Thursday, January 13, 2022

2022.01.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 3:12–14

Read Colossians 3:12–14

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle call them in Colossians 3:12? With what two characteristics? What five things are they to put on? What two things are they to do (Colossians 3:13a)? If what has happened? What is the pattern for this (verse 13b)? How does the command in Colossians 3:14 relate to the rest? What are they to put on most of all? How will it function among the others?

Election and predestination are unto something far greater than merely escaping wrath. They are unto Christ-likeness. Ephesians 1:4 says, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Romans 8:29 says, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” And it is in our identity as “the elect of God, holy and beloved” (Colossians 3:12) that our passage begins to flesh out what it should look like to have “put on the new man”—Christ (Colossians 3:10-11) instead of Adam (Colossians 3:9). 

In other words, the believer’s big question about election ought not to be whether or not election is real (since God declares it) or if it is fair (since the perfectly righteous God has done it) but rather, “unto what have I been elected?” (since it is this after which we are to strive). 

Christ is our life (Colossians 3:4a), and we are to appear with Him in glory (verse 4b), so we are to grow into His likeness. As we love Him and love one another, we will pursue the perfection that is His character (Colossians 3:14). What then are we to put on if we are putting on Christ and His love? 

Tender mercies—compassions of the heart. Kindness—goodness to all, and especially to the Lord’s. Humility—taking for ourselves a low position and considering others above ourselves. Meekness—the gentleness that would rather suffer harm than inflict it. Longsuffering—like meekness but after the fact; patiently putting up with being wronged rather than giving into fury or trying to get payback.

All of these characteristics are especially needed in one particular situation: “if anyone has a complaint against another.” The characteristics of Christ in the Christian come to bear most when he is sinned against. Both as God and as our Mediator, Christ has been sinned against infinitely more than any of us could have been. And the great act of His redemption has been to bear the guilt Himself in order to forgive us. Being sinned against is one of the greatest opportunities for Christlikeness that a Christian can have. 

And when the opportunity comes, we must seize it by the two commanded actions in Colossians 3:13: forgive one another. We practice for the forgiving of wrongs by bearing with one another’s continual weaknesses and annoyances. And then when idiosyncrasy overflows into genuine offense, the exercise of Christ-like graces in bearing with one another will have strengthened those graces that we might readily forgive one another. So let us live out of love for God and love for others, that when the time comes we might by grace seize our opportunity and forgive.

What opportunity do you have to bear with others? What opportunity do you have to forgive? What are these really opportunities for you to put on and to do?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank and praise You Who have elected and loved us that we might well love You. Forgive us for missing our opportunities to display the qualities of Christ in us, and make us to put on His character so that we may imitate His conduct, which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP24 “The Earth and the Riches” or TPH464 “The Beatitudes”

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