July 22, 2016
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
One more time, here is Colossians 3:12 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….
We have looked at eleven negative characteristics of the old sin nature. And concerning those characteristics of that nature we are told, “…now you must also put off all these…” (Colossians 3:8). In the last two blogs we started to examine eleven positive characteristics which Paul says to “…put on…” (Colossians 3:12). We covered the first nine. Here are the last two in verse 15 and 16:
• Colossians 3:16 – “…and be thankful.” Greek – εὐχα’ριστοi, meaning, “…well favored, that is, (by implication) grateful…” (Strong, Dictionary of the Greek Testament). Paul tells us in I Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” And in Ephesians 5:20 he says, “…giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ….” So we are to be thankful in everything and for all things! Why? Because “…all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28). And what is the good toward which all things work? The next verse, Romans 8:29 gives us the answer: “For whom He [God] foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” As Christians, we are to be more and more like Jesus! And all things work together toward that goal! James writes in James 1:2-4:
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into various trials; knowing that
the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect
work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
It is a simple book-keeping illustration that James is using. You have a debit page on one side, and a credit page on the other. When a trial touches your life, it may be hard and it may hurt! But, because God is making you more like Jesus through that trial, you should mark it down on the credit side – the good side – of the ledger! This is why we are to be thankful in everything and for all things!
• Colossians 3:16 – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom….” We know what the word of Christ is. It is the Bible, the written record of the living Word, Jesus Christ! (See John 1:1, 14). There are many Scriptures that admonish us to read, study, meditate on, and even memorize God’s Word (see for example Isaiah 34:16; II Timothy 2:15; Psalm 1:2; 119:11). And Deuteronomy 11:18 and 19 instruct us when we are to be doing this:
Therefore you shall lay up these words of Mine in your heart and in your
soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets
between your eyes. And you shall teach them your children, speaking of
them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie
down, and when you rise up.
What time is left? There is none! We are to be like (as it says in Psalm 1:2) the godly man, who has “…his delight in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.” We are to thoroughly indoctrinate ourselves in the Scriptures!
The Greek for dwell is ἐνοικεi’tω meaning, “…to dwell in…[or] metaphorically to dwell in one and influence him (for good)” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament). The Greek for richly is πλουσι’ως meaning, “…abundantly, richly…” (Thayer). The Greek for wisdom is σοφι’α meaning:
…devout and proper prudence in intercourse with men not disciples of Christ,
skill and discretion in imparting Christian truth…the knowledge and practice
of the requisites for godly and upright living… (Thayer).
My understanding of wisdom is the following: Whereas knowledge is knowing about things, wisdom is properly applying what you know to the living out of your life!
While the Word (the Bible) is the final characteristic of the eleven postives we are to put on as we ‘dress’ for our Christian lives, it is really the key to all the others – both what we are to put off and what we are to put on. The Word strengthens our faith (see Romans 10:17) – since we are to live by faith (see Romans 1:17); teaches us what to do and what not to do (see Psalm 119:105); examines our actions and motives (see Psalm 139:23, 24; Hebrews 4:12, 13; James 1:22-25); feeds and nourishes us (see Job 23:12; Jeremiah 15:16; I Peter 2:2); is one of the weapons with which we defeat the devil (see Ephesians 6:17); and makes us fit for our eternal dwelling (see Acts 20:32).
We could go on to the next several verses and add family interaction (see Colossians 3:18-21); employment and career relationships (see Colossians 3:22-4:1); prayer (see Colossians 4:2-4); and how we act and speak (see Colossians 4:5, 6). But this is enough – eleven negatives we are to put off, and eleven positives we are to put on! Concentrate on these! It will keep you busy for a long time – at least until we see the Lord Jesus Christ face to face! (See I John 3:2).