and He was powerful!
Longsuffering . . . is extreme patience. (Rom.2:4; 9:22; Eph.4:2; Col.1:11; 3:12; 1 Tim.1:16; 3:10; 4:2; 1 Pet.3:20; 2 Pet.3:9,15).
I believe all these wonderful traits are brought about by only the Holy Spirit.
Colossians 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. (KJV)
Forbearing one another . . . forbearing is to be merciful, patient, forgiving towards each other, not only in suffering insults, but refusing to take advantage of the weaknesses of others, so as not to irritate them to anger or passion, or to make them stumble, or intensify their failings (Pro.16:32; 1 Cor.4:12; Gal.6:2; Eph.4:2; 2 Thes,1:4). We must avoid any and all occasions of irritating or provoking each other.
And forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any . . . if you are offended, be promptly ready to forgive, just as God is promptly ready to forgive us. Forgive; do NOT let it insults and offences gnaw at you and fester! Forgive! Matthew 6:14-15 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (KJV) . . . Living a Christian life is NOT easy! Living as Christ lived is NOT easy! It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE without Christ, because only WITH Christ, do we have the Holy Spirit to help us!
Please consider this . . . the Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of the Lord and the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost . . . and the Comforter are ONE and the SAME! There are NOT many Spirits! There is just ONE, that being the third Person in the awesome Triune God! (Gen.1:2; 41:38; Ex.31:3; 35:31; Num.24:2; Jud.3:10; 6:34; 13:25; 14:19; 15:14; 1 Sam.10:10; 11:6; 16:13-14; 19:20,23; 23:2; 1 Ik.18:12; 22:24; 2 Ki.2:16; 2 Chron.15:1; 18:23; 20:14; 24:20; Job 33:4; Ps.51:11; Isa.11:2; 40:13; 59:19; 61:1; 63:14; Eze.11:5,24; 37:1; Mic.2:7; 3:8; Mat.3:16; 12:28; Lk.4:1; 11:13; Jn.1:13; 7:39; 14:16,26; 15:26; Acts 2:4; 5:9; 8:39; Rom.8:2,9,11,14; 15:19; 1 Cor.2:11; 3:16; 6:11; 7:40; 12:3,13; 2 Cor.3:3,17-18; Gal.3:14; Eph.1:13,17; 4:30; Phil.1:19; 1 Thes.4:8; Philemon 1:25; Heb.9:14; 1 Pet.1:2;11; 4:14; 1 Jn.4:2).
Colossians 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. (KJV)
And above all these things put on charity . . . over all . . . as a coat covers all the rest of clothing, so too, let charity or LOVE encompass all the rest. (1 Cor.13). The bowels of mercy (Col.3:12; Phil.2:1; Isa.63:15), are to be set in motion by Godly love, because it is from love we receive all our feeling, and all our power to put into action. Bowels of mercies means a heart of compassion.
Which is the bond of perfectness . . . love to God and man not only covers all, but also unites all. LOVE is represented here under the idea of a girdle, by which all the rest of the clothing is bound close about the body. To love God with all the heart, soul, strength and mind and thy neighbor as thyself (Lk.10:27), is the perfection which the new covenant (Gospel) requires, and which the grace and Spirit of Christ work in every sincerely obedient, humble believer; and that love is the fulfilling of the law (Rom.13:10), and the perfection which the Gospel requires, is also the bond (promise) of that perfection. It is by love to God and man that love is to be preserved. Love begets love; and the more a man loves God and his neighbor, the more he shall be enabled to do so. Godly love, when properly applied, is ever growing and reproduces itself.
Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. (KJV)
And let the peace of God . . . this is deep, heartfelt peace which only God gives (Phil.4:7).
Rule in your hearts . . . we are to permit this peace to rule in our hearts; governing and controlling us. We are to allow the peace of God judge, decide and govern your hearts, as the judge does in the Olympic contests. NO heart is right with God where the peace of Christ does not rule; and the continuation of the peace of Christ is proof that the heart is right with God. When a man loses this peace, it is a terrible proof that he grieved the Spirit of God (Eph.4:30).
