“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;” ~ Colossians 3:12
Well here you have a “therefore” right near the beginning of today’s verse, so we must go see what the “therefore” is there for. Right? That means we need to read this verse in the context in which Paul intended when he was writing his letter to the Church at Colossae. I’m gonna go pull the surrounding verses to see what Paul was talking about.
Colossians 3:1 ( KJV ) If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
So here we see that I had to go all the way back to verse one of the chapter to get the gist. Paul was talking to the church about their “conversation” or attitudes towards one another. He goes into his “put off and put on” speech a little later in the chapter because he has noticed that these folks in the Church were still in the habit of doing the things that they did when they were the “old man” — before they accepted the gift of salvation, take a look:
Colossians 3:8-11 ( KJV )8But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him::11Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
And then comes the verse at the top of this post. You see Paul saw that these folks were not modeling the fruit that comes out of a walk with the Spirit (Gal 5:22-24). They were walking in the flesh (Gal 5:19-21) and he was concerned that their attitude was not becoming of believers who should be transforming into the image of Christ (Rom 8:29; Rom 12:1-2) . He desires that they shed the old “clothes” and put on new ones that reminds them to put others before themselves, love one another, be patient with each other with all humility. In this chapter Paul is teaching them what “Christ” looks like and encouraging them to be what God intended them to be. We can learn from this.
Sometimes it is not easy to be Christ-like and that is because when we are not walking in the Spirit we are easily tempted to give into the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and pride. We are encouraged and even rebuked to “put on” Christ and when we make the choice to do that every day, we will walk in the Spirit and mortify the flesh. You see once we are saved, we are indwelled with the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:12-14; 4:30) and so we have the power to make the right choices. When we make the wrong choice it is no longer that we cannot choose the good thing; it is that we will not choose the good thing.
This is what Paul was drilling home to his readers. Putting others before ourselves is a great place to start (Phil 2:2-4). When we love others like Christ loves us, we will always choose the good thing. Don’t ever forget what Christ did for you “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8). He is the epitome of Col 3:12.
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