Commentary On The Epistle To The Colossians
By the Rev. Horace M. Patton
[In this section], Paul offers a strategy to help us live for God day by day: (a) imitate Christ's compassionate, forgiving attitude (vs 12-13); (b) let love guide your life (vs 14); (c) let the peace of Christ rule in your heart (vs 15); (d) always be thankful (vs 15); (e) keep God's Word in you at all times (vs 16); (f) live as Jesus Christ's representative (vs 17).
vs. 12: Sins Versus Signs Of Love:
1) Sins of sexual attitude and behavior: Evil desires, sexual immorality, impurity, lust, greed.
2) Sins of speech: Anger expressed, malice, slander, filthy language, lying.
3) Signs of love: Compassion, kindness, humility, patience, gentleness, forgiveness.
In Colossians 3:5, Paul tells us to put to death the things found in list 1. In 3:8 he tells us to rid ourselves of the things found in list 2. In 3:12 we’re told to practice the things found in list 3. List 1 deals with sins of sexual attitudes and behavior—they are particularly destructive because of what they do to destroy any group or church. List 2 deals with sins of speech—these are the relationship-breakers. List 3 contains the relationship-builders, which we are to express as members of Christ’s body.
The key to forgiving others is remembering how much God has forgiven you. Is it difficult for you to forgive someone who has wronged you a little when God has forgiven you so much? Realizing God’s infinite love and forgiveness can help you love and forgive others.
All the virtues that Paul encourages us to develop are perfectly bound together by love. As we clothe ourselves with these virtues, the last garment we are to put on is love, which holds all of the others in place. To practice any list of virtues without practicing love will lead to distortion, fragmentation, and stagnation (1 Corinthians 13:3).
Christians should live in peace. To live in peace does not mean that suddenly all differences in opinion are eliminated, but it does require that loving Christians work together despite their differences. Such love is not a feeling, but a decision to meet others’ needs (see 1 Corinthians 13). To live in love leads to peace between individuals and among the members of the body of believers. Do problems in your relationships with other Christians cause open conflicts or mutual silence? Consider what you can do to heal those relationships with love.
The word rule comes from the language of athletics: Paul tells us to let Christ’s peace be umpire or referee in our hearts. Our hearts are the center of conflict because there our feelings and desires clash—our fears and hopes, distrust and trust, jealousy and love. How can we deal with these constant conflicts and live as God wants? Paul explains that we must decide between conflicting elements by using the rule of peace—which choice will promote peace in our souls and in our churches. For more on the peace of Christ, see Philippians 4:9.
Although the early Christians had access to the Old Testament and freely used it, they did not yet have the New Testament or any other Christian books to study. Their stories and teachings about Christ were memorized and passed on from person to person. Sometimes the teachings were set to music, and so music became an important part of Christian worship and education.
Doing “all in the name of the Lord Jesus” means bringing honor to Christ in every aspect and activity of daily living. As a Christian, you represent Christ at all times—wherever you go and whatever you say. What impression do people have of Christ when they see or talk with you? What changes would you make in your life in order to honor Christ?
Life Application Bible and notes copyright c 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1996 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, IL 60189. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
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