Read Colossians 3 SLOWLY and ask God to transform you into Christ’s likeness.
There are three distinct sections to this passage of Scripture. Each passage builds off of the last. They all teach us something about relationships and community
- Section 1
The first section of Colossians 3 is verses 1-11. In this section we find an admonition to be transformed into Christ’s likeness. This happens in two ways. First, because of Jesus’ resurrection and our spiritual resurrection through faith in Him, we have access to “Things that are above.” This phrase pops up a few times in this section of scripture and refers to a new mind that we have now through Christ. In short, we are brought to new life through life.
The second way that we are transformed into Christ’s likeness is through death, namely dying to our sin. In verses 5-11, we see the command to kill every earthly sin that lives within us. I like to think of it this way. Through the power of the resurrection, we are now new vessels. If I was a vinegar bottle before, I have been melted down and transformed into an olive oil bottle. Olive oil bottles hold olive oil, so I am to be filled with the substance I was made to carry. Only then can I operate in the way that I was intended to operate.
- Section 2
Verses 12-17 is a shift in the passage away from personal growth and to holy communal growth. Take a moment and imagine what your church would be like if it had a reputation for living out the attributes listed in verses 12-13: Holy, beloved, compassionate, kind, humble, meek, patient, long-suffering [loyal], forgiving, and loving.
Imagine bumping into an estranged friend at the grocery store and mentioning your church offhand. What if they replied, “Oh! I have heard about that place and how loyal and forgiving they are.”
I don’t see anything in this section of scripture about evangelism, because the gospel has so transformed the nature of the people in this Church that they are a witness in the way that they live. I don’t know about you, but this makes me get on my knees and repent for all of the ways that I have not allowed the joy of the Gospel to transform me. I long for my church to be united in this way.
- Section 3
Verses 18-25 speak to the structure of the home and purpose in work. When the truth of the Gospel transforms us, there is no area of our lives that is not affected. One of the most drastic transformations you will see as you are made into Christ’s likeness is in the home.
I will not spend much time on the ‘submission’ verse, though I think it has been abused to one extreme and ignored on another. However, I will say this about each of the roles mentioned in this passage of scripture. God has a specific calling for you.
One of the most dangerous concepts in our lives is that we get to choose what we will be. To a certain extent, I believe that this is true. However, if you are hired to be an accountant, you inherit a responsibility to work with numbers regardless if you feel ‘called’ to work with numbers. In the same way, when you become a parent, you hold a responsibility to do parental things even when you don’t feel like it.
In the same way, when we approach our home life and our jobs, we are given authority and a responsibility to operate as citizens of a new and better Kingdom. Jesus redeems our homes and he redeems our jobs and he gives us a new and better purpose for both.
Let me know what you learned from this passage today. In what ways can you grow as a believer and in what ways do you want to see your local church grow?