The church at Colossae was founded by Epaphras during the apostle Paul’s three-year ministry in Ephesus (Acts 19:10). It is doubtful that Paul ever visited Colossae, but his letter addresses the godless heresies that had invaded this mostly Gentile church. Paul first gives us a list of eleven negatives, sins, we believers ought to “put off” (Colossians 3:8-9). To “put off” means to put to death something. Remember, as a believer, God already accomplished that in your heart and life.
But it is important you know and recognize this truth and not continue living a life of sin as you did before you were saved. How many of us as Christians have lied? One of the first sins a child commits is to lie. If we lie, does that mean we lose our salvation? No, if that were true, we would have lost ours a long time ago! We still have the old nature within us where evil thoughts and habits abound. We will not be perfect until Christ takes us Home to be with Him. But, as God’s children, we have the Holy Spirit within us to guide us into all truth (John 11:13).
Instead of dwelling on the negatives we are admonished to put to death, let us turn to some positive qualities we are to “put on.” The Bible says believers are new creations in Christ. The old has passed away and the new has come (II Corinthians 5:17). We are to seek those things that are above, bringing heavenly direction to earthly duties (Colossians 3:1). The original word to “put on” means to put on as a garment, something we do daily. Trusting Christ as Lord and Savior is a one-time event. The Old man has been buried and the New man is in control. As believers, we are to grow in grace to become more like Jesus. This ongoing process is called sanctification. Consider these nine useful garments we should “put on” according to Colossians 3:12-16.
- Tender Mercies v.12. Using clothing analogy, put on undergarments! It is mercy in action, a heart of compassion displayed toward one another. It is unlike the unmerciful man who was forgiven a huge debt, but harshly refused to forgive a servant who owed him a small amount (Matthew 18:23-34).
- Kindness v. 12. Be kind to one another (Ephesians 4:32). Additional lingerie that combines the idea of goodness and helpfulness. Showing a sweet disposition toward others (Ephesians 2:7). This attitude is displayed by the good Samaritan in Luke 10;30-37.
- Humility v. 12. Here is a hat for our heads. Humility is a lowly attitude toward God, and not thinking poorly of oneself. It is the opposite of pride. God hates pride, not self-respect or personal dignity. Jesus said: “Learn of me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 12:29). Remember, nothing we have is of ourselves; it is given to us in trust by God (Luke 19:12-26).
- Meekness v. 12. Teddy Roosevelt said: “I hate a meek man.” However, meekness is not weakness nor becoming a spineless doormat. It is a shirt we wear with a lowly attitude toward others. It is power under constraint, like a horse controlled by a bit and bridle and submitting to authority. Meekness characterized both Moses and Christ.
- Long suffering v. 12. Related to patience. Patience looks at enduring difficult circumstances while longsuffering looks at enduring difficult people. Both virtues are spiritual pants we wear as we pray for those who despitefully use us and persecute us. When Jesus was falsely accused, He never answered a word (Matthew 27:14).
- Forbearing and Forgiving v. 13. Forbearing means to put up with each other. This necessitates holding oneself erect under burdens even when they are brought on by other Christians. Forgiving one another is wiping the debt off the books (Luke 7:42). Faithful Christians not only forgive, they forget. Forbearance and forgiveness need a spiritual vest for us to acquire since there are characteristics in us that others must endure. We must not hold grudges or even a memory of wrongs against us. Christians disagree, but they can disagree agreeably.
- Love v. 14. People in Bible times bound their flowing robes with a sash or girdle. Supernatural love poured into the hearts of believers is the “bond,” cement, or glue that holds all these garments together, and is the adhesive of the church. It is the overcoat we need!
- Peace of Christ v. 15. His peace is the deciding umpire in our lives, governing our actions and decisions. Christ should rule in the church and within everyone. Believers who “put on” these spiritual socks will agree that all issues be resolved by Christ’s peace. Are your feet shod with the socks of His peace?
- Word of Christ v. 16. It was not the word of false teachers that brought salvation to the Colossians; it was the Word of the truth of the Gospel (Colossians 1:5). Dr. J. Vernon McGee advises: “The best Saturday night bath that you can take is to study the Word of God!” Our text says to let God’s Word “dwell” in our hearts. To dwell means to “feel at home.” If we felt at home trusting Christ, we should feel at home with our feet wearing the shoes of the His Word and hiding it in our hearts.
There is a relationship between Bible knowledge and our expression of worship. Many hymns and spirituals were written by believers who loved God’s Word. Worship should be from our hearts, and if God’s Word is in our hearts, our singing should be an outflow of His Word. Ed Mote’s majestic hymn, “The Solid Rock,” personifies our spiritual wardrobe:
“When He shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.”