Monday, February 13, 2017

Above all these.......put on love

From time to time I like to go read and re-read passages of scripture that I have read numerous times. Today I was looking in the letter of Paul to the Colossians, and noticed the words of Colossians 3.  The first 14 verses are divided into 3 paragraphs, and carry an abundance of information pertaining to our lives in Jesus Christ. 

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."   We have been raised with Jesus.  It's time for us to start living and acting like citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom.  That can happen when we set our minds on things above so when Jesus comes, we will be seen with him in glory.

"5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.  You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 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 Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all."   While we are still in this life, we are in a spiritual wrestling match with the world and the things of the world. In order to remain in Christ, we must continually be aware of the need to "put to death" the things of our earthly nature.  While we recognize with Paul that we used to have these ways in our lives prior to living for Christ, they all need to be brought under our control now, through dealing with them and erasing them from our lifestyle.  Paul says we have put on the new self which is continually being renewed, that we may reflect the image of our Creator.  That's why he can say to those in their new lives, that now, "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 one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."   It is because we have been raised with Christ, and because we put to death our earthly nature, we can now as God's people, wrap ourselves with things like compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  We can extend understanding and forgiveness where previously we would have been judgmental and divisive.  The key to all relationships is seen in the verse which says we are to forgive as the Lord forgave us.  

The last verse there, verse 14 is the "icing on the cake."  Paul has talked about lots of things we need to carefully consider.  The life-changing event of becoming a believer and follower of Jesus brings about lots of changes in us.  Now he says, " And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Did you catch that?  It is our love for each other that binds us all together in unity.   Yes, there is more.  I will leave it to you to read the rest of the chapter, but here is a hint, the rest of the chapter leads us to experience peace in our lives and in our relationships.  God is so good, and he leaves no stone unturned.  Trust him.

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