Peace of God: (Rom.15:33; 16:20; 1 Cor.13:11; Phil.4:7,9; Col.3:13; 1 Thes.5:23; Heb.13:20).
To the which also ye are called . . . all TRUE Christians are called to this peace.
In one body . . . to be one body, or to be united as one (Eph.4:3-6).
And be ye thankful . . . for all mercies, and especially for your privileges and hopes as Christians. A spirit of thankfulness always tends to promote harmony and peace, whereas an ungrateful people is commonly unrestrained, agitated, restless and dissatisfied. I think that appreciation and thankfulness to God for His mercies, has a huge tendency to promote peace and order. We are called by Him into this glorious state of salvation, and we should be forever thankful that we are so privileged. Have you thanked Him yet today?
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (KJV)
Let the word of Christ . . . the doctrine of Christ, the Word of Christ (Ps.119:11).
Dwell in you richly in all wisdom . . . abundantly, producing the spirit of true wisdom, which in truth, this Word of Christ alone can make you wise. We must lay up the Word of the Gospel in our hearts; to meditate upon them; we must permit them to be their guide, and to try wisely to obey them.
Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs . . . (Eph.5:19-20). The additional thought here is, that their psalms and hymns were to be regarded as a way of "teaching" and "admonishing;" meaning the psalms and hymns and spiritual songs were to be filled with Truth, and to be such as to elevate the mind, and withdraw it from error and sin.
Singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord . . . the singing here recommended is far different from what is often used in some Christian congregations; a mass of unmeaning sounds, joined to ridiculous repetitions, which both deprave and disgrace the Body of Christ. The simplicity of Christian worship is destroyed, and all edification (building up in Christ) is completely worthless. We need to sing with grace in our hearts to the Lord! We are to let the Word of God have this marvelous influence in our lives that Paul has described here.
Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (KJV)
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed . . . whatever you say or do, whether in personal affairs or religion . . . Paul’s command here extends to all that we do.
Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus . . . anything you say or do, DO with a deep desire to honor Jesus. His authority should be our warrant; and His glory should be the aim of all our actions and words (1 Cor.10:31).
Giving thanks to God and the Father by him . . . through Christ Jesus, or in His Name. ALL our actions should be accompanied with thanksgiving (Phil.4:6). We are to include in every duty, not only in the Name of Christ, but with thankfulness for our strength and guidance; for the privilege of acting so that we may honor Him; and ALWAYS with a grateful remembrance of the mercy of God, that gave us such a Saviour to be our Example and Guide. We are most likely to do our duty well, when it comes with a heart overflowing with gratitude to God for His mercies. We are also most likely to perform our duties with the cheerful loyalty, if we have a deep sense of the Divine goodness in providing a Saviour for our lost and ruined soul (2 Cor.5:14-15). Mercies of God: (Ps.52:8; 136:2,26; Rom.12:1; 2 Cor.1:3; 1 Pet.1:3;).
Would you like a standard for Christian conduct? Would you want something to go by instead of a lot of little rules? Paul gives us an answer here. He does not tell us what we should or should not say or do. He just tells us, "Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." My friend, whatever you do . . . whether in your home, at your place of employment, and in your relationships with others . . . ASK YOUSELF, "Am I doing this in the Name of the Lord Jesus"? IF you can say, “I am doing it in His Name,” then continue to do so. BUT . . . IF you have to say, "I am NOT doing this in the name of the Lord Jesus" . . . STOP and take inventory! Colossians 3:17 is a marvelous standard on which we can judge our lives. (2 Cor.13:5).
