“We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left.” (2 Corinthians 6:3-8)
-In the days of the apostle Paul, Colossae was a major city that was in the midst of gradual decline. Originally, Colossae was located along major east and west and north and south trade routes. However, the main trade routes had been rerouted away from Colossae and through neighboring Laodicea. The change in trade routes resulted in a tri-city complex with Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis.
-The church in Colossae was founded by Epaphras (Colossians 1:5-7), and during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment in A.D. 61-62, he wrote to the church there as part of his prison ministry. However, growing heresy began to infect the church—so much so that Epaphras traveled to Rome to seek Paul’s counsel (Colossians 4:12-13). The heresy was a response to the radically pagan and sexually immoral culture of that time, for it brought in legalism and ascetism that taught that matter and the body were inherently evil. Therefore, in this letter, Paul seeks to encourage the church in sound doctrine and to lead them away from a false view of holiness.
-In Colossians 3, Paul teaches that true holiness is not following rules or amassing good works but simply becoming more like Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:4). He exhorts them to put sin to death not in order to be legalistic but so that they can know and become more like their Savior (Colossians 3:5-11). In the following verses, Paul instructs us how to put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
-Paul exhorts us first to “put on then” (Ἐνδύσασθε οὖν) the new self that has been raised with Christ Jesus.
-To “put on” means “to dress oneself” or “to be clothed” (Luke 24:49). Paul often exhorts us to put on Christ since Christ has already united Himself to us (Romans 13:14; Galatians 3:27)
-Since we have been made new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), we are to walk in Christ (Colossians 2:6)
-We are “God’s chosen ones” (ὡς ἐκλεκτοὶ τοῦ θεοῦ) who are “holy and beloved” (ἅγιοι καὶ ἠγαπημένοι).
-Before Paul lists specific attributes of Christ that we are to grow in, he reminds us once again of our position in Christ. We are the people of the living God (1 Peter 2:10-11) who were elected by God’s sovereign love to be redeemed and united in His Son Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3-10).
-We are declared “holy” (ἅγιοι) because God has imputed Christ’s righteousness to us (2 Corinthians 5:21), thereby declaring us to be righteous in His sight (Romans 8:33). To be “holy” means to be declared the “saints” of God (Colossians 1:22, 4, 12, 26).
-We are the “beloved” (ἠγαπημένοι) of God because of God’s love for us—we did not earn or deserve God’s love. He freely and graciously demonstrated His love for us (Romans 5:8) and His love is amazingly infinite (Ephesians 3:18-19) and eternally indestructible and secure (Romans 8:38-39).
-We are to firstly clothe ourselves in “compassionate hearts” (σπλάγχνα οἰκτιρμοῦ). “Election from eternity precedes sanctification in time; the sanctified, feeling God’s love, imitate it ”
-This phrase is translated into English so we can understand it in our English idioms, but the Greek literally says “bowels of compassion”. In the New Testament world, the “bowels” or “stomach” were the center of deep, intense affections (Philippians 1:8).
-God demonstrates this very same heart to us in Christ (Luke 1:78) and so we are to show tenderness and mercy towards others.
-Stemming from a compassionate heart are “kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (χρηστότητα, ταπεινοφροσύνην, πραΰτητα, μακροθυμίαν).
-“Kindness” (χρηστότητα) is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and its antonym is “severity” (Romans 11:22). God has demonstrated His immeasurable kindness to us in the Gospel (Ephesians 2:7-9)).
-“Humility” (ταπεινοφροσύνην) means to put others before yourself by having Christ at the forefront of our focus rather than ourselves (Philippians 2:3-5). No one has demonstrated more humility than Jesus Christ in the outworking of redemption (Philippians 2:5-11).
-“Meekness” (πραΰτητα) has as its synonym “gentleness” which is how we treat others in a humble way (Ephesians 4:2; 2 Timothy 2:25; 1 Peter 3:15).
-“Patience” (μακροθυμίαν) is longsuffering and forbearance in following the Lord’s will (James 5:10).
bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
-These qualities of Christlike character manifest themselves practically in specific actions, the first of which is “bearing with one another” (ἀνεχόμενοι ἀλλήλων). This means “to endure”.
-“Significantly, Paul focused on the individual who is to have patience, rather than the one who caused a problem. The place to begin in any group tension is with oneself rather than others.”
-To “bear” or “endure” (2 Thessalonians 1:4) requires us to trust in God’s purposes for our lives (1 Corinthians 4:12).
-Bearing with one another involves being ready to forgive one another. “And, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other” (καὶ χαριζόμενοι ἑαυτοῖς ἐάν τις πρός τινα ἔχῃ μομφήν).
-A “complaint” (μομφή) is a grievance or offense that we may legitimately or illegitimately have. Grievances and offenses are not necessarily illegitimate—people do objectively sin against us. Yet we are to model Christ when they do (Matthew 5:44; Romans 5:10).
-“He at length explains what he meant by long-suffering—that we embrace each other indulgently, and forgive also where any offence has been given. As, however, it is a thing that is hard and difficult, he confirms this doctrine by the example of Christ, and teaches, that the same thing is required from us, that as we, who have so frequently and so grievously offended, have nevertheless been received into favour, we should manifest the same kindness towards our neighbours, by forgiving whatever offences they have committed against us.”
-We can forgive our brothers and sisters in Christ because “as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (καθὼς καὶ ὁ κύριος ἐχαρίσατο ὑμῖν οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς).
-The Lord commands us to forgive as He forgave us (Matthew 6:14; Mark 11:25). This is not a suggestion, but a command from the Lord.
