God’s Chosen, Holy & Dearly Loved—Colossians 3:12-14
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:12-14)
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved…” Don’t you love that? What an expression of value assigned in Christ. We are chosen, holy and dearly loved. This alone should give incentive to be intentional with how we live; which is Paul’s aim—to contrast where we came from with where we are going as Christ’s life-giving Spirit changes us from the inside out.
Because we have been made new in Christ Jesus; which is continually renewed in the image of our Creator (vs. 10), we are to actively clothe ourselves with characteristics that mark the believer. Interestingly, Paul gives the same instructions twice; the charge to “clothe yourselves…” and “put on…”. What we are to put on is compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love. We are to forgive and set aside hurt and grievances, being gentle so we can bear with one another.
In other words, we are to dress the part and make a conscience choice in how we live. We have been made new (vs. 3:10) and it is Christ living in us (vs. 1:27) that activates the qualities Paul’s referring to. He used this metaphoric idea of putting something on nine times in his letters to the church. Each time they described an amazing facet of what the believer has access to.
Here’s What We Are to Put On:
- Armor of light (Romans 13:12).
- The Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14).
- Christ (Galatians 3:27).
- Incorruption & immortality (I Corinthians 15:53, 54).
- The new self (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10).
- The whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11).
- The breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14).
- The breastplate of faith and love (I Thessalonians 5:8).
- Various Christian qualities (Colossians 3:12).
When comparing what we are to ‘put on’ throughout the New Testament, it looks like these are given to things protect us. So how do we actively and daily clothe ourselves with them?
Here’s How To Put them On:
First, know what you’ve been given by saturating yourself in God’s love letter. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).
Secondly, understand the Lord’s will so you will make decisions on this basis. “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (Ephesians 5:15-17). Incidentally, this is where the first practice of letting the word of Christ dwell richly pays off. Wisdom, knowledge and understanding will equipment you to understand the Lord’s will and make the right choices.
Lastly, make a habit of conditioning yourself to recognize what is true, right and lovely and put that into practice. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice...” (Philippians 4:8-9a). Proverbs observes as one thinks, so one behave (Proverbs 23:7 KJV); this means actions come from true convictions, worldviews and beliefs. This is why it is so important to make sure our worldviews, thoughts and conclusions align with what God says.
These are a few ways in which I have found helpful in ‘clothing myself’ in the qualities and behaviors that Paul is referring to in this passage...
Let’s Have a Conversation...
As ‘God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved’, what other ways have you found helpful in ‘putting on’ these characteristics?