| Back to Home Page | Back to Book Index |


Colossians Chapter Three


Colossians 3

Now begins the direct exhortations founded on the truth that has been developed, and adapted to the state in which the Colossians were; that is, viewed as risen with Christ, but not sitting in heavenly places.

Risen with Christ, they were to set their affections on things above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God, and not on things on the earth. The two could not go together. To look, to have one's motives, above and below at the same time is impossible. Be tempted by things, have to resist them, we may; but this is not to have them as our object. The reason for this is however found in our position: we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God. It does not say, "we must die." Man cannot do this by will: we cannot deny will by will. Nor would the will of the flesh ever do it. If it acts, it does not abdicate. We are dead: this is the precious comforting truth with regard to the Christian by virtue of Christ having died for him. He has received the life of Christ, and all that Christ did for him in that life belongs to him. Thus he is dead, because Christ died for him. The life with which the power of temptation, guilt, the attacks of sin, are connected, exists no longer to faith. By death all that was connected with it has come to an end. Now that which was connected with the life of the old man was sin, condemnation, weakness, fear, powerlessness against the assaults of the enemy-all that is past. We have a life, but it is in Christ; it is hidden with Him in God. We are not yet manifested in its glory, as we shall be manifested before the eyes of all in heaven and earth. Our life is hidden, but safe in its eternal source. It has the portion of Christ, in whom we possess it. He is hid in God, so also is our life: when Christ shall appear, we shall also appear with Him. It will be remarked, that the apostle does not speak here of our union with Christ, but of our life, of the fact that we are dead, and that our life is hid with Him in God. He does not speak of the assembly with regard to our position; he speaks, no doubt, of Christ as being its Head, as to His personal glory, but not of it as to us. He speaks of us individually. Each one has his own life in Christ truly, but as his own; it is not union with other Christians. We have this life in Christ, but it is not here our union as one body with Him. It is the individual character of the Christian, to whom Christ, the Head, is everything.

That which is also highly important to observe in connection with this truth is that in this epistle there is nothing said of the Holy Ghost. The apostle speaks practically of their love in the Spirit, but in the instruction of the epistle he does not name Him. Even when he says, "here is neither Jew, nor Greek," it is in the new man, not because we are one in Christ. The individual was to cleave to the Head. He was no longer living in this world; he was dead, and his life hid with Christ in God. But this was for himself; he was to know it, and hold it fast for himself, as necessary truth, that he might be preserved from the wiles of the enemy. In a word, it is life in Christ. Elsewhere we see many of the things which the apostle here mentions spoken of as the fruit of the Spirit, by which communion and union are maintained; but here it is simply in the nature of the life that these fruits have their source. It is quite natural consequently, that the compass and the assemblage of all spiritual relationships in one, in Christ, which we find in the divine instruction when the Holy Ghost is introduced, are wanting here.

In the Epistle to the Ephesians this operation of the Holy Ghost is found everywhere, and characterises the whole of that which is developed in communion with the Head, Christ, with whom we are united in one body by the Spirit. Thus we are individually sealed by the Spirit of promise, the earnest of our inheritance; we all have access to the Father by one Spirit; we are also builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit; the union of the Gentiles in one body is now revealed by the Spirit; saints are strengthened by the Spirit in the inner man; there is one body and one Spirit; we are not to grieve the Spirit; we are to be filled with Him; the word itself is the sword of the Spirit. The union of the body with Christ, our resurrection with Him, that we are sitting in the heavenlies in Him-all that flows from this union, is fully developed; but at the same time the Holy Ghost, who unites us to Him, and unites us all together as one body, and who here below characterises the presence of God in the church, who acts in us, secures our future, and becomes our strength in the present-the Holy Ghost, I repeat, is found every where, to complete the truth and to give it its present force for us here below.

Many of the exhortations in the Epistle to the Ephesians are nearly the same as those to the Colossians. But in the Epistle to the Ephesians they are connected with the Spirit; in that to the Colossians with the action of the word and of grace in the heart. This gives an immense range and a connectedness to the doctrine of the Epistle to the Ephesians, in that which regards our position here below, because it brings in God Himself, and as dwelling in us by the Spirit, and filling us, whether as in the individual or in the oneness of the body; and gives the full scope of the counsels of God.

Yet the possession of life is in its way as important as the presence and indwelling of the Holy Ghost. It makes the blessing ourselves, not merely an operation in us, and, as we have seen, the character of divine life is far more fully developed; whereas in Ephesians it is more contrast with the previous state.

In the Epistle to the Romans we have (chap. 8) this action and presence of the Holy Ghost presented in a very remarkable way as to the individual. He characterises us vitally in the principle of our resurrection, is the witness in us that we are children filling us with joy and with the hope of glory as heirs, the support of our weakness and the source of our petitions and our groans. In the Epistle to the Romans it is in connection with our personal relationship to God; in that to the Ephesians, as the presence of God in us in connection with our union to Christ as one body.

There is another thing to be noticed here which throws light on the purpose of the Holy Ghost in these epistles. The starting-point in that to the Ephesians is the counsels of God. Man is looked at as he is, without one pulse of life as regards God; he is dead in trespasses and sins, by nature the child of wrath. God is rich in mercy; He raises him up with Christ who in grace went down into death, and places him according to His counsels in the same position as that Christ is in. We are His workmanship, created anew in Christ Jesus. God is pleased to bring us into His presence according to His own counsels and His nature. It is not said that we are dead with Christ. Man is not viewed as living in the flesh, so that in one way or in another he had to die. This was not necessary. The Ephesians were to apprehend, on the one hand, the full contrast between God and man according to His counsels; and, on the other, man's sinful state according to nature. In their epistle all is the work of God Himself according to the original purpose of His own heart, of His nature, and of His will, [1] man is already dead, and even Christ is not brought in as to His place till viewed as dead, and thereon risen and exalted on high.

The Colossians were in danger of subjecting themselves to ordinances, and thereby were in a position to consider man as living in the world; and the apostle makes them feel that they are dead with Christ. He was obliged in grace to follow them where they were, for their danger was to take man into consideration as living on the earth; in order, nevertheless, to shew that the Christian had already died with Christ, and his life on earth was as risen with Him.

In the letter to the Ephesians man is not said to die with Christ. He is dead in his sins when God begins to act towards him. No man is alive to God. The Christian is quickened together with Christ, Christ Himself first viewed as dead.

This character of the Colossians however, the dwelling on life or the new man, has its value for us all, and a great value, because the life, the new nature, and grace working in it, are much less brought forward in the Epistle to the Ephesians, where the subject is the energy of God, who creates men in Christ and unites them to Him, fills the believer and the assembly here with the nature and the character of the new man, and thereby of Christ, yea, of God Himself. [2] I may add here to that which I have said of the Holy Ghost, that, when the apostle speaks in Colossians of the power of hope in us, he does not mention the earnest of the Spirit. It is still in us, the hope of glory. Throughout it is Christ, and Christ as life.

One might suppose that there was only the Holy Ghost acting in the fullness of His power, and filling the individual and the assembly. But in this Epistle to the Colossians we find that there is a new nature, an intrinsic change, not of the flesh indeed, but of the man. For we are viewed, not merely as quickened by the Son, but as dead and risen with Christ, the Man who had died, so as to have passed out of-put off--the old standing of a child of Adam, and into a risen one with Christ-put on the new man. This is at once a standing and a state before God, a source of tastes, of sentiments, of desires, of arguments, and of moral capacities, which are in connection with the very nature of God, who has caused it to spring up in theheart. We are renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created us. But this source is a life, which needs that the Holy Ghost should reveal to it the objects that are suited to it, and that awaken these tastes and feelings, which satisfy them and cause them to grow. It needs that the Spirit of God should act in it to give it strength; but it is a real life, a nature which has its tastes attached to its very existence; [3] which, being enlightened by the Holy Ghost, is conscious of its own existence; and in which we are the children of God, being born of Him.

