Chapter 3

Living the New Life:
(Read Colossians 3:1-11)  
Paul turns his attention to the practical Christian life. He describes who we are and what we should do in light of our new identity. Those who are united with Christ by faith are jointly raised up and seated with Him at the right hand of God in heaven (3:1). Therefore we should set our mind on things above and not on things on the earth. We should set our affection on spiritual things in light of eternity and not worry about earthly things. Mind is where the gospel message is processed and understands that we are sinners and Christ is the Savior.  Those who have believed in Christ have been forgiven of their sins.  This thought has to go through our thinking before it settles into our hearts. Paul exhorts us not to be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:1-2). Those who have died with Christ, their life is permanently hidden with Christ in God (Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:3-4).  When Christ who is our life appears, then we also will appear with him in glory. This speaks of the certainty of our future state of glory (1 John 3:1-3; Philippians 1:21). In light of our glorious future, Paul calls on the Colossians to live in a manner consistent with our holy calling. Christians should put off the old evil nature they received from Adam and put on the new nature they have received when they got saved.  Christians should get rid of their old habits and should not allow their Old-self nature to control their lives (3:8-9). Our minds are renewed as we learn to know Christ deeper.  It is a continuous lifelong process (3:10).  God has given us a mind to direct our will.  Our natural inclination is always to drift to our old nature. The strongest deterrent against returning to our old way of life is to focus on Christ.  When we feel weighed down by the worries of this world or fear that we would not make it as a Christian, focus on Christ and our future.  We have been promised eternal life, the hope of heaven and spending eternity in the presence of God. If we allow these thoughts to control our mind, we will find it much easier to obey God than turn to the enticement of this sin. There are no cultural, social and other differences in Christ but Christ is all, and in all. 
The Characteristics of the New Man:
(Read Colossians 3:12-14)
When we get saved, we are identified with Christ and He comes to live within us. We become God’s chosen, set apart and beloved people.  We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Still we retain our sinful nature.  These two competing forces are at work in our lives. They are in conflict with each other (Galatians 5:17).  Paul says that our hearts need to be changed and stabilized by the peace of God.  This happens when we believe that God is in control of all things. The heart is the center of our being where the mind, the will and emotion come together. Our thinking is what determines our belief and our beliefs determine our behavior.  Our actions and behavior are logical consequences of what we believe. It is not out of fear and pity our hearts are changed but only when we learn of God’s love for us in Christ. Christ’s love for us is the driving force to love God and serve others with compassion. Compassion is mercy is action. Kindness is the inner attitude of gentleness. Humility is the outward expression of our inner attitude of considering self as last. Meekness is the gentle consideration of others.  Pride has no place in the Christian’s life. Patience is the willingness to bear injury and insult without retaliation. Forbearing is the ability to get along with those who disagree with us. Christians can disagree without being disagreeable. Forgiveness is treating the offending person graciously and showing favor unconditionally. It is the divine character of God.  Above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. Love is the basis of all the graces (1 Corinthians 13:13). Perfection means completion or maturity.  One can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving. Without love all our worship, services and sacrifices are empty.
The Word of God and our Worship:
(Read Colossians 3:15-17)  
Those who are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, have peace with God (Romans 5:1).  But we experience the peace of God when we live in obedience. It is something we experience in the midst of conflicts knowing that Christ is sufficient in all our situations. It comes from Christ and guards our hearts from worry (Philippians 4:6-7; John 14:27).  One of the identifying marks of Christian is peace.  We do not experience peace in a vacuum. When we trust that God is in control of our life we find peace in our hearts. We should allow the Word of God to dwell in our heart as a rich treasure in all wisdom (3:16).  To submit our lives to the Lord also means to submit our mind to His Word. Being rooted and built up in Christ means to be permeated with the Word of God. This peace is produced by the Holy Spirit and promotes harmony among believers (Galtians 5:22; James 3:18).  Thanksgiving is the overflowing result of the presence of Christ in our life. This is a process that requires discipline of the mind, will and heart. When the Word of God dwells in us richly, Christ will express His life in us and through us.  As the Word of God digests and settles in our hearts, we will sing praises to God.  The filling of the Holy Spirit is the result of being controlled by the Word of God. This will lead to worship and service (Ephesians 5:18-19).  God is worshiped in spirit and truth (John 4:23).  Worship is an act of heart, will, mind and emotion.  God’s honor and praise should be our primary goal in worship (1 Corinthians 10:31).  Only a Christ centered life would bring glory to God (3:17).  Our hearts are changed only as we learn of God’s gracious love for us in Christ. God is not indifferent towards the object and the manner of worship. Does the peace of Christ rule in our life? Ask God to replace your worries with His peace so that you may sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God with a thankful heart.
The Christian Home:
(Read Colossians 3:18-21)
Paul explains how our union with Christ impacts our relationships in our home. Paul uses the phrase “In the Lord” here.  Paul calls on wives to submit to their husbands, as is fitting in the Lord (3:18).  Submission is a military term. It means “line up under”.  There is no hint of inferiority in this term.  It speaks of authority and responsibility. Paul’s teaching here is on the basis of the order of creation principle. The wife was created to be the suitable helper, not as slave (Genesis 2:20-22).   The head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is man and the head of Christ is God (1 Corinthians 11:3). Here submission speaks of headship and authority. The family is held together by authority and obedience. The wife’s submission is prompted by her obedience to Christ and by her husband’s love towards her.  This is voluntary and not forced upon her by demand.  The submission provides protection from God (1 Peter 2:14). It has limitations (1 Peter 2:16).  It finds favor with God (1 Peter 2:18-19).  It is proper for believers to submit to God.  There is an emphasis on responsibility and not right here. There is no distinction between man and woman in Christ (Galatians  3:28). Paul was talking to Galatians about the issue of salvation and Christian fellowship.  At the foot of the cross, all men and women are equal.  Husbands should keep on loving their wives. This is sacrificial love and not selfish love.  There is a difference between redemptive love and possessive love. Possessive love is self satisfying love.  Do not harbor bitterness towards wives because it will destroy the marriages.  Children should obey their parents. They should cultivate the habit of hearing and obeying their parents. This pleases the Lord. Fathers should not provoke their children, lest they become discouraged. Discipline should be tempered with love.  By being over demanding, inconsiderate and by unjust corrective measures, fathers can exasperate children. Children should not be irritated, harassed and teased.  It can lead them to frustration, depression and disrespect of parents. Parents should train them to obey God from childhood and praise them when they obey.        
Servants and Masters:
(Read Colossians 3:22-4:1)
Paul focuses on Christian behavior in the workplace. He calls on slaves to obey their earthly masters diligently. The slaves were part of the household of Masters and they are without any right.  They should not work half heartedly or as men-pleasers to gain their master’s favor.  They should serve their masters sincerely as to the Lord. The diligent and cheerful works are the test of Christian service. Work has its origin in God (Genesis 2:15).  When the world says to work hard to get ahead, Jesus says to work hard to show the world who you are really working for.  Then we will see our work from a divine perspective and our workplace will become a mission field. This helps us to work willingly as though we are working for the Lord rather than for earthly masters. Our work may be unappreciated and underpaid in this life.  But God will give us full reward in heaven (3:24).  Whatever we do, do all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).  There may be respect for a person with man, but not with God.  There is no partiality with God (1 Peter 1:17). God does not have a double standard. He weighs both the slaves and the masters on the same scale.  Masters should be just and fair to their slaves knowing that they have a master in heaven. Masters should treat their slaves justly and fairly.  Everyone shall give account of himself to God (Romans 14:12). This principle is applicable in the employer and employee relationship today. Do all things for the glory of God.