In our study of Colossians chapter three, we look at how our new life in Christ is like putting on a brand new set of clothes. Paul tells us of the things that make up our old selves and need to be discarded as well as what our new self should look like.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
In chapter 2, we saw how Christ's death and resurrection is the answer to the problem of sin in our lives. Because of that, Paul tells us to seek the things of God as that is what it means to "set your hearts". This also speaks of an urgency not just a casual waiting for them. We also see from this verse that Jesus is in heaven in the position of honor (the right hand) of God.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
We see that we are also to desire a closer walk with God as our minds are to be focused on pleasing Him. We love Him because He first loved us. We are not to spend our time and affections on the things of this world as they are only temporary.
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we give up our old selves and the old life is put to death. We are a new creation and we will not fully see or understand that creation until Jesus comes back for us. Our lives in Christ are a constant growth in our understanding of the things of God.
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
When Jesus comes back for His church, we will all be changed to be like Him. We cannot see or fully understand what that means right now but it is our future hope.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
Since we died and are raised with Christ, we want to get rid of those things that are in our lives but don't shine His light. The question is: How do we do that? The answer is: Walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. This list of sins is just a short list representing all sin and is not meant to say that there are degrees of sin. In God's eyes, all sin is detestable and, because of that fact, His wrath (judgment) is coming. That wrath is for those whose sins are counted against them (those that reject Christ) and not for His children.
You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.
Many of us can look at the list in verse 5 and say that we have not done those things but we are only fooling ourselves. We all have done these things and need to take off those filthy clothes. Generally speaking, we do not leave on a set of clothes that need laundered and just put a new suit on over them and that is true for our Christian lives and clothes as well.
But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Paul gives us another list of things that we must get out of our lives. The first list had to do with internal things while this has to do with our relationship to others and how we act toward them. We not only change on the inside when we come to Christ but we also change on the outside in the way we see and react to others. He reminds us that man was created in God's image (Genesis 1) and we are being restored to that in our daily walk here on the earth.
Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Jesus is the great equalizer and, because of Him, we do not look at each other from the world's perspective. That is what Paul was saying, in 2 Corinthians 5:16.
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Now, Paul gives us a list of things that make up our new outfit in Christ. We see that there is seven qualities on the list and are reminded that, throughout the Bible, the number seven is associated with being complete. The entire list has to do with the way that we treat others and the good news is that we do not have to put them on ourselves. God gives them to us and clothes us in these things through His Spirit. The foundation of the list is love and that is the reason we put on the new clothes. We love others because we love Jesus. That is talking about a sacrificial love where we put others ahead of our own wants and needs. That is what Jesus did and we want to be like Him.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is to rule our hearts and this speaks of unity within the body of believers. We may have differences as to matters of faith but we share the same foundation which is Jesus Christ.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
This verse shows us how we are to worship God individually as well as in a group of believers. It begins with the very word of God dwelling in us but it is more as "richly" speaks to the fact that it is not only in our heads but is also in our hearts and changing us to be more like Jesus. We also sing praise to God for what He has done for us. Worship is done out of "gratitude" and not as a duty where it is showing up to a "church" on one day and putting in your time. When we put on the new clothes of a Christian, worship will be natural and heartfelt instead of a duty.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
As Christians (followers of Jesus Christ), everything that we say and do is to be done in His name. When you do something in another's name, it means that your are doing it for them and with their authority. A part of our worship is serving the Father in the name of Jesus. That is how we demonstrate our love (thanks) for Him.
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
These new clothes are to be worn at home as well as when we are out in the public eye. For the wife, she should respond to her husband as she would to Jesus. This verse is talking about a marriage relationship in which He has brought a man and a woman together. If that is the case, then it will not be too difficult for the wife to respond in love to her husband. Today, there are way too many people that have "married" someone without even wondering if it was the one that God created for them. When that happens, you end up with a wife struggling for years to respond to the man in the way that God desires and it usually ends up in divorce.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
Many people use the previous verse to attempt to beat women into submission but, here, we see the way that men can make it easy for their wives to submit to them. If we, as Christian husbands, love our wives as Christ loves us, then they will find it easy to love us as they love Christ. That love will lead to respect and to following our godly leadership in the home.
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
The same principle that governs the relationship between a husband and a wife should also govern the relationship between a parent and a child. If we, as parents, will love our children as Jesus does, then they will respect and obey us just as we respect and obey Jesus.
Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
In our society today, we often have different outfits that we wear for work, at home, going out in public, etc. but the new clothes of a Christian are the same no matter where you are. In this passage, we see that this goes for our workplace as well as our home. When we realize that we work for Jesus and not for men, it can change our attitude and we will be the best workers that we can. Many will go to work and labor when someone is standing over them and watching but not work once they are not being monitored. As Christians, we know that God is always watching and knows all so we should be the same whether a supervisor is watching or not.
Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.
When Jesus returns in judgment, only those who are wearing the new clothes that He provided will be saved from the heat of hell. Those that are wearing the robe that He provided, will receive rewards for their service to the King.