Neither is it unimportant that we should learn, with regard to the life of the flesh, and when thinking of it, although it be on the negative side, that we are dead; that God recognises nothing belonging to the old man; that He takes pleasure in a new nature, which is indeed ours by grace, but which is of God Himself, and which is the moral reflection of His own. We are dead then, and our life is hid with Christ in God. We have members on earth-no recognised life; [4] all these members of the old man. The Christian has to deny them practically as belonging to the old man, while his life is there where Christ is. They bring down the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Christians walked in these things when they had their life in them; but this is no longer the case: and they deny not only gross sins, the fruit of positive lusts (chap. 3:5, 6), but all the workings of an unbroken will and an unsubdued heart, every indication of the actings of the will of that nature which knows not God, and is not ruled by His fear, all anger and malice and falsehood flowing from selfishness or the fear of man. (Ver. 8.) Truth reigns in the heart which has put off the old man, according to the simplicity of the new man, [5] which is renewed also in knowledge after the image of Him who created it. (Vers. 9,10.) The new man walks in the light. It is not only that there is a conscience which judges good and evil according to that which man ought to be according to his nature as a responsible being; there is a new man who judges the old man altogether, judging good and evil according to the knowledge of God. Such is the putting off.

Before Christianity, which is the full revelation of God, there were indeed, as need not be said, souls born anew; but their rule, when a rule was definitely given, was man's responsibility (whatever piety and grace might inspire), and the law, which was the perfect measure of that which man, as a being responsible to God, ought to be. Saints then did not distinguish between a new and an old man, although of necessity they had the conscience of the old man and the tastes of the new in measure in many respects. The sense, for instance, of the evil of falsehood had not at all the same place as with the Christian. Now the new man is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him who created him. [6] God Himself in His nature is the standard of good and evil, because the new man has the knowledge of what that nature is: he is made a partaker of it, and he has the light of God. It is an intelligent participation by grace in the nature of God, which is the marvelous and precious privilege of the Christian. God works in this nature; but by communicating it He has placed man in this position. Christ is the perfect model of this image, the type of the new man.

Other differences have disappeared: there remains but the old man, which we only acknowledge as dead, and the new man. To the latter Christ is all; so that there is none but He whom they see and whom they acknowledge, and He is in all believers. They put on therefore as such, as elect, holy, beloved (Christ being their life), the character of Christ, mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another if offence has been given, even as Christ has done to us. [7] Finally they put on love, the bond of perfectness, that which gives a divine character to all the qualities that have been enumerated, and that were manifested in Christ, and a divine check on taking amiable nature for divine grace, for divine love is holy.

And note here, that the putting on of these qualities is in the consciousness of the blessed place before God expressed in the words "elect of God, holy and beloved." It is as such. Nor can we do it otherwise. It is in the sense of this wondrous favour that grace develops itself in our hearts. So in Ephesians, "as dear children."

Several of these qualities may be resembled by things in nature; but the energy, the features, the bond of divine love, which acts in the sense of communion with God, are totally wanting in the latter; and this gives a character, a completeness, a righteousness of application, a perfection, a propriety, and an energy to the manifestation of these qualities, which love alone can give. For it is indeed God Himself who is there, acting in His nature which He has imparted to us. For He who dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him. With regard to the state of the soul, there is a crown to this walk, wherewith they who follow it constantly are adorned. The peace of Christ reigns in the heart, that sweet and ineffable peace which nothing could disturb, though His spirit passed through everything to try it, for He walked ever with God. God has also called us to this; He is the God of peace. And here the apostle introduces the oneness of the body, not as to its privileges in Christ, but as to the fact that Christians are called to be together in the unity of which peace is the seal and the bond. And then there will be thanksgiving; for the soul is conscious of the love and the activity of God, and everything flows to it from that love.

But, besides peace and thanksgiving towards God, there is the development of life in the knowledge of what is revealed, its food and joy. This too is enjoyed in the activity of life and love towards others. The enjoyment of God and of that which is in His presence leads to this activity of the soul. When the latter is real, it is the joyful liberty of a nature that is itself in health, the activity of love that is natural to it, and which receives its energy from communion with God, according to His nature. The word of Christ unfolds all that is revealed to the soul as that in which it lives, and in which it expands itself, and is thus the rule, and active and directing power, because it is the expression of that nature, and the revelation of all its ways, and of its active energy in love in Him.

The apostle therefore exhorts that the word of Christ may dwell in them richly. This is the development, according to the perfection of God, of the new man, and the wisdom of God to form and direct him. Paul desires that Christians may fully realise this. It is by communion with the Lord, holding intercourse with Him, that it is done. The word being that in which the wisdom is found; also according to this development the saints can teach and admonish each other. [8] But in this case it is not only wisdom that we learn, and that is displayed in us, but affections in connection with Him in whom we have found this wisdom, so that these expressions of the life of Christ, as true wisdom in the world, find their voice in our hearts in praise, in thanksgiving, in singing His excellency. All the intimate affections in which spiritual life develops itself express themselves, according to what we have learned: they flow from the Spirit of Christ, and are the expression of the soul's connection with Him and of the feelings this produces in the heart. Christ in His Person, in the consciousness of His presence, as the object of our thoughts, and in the moral fruits proceeding thence, sustains the intercourse and the communications of the soul that is occupied with His praises.

But this consciousness of relationship with Christ, in the life which is of Him in us, applies to everything. Nothing is done without Him. If He is the life, all which that life does has Him for its end and object, as far as the heart is concerned. He is present as that which is the governing motive, and gives its character to our actions, and which preoccupies our heart in performing them. Everything relates to Him: we do not eat without Him; (how can we when He is our very life?) we do not drink with out Him; what we say, what we do, is said and done in the name of the Lord Jesus. There is the sense of His presence; the consciousness that everything relates to Him, that we can do nothing-unless carnally-with out Him, because the life which we have of Him acts with Him and in Him, does not separate from Him, and has Him for its aim in all things, even as water rises to the height from which it descended. This is what characterises the life of the Christian. And what a life! Through Him, dwelling in the consciousness of divine love, we give thanks to our God and Father.

Observe here that the christian life is not only characterised by certain subjective qualities which flow from Christ, but by its having Christ Himself for the aim and object of the heart and mind in all that we do in every respect. Christ personally reigns in, and is pleasant to, the heart in everything.

To the inexperienced eye of man nature is often confounded with grace; but the intelligent consciousness of Christ as the heart's object, of His presence, of the seal of His approval when one thinks of Him cannot be confounded with anything. There is nothing, that resembles it, nothing that can appear to take its place. When He reveals Himself to our heart, and the heart walks with Him, and communes with Him in all things, and seeks only the light of His countenance, the seal of His favour on the soul in all things, then He is known, well known. There is none but He who thus communicates Himself to the soul when it walks in the way of His will, as expressed in the word.

After these great and important principles of the new life the apostle enters into the diverse relation ships of life, giving warnings against that which would endanger them, by shewing what the christian character of each one of them is. To the wife, obedience-affection was natural to her. "Thy desire shall be to thy husband." To the husband, affection and kindness-his heart may be indifferent and hard. Children are to be obedient; fathers, gentle, in order that the children's affections may not be estranged from them, and that they may not be induced to seek that happiness in the world which they ought to find in the sanctuary of the domestic circle, which God has formed as a safeguard for those who are growing up in weakness; the precious home (if Christ is acknowledged) of kind affections, in which the heart is trained in the ties which God Himself has formed; and that in connection with the Lord, and which, by cherishing the affections, preserves from the passions and from self-will; and which, where its strength is rightly developed, has a power that, in spite of sin and disorder, awakens the conscience and engages the heart, keeping it away from evil and the direct power of Satan. For it is God's appointment.

