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The Peace of God

Paul was writing to the church at Colossae because he was hoping and praying for them to grow in their walk of following Christ. Paul spends the first chapter explaining the supremacy of Christ, how that all powers are subject to Christ, who is the Creator and sustainer of all things. Christ chose to reconcile the creation back to God through the blood He shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:1-22)

This mystery of reconciliation was the purpose of Paul’s ministry. Christ gives the hope of glory by dwelling in His saints, and this is made possible by through His sufferings for us. Paul’s hope was that the churches would have unity in realizing this mystery of Christ, and growing their faith in Him. (Colossians 1:23-2:3)

Christ is not an addition to religion. He is not the condiment of the sandwich, the topping of the sundae, or the final chord of music. Christ is the very substance of the Christian life. Understanding Christ, the wisdom of God, and trusting in Him is the treasure that the Christian is supposed to discover, keep, and grow. This treasure is jeopardized when the teachings of men, the philosophies and ideas of the world, are given place in the Christian’s life. When Christ is replaced by anything in the centerpiece of the attention, the fulness of the Godhead bodily has been misplaced in priority. (Colossians 1:27, 2:2-3)

Christ is supreme and Christ is sufficient. The One who is over all things is able to perfect and complete those who are rooted in Him. The putting away of the flesh, and the resurrection to new life are accomplished in Christ. This was made possible by His death and resurrection. The nails of His cross didn’t only kill Him, they also killed the law that was standing between us and God. Is there really anything outside of Himself that is needed to foster growth? (Colossians 1:17-23, 2:4-15)

If nothing more than Christ is needed for the Christian to be completed or perfected, no one can judge the Christian who is rooted and walking in Christ. The rituals of the law are no longer needed, but point to Christ. If Christ is the new life of the Christian, the old life of chasing rules to please God is not needed. The old way might make logical sense with human reasoning, but it will eventually leads to death. (Colossians 2:16-23)

If Christ is all we need, and we are given new life in Him, we ought to turn our attention toward Him, where He is, and what He wants. If our life is in Christ, and Christ is in heaven, we ought to chase after things that are in heaven. Because our end goal is in heaven, we must put an end to the things of this world that pull our attention away. Our physical bodies and flesh are constantly inclined towards sin, and this sin is the reason that God will one day judge the world. Why would someone whom God saved from wrath, continue to do the things that result in His wrath? (Colossians 3:1-7)

Sins against God must be put to death, but also sins against people. Paul paints the picture of the old man and the new man. The old man follows after the flesh by sinning, while the new spiritual man follows a new way. The new man is fashioned by knowledge of Christ, breaking down the national, religious, and social barriers that separate humanity. (Colossians 3:8-11)

Those who are in Christ, have Christ in them: this is their unity. The behavior that follows someone who is in Christ ought to be distinguished:

Compassionate Hearts:
Christians ought to have compassion towards one another. They ought to share in the joys and sorrows of each other, because they are united in Christ. Christians find it easier to share in joys than pains, but unity demands both. (3:12)

It should go without saying that kindness is a characteristic of walking in Christ and being in Christ. Modern society still echos from the past that “that’s the Christian thing to do”. This also carries with it the idea of morality. (3:12)

Humility of the mind is true humility. Humility is not a behavior, it is a perspective of self in relation to others. A humble person sees people for what they really are. Humility is tied to the compassionate hearts mentioned above, because you cannot feel another person’s feeling if you don’t first see them and yourself for what you are. (3:12)

This concept has less to do with weakness, gutless action, and whispering, than it does to do with controlling the power you possess. The concept is associated with meekness, which can be defined as power under control. Gentleness does not relinquish all power, but controls it to be effective. When applied on the personal level, a gentle person toward others might be seen as both polite and tactful. (3:12)

From the perspective of a child, patience is the ability to wait forever. From the perspective of a parent, patience is the ability to handle the child who can’t. The hope of glory we have in Christ requires the very same patience of the child that waits “forever,” because we don’t know when we will finally get that glory. In the same illustration, God’s patience in mercy extends to us while we often fail at waiting how we should. Putting up with the less than ideal applies to personalities as much as it does to circumstances. Ultimately, patience is sticking it out until the complete product is realized. (3:12)

Forbearing one another
Put up with each other. People change, but never when or how we wanted them to. If your focus is on people, you’re bound to be disappointed and frustrated eventually. When this happens, don’t let it all out. Keep it in a little while longer and let people grow. (3:13)

But how am I supposed to keep all of these things inside when I’ve got so many issues with what the other person is doing? You’re not. Don’t keep them inside. Keep them in just long enough to get them under control and then let them go. Christ had no sin, and He hates sin, yet He took sin on Himself in order to forgive sin. This is the same way a Christian is to forgive. Let another person do you wrong, and let it go. Forgiveness must be practiced. It is not the same thing as denying wrong, as it is to recognize sin for the pain that is causes and put it behind you. (3:13)

Love is the motive Christ has for our salvation. Christ’s eternal love keeps us in Him. Because love holds us to Christ, it ought to hold us to each other. Perfect harmony will not come unless love is allowed to reign supreme. Love will cover sins and forgive. The realization of Christ’s love is the motivation for our love. (3:14)

Let the Peace of God rule in your hearts
All of the distinguishing characteristics of Christians listed above are about our relationships to each other. Christ has provided for us to have peace with God, which is the ultimate reconciliation of our relationship with God, which was fractured due to sin. The peace which Christ gives us with God is the model of the peace that we can have with each other. This peace is supposed to guide our actions in relation to each other. (3:15)

The Body of Christ is the manifestation of this reconciliation that we have with God, and that we have with each other. The body of Christ is composed of those who have been reconciled to God, regardless of their earthly distinctions. Peace with God and peace with each other is meant to function on the earth to promote the gospel. Thankfulness is a natural response to this peace and reconciliation. (Colossians 1:18-29, 3:10-16)

Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly

Just as the Christian is to be rooted in Christ in order to grow in Christ, so the Christian cannot maintain these qualities in isolation and starvation. The Christian must allow the word of Christ to live in them, and to do so in abundance. The Word is not only supposed to enter our hearts and minds, it is supposed to stay there. It needs to be the center of our meditations and thoughts. When it is, this will outflow in our life in how we relate to one another. (3:16)

The natural outflow of the rich indwelling of Christ’s word is teaching and musical expression. When Christ’s word is at the center of our mind, we will have much to say about it. We will desire to teach it. An expression of this teaching is through music, both with musical instruments, and vocalization of praise to God. An important quality to this music is that it will be spiritual, coming from a heart of praise to God.

Is Christ the center of your life, and is this manifested in your relationship to other Christians around you?

“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.”


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