27th June 2018

Colossians: Week 3 (Wednesday, June 27 2018)

 

Chapter 3

 

How to live your new life with Christ

v1 You have risen with Christ into new life. So, concentrate on what is in heaven. Christ is there. He is sitting next to God in the place that has honour. v2 Concentrate on the things that are above. They are in heaven. Do not think about the things that are on this earth. v3 Your old life of sin has died. God has hidden your real life with Christ in God. v4 Christ himself is your real life. When Christ returns, you will appear with him. And you will share his glory.

 

Verses 1-2 In 2:9-15, Paul explained what had happened to the Christians at Colossae at their baptism. Now he explained how they should live this new life. ‘The things that are above’ refer to Christ and spiritual things. For the Christians, Christ himself is their new life (verse 4). So, Christ should be in the centre of their lives. They should concentrate on him. Christ rules the world with God. So, Christians should discover what pleases Christ.

‘The things that are on this earth’. This refers to the Christians’ old life of sin (verse 3). It also refers to things like money, clothes and houses. Often people want power or honour. They want these things to please themselves. But Christians have died to their old life. They should not please themselves any more. They should desire Christ more than they desire anything or anyone else on earth. Some teachers do not understand this verse. They say that the world and our lives are evil. They say that Christians must not enjoy physical things. But remember that God created all physical things. So, God wants Christians to enjoy all that he made (Genesis 1:27-31; 1 Timothy 4:4-5). Christ came so that everyone could have a full life (John 10:10). However, Christians should concentrate on Christ. They should not concentrate on this world. Jesus taught about this in Matthew 6:25-34.

Verses 3-4 This world and our physical lives are temporary. They will end when Christ returns. Christ and ‘the things that are above’ are real and permanent. When a person receives new life from Christ, nobody can see this new life. Nobody can explain it. It is not a physical thing. It belongs to God. However, when Christ returns, Christians will be able to see their spiritual life. And every Christian will receive glory from Christ. So, Christians should now pursue the things that are above.

 

v5 Therefore, destroy the power of all the evil desires in your life. Give up these things: wrong sex; anything that is not pure; lust (desire for wrong sex) and evil desires. And do not be greedy. This is like loving a false god. v6 All these things make God angry. v7 You did these things in the past. You used to live an evil life.

v8 Now you must also give up these things: anger and bad temper. Do not say anything to damage anyone. Do not say bad things about people. Do not speak nasty words. v9 Do not lie to each other. You have taken off your old nature and its wicked habits. v10 Now you have put on your new nature. Christ created this new nature in you. As you learn more about Christ, your nature will become more like him. v11 When people are part of Christ, there is no difference between Greek people and Jews. There is no difference between people whether someone circumcised them or not. There is no difference between people from various societies. There is no difference between slaves and free people. Christ is the most important person. And Christ is in all Christians.

 

Verse 5 As Christians concentrate on Christ, they learn to live a holy life. Christians do not become perfect immediately. Christians have a new nature but they still have old habits. Their old nature died with Christ. But evil desires still tempt them (James 1:13-15). Christians can now refuse to obey those evil desires (Romans 6). Christ’s new life in Christians has more power than evil desires (Romans 8:1-14).

God created sex for a man and his own wife. All other sex is wrong sex. Lust is the desire for wrong sex. Greedy people want to satisfy their own desires. People can be greedy for food. They can be greedy for money or even for honour. They pursue their own pleasure rather than pursue Christ. A false god is anything that people love more than they love Christ. Christians must stop all this wrong behaviour. And they must control their evil desires. Then those desires will not control them. And Christ will help to change their desires (verse 11).

Verse 6-7 Sin destroys people’s lives. Sin separates people from God. Christ had to die on the cross because of sin. That is why God is angry about sin. Romans 2:1-16 explains about how God will judge sin in the future. In verse 5, Paul reminded the Colossians about the things that belonged to their past life.

Verse 8-10 Christians are responsible for the way that they behave towards other people. Christians must not behave how they used to behave. Paul referred to many bad things in these verses. These bad things ruin friendships and families. People are afraid of a person who gets very angry. Angry people shout and say bad things. Angry people may hit other people and hurt them. People cannot trust someone who lies. Sometimes a person lies to other people and says bad things in a quiet way. This can hurt a person’s spirit. Jesus said, ‘I am the truth’ (John 14:6). So, Christians should always speak the truth.

Paul said, ‘You have taken off your old nature’ and ‘You have put on your new nature’. This is picture language. It describes how someone takes off his old, dirty clothes. Then he puts on new, clean clothes. Christians learn about Christ from the Bible. We can read what Christ taught. We can learn how he behaved. Teachers of the Bible help us to learn more about Christ. As people love Christ more, they want to be more like him. They want to obey him and to please him. Also, the Holy Spirit lives in Christians (Romans 8:9). The Holy Spirit helps Christians to control themselves (Galatians 5:22-23).

