Colossians 3: 12 – 4:1 New Living Translation NLT
“12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Instructions for Christian Households
18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.
20 Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not aggravate your
children, or they will become discouraged.
22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just
when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the
Lord. 23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. 25 But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites.”
Masters, be just and fair to your slaves. Remember that you also have a Master – in heaven.”
(NASB – New American Standard Bible – the translation of 3: 25
“For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.”
I didn’t like the New Living Bible translation of verse 25 so decided to include another translation that is considered accurate. The NLT tends to suggest that God punishes us for everything we do wrong. Being punished and taking consequences are different.)
The person described in these verses is completely different from the one described in the earlier verses of this chapter that we looked at yesterday. These are the characteristics of God!
• • • •
Gentle Patient Forgiving Loving Peaceful Thankful
Can you imagine what kind of world we would live in if all people acted with those characteristics? That is how God treats us. As his children, that is how we share our faith in a marvelous God, by behaving the way he does. We want people to come to know our wonderful God because they see those God-like qualities in us.
How in the world can I develop all those amazing qualities? Galatians tells us about the work of the Holy Spirit in each of us.
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives.” … “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” (5: 16, 22 – 23)
These godly qualities make a huge difference in the way we treat other people. Paul gives us examples in household situations. Wives are asked to submit to their husbands. That sounds absolutely awful in the 21st Century! This is not talking about a relationship where a man treats his wife badly, orders her around, checks her every move, etc. In fact, the husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Paul expands on this idea in Ephesians 5: 25 – 29:
“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.”
• • • • • •
If every husband loved his wife as much as Christ loved the church, no wife would hesitate to follow his leadership.
This loving relationship should also characterize parent/child relationships. Take another look at those characteristics the Holy Spirit develops in us – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. If that defined the relationships in every home, it would be a peaceful place.
Our culture doesn’t have the slave and master situation, but Paul’s advice could apply to our work situations. Employees who are Christ followers should “try to please them (their bosses) all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (v. 22 – 23) Is that your attitude toward your job, toward the person you work for?
If you are “the boss”, someone who is over other employees, you have a responsibility too. You are to be fair in the way you treat those under you. In fact, God is the example you need to follow. Oh … that means as a boss I need to be tender-hearted, merciful, kind, humble, gentle, patient, forgiving, loving, peaceful, and thankful. Now that brings the level of being the boss to a whole new level.
Paul tells us in these verses what we are to hope and strive for. “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” (v. 16 – 17)
There is a very old hymn that became my favourite hymn back in my late teens, and it is still one of my favourites. The words of this hymn echo these verses in Colossians. You can hear it on YouTube.
May The Mind of Christ My Saviour
By Kate B. Wilkinson, 1925
May the mind of Christ my Saviour
Live in me from day to day
By His love and power controlling All I do and say.
May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.
May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything
That I may be calm to comfort Sick and sorrowing.
May the love of Jesus fill me As the waters fill the sea Him exalting, self abasing This is victory.
May I run the race before me Strong and brave to face the foe Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.
May His beauty rest upon me
As I seek the lost to win
And may they forget the channel Seeing only Him..