Notes from Colossians 3

I have been working through the book of Colossians with my Monday Night Bible Study crew. Here is our next installment of notes from chapter 3:

3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

* What does Paul mean, do you think, “since you have been raised with Christ?”
*
* cf. Col. 2:12-15 — Paul seems to have in mind our rebirth through the work of the cross and the resurrection and our joining what God is offering and doing in and through Jesus

* Christ seated at the right hand of God
*
* a position of power and authority

* set your hearts on things above
*
* when our hearts are set on things below we get distracted

* Notice here in v. 2, Paul talks about our the importance of our minds
*
* set your mind on things above
* if our hearts can get distracted, don’t you think our minds can too?
* what are some things that distract us? (earthly things Paul tells us)

* How does God see you?
*
* as a failure?
* NO, look at Col 3:3, “For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God”
* because of the cross, and the empty grace, and our joining into this story through baptism when God looks at us, he sees Jesus

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

* This is a vice and virtue list — these are common in the NT and the Roman world (for example see: Rom 1:29-30; 1 Cor 5:9-11; 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-23; Phil 4:8; 1 Tim 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 4:3)* (Transforming Word, one vol. commentary, pp. 976)
*
* What do you notice about this list?
* It describes how one should live, an ideal standard
*
* notice, what relationships are affected?

* it reveals what a gospeled people or cruciform people look like

* He talks in terms of putting to death:
*
* how do you put these things to death? v. 11 is helpful hint
* our mind set and what we let in our thoughts really does determine the outcome of our lives
*
* garbage in, garbage out

* but if you fill yourself with the Word of God, good Bible teaching, read good books, and listen to wholesome music you will help yourself tremendously!

* Notice the contrast in v. 5-11, 12-14
*
* in vv. 5-11 there is a putting off and in vv. 12-14 there is a putting on
* in. v 12 Paul borrows from OT imagery, “God’s chosen people”
*
* who was God’s chosen people? (Israel), so Paul is suggesting that God is continuing his reclaiming the world, of blessing Abraham’s descendants through us the new Israel

* Paul says that we are holy and dearly loved
*
* how does knowing that God dearly loves you make you feel?

* Gal. 3:26-28 talks in terms of putting Christ on, by comparison, these qualities Paul says for us to put on here, look like Jesus
*
* you can almost here an echo of the fruit of the Spirit
* compassion, kindness, gentleness, forgiveness, and love

* What rules your heart?
*
* worry, fear, doubt, wonder, guilt?
* What does Paul say should rule our hearts? (v. 15)
* What does the peace of Christ look like?
* How does an attitude of gratitude change our outlook in life?

* In. v. 16, Paul says let the Word of Christ dwell in your richly
*
* How do you let the Word of Christ dwell in your richly?
* What is being pictured here? (that of encouraging one another to let the Spirit to continue to shape us, mold us, form us into Christ-likeness)

* How can you practice v. 17 more in your life?
*
* Why is this tough advice? When is the easiest, when is this the toughest?

18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.

* These final verses of chapter 3 are what scholars call a Household code and is common in the NT
*
* effects all in a typical household
* Similar teaching appears in 1 Tim 2:1-5; 5:1-2; 6:1-2, 17-19; Titus 2:1-3:8; 1 Peter 3:13-3:7)* (Transforming Word, pps. 976)
* These codes were common throughout the Roman world
* but Paul’s use of them differed from other uses in that Paul is concerned about proper behavior in social relationships
* how one is perceived by outsiders is important to Paul
* someone observing the early Christians in their relationships with one another would note how they cared for one another, how all were treated kindly and fairly, and how they loved one another

* If your family had a household code, what kinds of things might appear on this list?

About Jason Retherford

The random musings of a youth minister.
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