July 20, 2016
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
In Colossians 3:12 through 16, there are eleven positive characteristics that we are to put on – after we have put off the eleven negative characteristics of Colossians 3:5 and 8 through 10. Here are verses 12 through 16:
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies,
kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another,
and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another;
even as Christ forgave you, so you must also do. But above all these
things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of
God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and
be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom….
In the last blog we looked at the first five of the eleven positives, all in verse 12: “…tender mercies… kindness …humility…meekness…[and] longsuffering….” Let’s continue:
• Colossians 3:13 – “…bearing with one another….” Greek for bearing – ἀνεχο’μenoi, meaning, “…put up with…” (Strong, Dictionary of the Greek Testament). But we are not to just grudgingly put up with one another. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament defines the word to mean, “…to hold up…to hold one’s self erect and firm…to sustain, to bear, to endure….” By standing erect and firm in the Lord yourself, you can then help to hold up and sustain others! Otherwise, it will be as Jesus said in Matthew 15:14: “…if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” If a weak believer tries to bear up another weak Christian, both will fall!
• Colossians 3:13 – “…forgiving one another….” Greek for forgiving – χαριζο’μenoi meaning, “…to grant as a favor, that is, gratuitously, in kindness, pardon or rescue…deliver, (frankly) forgive, (freely) give, grant…” (Strong). Paul goes on in verse 13 to tell us, “…if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you must also do.” Forgiveness one to another is such a basic Christian characteristic that Jesus, after teaching the Lord’s Prayer, told us in Matthew 6:14 and 15, “…if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” When we begin to understand all that God has forgiven us through the sacrifice of His Son, how can we not forgive others their wrong doings?
• Colossians 3:14 – “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” Greek for love – ἀγα’πηn. Eerdman’s The New Bible Dictionary describes agape love this way:
…it expresses…the highest and noblest form of love which sees something infin-
itely precious in its object….The whole drama of redemption, centering as it does
around the death of Christ, is divine love in action.
It is a selfless love that, even when it is not returned, keeps on loving sacrificially. Paul writes in Romans 5:8, “…God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (see John 3:16; I John 4:9). I John 4:11 applies such love further: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (see I Corinthians 13:1-8; I John 3:17; 18; 4:7, 8). Such love, said Jesus in John 13:35, has this purpose: “…as I have love you…you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” We are also to love God totally and sacrificially (see Luke 10:27), and such love is to be shown in obedience to His commands (see John 14:15).
• Colossians 3:15 – “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts….” Greek for peace – εἰρη’νη, meaning, “…the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is…” (Thayer). Greek for rule – βραβευe’tω meaning, “…to arbitrate, that is, (generally) to govern (figuratively prevail)…” (Strong). Though as unsaved sinners we were God’s enemies (see Colossians 1:21), we now “…have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1). We also have available to us “…the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding…” (Philippians 4:7). We, having experienced God’s peace, Jesus tells us in Mark 9:50, “…have peace with one another.” Paul adds in I Thessalonians 5:13, “Be at peace among yourselves.” Such peace – from and toward God, filling us within, and manifested in our interaction with fellow-believers and with the world – is to be generated within us as the Holy Spirit produces His Spiritual fruit (see Galatians 5:22).
The last two positive characteristics we will finish in Friday’s blog.