Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Our Verse of the Day draws our attention to the types of conduct (virtues) we should exhibit as believers. Since the verse begins with the word “therefore,” I would like us to review the preceding context to better understand what it is “there for”:
Colossians 3:1-14 (NIV)
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming (on those who are disobedient). You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
From the context, we can readily see that our relationship with God the Father is predicated upon our identity in His Son – Christ Jesus. We were buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life – a resurrected life. (Cf. Romans 6:4) And Paul reiterates this metaphor in his letter to the Colossians as well.
Colossians 2:11-14 (NLT)
When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with Him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.
Paul admonishes us to “put to death” whatever belongs to our sinful nature … the earthly ways in which we used to lived … and to put on the new self, made in the image of our Creator. This new creation is who we are now … chosen people … holy and dearly loved. We have been resurrected with Christ into newness of life. He has forgiven us all our sins and commuted the penalty of sin against us. That payment … that purchase of judicial pardon … was paid through His blood atonement upon the cross. And so, our new life in Christ calls us to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Cf. Ephesians 4:24) … and which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Indeed, the new self … will clothe itself with the virtues of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience … with an attitude of forbearance and forgiveness … with a mindset and disposition of love to activate and bind them all together in our inner being.
As another observation, I want us to see that this inspired message from Paul is quite consistent with the inspired teaching shared by Peter in our previous study:
2 Peter 1:3-11 (NIV)
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The new life that we receive through faith in Christ Jesus calls us to change and transformation. The process of sanctification begins at the new birth … and continues as we add to our faith and put on the garments of our new nature. It is a spiritual process that engages us through the renewing of our minds so that we do not conform to the pattern of this world. (Cf. Romans 12:2) Yes, my friends, let us walk in step with the Spirit of God as chosen and dearly loved children. And in view of God’s mercy, let us offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—which is our true and spiritual worship….
So Now You Know…
Have a Blessed Day!
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. ~ 1 Peter 2:9-10