I know indeed that another power is required to deliver the heart from sin and to keep it from sin. Nature, even as God created it, does not give eternal life, nor does it restore innocence or purify the conscience. We may, by the energy of the Spirit, consecrate ourselves to God outside these relationships, renounce them even, if God should call us by more powerful obligations, as Christ teaches us in the gospel. The rights of Christ over man lost by sin are sovereign, absolute, and complete. He has redeemed him; and the redeemed one is no longer his own, but belongs to Him who gave Himself for him. Where relationships exist, sin indeed has perverted every thing, and corrupted the will; passions come in; but the relationships themselves are of God: woe to him who despises them as such! If grace has wrought and the new life exists, it acknowledges that which God has formed. It well knows that there is no good in man, it knows that sin has marred everything, but that which sin has marred is not itself sin. And where these relationships exist, the renunciation of self-will, death to sin, the bringing in of Christ, the operation of life in Him, restore their power; and if they cannot give back the character of innocence (lost for ever), they can make them a scene for the operations of grace, in which meekness, tenderness, mutual help, and self-denial, in the midst of the difficulties and sorrows which sin has introduced, lend them a charm and a depth (even as Christ did in every relationship) which innocence itself could not have presented. It is grace acting in the life of Christ in us which develops itself in them.

To be without natural affection is a sin of hopeless apostacy and estrangement from God, of the complete selfishness of the last days.

I am not drawing a false picture, or speaking poetically, as though the bright side were all; I only say that God has formed these relationships, and that whosoever fears God will respect them. Grace is requisite. They give occasion, through their intimacy itself, to all that is most painful, if grace do not act in them. The apostle warns us here of this danger. If the Lord is the bond in them, if our still closer union with Him forms the strength of our natural relationships, then grace reigns here as elsewhere; and, to those who stand in these relationships, they become a scene for the lovely display of the life of Christ.


[1] Hence we have no justification in Ephesians. It treats of a new creation.

[2] This difference is of deep interest, and brings out the character of the Epistle to the Ephesians in a remarkable way-an epistle in which everything is influenced by the high point of view taken by the Spirit, and flows from the original and eternal counsels of God, and from His operation to bring those counsels to perfection-the settled purposes of His own heart. He desires to have-He creates-something in order to shew forth the immense riches of His grace. He has taken the dead and the lost: but they are only the objects of His operations, suited to make these manifest on account of their own condition. He does not work upon the nature of man, because it is contrary to His own, in order to destroy this contrariety. He quickens from the dead, and creates. In Colossians the death of the old man is spoken of, which it was necessary to take into consideration. God be praised, we are entitled to view it as already dead, because Christ has died for us.

[3] With this difference between the actings of the Spirit, and the existence of the new life, is connected the liberty of the soul. When we are born of God, we have necessarily a taste for holiness- love acts in us- we take pleasure in the righteousness of God. But, by virtue of these sentiments, although my heart appreciates love in God, and this love attracts me and inspires me with a measure of confidence, yet my conscience condemns me, I feel that I am not that which I love. I am under the law, and uncertain of my relationship with God. When I have learnt the value of Christ's blood, that He is my righteousness, the Holy Ghost dwelling and acting in me gives me the sense of my relationship with God. I have the consciousness of it in my soul, and the Holy Ghost bears witness of it. There is liberty.

[4] It is a very different thing from dying to sin. This supposes evil in the thing that dies (save of course in the case of Christ who did it for those who had), whereas putting to death is an act of power in that which is good-the new man.

[5] It is a very different thing from dying to sin. This supposes evil in the thing that dies (save of course in the case of Christ who did it for those who had), whereas putting to death is an act of power in that which is good-the new man.

[6] Note here the difference of the corresponding phrase in Ephesians. There the Christian is created after God in righteousness and true holiness. Here it is the new apprehensions of the divine life which knows God. It is our state, not Gods creative act. Not that this contradicts the Ephesian view; on the contrary, " renewed " here is another word from Ephesians. It is that which is wholly new, never was there before (anakainoumenoi). In Ephesians " renewed " is what is kept fresh and new.

[7] Remark here how patience and graciousness and long suffering characterise the Christian. It is remarkable how this is the case everywhere. So must it be in a world like this. So was it in Christ. So in 1 Corinthians 13. the traits of charity are all subjective and of this character. Not that that is a definition of charity, but it is characteristic of it. Where these traits are wanting, charity is.

[8] It is simpler to put the stop after "one another", and only a comma before "teaching".

── John DarbySynopsis of Colossians


Colossians 3

Chapter Contents

The Colossians exhorted to be heavenly-minded; (1-4) to mortify all corrupt affections; (5-11) to live in mutual love, forbearance, and forgiveness; (12-17) and to practise the duties of wives and husbands, children, parents, and servants. (18-25)

Commentary on Colossians 3:1-4

(Read Colossians 3:1-4)

As Christians are freed from the ceremonial law, they must walk the more closely with God in gospel obedience. As heaven and earth are contrary one to the other, both cannot be followed together; and affection to the one will weaken and abate affection to the other. Those that are born again are dead to sin, because its dominion is broken, its power gradually subdued by the operation of grace, and it shall at length be extinguished by the perfection of glory. To be dead, then, means this, that those who have the Holy Spirit, mortifying within them the lusts of the flesh, are able to despise earthly things, and to desire those that are heavenly. Christ is, at present, one whom we have not seen; but our comfort is, that our life is safe with him. The streams of this living water flow into the soul by the influences of the Holy Spirit, through faith. Christ lives in the believer by his Spirit, and the believer lives to him in all he does. At the second coming of Christ, there will be a general assembling of all the redeemed; and those whose life is now hid with Christ, shall then appear with him in his glory. Do we look for such happiness, and should we not set our affections upon that world, and live above this?

Commentary on Colossians 3:5-11

(Read Colossians 3:5-11)

It is our duty to mortify our members which incline to the things of the world. Mortify them, kill them, suppress them, as weeds or vermin which spread and destroy all about them. Continual opposition must be made to all corrupt workings, and no provision made for carnal indulgences. Occasions of sin must be avoided: the lusts of the flesh, and the love of the world; and covetousness, which is idolatry; love of present good, and of outward enjoyments. It is necessary to mortify sins, because if we do not kill them, they will kill us. The gospel changes the higher as well as the lower powers of the soul, and supports the rule of right reason and conscience, over appetite and passion. There is now no difference from country, or conditions and circumstances of life. It is the duty of every one to be holy, because Christ is a Christian's All, his only Lord and Saviour, and all his hope and happiness.

Commentary on Colossians 3:12-17

(Read Colossians 3:12-17)

We must not only do no hurt to any, but do what good we can to all. Those who are the elect of God, holy and beloved, ought to be lowly and compassionate towards all. While in this world, where there is so much corruption in our hearts, quarrels will sometimes arise. But it is our duty to forgive one another, imitating the forgiveness through which we are saved. Let the peace of God rule in your hearts; it is of his working in all who are his. Thanksgiving to God, helps to make us agreeable to all men. The gospel is the word of Christ. Many have the word, but it dwells in them poorly; it has no power over them. The soul prospers, when we are full of the Scriptures and of the grace of Christ. But when we sing psalms, we must be affected with what we sing. Whatever we are employed about, let us do every thing in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in believing dependence on him. Those who do all in Christ's name, will never want matter of thanksgiving to God, even the Father.

