Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | January 4, 2007

Colossians – Part 16

What is so important about Christmas?   

Colossians – Part 16: The New Man – Part 1 

1.  Do you remember who helped found the Church at Colossae?

2.  Do you remember where Paul wrote Colossians from?

The New Man – Part 1 (Ch 3:12-14): So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.  14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

Paul continues his discourse on Christian living and here further develops this idea of the new self.  In the previous verses we learned that this new self is being renewed into a true knowledge of its Creator.  This knowledge of the Creator, who is Christ, occupied the majority of this letter being developed in the previous sections from 1:15 – 3:4.  After defining the behavior of the old self and appealing to believers to lay those evil practices aside, he will now define the practices of the new self.  However, before Paul provides further definition on the new self he points out that believer’s are chosen by God.  To ensure that the Colossians don’t take the instructions on living as just a different set of rules than that of the false teachers, they need to understand these admonitions within the context that their salvation is not based upon themselves.  It is as a result of being chosen by God and saved by Christ that believer’s should make every effort to pursue good behavior.  It is a response of gratitude rather than a need to earn, that these holy attributes should be strived towards.  As Paul goes on to define the new self it is obvious that “a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” are not natural for the believer.  Bearing with others, forgiving others and loving ones neighbor are truly foreign to our natures.  It is only the renewed person indwelled by the Holy Spirit who can achieve these things, albeit imperfectly.  The Christian response to God’s grace is to live in way that is pleasing to their Lord and Savior.  The attributes of the new self can be summarized in the two greatest commandments.  The believer should seek to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and love their neighbor as their self.

In this passage, Paul provides some practical admonitions and definitions on what the Christian life should look like.  After a thorough response in correcting the false teachers he contrasts the effectiveness of believer’s life who has been raised with Christ against those who followed the false teachers.  Paul had indicated previously that those who embarked on following the instructions of the false teachers would gain an appearance of wisdom, but would gain no assistance in the struggle against the fleshly indulgence.  The false teachers claimed to possess a special insight to spiritual matters and the only true access to the spirit of God.  However, it is only the believers in the biblical Christ who have access to the Spirit of God.  It is the Holy Spirit who works in the life of the believer to conform their lives more and more into the image of Christ.  In this Christ the false teachers had foolishly sought to discredit and had cut off their only access to true salvation.

3.  According to Paul, who is responsible for us being holy and beloved?  Is it us or God?

4.  Does this bother you?

5.  Does the Bible teach that God chose us?  Ephesians 1:1-12, 2 Timothy 1:9, 1 Pet 2:9 

As the chosen of God:  “God has chosen you to himself, has sanctified you, and received you into his love on this condition, that ye be merciful, etc.  To no purpose does the man that has not these excellences boast that he is holy, and beloved of God; to no purpose does he reckon himself among the number of believers.”  John Calvin, Commentary on Colossians 

6.  What does the list of attributes in verse 12 remind us of?  Galatians 5:22-23

7.  Is this behavior natural for human beings?

8.  What does a compassionate person look like?

9.  How does the world treat humble, gentle and patient people? 

Put on therefore:  “As, however, it is a thing that is hard and difficult, he confirms this doctrine by the example of Christ, and teaches, that the same thing is required from us, that as we, who have so frequently and so grievously offended, have nevertheless been received into favor, we should manifest the same kindness towards our neighbors, by forgiving whatever offenses they have committed against us.”  John Calvin, Commentary on Colossians 

10.  Does Paul expect believers to live out this behavior perfectly?  How do we know this? – hint verse 13

11.  What does bearing with one another mean? (Short-temper, irritable people)

12.  What helps us put up with peoples short comings? – Matthew 10:29

13.  Why should we forgive others?

14.  How many times should we forgive them?   

Why should we forgive?  Simply, because God forgives us.  It is not an insignificant thing to add on to the why the point that we are commanded by that God of grace to exercise grace in turn.  RC Sproul.  

15.  What are the two greatest commandments? – Matthew 22:34-40

16.  What is love?

17.  Is love the law or the gospel?

18.  Is love required for all the previous attributes? 

We confess that while through the intercession of Christ’s righteousness God reconciles us to himself, and by free remission of sins accounts us righteous, his beneficience is at the same time joined with such a mercy that through his Holy Spirit he dwells in us and by his power the lusts of the flesh are each day more and more mortified; we are indeed sanctified, that is, consecrated to the Lord in true purity of life, with our hearts formed to obedience to the law.  The end is that our especial will may be to serve his will and by every means to advance his glory alone.  John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Book III, Ch 14.9)


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