Archive for January 6th, 2021

Colossians 3:12-13

In Colossians 3:12-13 Paul gives us direction in how to act as one of God’s chosen. “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.” God has chosen us as a Christian, and chosen us to be something special in His plan. That should be both a comfort and as a destiny to fulfill. God has a plan for us as Christ Followers, but with that comes some direction on how we ought live. Paul has given us clarity on things we should not do – sins we should avoid, and now gives us a list of things we should pursue.

Each one of the qualities mentioned in this passage express themselves in relationships. A significant measure of our Christian life is found simply in how we treat people and the quality of our relationships with them. Barclay explains further “It is most significant to note that every one of the graces listed has to do with personal relationships between man and man. There is no mention of virtues like efficiency or cleverness, not even of diligence or industry – not that these things are unimportant. But the great basic Christian virtues are those which govern human relationships.” Being a Christ Follower is all about how we love the people in our patch.

Paul then talks about the need for compansion which Clarke explains “The apostle would have them to feel the slightest touch of another’s misery; and, as their clothes are put over their body, so their tenderest feeling should be always within reach of the miserable.” Next comes kindness which Barclay tells us that it is “the virtue of the man whose neighbour’s good is as dear to him as his own”. Paul continues with humility which wasn’t really a normal virtue for the people of that day. But from humility will flow meekness and patience as well as all three focus on how we act toward others. We should not dominate, manipulate, or coerce for our own gain, even if we have the power and the ability.

Then Paul lays the hardest of all ways we are to live on us – we must forgive. Jesus taught us the pattern not only with those who persecuted and ultimately killed Him, but in how He forgave us as sinners who certainly did not deserve it. Guzik shares a list of ways God has generously forgiven us through the death of Christ that puts it all in perspective:

  • God holds back His anger a very long time when we sin against Him. He bears with us a long time, even when we sorely provoke Him.
  • God reaches out to bad people to bring forgiveness to them; the habit of man is to not reconcile if the offending person is a person of bad character.
  • God makes the first move towards us in forgiveness; the habit of man is to only be reconciled if the offending party craves forgiveness and makes the first move.
  • God forgives often knowing that we will sin again, sometimes in the exact same way. It is the habit of man to forgive only if the offending party solemnly promises to never do the wrong again.
  • God’s forgiveness is so complete and glorious that He grants adoption to those former offenders. In the habit of man, even when forgiveness is offered, he will not lift again the former offender to a place of high status and partnership.
  • God bore all the penalty for the wrong we did against Him. In the habit of man, when he is wronged, he will not forgive unless the offender agrees to bear all the penalty for the wrong done.
  • God keeps reaching out to man for reconciliation even when man refuses Him again and again. In the habit of man, one will not continue to offer reconciliation if it is rejected once.
  • God requires no probationary period to receive His forgiveness; in the habit of man, one will not restore an offender without a period of probation.
  • God’s forgiveness offers complete restoration and honor; in the habit of man, we feel we should be complimented when we merely tolerate those who sin against us.
  • Once having forgiven, God puts His trust in us and invites us back to work with Him as co-laborers. In the habit of man, one will not trust someone who has formerly wronged him.”
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