Commentary on Colossians 3:18-25

(Read Colossians 3:18-25)

The epistles most taken up in displaying the glory of the Divine grace, and magnifying the Lord Jesus, are the most particular in pressing the duties of the Christian life. We must never separate the privileges and duties of the gospel. Submission is the duty of wives. But it is submission, not to a severe lord or stern tyrant, but to her own husband, who is engaged to affectionate duty. And husbands must love their wives with tender and faithful affection. Dutiful children are the most likely to prosper. And parents must be tender, as well as children obedient. Servants are to do their duty, and obey their masters' commands, in all things consistent with duty to God their heavenly Master. They must be both just and diligent; without selfish designs, or hypocrisy and disguise. Those who fear God, will be just and faithful when from under their master's eye, because they know they are under the eye of God. And do all with diligence, not idly and slothfully; cheerfully, not discontented at the providence of God which put them in that relation. And for servants' encouragement, let them know, that in serving their masters according to the command of Christ, they serve Christ, and he will give them a glorious reward at last. But, on the other hand, he who doeth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done. God will punish the unjust, as well as reward the faithful servant; and the same if masters wrong their servants. For the righteous Judge of the earth will deal justly between master and servant. Both will stand upon a level at his tribunal. How happy would true religion make the world, if it every where prevailed, influenced every state of things, and every relation of life! But the profession of those persons who are regardless of duties, and give just cause for complaint to those they are connected with, deceives themselves, as well as brings reproach on the gospel.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Colossians


Colossians 3

Verse 1

[1] If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

If ye are risen, seek the things above — As Christ being risen, immediately went to heaven.

Verse 3

[3] For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

For ye are dead — To the things on earth. And your real, spiritual life is hid from the world, and laid up in God, with Christ - Who hath merited, promised, prepared it for us, and gives us the earnest and foretaste of it in our hearts.

Verse 4

[4] When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

When Christ — The abruptness of the sentence surrounds us with sudden light.

Our life — The fountain of holiness and glory.

Shall appear — In the clouds of heaven.

Verse 5

[5] Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

Mortify therefore — Put to death, slay with a continued stroke.

Your members — Which together make up the body of sin.

Which are upon the earth — Where they find their nourishment.

Uncleanness — In act, word, or thought.

Inordinate affection — Every passion which does not flow from and lead to the love of God.

Evil desire — The desire of the flesh, the desire of the eye, and the pride of life.

Covetousness — According to the derivation of the word, means the desire of having more, or of any thing independent on God.

Which is idolatry — Properly and directly; for it is giving the heart to a creature.

Verse 6

[6] For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

For which — Though the heathens lightly regarded them.

Verse 7

[7] In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

Living denotes the inward principle; walking, the outward acts.

Verse 8

[8] But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Wrath — Is lasting anger.

Filthy discourse — And was there need to warn even these saints of God against so gross and palpable a sin as this? O what is man, till perfect love casts out both fear and sin.

Verse 10

[10] And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

In knowledge — The knowledge of God, his will, his word.

Verse 11

[11] Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Where — In which case, it matters not what a man is externally, whether Jew or gentile, circumcised, or uncircumcised, barbarian, void of all the advantages of education, yea, Scythian, of all barbarians most barbarous. But Christ is in all that are thus renewed, and is all things in them and to them.

Verse 12

[12] Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

All who are thus renewed are elected of God, holy, and therefore the more beloved of him. Holiness is the consequence of their election, and God's superior love, of their holiness.

Verse 13

[13] Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Forbearing one another — If anything is now wrong.

And forgiving one another — What is past.

Verse 14

[14] And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

The love of God contains the whole of Christian perfection, and connects all the parts of it together.

Verse 15

[15] And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

And then the peace of God shall rule in your hearts - Shall sway every temper, affection, thought, as the reward (so the Greek word implies) of your preceding love and obedience.

Verse 16

[16] Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Let the word of Christ — So the apostle calls the whole scripture, and thereby asserts the divinity of his Master.

Dwell — Not make a short stay, or an occasional visit, but take up its stated residence.

Richly — In the largest measure, and with the greatest efficacy; so as to fill and govern the whole soul.

Verse 17

[17] And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

In the name — In the power and Spirit of the Lord Jesus. Giving thanks unto God - The Holy Ghost.

And the Father through him — Christ.

Verse 18

[18] Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

Wives, submit — Or be subject to. It is properly a military term, alluding to that entire submission that soldiers pay to their general. Ephesians 5:22, etc.

Verse 19

[19] Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

Be not bitter — (Which may be without any appearance of anger) either in word or spirit.

Verse 21

[21] Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

Lest they be discouraged — Which may occasion their turning either desperate or stupid.

Verse 22

[22] Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

Eyeservice — Being more diligent under their eye than at other times.

Singleness of heart — A simple intention of doing right, without looking any farther.

Fearing God — That is, acting from this principle.

Verse 23

[23] And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

Heartily — Cheerfully, diligently. Menpleasers are soon dejected and made angry: the single-hearted are never displeased or disappointed; because they have another aim, which the good or evil treatment of those they serve cannot disappoint.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Colossians


Col. 3:8~12, 14

The put-on/take-off terminology of Colossians 3 finds a literal parallel in first-century baptismal practice, where candidates approached the ordinance wearing old clothes. These were stripped of as they entered the waters of baptism, and on surfacing they put on new clothes. The old clothes represented the old life, while the new clothes characterized the new sphere of life and its accompanying behavior changes.


Col. 3:12~17

In the fable “The Emperor’s New Clothes, an unscrupulous con artist, seeking royal favor, promises to provide the emperor with an outfit of clothing that would be very special. So delicate and rare would be the fabric that the clothes would be undetectable to the touch. More importantly, they would be invisible to anyone of poor character or inferior ability. When the emperor received the empty hanger on which his new outfit was supposedly displayed, he could hardly admit not seeing the clothes without impugning his own suitability for royal office. So he admired the clothes (as did his advisors), put them on, and strutted proudly around his kingdom—stark naked!

We Christians can fall into the same trap. In the first part of Colossians 3, Paul said to “take off” practices such as fornication, lying, greed, and so forth. But the point is that we are to “put on” new practices to replace the old ones. Have we really donned those positive attitudes and actions of compassion, kindness, humility?

Sometimes the answer is “No.” Instead, we parade around showing off our new clothes of righteousness and refusing to admit the truth: that we are really naked. And we walk about, blinded to the fact that the world is snickering behind our backs because they don’t want our kind of clothes!