Twelve responsibilities of a TRUE Christian:
1. Seek those things above . . . (Col.3:1).
2. Set affections on things above . . . (Col.3:2).
3. Mortify all sinful members . . . (Col.3:5-7).
4. Put off the old man . . . (Col.3:8-9).
5. Put on the new man . . . (Col.3:10-12).
6. Forbear with all men . . . (Col.3:13; 1 Cor.13).
7. Forgive all men . . . (Col.3:13; Mat.18:35).
8. Put on divine love . . . (Col.3:14; 1 Cor.13).
9. Let peace rule your life . . . (Col.3:15).
10. Know the Bible . . . (Col.3:15; 2 Tim.2:15; 3:16-17).
11. Teach and admonish one another . . . (Col.3:16).
12. Use the Christian's power of attorney . . . (Col.3:17; Jn.16:23).
Holiness in the Home (Colossians 3:18-21)
Now Paul deals with holiness in the home, which he also deals with in his Letter to the Ephesians. There he told them to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and then he gave them these same instructions. Here in Colossians Paul writes, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom" (verse 16) and then he goes on to give instructions for living.
What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? It means that you have to be filled with the Word of Christ also. The Word of God is inspired by the Spirit of God. If the Word of God dwells in you richly, then you are filled with the Spirit of God. I do not believe that you can be filled with the Holy Spirit or that you can serve Christ until you are filled with the knowledge of His Word. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly." IF the Word of Christ dwells in your richly (abundantly), it will work itself out in your life, and it will have an effect on your home and your entire life. See: Holy, holiness on Col.3:3.
Colossians 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. (KJV)
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord . . . see Eph.5:22-24. Submit: (Col.3:18; Eph.5:21-22; Rom.10:3; 1 Cor.16:16; Heb.13:17; 1 Pet.2:13; 3:1; 5:5; Jam.4:7).
I would like to make a comment here. The word submit is one that many people do NOT like, especially feminists. They simply do not like the idea of submitting (giving in to; succumbing, surrendering, yielding, conceding) to anyone! Here, and in Ephesians, we have this word, and it is something that a TRUE child of God MUST do, whether you like it or not. May I make a suggestion: consider that submit means to cooperate voluntarily. Maybe then you won’t hate it so much. See our article on Submission: http://hisservants.org/submission_and_servanthood_h_s.htm
Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. (KJV)
Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them . . . see Eph.4:25-29.
IF the husband truly loves his wife . . . that is the husband to whom the wife will willingly submit. She is not to be the one to lead the family, but she is to urge him to take the lead. Sincere spiritual leadership involves service. Just as Christ served the disciples, up to the point of washing their feet (Jn.13:5-14), so too the husband is to serve his wife, meaning to put aside his own interests so he can care for his wife. A wise Christ-honoring husband will never abuse his leadership role . . . while at the same time, a wise and Christ-honoring wife will never try to undermine her husband's leadership. For either husband or wife to do so, causes arguments and conflict in marriage.
Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. (KJV)
By children . . . Paul means both males and females.
Obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord . . . children must yield humble subjection to those that brought them into the world, those who have just authority over them (Ex.20:12; Eph.6:1). Children are to obey their parents. They are to honor their parents all their lives, but when they are children they are to obey them. This is far from what goes on in today’s world. In many families, both parents work, leaving children with little or no discipline! Many children are addicted to cigarettes, drugs and booze, and so many are out in the violent streets. A lot of parents do not seem to care about discipline. They just let the kids do whatever! Kids are getting meaner and meaner, and more violent day by day. I don’t think there is one kid in 25 that obey their parents! Ephesians 6:1-4.
I think that God wants parents to parent their children the way He parents His children (Eph.6:1-4; Heb.12:5-11; 1 Cor.11:32; Jam.1:12; Rev.3:19). God disciplines those whom He loves to perfect their righteousness. God only disciplines His own, which proves that Christians are His beloved children. God's discipline is a sign of His love (Heb.12:5-11), so this tells me that IF we love our children, we will discipline them.
Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. (KJV)
Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged . . . (Eph.6:4). Parents should not continually find fault with their kids, for they will lose all hope, and think they can never please you. Children should NOT be sweet-talked, but they should be encouraged. They should not be so praised as to make them vain and proud, but they should be praised when they do something right. The desire of praise should not be the reason from which kids should be taught to act, but they should feel that the approval of parents is necessary. Children must be handled with care. They need firm discipline administered in love. Parents should not aggravate them by nagging, ridiculing, or destroying their self-respect so that they quit trying. BUT . . . the opposite problem happens when parents are afraid to correct a child for fear of stifling some aspect of his or her personality or losing his or her love. Single parents or parents who cannot spend much time with a child may be prone to indulgence. But such children as these especially need the security of guidance and structure. Boundaries and guidelines will not embitter a child, but will set the child free to live securely within the boundaries.
