Colossians 3:12-17 Loving In Word and Deed, With Thanksgiving.
Paul addressed his readers “as the elect of God” (v. 12a Cf. I Pet. 1:2). This included Jew and Gentile, and they were the elect not because of their own efforts, but they were elect because they were holy, or set apart by God , and beloved by Him (Cf. 1:26-27; 3:11). As those set apart by God, they needed to show the evidence by putting on those characteristics consistent with this status. As noted earlier, there is a sanctification process which shows itself in the life of the church (Cf. 2:19). In the verses leading up to this passage, Paul delineated what we must put to death (vv. 5-7), and what we are to put off concerning our former way of life (vv. 8-9). He also began to consider what we are to put on, but he did so by placing the emphasis on both as being “renewed in knowledge” (v. 10). This knowledge is “according to the image of Him who created him” (v. 10b).
We do not recreate ourselves to our own image-it is God who creates this new man in the image of Christ, because “Christ is all and in all” (v. 11b). The very things we are to “put on” are the very characteristics of Christ-“tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering” (v. 12b). These also reflect the fruit of the Spirit (Cf. Gal. 5:22-23). As mentioned above, these characteristics must show themselves in the life of the church-“bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you must also do” (v. 13). Christ’s act of forgiving us is both the basis for our being able to forgive each other, and He has also given us the example we are to follow (Cf. Mk. 11:25). Love must reign supreme. If we truly love one another we will forgive each other, and we will evidence “the bond of perfection” (v. 14 Cf. I Cor. 13; I Pet. 4:8).
We should keep in mind that the word ‘bond’ speaks to us as being a covenant community (Cf. Eph. 4:3). It is also on the basis of this bond that we have God’s peace ruling in our hearts, and it is to this we were called, and because this is a covenant of grace we are truly thankful, for it is His work in and among us (v. 15 Cf. Jn. 14:27; I Th. 5:18). Again, it all begins and ends with letting “the word of Christ” dwell in us “richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (v. 16 Cf. Eph. 5:19). “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” (v. 17). Those who are truly new creatures in Christ Jesus will show it in word and deed, doing both in His name, with an attitude of thanksgiving because it is all of grace (Cf. I Cor. 10:31).