Chapter 3. Exercises in Life

The Word of Christ
Dwell in You

I. Set Minds on Things Above

  1. Christ Is Life
  2. Put Earthly Nature to Death
  3. Put On the New Self

II. Life in the Church

  1. Five Virtues
  2. Put On Love
  3. Let Peace rule Your Heart

III. Life at Home

  1. Wives Submit, Husbands Love
  2. Obey Parents
  3. Obey Masters
── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament
Chapter Three General Review
1) To see what Paul offers as the Christian solution in dealing with
   the problem of sin
2) To understand what our responsibilities are as "the elect of God, 
   holy and beloved"
Having warned the brethren of the "Colossian Heresy", and the need to 
be established in the faith of Jesus Christ, Paul now offers a detailed
description of "The Christian Solution" to the problem of sin in their
lives.  Rather than being deceived or swayed by false alternatives,
they need to seek those things above, where Christ is, to set their
minds on things above and not on the earth.  This is because they have 
been raised with Christ (cf. Co 2:12) and their life is now hidden in
Christ, awaiting the day of His coming in which they will appear with 
Him in glory (1-4).
With minds set on Christ, they need to "put to death" those sins in 
which their earthly members engaged, and upon which the wrath of God is
coming.  This is done by "putting off" the old man with his deeds, and 
"putting on" the new man who is being renewed in knowledge after the 
image of Christ.  The deeds of the old man and the characteristics of 
the new man are defined by Paul, followed with exhortations to allow 
the "peace of God" to rule in their hearts and to let the "word of 
Christ" dwell in them richly.  He also charges them to do all things in
the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father (5-17).
As so much of their daily lives revolve around the home, Paul also 
addresses the responsibilities of various family members as they serve
the Lord (18-4:1).
      1. Since you were raised with Christ, seek those things above
         a. Where Christ is, seated at God's right hand (1)
         b. Not on the things on the earth (2)
      2. For you have died, one day to appear with Christ in glory
         a. Your life is now hidden with Christ in God (3)
         b. When Christ appears, you will also appear with Him in glory
      1. Put to death the members of your body (5)
         a. Fornication 
         b. Uncleanness
         c. Passion
         d. Evil desire
         e. Covetousness, which is idolatry
         -- For the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of 
            disobedience, and you also once walked in such things (6-7)
      2. Put off the old man with his deeds (8-9)
         a. Anger
         b. Wrath
         c. Malice
         d. Blasphemy
         e. Filthy language
         f. Lying to one another
   C. PUT ON THE NEW MAN (10-17)
      1. In which you are renewed in the image of our Creator, where 
         there is neither:
         a. Greek nor Jew
         b. Circumcised nor uncircumcised
         c. Barbarian, Scythian
         d. Slave nor free
         -- But Christ, who is all and in all (10-11)
      2. As God's elect, put on Christ-like qualities (12-14)
         a. Tender mercies
         b. Kindness
         c. Humbleness of mind
         d. Meekness
         e. Longsuffering
         f. Bearing with one another
         g. Forgiving one another, even as Christ forgave you
         h. Above all these things, put on love, the perfect tie that
      3. In addition...
         a. Let God's peace rule in your heart, and be thankful (15)
         b. Let Christ's word dwell in you richly, teaching and 
            admonishing one another with song, singing with grace in 
            your hearts to the Lord (16)
         c. Do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus, with 
            thanksgiving to God (17)
      1. Submit to your own husbands
      2. As is fitting in the Lord
      1. Love your wives
      2. Do not be bitter toward them
      1. Obey your parents in all things
      2. This is well pleasing to the Lord
      1. Do not provoke your children
      2. Or they may become discouraged
      1. Obey your earthly masters in all things (22)
         a. Not with eye-service, seeking only to please men
         b. But with sincerity of heart, fearing God
      2. Do your work heartily (23-24)
         a. As to the Lord and not to men (23)
         b. Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance
      3. He who does wrong... (25)
         a. Will be repaid for the wrong he does
         b. There will be no partiality
      1. Give your servants what is just and fair
      2. Knowing that you also have a Master in heaven
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The Christian solution (1-17)
   - Familial responsibilities (18-4:1)
2) What two-fold charge is given to those who have been raised with 
   Christ? (1-2)
   - Seek those things which are above, where Christ is
   - Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth
3) Where is our "life" at the present?  When shall it appear? (3-4)
   - Hidden with Christ in God
   - When Christ appears (i.e., His Second Coming)
4) What sins are we to "put to death"? (5)
   - Fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness
     (which is idolatry)
5) Why must we put them to death? (6)
   - Because the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience
6) What other sins must we "put off"? (8,9)
   - Anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language, lying to one 
7) What have we "put off", and what have we "put on"? (9-10)
   - We have "put off the old man with his deeds"
   - We have "put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according
     to the image of Him who created him" (i.e., Christ)
8) As God's elect (chosen), holy and beloved, what are we to "put on"?
   - Tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, 
     longsuffering, bearing with one another, forgiving one another as
     Christ forgave us, and love
9) What must we allow the "peace of God" do? (15)
   - Rule in our hearts
10) What must we allow the "word of Christ" do? (16)
   - Dwell in our hearts richly
11) How are we to teach and admonish one another? (16)
   - In psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our
     hearts to the Lord
12) How are we to do all things, whether in word or deed? (17)
   - In the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father 
     through Him
13) What is the duty of wives? (18)
   - To submit to their own husbands
14) What is the duty of husbands? (19)
   - To love their wives and not be bitter toward them
15) What is the duty of children? (20)
   - To obey their parents in all things
16) What is the duty of fathers? (21)
   - Not to provoke their children
17) What is the duty of servants? (22-23)
   - To obey their masters in all things
   - Not with eye-service, as pleasing men, but in sincerity of heart,
     fearing God
   - To do all things heartily, as to the Lord
18) What positive motivation is there for a servant to so act?  What
    negative motivation? (24-25)
   - Serving the Lord Christ, they will receive the reward of the 
   - Those who do wrong will be repaid, with no partiality being shown
19) What is the duty of masters?  What motivation is offered to do 
    this? (4:1)
   - To give their servants what is just and fair
   - They too have a Master, one who is heaven


