July 5, 2015.
Daily Reading: Colossians 3-4.
Background: Colossians 1-2.
Concepts and Connections.
1. The new self: Continuing on from the discussion in the previous chapter about dying to our old selves, being buried with Christ in baptism and raising anew just as He did on the third day, Paul expounds on the new life that we have in Christ for the majority of this chapter. He starts with “If then you have been raised with Christ…,” implying that the next few statements regarding our new life should be a given in our commitment to Christ. We are to set our minds on things above, things that are holy and pure, not wishing to go back to the world. A new life has been given to us, not once of burden, but one of freedom. Thus, we should put to death all the things that are of the world that were in our old bodies, all of our evil desire, sexual immorality and covetousness. Note that we are to be free from anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk, indicating that our attitudes have changed from negative thinking to that of He who is above. Having put off these things, we are to put on the new self that is renewed in knowledge after the image of God. Note the characteristics of God’s chosen ones: compassionate hearts, meekness, humility, willingness to care for one another, patience, forgiveness and above all love, which binds us together. Note the emphasis community here, as we are to admonish and teach with all wisdom, singing together to praise the Lord. Everything that we say or do, we are to do in the name of the Lord (see v. 23).
2. The Christian household: Paul then focuses specifically on the Christian household. He reminds wives to be submissive, husbands to be loving, fathers to be gentle, and children to be obedient to their parents. When he talks to the bondservants, he tells them to obey in sincerity, knowing that they will receive their reward from the Lord. Even when others treat us badly, we are to do everything heartily, as for the Lord, because it is from Him that we will receive our ultimate reward, not from our masters or other men. This section overflows into the next chapter, where Paul tells the masters to treat their bondservants justly and fairly, as they have a Master in heaven. There is no partiality before Him.
Christian living and final greetings: Paul finished the bulk of this letter with a few short lines of wisdom that are so important. First, he emphasizes the importance and power of prayer, as he asks them to pray for opportunity for him that a door of good work would be opened to him. Then he tells the Colossians something that we all could benefit from reading often: walk in wisdom towards outsiders, with our words seasoned with salt. Our influence is quickly vanquished when we are harsh towards those we should be trying to reach with the gospel. All too often does our pride get in the way of our grace. Let us learn to walk in wisdom. Paul ends in his typical fashion with greetings from his party and further updates. It is interesting to note that he tells them to have their letter read in the church of the Laodiceans, as well as have the letter that he wrote the Laodiceans read to the members of the church in Colossae. This speaks to the importance of his letters even outside their intended audience, just as we read them today.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Leviticus 10-12.