Did Paul Approve of Slavery? (Colossians 3:22-25)
Colossians 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: (KJV)
Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh Servants . . . see (Eph.6:5-8).
Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers . . . eye-service is a word unusual in the New Testament, and is only here and in Eph.6:6. I think most likely Paul means, “Don't keep your eye on the clock. Keep your eye on Christ.” He is the One whom you are serving." That is the way we should always do our job, because in reality, Christ keeps His eye on us! Nothing we do gets past His watchful eye, be it good or bad! (Acts 9:4; Mat.25:40,45-46; Gen.3:8; Eze.11:5).
Secret sins: (Ps.19:12; 44:21; 64:2; 90:8; Ecc.12:14; Eze.8:12; 11:5; Mat.10:26; Lk.8:17; 12:2-3; Jn.3:20; Eph.5:12).
But in singleness of heart, fearing God . . . Christians talk about being dedicated to the Lord and wanting to serve the Lord, but many are lazy slobs. IF you are lazy on the job, you certainly are NOT dedicated to Jesus Christ. For more on dedication, see beginning of this chapter.
Paul had reduced the Christian life to its lowest common denominator. He had one simple goal: "...forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil.3:13-14). Paul had his eye, his mind, his heart and all his affections fixed upon Jesus Christ. "In singleness of heart, fearing God." We should not fear our earthly boss . . . we must fear God!
TRUE Christians should readily receive and cheerfully execute all the commands (Col.3:20), in things lawful and honest, those of both sexes, whom God in His wise providence hath given just authority over them according to the flesh (Eph.6:5).
Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; (KJV)
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men . . . what Paul means is to work vigorously, with gusto! Paul means to work from your soul. If you cannot do something with eager willingness for the Lord, no matter what it is, it is wrong for you. Paul gives us another standard here (verse 17). Here is the standard: "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord." That means everything. As to the Lord, and not unto men . . . whatever we do should be done to the Lord, not to men. We are not to be men pleasers!
Colossians 3:24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. (KJV)
Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ . . . being fully persuaded of this certain truth, the reward which your Master in Heaven hath purchased (Eph.1:14,18), shall be freely settled upon you whom He hath adopted into His family (Rom.8:17; Gal.4:7; Eph.1:5).
Maybe you are not going to have to report to your boss; or when his back is turned he does not see that you are loafing on the job, that you are not really giving him a full day's work. But my friend, the Lord Jesus sees, and you are going to answer to Him. You are in Him, and you belong to Him. Therefore, you have to give an account of your life to Him. BEWARE!!! There is NOTHING that you can hide or keep secret from Him (Ps.44:21; Eze.11:5). Do NOT try!
Since we represent the Lord Jesus here upon this Earth, He is going to ask that His agents be faithful. There are many people who are humble and little-known, that you and I know nothing about who have been faithful on the job. They have been faithful to their employer, faithful to their church, faithful to their homes, faithful to their pastor. Very few people know about them, but the Lord knows. They will receive a reward. I think one day we will be surprised by the reward some people will get . . . OR the lack of reward! We must remember that we serve the Lord Jesus, and we are going to give an account to Him on Judgment Day.
Colossians 3:25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. (KJV)
But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done . . . He is going to straighten out everything in your life and mine that we do not straighten out down here. This is what this means.
When the Lord judges you, He will judge you on faithfulness. Everyone will be judged alike. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). We are joined to a living Christ. How wonderful this is! I cannot accomplish that reward in Heaven in my own strength. But He says He is going to help me, and I know He cannot lie (Tit.1:2), so I can count on Him to do so. Only the Holy Spirit working in me can attain this high and holy calling. God wants me to mirror Jesus in every relationship I have down here. What a glorious calling you and I have! Do not look to the tiny Baby in Bethlehem. He is NOT there anymore! Look to the living Christ who is at God's right hand.
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