God’s Saving Word: Love
Colossians 2:20—3:17: Paul exhorts the Colossians to set their hearts and minds on the things of heaven, putting aside earthly desires. He reminds the Colossians that they are people of God, united as a community bound by love.
Dying and Living with Christ
20 You have died with Christ and are set free from the ruling spirits of the universe. Why, then, do you live as though you belonged to this world? Why do you obey such rules as 21 “Don’t handle this,” “Don’t taste that,” “Don’t touch the other”? 22 All these refer to things which become useless once they are used; they are only human rules and teachings. 23 Of course such rules appear to be based on wisdom in their forced worship of angels, and false humility, and severe treatment of the body; but they have no real value in controlling physical passions.
3 You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits on his throne at the right side of God. 2 Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 Your real life is Christ and when he appears, then you too will appear with him and share his glory!
The Old Life and the New
5 You must put to death, then, the earthly desires at work in you, such as sexual immorality, indecency, lust, evil passions, and greed (for greed is a form of idolatry). 6 Because of such things God’s anger will come upon those who do not obey him. 7 At one time you yourselves used to live according to such desires, when your life was dominated by them.
8 But now you must get rid of all these things: anger, passion, and hateful feelings. No insults or obscene talk must ever come from your lips. 9 Do not lie to one another, for you have put off the old self with its habits 10 and have put on the new self. This is the new being which God, its Creator, is constantly renewing in his own image, in order to bring you to a full knowledge of himself. 11 As a result, there is no longer any distinction between Gentiles and Jews, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarians, savages, slaves, and free, but Christ is all, Christ is in all.
12 You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you. 14 And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity. 15 The peace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make; for it is to this peace that God has called you together in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Christ’s message in all its richness must live in your hearts. Teach and instruct one another with all wisdom. Sing psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing to God with thanksgiving in your hearts. 17 Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks through him to God the Father.
Today’s Key Verse: Colossians 3:17
Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks through him to God the Father.
Paul talks about dying with Christ and being raised to life with Christ (2:20—3:4). What does this mean to you? How does Paul describe what it means to “put off the old self” and “put on the new self” (3:9-10)? Reread 3:12-17. How do you envision a community that reflects the unity Paul describes?
Lord Jesus, with thanksgiving in my heart, I thank you for the new life you offer. Clothe me with your righteousness and set my heart and mind on you so that all I do and say reflects my love for you. May everything I do be done in your name, and may your peace guide me and rule in my heart. Amen.
Colossians 3:18—4:6: The apostle Paul discusses household relationships.