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(Part 119)


May 1, 2015
Today’s reading: Colossians 3:14-24

From the Old Testament we move to the New Testament, and again we are given God’s design for the authentic Christian life in our most important relationships. Paul tells the Colossians about the centrality of Christ, about our relationships within our family, and about our relationships with others, whom we are supposed to serve.

How do we live Christ and be Christ to others?

  • We relate in love. “And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.” (v.14). The greatest virtue is love, and God Himself is love.
  • We are to be at peace in all situations. “And let the peace of Christ control your hearts” (v.15a). There will be troubles, but we are not to be troubled, because we trust in the One who is in control. We are to be at peace with everyone, as this is “the peace into which you were also called in one body.” (v.15b).
  • We should not be contentious or divisive.
  • We are to “be thankful.” (v.15c). We thank God for all the blessings He continually pours out on our lives. This includes the trials and pains, which He allows in order to draw us closer to Himself and enter more deeply into our life of faith.
  • We must be grounded on the Bible, the very word of God. The Bible contains the words and teachings of Jesus. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (v.16a). Those who teach and pastor do so based on such words of Christ, “as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another” (v.16b). Today there are those who teach based on human secular wisdom, or the wisdom of other religious figures, or on misinterpretations and even deliberate distortion of the words of Jesus.
  • We must worship, “singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (v.16c). Our joy should be overflowing into praise for the good God that we have.
  • We must act and live only for Christ. “And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (v.17). Jesus is our all. And our all should always be to give glory to the name of Jesus.

How do we relate to our spouse and children? Paul teaches the right relationship between husband and wife, and this is headship and subordination (see Eph 5:22-27).

  • Wife to husband. “Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord.” (v.18). I can already hear the uproar from some (many?) of the wives. That just means they do not understand the right meaning of subordination (please read “Families in the Holy Spirit”). The world of course has already rejected this, led by radical feminists. Throw off the oppressive yoke of male chauvinism, right?
  • Husband to wife. If there is oppression, it is because husbands do not understand their role. Headship is not a tool for dominance or oppression but for service. “Husbands, love your wives” (v.19a). Love means a total giving of self. But if either husband or wife does not live out his/her role, then there will be conflict. Do you wonder why many marriages have failed? One main reason is not living out God’s prescription for roles of husband and wife. Wives, in not being in submission to their husbands, do not enable them to care for them as Christ would. When this happens, instead of loving they become embittered. But husbands are to persist in loving and “avoid any bitterness toward (their wives).” (v.19b). Wives, help us out.
  • Children to parents. “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord.” (v.20). Children today are in rebellion to their parents, that is, if parents are actually present (physically, emotionally, spiritually) to their children.
  • Parents to children. “Fathers, do not provoke your children, so they may not become discouraged.” (v.21). The father is the head of the household. He is the priest, provider and protector. He is to show good example to his children, and truly love them. Parents are to care for their children, who are God’s children who have been entrusted to them by God.

How do we relate to others in our service?

  • Subordinates to superiors (members to leaders). “Slaves, obey your human masters in everything, not only when being watched, as currying favor, but in simplicity of heart, fearing the Lord.” (v.22). We are slaves of Christ, and in the way that we would obey Jesus, we are to obey those whom he places over us in his place (if authentically appointed and anointed by God). Such obedience is not subservience or token or only if it conforms with our own desires or for actually getting what we want. Especially in a Christian community, such obedience (or active submission) is the way to unity, peace and good order.
  • Serving others because we want to serve the Lord. “Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others.” (v.23). Thus we serve even those whom we do not like. In fact, we are to love our enemies.
  • As slaves of our Master. Thus, “be slaves of the Lord Christ.” (v.24). We do not own our lives, our talents, our resources and our service. All is for God.

If only all Christians understood what it truly means to live Christ.

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