Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Glorious Adornment of the Saints (Col. 3:12-17)

Col. 3:12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 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. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 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. 17 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.
Just as Israel was called "God's chosen people" in the Old Testament (Deut. 4:37), the Christian Church is now called Chosen - as a "a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God" (1 Peter 2:9). God's purpose was for a people who would praise Him, serve Him, and glorify Him (Eph. 1:12, 1 Pet. 2:9) As we've seen in studying the book of Colossians, we have been made alive in Christ, new creations who are to walk in newness of life, clothed with His goodness, putting off the deeds of the flesh, and putting on the righteousness of Christ, our Savior. Paul goes into detail in the verses above about what this righteousness looks like. Let's take each of the elements and examine them one by one:

Compassion (v. 12)– Heartfelt sympathy that is shown in outward deeds of kindness
Matthew 9:35-38: 35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

Kindness/Goodness (v. 12)– Also "generosity", "bounty", and "courtesy". The word expresses the abundant bounty God displays to His people, as in a harvest that is not just adequate, but is overflowing.
Luke 6:35: But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

Humility (v. 12)– The Old Testament says repeatedly that God opposes the proud and arrogant, and will exalt the lowly and humble (Isaiah 2:6-22, Amos 2:6-7). The former think they have the resources to manage life on their own and can operate independent of God. By contrast, the latter know that apart from God they are not great, but because they are made in God's image and are loved by him, they are of great worth. They know they have no real hope without God.
Phil. 2:5-11. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Gentleness/Meakness (v. 12) – This is a near synonym for humility; the two words are often paired in both Old and New Testaments. The meek in ancient times were the poor people who did not own land. They were the defenseless, those without rights, who were oppressed, cheated, and exploited. In deep need, they were apt to seek help from God alone (Psalm 40:17). The gentle person does not have a low opinion of himself; he is not occupied with self at all. Because he/she trusts in God's goodness and God's control over situations, the meek or gentle person does not have to worry about self-interest and looking out for number one. Meekness is not passive tolerance of injustice, but a reliance on God for vindication and a refusal to retaliate when insulted.
1 Peter 2:23 "When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly."

Patience (v. 12) - Long suffering endures wrong and puts up with the exasperating conduct of others rather than flying into a rage and wanting revenge.

Isaiah 48:9
“For my name's sake I defer my anger,
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.

Bearing with one another (v. 13) And forgiving one another as the Lord has forgiven us
Col. 2:13-14: 13 "And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross."

Above all (v. 14):And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Galatians 5:22-24 - 22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Consider how Christian love binds all the other Christian graces together and how we are called to put love on top of all these other articles. Further study: 1 Cor. 12-13 - Love is called indispensable, the most excellent way, and the greatest of the gifts of the spirit.

Letting the Peace of Christ Rule

v. 15 - And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.

It is especially crucial that we practice these virtues among one another 
John 13:35 "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

                1 Cor. 12:12-26 – We are one body, with many members. And every member is vital to the effectiveness and mission of the body. If one part suffers, all suffer. If one part rejoices, all rejoice.

How the healthy church body functions (v. 16)

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
Studying the Word, attending the Church service, where the Word is preached, humbly asking the Spirit to let the Word change us from the inside out. 
teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom,
In fellowship,under the Word of God 
singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
during the Sunday service, in our informal meetings, at home with our families, when we go to work, everywhere possible.

with thankfulness in your hearts to God.The grateful heart does not grumble and glorifies the Lord.
 And what should be included in every deed? (v. 17)

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.

The human heart was created to worship. If we flee from idols and turn to the Lord in faith, we can glorify Jesus by faith and in gratitude and praise to the Father. 

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