Basics For Living In Christ (3:1-11)
1. In chapters 1-2, Paul has maintained that Christ is "all-sufficient"
   in matters of salvation and overcoming sin - cf. Co 2:10
2. Beginning now in chapter 3, Paul gives some basic and practical
   admonitions that pertain to living a life in Christ
3. When carried out, these "Basics For Living In Christ" will assure
   that we find in Christ everything we need for this life and the one 
   to come
[The first admonition is found in verses 1-4...]
      1. Why is this so important?
         a. It is essential if we desire to be "transformed" - Ro 12:2
         b. It is necessary if we want to be able to "live according to
            the Spirit" - Ro 8:5-6
      2. How do we "seek those things which are above"?
         a. By directing our minds' attention to such things mentioned
            in Ph 4:8
         b. More specifically, by setting our attention on the Word of
            God, where we find:
            1) Christ foreshadowed and foretold in the Old Testament
            2) Christ's life and teachings in the Gospels
            3) Christ's church in the Book of Acts
            4) Christ's fuller teachings in the Epistles
            5) Christ's encouragement and ultimate victory in the Book
               of Revelation
      1. We "died" (3)
         a. This occurs when one is baptized into Christ, which is a
            burial into His death in which we are "crucified with Him" 
            - Ro 6:3-6
         b. We "died" to sin , that we might be free from sin and now 
           live with Christ - Ro 6:7-13
      2. Thus, we were also "raised with Christ" (1)
         a. Which occurs when one comes forth from baptism - Co 2:12
            ("...in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him...")
         b. We were raised so that we might "walk in newness of life" 
            - Ro 6:4
      3. Our life is "hidden with Christ in God" (3)
         a. As Paul wrote to the Galatians:  "I have been crucified with
            Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;
            and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith
            in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." 
            - Ga 2:20
         b. We have denied self, crucified self, so it is now Christ Who
            is to live in us!
      4. When Christ appears in glory, so will we! (4)
         a. The first three reasons for us to "seek the heavenly" were
            based upon what has happened in the PAST
         b. This motivation is predicated upon what is promised for the
[And what a wonderful promise that is!  But to obtain that promise 
requires not only that we set our "minds" on things proper, but that we
properly deal with our "bodies" as well.
To put it another way, from verses 5-9 we learn that we must also...]
      1. Those that appeal to the "lust of the flesh"
         a. Fornication
            1) Grk., porneia {por-ni'-ah}
            2) A general term for any illicit sexual intercourse;
               includes adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality
         b. Uncleanness
            1) Grk., akatharsia {ak-ath-ar-see'-ah}
            2) Uncleanness in a moral sense: the impurity of lustful,
               luxurious, profligate living
         c. Passion (inordinate affection, KJV)
            1) Grk., pathos {path'-os}
            2) Used by the Greeks in either a good or bad sense; in the
               NT in a bad sense, it means depraved passion, vile
         d. Evil desire (evil concupiscence, KJV)
            1) Grk., epithumia {ep-ee-thoo-mee'-ah}
            2) Desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden,
      2. Also that which appeals to the "lust of the eyes"
         a. Covetousness
            1) Grk., pleonexia {pleh-on-ex-ee'-ah}
            2) Greedy desire to have more, covetousness, avarice
         b. Described by Paul to be equivalent to idolatry!
            1) For covetousness puts things in the place of God
            2) We are to set our minds on things above (where God is),
               but when we covet material objects we have our minds on
               things below, making such objects our idols!
      3. Motivation for putting these things to death
         a. To avoid the coming wrath of God! - Co 2:6-7
         b. It's one thing to do these things when we "lived in them",
            but in Christ we have "died to them"!
      1. Sins of the "emotions"
         a. Anger
            1) Grk., orge {or-gay'}
            2) Movement or agitation of the soul, impulse, desire, any
               violent emotion, but esp. anger
         b. Wrath
            1) Grk., thumos {thoo-mos'}
            2) Passion, angry, heat, anger forthwith boiling up and soon
               subsiding again
         c. Malice
            1) Grk., kakia {kak-ee'-ah}
            2) Malignity, malice, ill-will, desire to injure
      2. Sins of the "tongue"
         a. Blasphemy
            1) Grk., blasphemia {blas-fay-me'-ah}
            2) Slander, detraction, speech injurious, to another's good 
               name; impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine
         b. Filthy language (filthy communication, KJV)
            1) Grk., aischrologia {ahee-skhrol-og-ee'-ah}
            2) Foul speaking, low and obscene speech
         c. Lying
            1) Grk., pseudomai {psyoo'-dom-ahee}
            2) To lie, to speak deliberate falsehoods; to deceive one by
               a lie, to lie to
      3. The reason for putting off all these things:  we must complete
         in PRACTICE what we started in PRINCIPLE - Co 3:9b
         a. When we were baptized, we "put off" the old man with his 
            deeds (in principle)
            - Co 2:11-12; 3:9
         b. In practice, it does not occur overnight, thus the need for
            such admonitions as: "But now you must also put off all
            these..." - Co 3:8
[Finally, and briefly, we notice in verses 10-11  an admonition by
Paul which will be expanded upon in the next section (12-17).  He
encourages us to...]
      1. In baptism into Christ, we "put on Christ" - Ga 3:27
      2. Thus, in PRINCIPLE we also put on "the new man" who is renewed
         "according to the image of Him who created him"
      3. What we have done in PRINCIPLE (Co 3:10), we will need to do
         in PRACTICE (cf. Co 3:12)
      1. To be renewed according to the image of Christ! - cf. Ro 8:29
      2. To become like Christ, and in so doing, destroy the barriers
         that have long divided man!
1. This is what might be called "the whole duty of man" in New Testament
   terms:  to be renewed according to the image of Christ!
2. To accomplish this goal, we must heed the admonitions of Paul and...
   a. Seek The Heavenly
   b. Slay The Earthly
   c. Strengthen The Christly
3. We will examine more what is involved in "strengthening the Christly"
   in the next study (verses 12-17)
4. For now, did you notice that everything in this chapter assumes that
   one has been "raised with Christ" (cf. Co 3:1, "IF THEN you were
   raised with Christ...")?
   a. How are we raised with Christ?
   b. Paul has already described how, in Co 2:11-13, where we learn
      that it is in baptism that God will raise one who has faith in the
      working of God!
   c. Have you been baptized into Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of
      your sins (Ac 2:38), and to be able to walk in newness of life
      (Ro 6:3-5)...?