-We can forgive others and release them from the debt they owe us when we understand the indescribable forgiveness God has shown us in the substitutionary atonement of His Son on our behalf (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14).
-God demonstrates true forgiveness toward us by nailing our debt of sin to the Cross where Jesus paid it all (Colossians 2:14; Isaiah 43:25; Psalm 103:12). We are therefore to cancel the debts that others owe us that they cannot repay.
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
-“And above all these put on love” (ἐπὶ πᾶσι δὲ τούτοις τὴν ἀγάπην). “Above all” can also be rendered “before all” (Calvin). Love stands as the foundation for all of character and conduct in our lives, for God’s love is the unshakable foundation of our eternal salvation in Christ (Ephesians 1:4-5). Just as with the previous attributes of Christ mentioned in verse 12, we are to “clothe” or “put on” this fundamental attribute of Christ.
-Paul mentions this agape love 74 times of the total 115 times this love appears in the New Testament. This love is foundational to our Christian life (Ephesians 3:17)
-God’s love for us is truly wonderful (Ephesians 2:4-6), and hence we demonstrate His love in us towards His beloved people (Ephesians 5:2).
-If we are rooted and grounded in the love of Christ, our love for others will not be static but will grow and increase (Philippians 1:9).
-Paul gives a rich and masterful description of biblical love in 1 Corinthians 13. Essentially, biblical love is to put Christ and others above ourselves. As an example, in marriage our physical bodies are firstly the Lord’s (1 Corinthians 6:20), then our spouses’ (1 Corinthians 7:3-4), and lastly our own.
-The love of Christ manifested in the hearts of His people “binds everything together in perfect harmony” (ὅ ἐστιν σύνδεσμος τῆς τελειότητος). The effect of Christian love in the hearts of His people is truly beautiful.
-“Binds” (σύνδεσμος) is the metaphor of “tying together” and refers to binding all the virtues together. “Everything” refers to the previous attributes in the preceding verses.
-“Perfect harmony” (τελειότης) refers to “perfection” or “maturity”. “The expression means that mutual love would bring the group to perfection. In parallel of Eph 3:14–19 (esp. vv. 17–18), Paul expressed his conviction that the many dimensions of love could be understood only by observing its operation in the group. By this expression Paul meant that the love would bind them together unto completeness.
-Other translations render “perfect harmony” as bond of perfectness”.
-When we experience this perfect harmony, our hearts are knit together with one another (Colossians 2:2).
-All these attributes of Christ demonstrated in us have their foundation and fruition in biblical love towards one another (John 13:34; Ephesians 5:2).
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
-The result of putting on the heart of Christ is that Christ’s peace will be present in our lives. “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (καὶ ἡ εἰρήνη τοῦ χριστοῦ βραβευέτω ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν).
-To have something “rule” (βραβεύω) us means it controls us. This is a present active imperative verb, meaning we are to joyfully submit ourselves to the control of Christ and His “peace” (εἰρήνη).
-Christ has personally given to His beloved children His peace (John 14:27).
-We have peace by listening to the voice of Christ and taking refuge in Him, despite the trouble of the world around us (John 16:33).
-This is not a peace we create but rather a peace we have been given by God—a peace that continues (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
-When Christ has given us His peace, we then will seek to cultivate peace in our relationships with others (Romans 14:19).
-“The fact is, the congregation was to do nothing without the peace of Christ as the environment which overshadowed the action. Such peace also gave a sense of validation to the activities of the church. The specific place of rule was in the believers’ “hearts.” In typical fashion for the Old Testament and often for the New, the term signifies the general core of one’s being. It is the decision-making and valuing aspect of persons. Since the term is plural and distributive, the heart of each member is implied. The individual hearts had to be at peace for the congregation to be at peace.”
-But this peace is not simply individual; rather, it is the atmosphere that will be evident in the body of Christ—“to which indeed you were called in one body.” (εἰς ἣν καὶ ἐκλήθητε ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι)
-In Colossians 1:16-23, Paul declares that Christ has purchased us as His holy people and is the head of the body.
-Paul declares that we are united in Christ’s body (Ephesians 4:4-6) as we grow in Christ (Ephesians 4:9-16).
-“Because of peace we are one body, and because we are one body, we are at peace”
-“And be thankful” (καὶ εὐχάριστοι γίνεσθε).
-Paul ends this passage with an exhortation to thankfulness. “Generally a lack of peace results from self-seeking or dissatisfaction with things as they are. Thankfulness points one to the realization that all things are provided in Christ. There is no room for ill will or bitterness if thankfulness prevails.”
-A spirit of peace and thankfulness in a church comes from putting on the heart of Christ and recognizing all that Christ has done for us (Colossians 2:7).
-Thankfulness will in fact be a defining aspect of our eternal worship of God (Revelation 7:12).
“For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.” (Psalm 86:5)
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 Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 380). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
 Melick, R. R. (1991). Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (Vol. 32, p. 299). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
 Calvin, J., & Pringle, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians (p. 213). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
 Melick, R. R. (1991). Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (Vol. 32, pp. 300–301). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
 Melick, R. R. (1991). Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (Vol. 32, p. 302). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
 John Chrysostom. (1889). Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, on the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Colossians. In P. Schaff (Ed.), J. Ashworth & J. A. Broadus (Trans.), Saint Chrysostom: Homilies on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (Vol. 13, p. 296). New York: Christian Literature Company.
 Melick, R. R. (1991). Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (Vol. 32, p. 302). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.