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Colossians



Section IIIB

Working out your Salvation

In fellowship (4)

Col.3:9-17

Study B4

Love and peace

Study B4 In fellowship (4)

Love and peace

Lie not one to another seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him. Where there is neither Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian bond nor free but Christ is all in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also are ye called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Col.3:9-17

B4.1 Above all

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The thirteenth chapter of fist Corinthians  shows emphatically that love is the supreme quality of the Christian life. It is the greatest  of the three of faith, hope and love. And it is this we are to put on above all else, for without it we are nothing and all our service is just empty noise.

Love heads the fruit of the Spirit in Gal.5:22, and the other qualities in the list flow from that head. A comparison of the ninefold fruit with the qualities of love in I Cor.13 will illustrate the point.

The NT is replete with references to love and its importance. We can only  highlight a few here. Firstly, it is the new commandment Jesus gave to His disciples, Jn.13:34.

John in his first epistle has some strong uncompromising words. One such example is:

If a man say I love God and hateth his brother he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen how can he love God whom he hath not seen. And this is the commandment have we from Him. That he who loveth God love his brother also.

I Jn.4:20-21

Paul in Philippians exhorts us that our love should abound more and more, Phil.1:9.

A similar exhortation being given by Paul to the Thessalonians

And the Lord make you increase and abound in love one toward one another and towards all men even as we do toward you.

I Thess.3:13

B4.2 Bond of perfectness

Paul in Colossians adds a further insight into love. The bond of perfectness. To understand this in the light of the Colossian message let us retrace some steps.

Paul’s warnings to the  Colossians were to alert them to the distracting voices of enticing words, vain philosophy, legalism and mysticism. All these paths claim to be the way to the ‘higher life’, and to come into unity with God.

Paul has clearly shown in this letter that it is not the case and we need to continue in the faith as we began. What drives us on to the goal of being all that God wants us to be is love, because He first loved us.

If God so loved us, we ought to love one another . No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and His love is perfecteth in us.

I Jn.4:11-12

It is the bond of perfection.

It is no wonder that the New Testament makes a big issue out of love. God is love and to be conformed to His Son’s image will mean putting on love.

B4.3 Peace.

The peace of God is to rule our hearts. Rule here means to preside as an umpire, as in the Greek games.  The umpires would accept or reject those who would be qualified or otherwise, according to  the rules.

The sense is that God’s peace “umpires” our hearts; when we obey God we have this  peace, otherwise we lose it.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep [=guard as a solider] ] your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Phil.4:7

God’s peace is not the world’s peace, Jesus promised that He would leave us His peace, Jn. 14:27. We have  peace with God  by faith when we are justified, Rom.5:1. Through Christ’s redemptive work we are no longer enemies of God. It is a peace that has been obtained for us.

But this peace is also towards the brethren. Paul reminds us  that we are in one body and that peace we all have and so should be evident in our dealings with one another.

In Romans Paul gives this definition of the Kingdom of God.

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. ….Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace and things which may wherewith edify.

Rom.14:17-19

The context being of eating and drinking without judging one another and causing brethren to stumble in the way. In the context of Colossians we could say that the kingdom of God is not  philosophy, legalism and mysticism as well.

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace and things wherewith one may edify another.

Rom.14:19