The Christian's Apparel (3:12-17)
1. In the first part of the third chapter of the Epistle to the
   Colossians, we have noticed several admonitions for living the full
   life in Jesus Christ:
   a. "Seek The Heavenly" (3:1-4)
   b. "Slay The Earthly" (3:5-9)
   c. "Strengthen The Christly" (3:10-11)
2. Beginning in verses 8-10, Paul uses the metaphor of "putting off"
   and "putting on" to describe what is necessary to grow as Christians
3. He continues this metaphor in verse 12, as he expands upon the
   things Christians are to "put on"
4. As we examine verses 12-17, we shall do so from the perspective of
   what constitutes "The Christian's Apparel"; that is, those things
   we must "put on" to be properly adorned as disciples of Jesus Christ
[Observe from verses 12-14, then, how we must adorn ourselves with...]
      1. Two describe HOW WE ARE TO TREAT OTHERS
         a. Tender mercies (bowels of mercies, KJV)
            1) Grk., splagchnon {splangkh'-non} oiktirmos {oyk-tir-mos'}
            2) The first word literally means "bowels...for the bowels
               were regarded by the Hebrews as the  seat of the tenderer
               affections, esp. kindness, benevolence, compassion"
            3) The second word describes "compassion, pity, mercy"
            4) Thus we are to have "bowels in which compassion resides",
               or as we might say today, a heart of compassion
         b. Kindness
            1) Grk., chrestotes {khray-stot'-ace}
            2) Benignity, kindness
         a. Humility (humbleness of mind, KJV)
            1) Grk., tapeinophrosune {tap-i-nof-ros-oo'-nay}
            2) The having a humble opinion of one's self; a deep sense 
               of one's (moral) littleness; modesty, humility, lowliness
               of mind
         b. Meekness
            1) Grk., praotes {prah-ot'-ace}
            2) Gentleness, mildness, meekness
      3. Three virtues relate to HOW WE SHOULD ACT WHEN MISTREATED
         a. Longsuffering
            1) Grk., makrothumia {mak-roth-oo-mee'-ah}
            2) Patience, forbearance, longsuffering, slowness in 
               avenging wrongs 
         b. Bearing with one another
            1) The word "bearing" (forbearing, KJV) is anechomai 
            2) To sustain, to bear, to endure
         c. Forgiving one another
            1) The word "forgiving" is charizomai {khar-id'-zom-ahee}
            2) Meaning "to do something pleasant or agreeable (to one), 
               to do a favor to, gratify; to grant forgiveness, to 
            3) Forgiving others is demanded, because we have been 
               forgiven by Christ!
      4. The final virtue mentioned is LOVE
         a. The Grk. word is agape {ag-ah'-pay}, meaning good will, 
         b. It is described by Paul as "the bond of perfection"
            1) I.e., "the perfect tie that binds" the other virtues 
               together (like a belt binds pieces of clothing)
            2) Without love, none of the other virtues can last; with 
               it, the others can be easily maintained
      1. Are they not the qualities of Jesus that endear us to Him?
      2. If we adorn these virtues, then, we will be adorning ourselves
         with the "character of Christ"!
      3. Is this not the very idea of Co 3:10?
[Wouldn't it be wonderful, if we could be more successful in "putting 
on" the character of Christ?
   *  Think of the churches that could have been spared divisions and
   *  Think of the families that could have been saved, if more
      Christians had so adorned themselves!
Remember, it begins with "seeking the heavenly" (3:1-4) and "slaying
the earthly" (3:5-9).
At this point, I am stretching Paul's metaphor of "putting on" further
than he did, but to "the character of Christ" we must also adorn
ourselves with...]
      1. Why?  Because we were called to be at peace in one body (the
         a. Jesus died on the cross to make peace! - Ep 2:14-18
         b. If we disrupt the peace of the body (church), we disrupt the
            work of Christ on the cross!
         c. Thus, we must be diligent to "keep the unity of The Spirit 
            in the bond peace" - Ep 4:3
      2. Generally, where there is contention and strife, it is among 
         members of the body who are not letting the peace of God rule 
         in THEIR hearts
      3. Peace in the body (the church) begins with peace ruling in our
      1. It must start with our setting our minds on things above
         a. Remember, this passage assumes that we are carry out the
           admonition in Co 3:1-2
         b. Only a mind that is "spiritual" can enjoy peace from God
            - cf. Ro 8:5-6
      2. It is experienced as we engage in thankful prayer
         a. Paul tells us to be thankful in Co 3:15
         b. But he makes the connection between thankful prayer and the
            peace of God more clearly in Ph 4:6-7
      3. And it comes as we follow the teachings and example of the
         apostles, like Paul - cf. Ph 4:9
[Again, how wonderful it would be for churches and families if all
professing Christians would adorn themselves with such qualities as
"the character of Christ" and "the peace of God"!
But there is more we need to add to our "wardrobe"...]
      1. That is, the Word is to live, to abide, to have free course in
         our lives
      2. This is possible only through a serious effort to learn it (via
         self-study, Bible classes, sermons, etc.)
      3. But learning is only the FIRST step!
         a. For the Word to truly "dwell" in us, we must OBEY it!
         b. Sadly, many who study never make the application, and remain
            "hearers only" - cf. Ja 1:22-25
      1. This happens when we add to our "study" of the Word of God the
         element of "song"
         a. This truth we glean as we notice HOW Paul says we are to let
            the Word dwell in us richly...
         b. I.e., by "teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and
      2. Does this not make sense?  For if the Word is to dwell in us
         a. It must not only involve the MIND through study
         b. It must also involve the HEART (emotions) through song!
      1. It is the means through which the Word of Christ dwells in us 
      2. For this to happen, of course, we must sing properly
         a. We must understand what we are singing (otherwise, we are
            not taught and admonished)
         b. Our heart (emotions) must be involved, otherwise we are not
            singing "with grace in our hearts"
         c. Fortunately, this does not require formal voice training,
            for the emphasis is not on how it sounds to the ear, but how
            it touches the heart!
         d. Thus, ALL can and should sing (in the heart at least, if
            unable to do so with the mouth)
      3. For those who have not learned the "joy of singing", they are
         depriving themselves of the means God intended for the Word to
         dwell in us "richly"!
[Through singing, then, we can add to "The Christian's Apparel" the
"Word of Christ".
Finally, the "The Christian's Apparel" must also include...}
      1. For if we say or do ALL "in the name of the Lord Jesus" (that 
         is, by His authority)
      2. Then it is evident that we have really "put on" the LORD Jesus 
         Christ in our lives!
      1. What they do, they do by their own authority, "in the name of
         personal preference"
         a. They worship in whatever way pleases them, rather than seek
            out in the Word of God what pleases the Lord
         b. They make the church "in their own image", adding the 
            traditions of men to the commands of God!
      2. But in view of what the Lord taught, we should remember...
         a. There is a such a thing as "vain worship"! - Mt 15:7-9
         b. Many religious people will still be lost, because they did 
            not submit to the "will of the Father" - Mt 7:21-23
            1) Instead, they practiced "lawlessness"
            2) Grk., anomia {an-om-ee'-ah}, the condition of without 
               law, because ignorant of it, or because of violating it
      3. Therefore, "...whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the 
         name of the LORD Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through
         Him." - Co 3:17
1. We have suggested that four things make up "The Christian's Apparel"
   a. The Character of Christ
   b. The Peace of God
   c. The Word of Christ
   d. The Authority of Christ
2. Certainly the world (and many churches) would be a much better place
   if all who profess Jesus to be Lord so adorned themselves
3. But what other motives might there be to do so?  Four are given in
   this passage...
   a. We are "God's elect" (His chosen ones) - Co 3:12
   b. We are "holy" (set apart for a sacred purpose) - Co 3:12
   c. We are "beloved by God" - Co 3:12
   d. We have been "forgiven by Christ" - Co 3:13
Are not these reasons sufficient to put on "The Christian's Apparel"?