Verse 11 People who live in every part of the world become Christians. Jews and Greek people represent people from different nations. Circumcision represents the Jews. People in a different society have a different way of life. In the original text, Paul named two particular societies. The Greek people considered that both these societies were far less good than their own society. Slaves and free people represent different groups in society. None of these differences matters to God. In this world, some people think that they are more important than other people are. But everyone is equal as a Christian. Christ died to save each person. And each Christian has Christ in him or her. So, Christians must behave in the right way with other Christians.

 

v12 God has chosen you. He has made you his holy people. He loves you. Therefore, put on these qualities: Sympathise with other people and be kind to them. Be humble. Be gentle and patient with other people. v13 Learn to be friends with other people. Forgive anyone who does something wrong to you. Christ forgave you, so you must forgive other people. v14 Do all these things. But you must put on love, which is the most important quality. Love unites everything.

v15 Christ gives you his peace. His peace should rule in your hearts. You are parts of the body of Christ. So you should have peace. Always be grateful. v16 Let the message about Christ fill your spirit. Be wise as you teach and warn each another. Sing psalms (or poems) and songs of praise. Always be grateful to God in your spirit. v17 You belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. This affects everything that you say and do. Always thank God the Father through Christ.

 

Verse 12 Paul now reminded the Christians at Colossae about what God had done for them. They belonged to God because of Christ. And this is the reason why they should behave in the right way. Christ has all these qualities. So, Christians should become more like Christ.

‘To sympathise’ means to care very much about other people. Christians should feel pity when other people are sad. Then Christians should be kind to them. Christians should want to help them. Humble people do not think that they are better than someone else. Humble people know that every person is of equal value to God. Humble people want other people to be successful. Sometimes people think that a gentle person is weak. In fact, gentle people know how to control their strength. Patient people know how to control their temper. They stay calm when someone annoys them. Patient people can wait a long time for someone to do something.

Verse 13 Sometimes Christians do not like the way that other Christians behave. They may quarrel and fight. If Christians do not forgive, they start to hate each other. Then they behave as verse 8 describes. But this is wrong. Instead, Christians should be patient with other people’s faults. They should learn to be friends and not be enemies. Christ is the Christian’s model. People did many wrong things to Christ. They even killed him. But Christ forgave everyone (Luke 23:34). Christ did this because he trusted God. He knew that God is a fair judge (1 Peter 2:21-24). In Matthew 6:9-15 and 18:21-35, you can read more about why Christians should forgive.

Verse 14 Paul described a Christian’s new nature. It is like clothes that he or she puts on. When people love, it is like a coat. It goes on top of all the other qualities. Every quality in verses 12-13 comes as people love other people. When they love other people, this unites them. In Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus said that the most important law is to love God. The second most important law is to love other people.

Verse 15 The Christians at Colossae should ‘put on’ the qualities that Paul refers to in verses 12-14. Then the church (‘the body of Christ’) will not fight and argue. Instead, the church will have peace. Christ brings his peace into every situation when Christians obey him. And they should always be grateful for all that Christ has done for them.

Verse 16 The message about Christ is powerful. It changes people’s lives. ‘Fill your spirit’ means that it should affect every part of their lives. Christ also gives wisdom to Christians as they teach each other. They should also warn other Christians about sin. This helps them to become mature. Christians sing because they are happy. They want to praise God because Christ has done so much for them. ‘Psalms’ are the songs and poems that are in the Old Testament. People who come from every nation and society can sing and praise God in their own style. God understands every language. Christians can praise God when they are together. They can praise him when they are alone. They can use all types of instruments, or they can sing without instruments.

Verse 17 When a person becomes a Christian, his or her whole life changes. Christ is now at the centre of that person’s life (verse 4). Christians should show what Christ is like. They do this as they obey him. Christ gives them strength to live in the right way. Christ has made them God’s friends (1:21-22). So, Christians should always thank God for what he has done for them.

How to live your new life with other people

v18 Wives, obey your own husband’s authority. This is the proper thing for Christians to do.

v19 Husbands, love your wives. Do not get angry with them.

v20 Children, obey your parents. This pleases the Lord.

v21 Fathers, do not be too severe with your children. They might become sad and feel hopeless.

v22 Slaves, obey your masters in everything that you do. You want to please them when they are watching you. But obey them even when they are not watching you. Serve them honestly, because you respect the Lord.

v23 Whatever you do, work hard. And be eager as you work. You are working for God. You are not just working for people. v24 Remember this. The Lord will give you the reward that he has promised to his people. Christ is the real master that you are serving. v25 God will punish anyone who does wrong things. God does not have favourite people.


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