As our journey moves forward in our study of Colossians, it is necessary to be reminded of the word “therefore” found in chapter 3:12. I cannot overemphasize enough how important these words are to those in Christ, as the Holy Spirit guided Paul to write, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved….” What we understand ourselves to be, through Christ, is at the very core of transformation! Thus, trusting in what God has made us be, we earnestly endeavor to become like Him in every area of our lives. We should be able to look in the mirror with an honest heart and admit where change is needed. Then seek the Lord for strength to enable change to take place. At the same time, with humility, we should be able to look in that same mirror and see where God’s transformation has already been working in us to the glory of His name.
Last week, our focus was on the final piece of garment that can help us weather the storms of life. It is called LOVE. God reminded us that without it, anything we do for the Lord is unprofitable to all in the long run (1st Cor. 13:1-4). Love drives the very redemptive plan we hold so dearly, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16). And it is by that very redemptive act that we can begin to grasp love’s depths, “By this, we know love because He laid down His life for us” (1st Jn 3:16). The fact that love was the final piece of clothing we are to put on should not surprise us; but instead, inspire us to be like our Savior.
In the last lesson, we ended with an appeal. An appeal that is achieved, at least partly, by our willingness to clothe ourselves. We dress with what God deems most important (3:12), which in turn empowers us to bear “with one another” and forgive another (3:13). What Christ has done for us, we, in turn, extend to those around us, especially those who are in Christ. The result is a peace that can rule our hearts, and it is all because of God. With this in mind, God encourages His holy children even further.
“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 the grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
Once again, I wish to share the simplicity of the ETRV, “Let the teaching of Christ live inside you richly.” Let’s define a couple of words before we go too far. First, “word” (logos) means something said; by implication, a topic, reasoning, or motive, Next is the word “dwell” which means settled in. Finally, the word “richly” which amplifies the other two words we just defined. It can also be translated abundantly. Barnes writes, “The meaning is that they were to lay up the doctrines of the gospel in their hearts, to meditate upon them; to allow them to be their guide, and to endeavor wisely to improve them to the best purpose.” Can you see this idea of transformation? Okay, why? Is it simply so I can change? The answer is simple, no. God wants to use me to help in the process of transforming others. One of the ways that we facilitate this is through song. Do you like to sing? I remember years ago when Mildred and Annie used to be part of our church family. Neither could carry a tune, let alone keep up with the song leader. But nothing warmed my heart as much as their genuine praise of their God and Savior. I could tell you that research has shown multiple benefits of music, which I believe is acappella singing in this instance, but God has already given us a reason. First, a song can help teach us; that is, direct us. Second, singing provides an opportunity for the church to admonish one another; that is, to warn, counsel, and encourage. Our songs should be “imbued with truth, and to be such as to elevate the mind, and withdraw it from error and sin” (Barnes). Finally, Paul exhorts, let your singing be “with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” As much as our singing has a horizontal impact, let us never lose sight of its vertical intent. It is the Lord whom we praise! He is the reason for singing in the first place. Okay, one final thought for today.
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Please take a moment to reflect on all we have covered over the last few weeks. Knowing we have been raised with Christ and made His elect, holy and beloved, we endeavor in the task of putting to death various things while simultaneously putting off other things. At the same time, we seek to be clothed in His likeness, with the last piece of apparel being love “which is the bond of perfection” (3:14). Then, as we come to worship our Lord, we lift praises to Him who deserves all glory and honor in song while knowing that those songs can help us all in our transformation process. Such transformation is not to be confined to just our time of worship together. As one commentator writes, “The principle of correspondence between the outward act and the inner life-giving word should be evident in the total life of the Christian.” Jesus said it simply, “In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, ETRV). The life we live now, should be pointing to the One that is the giver of life.
I end with this simple fact. There is so much for us to be thankful for in Christ. The redemption we have through Him, the Word that guides us to become more like Him in all we do! The church of which we all are a part of if we are in Christ. And regardless of how imperfect the church may be, it is here to help us in our transformation process. Thank You, Lord, for these things and so much more! You are worthy of our praise.