Guidelines For The Family And Business (3:18-4:1)
1. The theme throughout the Book of Colossians is that Jesus Christ is 
   our "All-Sufficient And Pre-Eminent Savior" - cf. Co 1:16-18; 2:3,
2. As a demonstration of Jesus as our "all-sufficient" Savior, we now 
   find His apostle Paul giving guidelines by which we can successfully
   conduct our family and business matters! - Co 3:18-4:1
3. This passage illustrates that the "pre-eminence" of Christ reaches 
   even to the secular concerns of our lives
[Beginning with verse 18, let's examine some of these guidelines Christ
has given us...]
      1. The Greek word is hupotasso {hoop-ot-as'-so}
      2. It means to...
         a. arrange under, to subordinate
         b. subject, put in subjection
         c. subject one's self, obey
         d. submit to one's control
         e. yield to one's admonition or advice
         f. obey, be subject
      3. Thus, wives are to be in submission to their husbands, "as to 
         the Lord" (Ep 5:22)
      1. The word "fitting"...
         a. Grk., aneko {an-ay'-ko}
         b. To pertain to what is due, duty, as was fitting
      2. To be willing to submit to another is certainly in keeping with
         Jesus' own teaching and example - Mt 20:25-28
      3. It is also in keeping with what is expected of ALL Christians...
         a. We are to submit to one another - Ep 5:21
         b. We are to submit those who rule over us in the faith 
            - He 13:17
         c. We are to submit to the ordinances of government 
            - 1 Pe 2:13-15
         d. Christian servants were to submit to their masters 
            - 1 Pe 2:18
         e. Younger Christians are to submit to the elders, and to one
            another as well, even as we submit to God - 1 Pe 5:5-7
      1. They may never win their unbelieving husbands to Christ - cf. 
         1 Pe 3:1-2
      2. God will not be gracious to them - cf. 1 Pe 5:5
      3. There is even a possibility that it may have a strong bearing 
         on the sexual orientation of the children!
         a. A study by Dr. Irving Bieber was made of the family 
            background of 106 male homosexuals (cf. "What Everyone
            Should Know About Homosexuality", LaHaye, p. 71-72)
         b. Dr. Bieber found that:
            1) 81 mothers were dominating
            2) 62 of the mothers were overprotective
            3) 66 mothers made the homosexual their favorite child
            4) 82 of the fathers spent very little time with their sons
            5) 79 fathers maintained a detached attitude toward them
         c. The more "modern" man learns through tested research, the 
            more we begin to realize that Jesus and His Word were right
            all along!
            1) Whatever the subject, Christ certainly knows best
            2) And He should...remember, He's the Creator of all things!
[And now, for an often much needed word to the husbands...]
      1. Our role model is Christ, and His love for the Church 
         - Ep 5:25-27
         a. Husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loved the 
         b. I.e., with a sacrificial love
      2. Another example is the kind of love we have for our own bodies 
         - Ep 5:28-29
         a. Just as one "nourishes" and "cherishes" his own body, so he 
            should his wife
            1) The word "nourish" comes from ektrepho {ek-tref'-o}, and 
               a) to nourish up to maturity, to nourish
               b) to nurture, bring up
            2) The word "cherish" is from thalpo {thal'-po}, meaning...
               a) to warm, keep warm
               b) to cherish with tender love, to foster with tender 
         b. Again, this is how Christ loves the Church!
      1. "and do not be bitter toward them" - Co 3:19
         a. The Greek word for "bitter" is pikraino {pik-rah'-ee-no}
         b. It means...
            1) to produce a bitter taste in the stomach
            2) to embitter; exasperate
            3) render angry, indignant
            4) to be embittered, irritated
            5) to visit with bitterness, to grieve (deal bitterly with)
      2. Peter gives us some insight as to why it is important not to be
         "bitter toward them" - cf. 1 Pe 3:7
         a. They are the more delicate partner in the relationship ("a 
            weaker vessel")
            1) Capable of providing the motherly tenderness and 
               sensitivity crucial in the early development of children
            2) Bitterness will make the wife (mother) coarse and 
               resentful, contributing to the environment of a 
               "dysfunctional" family
         b. They are "heirs together of the grace of life"
            1) In Christ, they are not just wives, they are "sisters in 
            2) Therefore, worthy of love and honor, not bitterness!
         c. How we treat them determines the efficacy of our prayers 
            ("that your prayers may not be hindered")!
[When husbands love their wives as Christ loves the Church, and are not 
bitter toward them, it is much easier for wives to be submissive to 
their husbands.  Since husbands are to be the "leader" in the family, 
then let them show leadership by fulfilling their responsibility!  I 
dare say that the wives will then gladly follow, and the family (with 
our society) will benefit.
Speaking of the family, what about the children?]
      1. It is well-pleasing to the Lord (it is certainly what He did 
         - Lk 2:51-52)
      2. It contains an important promise - cf. Ep 6:1-3
      1. Consider how God viewed lack of obedience in the Old 
         a. On par with witchcraft and idolatry! - 1 Sam 15:22-23
         b. The punishment in some cases for rebellious children was 
            death! - Deu 21:18-21
      2. Therefore, rebelliousness is not to be taken lightly by 
         a. It is not "just a stage they go through" (for some never 
            leave it)
         b. It is a serious problem that should concern us
         c. It is a problem that requires much prayer for the wisdom to 
            bring the child out of it!
[What can help the children to escape the sin of rebellion is if their 
fathers take to heart what is said to them...]
      1. They are to be understanding and compassionate, yet firm
         a. Joshua was strong in his resolve for his family to serve the
            Lord - Josh 24:14-15
         b. Eli, however, was condemned because of his failure to 
            restrain his sons - 1 Sam 3:11-14
      2. They thus have the responsibility to provide spiritual training
         for their children - Ep 6:4
         a. They do it by THEIR EXAMPLE - the following quotes are taken
            from "The Father - God's Representative In The Family", 
            printed in Pulpit Helps
            1) "A child tends to look upon the Heavenly Father as he 
               does his earthly father.  If his earthly father is kind,
               loving, just, forgiving and good, a child will perceive
               of God as the same.  If, on the other hand, his earthly
               father is cruel, unloving, unkind, the child will 
               perceive the heavenly Father in the same manner."
            2) "Generally speaking, the concept which all people have of
               God is the concept each has of his father.  Such is
               extremely difficult to erase.  It is vitally important 
               for a man to live the kind of life, and be the kind of 
               person who is demonstrating to his sons and daughters 
               what God is really like - for the father is God's 
               representative here on earth.  This provides an 
               inestimable privilege, and also a solemn responsibility."
         b. They do it by THEIR INSTRUCTION (whether it be formal or 
            informal, cf. Deu 6:6-7)
      1. By being unfair in their discipline
         a. Punishing without fair warning
         b. Showing favoritism in the exercise of discipline
      2. By being hypocritical in our teaching and example
         a. "Do as I say, not as I do" has no place in the vocabulary of
            Christian fathers
         b. Not only does hypocrisy provoke children to wrath, it often
            is the underlying reason why children leave the faith!
[As a father who is still involved in raising children, I know all this 
does not come easy.  But with the help of God we can apply these 
admonitions of the apostle of our Lord.
The remaining admonitions would have fallen under guidelines for the 
FAMILY in the First Century (A.D.), since most Christians would have 
either been slaves in another family or had some slaves in their own 
Today, however, I believe that we can still apply these verses to our 
BUSINESS relationships...]
      1. "in ALL things" (except that which would violate God's Will, of
         course - Ac 5:29)
      2. Not with "eye-service"
         a. Grk., ophthalmodouleia {of-thal-mod-oo-li'-ah}
         b. Service performed [only] under the master's eyes
            1) For the master's eye usually stimulates to greater 
            2) His absence, on the other hand, renders a sluggish 
      3. Not as "men-pleasers"
         a. Grk., anthropareskos {anth-ro-par'-es-kos}
         b. Studying to please man, courting the favor of men
      4. But in "sincerity of heart"
         a. "sincerity" (singleness, KJV) comes from haplotes 
         b. As used here, it means:
            1) Singleness, simplicity, sincerity, mental honesty
            2) The virtue of one who is free from pretense and hypocrisy
            3) Not self seeking, openness of heart manifesting itself by
      5. And "fearing God"
         a. The word "fear" is from phobeo {fob-eh'-o}
         b. In reference to God, it means "to reverence, venerate, to 
            treat with deference or reverential obedience"
         c. It is God whom we should be concerned is watching, not man!
      6. We are to do our work "heartily, as to the Lord and not to men"
         a. "heartily" is from psuche {psoo-khay'}
         b. Which here likely refers to "the seat of the feelings, 
            desires, affections, aversions (our heart, soul etc.)"
         c. I.e., We are to "put our heart into our work"
         d. Just as we would if was the Lord we were working for, for in
            reality, that is actually who we are serving!
      1. It is the Lord Jesus Christ we serve, who has the ability to 
         provide our inheritance
      2. But the one who does wrong in his service to his master 
         (employer) will be repaid wrong!
      3. No partiality will be shown in rendering judgment for 
         a. Being a slave is no excuse for slack service
         b. Nor is being a Christian!        
      4. Even if our masters (employers) are abusive, we are to do what 
         is right! - 1 Pe 2:18-25
[And now, to those on the other end...]
      1. You are to be "just"
         a. Grk., dikaios {dik'-ah-yos}
         b. As used here, it involves "rendering to each his due and 
            that in a judicial sense, passing just judgment on others,
            whether expressed in words or shown by the manner of dealing
            with them"
      2. You are to be "fair" (equal, KJV)
         a. Grk., isotes {ee-sot'-ace}
         b. It means to show "equity, fairness, what is equitable"
      3. In Ep 6:9, we see that masters are to...
         a. "do the same thing to them (slaves)" (i.e., with good will 
            doing service, as to the Lord)
         b. "giving up threatening"
      4. In other words, apply the "Golden Rule" - Mt 7:12
      1. As a motive to be just and fair, a reminder that even masters
         have a Master in heaven
      2. Again in Ep 6:9, the point is made that there is no 
         partiality with your Master
         a. Being a master (employer) does not give you any special 
            privileges in His sight
         b. Nor being a Christian, if you are unfair and unjust to those
            under you!
      3. So if you want your Master to be just and fair with you, then 
         let Him be your ROLE MODEL for how you deal with those under 
         your responsibility!
1. In Co 2:3 it is said of Christ: "in whom are hidden all the 
   treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
   a. The wisdom and knowledge that comes from Christ reaches to the 
      relevant needs that we face today, no matter how secular or 
   b. Clearly the passage we have examined illustrates this fact!
2. And so with Christ as our Lord, we are truly COMPLETE:  "and you are 
   complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power." 
   - Co 2:10
3. Imagine how "complete" our families, our workplaces, would be if all 
   followed the "Guidelines For The Family And Business" as revealed by
   the apostle Paul
   a. Families living together in love and harmony!
   b. Workplaces filled with considerate, productive people!
4. We may not be able to change society totally
   a. But at least we can start with ourselves
   b. And provide a demonstration of the wisdom of Christ in our own 
Are you doing what you can to "prove (demonstrate) what is that good and
acceptable and perfect will of God"? - cf. Ro 12:2


--《Executable Outlines