Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | January 10, 2007

Colossians – Part 17

What is your favorite Scripture (it could be a whole book of the Bible)?   

Colossians – Part 17: The New Man – Part 2 

1.  What did the Colossian false teachers think about Christ?

2. What was the mystery that Paul said was kept hidden but now made known?

The New Man – Part 2 (Ch 3:15-17): Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.  16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  17 Whatever you do in word and deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. 

In this passage Paul continues to define the new self expanding on what that self should look like and reaching a summation of it all in verse 17.  He refers to the peace of Christ, which was previously defined in 1:20-22.  This peace, is the new status we now enjoy with God whom we were formerly hostile towards.  However, through the cross, Christ has now given us peace with God by canceling out the debt of our sins, which stood against us (2:13-14).  And not only did He take this debt out of the way and nailed to the cross, but He also hides our stained souls (3:3) by covering us with His righteousness to present us holy and blameless before the Father.  It is this peace that should rule our hearts, which will create the assurance and gratitude we need to struggle against the old self.  This is not some intuitive feeling we receive as confirmation on decisions we make (i.e. who should I marry, where to move, etc.).  Paul goes onto instruct believers to let the “word of Christ richly dwell within” them.  Thus, we should not only seek to learn the Scriptures for informational purposes.  This Word should be treasured and sought after like life giving water in the middle of the desert.  Since God has stooped (condescended – is the technical term) to our level and spoken to us in His Word, the Words of life, we should seek to know it intimately and let our lives be governed by it.  Finally, the Apostle sums up the rule for the new self, which is to do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus. 

The Colossian false teachers had constructed a labyrinth of man-made rules, which were of no value except to burden the people with a heavy yoke.  Their rejection of Christ and the apostles teaching caused them to endeavor in an endless pursuit of secret knowledge or false revelation, which left them disconnected from the head (2:19).  Paul contrasts this life with the life of the Christian believer.  The believer has peace with God through Christ, which is the remedy against all forms of self-salvation and relieves the heavy burden that comes with this view.  The believer has the Word of Christ, which is made known to all not a privileged few.  Paul continues to lift up the name of Christ in this passage, which has been the common theme throughout this letter.  Christ is central, He is the Creator, Redeemer and Head of the Church.  He is the one whose Word should richly dwell in our hearts and it is in His name that we should do all things.  Paul’s consistency in lifting up Christ has not ceased even though we are within the practical application portion of the letter.  This is to intentionally stress to the false teachers and those who may be taken in by them that their teaching about Christ was completely wrong. 

3.  What is the peace of Christ?  Where has the peace of Christ been defined in the letter already?

4.  In what way should the peace of Christ rule our hearts?

5.  Should we look at this as another type of peace?  Could Paul mean it as individual feelings of peace that confirm decisions we make?

6.  What does Paul mean by saying we’ve been called into one body?

And the peace of God:  He gives the name of the peace of God to that which God has established among us, as will appear from what follows.  He would have it reign in our hearts.  He employs, however, a very appropriate metaphor; for as among wrestlers, he who has vanquished all the others carries off the palm, so he would have the peace of God be superior to all carnal affections, which often hurry us on to contentions, disagreements, quarrels, secret grudges.”  John Calvin, Commentary on Colossians 

7.  What is the Word of Christ?  Where would one find it?

8.  How can the Word of Christ richly dwell in us?

9.  Why would this benefit us?

Let the word of Christ dwell:  “For, unquestionably, Paul here addresses men and women of all ranks; nor would he simply have them take a slight taste merely of the word of Christ, but exhorts that it should dwell in them; that is, that it should have a settled abode, and that largely, that they may make it their aim to advance and increase more and more every day.”  John Calvin, Commentary on Colossians 

10.  What should psalms, hymns or spiritual songs be based upon?  Where should their content come from?

11.  Is Paul talking about worship here?

12.  What is the purpose or goal of worship?

13.  How should our disposition or attitude be during worship?

Psalms, hymns: “Farther, under these three terms he includes all kinds of songs.  They are commonly distinguished in this way – that a psalm is that, in the singing of which some musical instrument besides the tongue is made use of: a hymn is properly a song of praise, whether it be sung simply with the voice or otherwise; while an ode contains not merely praises, but exhortations and other matters.  He would have the songs of Christians, however, to be spiritual, not made up of frivolities and worthless trifles.” John Calvin, Commentary on Colossians  

14.  How should all our actions be performed?

15.  What are some specific examples of letting all our deeds be done in the name of Jesus?

16.  How could this end up being problematic if taken too far?

17.  Are we thankful in everything we do?

18.  How can we be more thankful in everything we do? 

And whatsoever ye do:  “…he therefore concludes in a summary way, that life must be regulated in such a manner, that whatever we say or do may wholly be governed by the authority of Christ, and may have an eye to his glory as the mark.  For we shall fitly comprehend under this term the two following things – that all our aims may set out with invocation of Christ, and may be subservient to his glory.  From invocation follows the act of blessing God, which supplies us with matter of thanksgiving.  It is also to be observed, that he teaches that we must give thanks to the Father through Christ, as we obtain through him every good things that God confers upon us.”  John Calvin, Commentary on Colossians

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