Practicing Justice
(Equity in Character)

Adult 1 Sunday School Class                                             Colossians 3:5-17                                                        August 26, 2018

Theme: People want to live lives that make a difference. What makes for living justly in the world? Paul encourages the faithful to clothe themselves with love of Christ and let the peace of Christ rule in their hearts.

Understanding and Interpreting the Scripture (responses are in bold print)

Please explain the meaning or significance of the following verses

* Colossians 3:5 and 6, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6. For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:” Paul uses the metaphor for members (body parts or clothing) as a substitute for sinful behavior to illustrate what should happen as one accepts God’s Word and leaves behind one’s old sinful habits. . We are to mortify (kill) those habits which offend God (i.e. fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, concupiscence and idolatry), I accept the “new being” that we can become in Christ. Metaphorically speaking, we are to turn from our old self by killing those behaviors that are not pleasing to God and acquire those which are (v.12 below). God will punish His children accordingly, who partake in this sinful behavior. When one accepts Christ, the Holy Spirit abides with him to expand his faith to ensure that he doesn’t backslide. One sees a change in his behavior and moves closer to the Lord. This is why Paul was lecturing the Colossians because of their despicable lifestyle.

* v..7,8, and 9, “In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 8. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;” Here, unlike the previous verse, clothes are used as a metaphor for sinful habits (i.e. anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth). For example, as one would out grow their clothes or replace worn out or dirty clothes; they would be discarded and never to be worn again. Paul likens this to discarding our sinful nature as the body requirements change for clothes, so to does our spiritual requirements change as one accepts Christ’s Gospel. This process of accepting Christ, and then growing in the faith is the process called sanctification.

*v. 10, “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” We are commanded to take off our old clothes (former life in sin), and to put on our new clothes (which God has provided to us by the death and resurrection of our Savior) into partakers of a new life in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things have passed away, behold all things become new.” Would you want to return to a life of sin which leads to damnation, once you have accepted Christ and the pathway to eternal life in God’s Kingdom. We are regenerated, from the old self to a new self in Christ. God’s original plan was to make man (woman) in God’s image, meaning according to His moral and spiritual likeness. Unfortunately, Adam’s disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden bringing sin upon all men (women) into the world; and Jesus redeemed man by His death and Resurrection on the Cross, and reconciled humanity back to God (propitiation) through Christ becoming the new—-Adam. The regenerated humanity is renewed in the knowledge of the Gospel in the image of Him (God) who created them.

* v.11, “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.” Discrimination based on ethnicity, nationality, religion, racial and cultural differences was prevalent then, as today, but Paul says Jesus is all that matters. Christians who seek differences to discriminate against others, and justify it on religious grounds, need to examine their knowledge and understanding of Christ’s teachings. (Bigotry in this verse was Jew against Greek, Greek against Scythian and non-Greek (barbarians), and circumcised Jews vs uncircumcised Greek and Gentiles.)

* v.12, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering;” This verse now employs what Christians should do to exemplify the holiness of Christ once they have shed their metaphorically old clothes. As the “elect of God” (chosen ones), they should be “holy and beloved” (set apart for a sacred task), bowels of mercies (compassion in the hearts of God’s chosen), kindness (sympathy, compassion, pity, and expresses moral goodness.), and long suffering (slowness in avenging wrongs, refusing to yield to anger when wronged).

* v.13, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Forbearing (tolerance) each other, and forgive others who have a complaint against you, as Christ has forgiven you.

* v 14 and 15, “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” Paul now includes charity, love that binds all of Christ’s attribute together. It is also love which binds people to each other, and a church family to each other which is the body of Christ. Love begets a perfectness among believers, and where love is excluded in the church, it brings discord to the body.

* v. 16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Christ’s message in all its richness must live in our hearts. Teach and instruct one another with all wisdom. Sing psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing to God with Thanksgiving in your hearts. (1*)

*v. 17, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father of him.” Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks through Him to God the Father. (2*)

Note: Responses (1*) and (2*) were taken from the “Good News Bible”