Thoughts on Colossians 3:12-17
We are chosen. No matter what your view of the theological arguments that this sentence brings up, the Bible clearly says we are chosen. The beauty of that truth is that understanding the biblical teaching on election removes any possibly sources of both fear and pride. We have no reason to fear because our salvation is based not on our choice, but on God’s. He chose us before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). There is NOTHING we can do to ultimately lose what God has given us, because He determined to give it to us before He ever created us.
We also have no reason to be proud (especially those of us who think we have all the right theology). In 1 Corinthians 1, Paul shows us that the very reason God ordained the entire process of salvation to begin with His sovereign choice is so that we would have absolutely no occasion to boast (1 Corinthians 1:18-31).
Because God chose us before time began, He has loved us with an everlasting love and He has set us apart for Himself. We belong to Him, not merely as slaves or servants, but as children of a loving Heavenly Father who sacrificed His own Son to bring us to Himself.
Because of all this…and ONLY because of all this, we are called to live differently from those around us. As Paul described in the previous section, we have already put off the old clothes (our former sinful tendencies) and now we are to put on new clothes. If you look at the list of things here in Colossians 3:12-14, they sound suspiciously like the list in Galatians 5, described as the Fruit of the Spirit. This shows us that, even in putting on the new clothes, it is not all about us! It is the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts that we allow to work out in our lives.
Of course, this does not mean that we just “let go and let God”. That’s one of those mottos from the 80’s that is best left back in the 80’s! No, there is a lot of work involved. Paul described his own Christian walk as dying daily, fighting the good fight, and disciplining his body. That’s a far cry from just sitting back and waiting for God to do something. We need to read and obey our Bibles (see Colossians 3:16). We need to be thankful in everything we do (see vs. 17).
And, we desperately need each other. This is why, in verse 16, after talking about letting the word of Christ dwell in us, he tell us we are to then let that word go outward towards other believers (teaching and admonishing). The Christian life can NOT be done alone. We need the church. The Lone Ranger Christian is not a biblical concept. And we are to make the Word of God a focal-point of our Christian relationships. We don’t all need to preach from the pulpit (sometimes I think that applies to me!). But we do all need to speak the Word to others in order to help them grow in their faith. And they will be doing the same to us!
All-in-all, we need to do everything “in the name of the Lord”. In other words, everything we do is as a representative of Jesus Christ. Everything is for Him and on His behalf. Whatever you do, do it in the name of the Lord.