< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Colossians 3:10-13

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Colossians 3:10-13

Colossians 3:10-13 You have started living a new life. It is being made new so that what you know has the Creator's likeness.

Here there is no Greek or Jew. There is no difference between those who are circumcised and those who are not. There is no rude outsider, or even a Scythian. There is no slave or free person. But Christ is everything. And he is in everything.
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.

Becoming a Christian changes a person. But, it’s a progressive change. This new creation is a continual renewal, God is slowly and steadily changing us to become like Christ and we won’t be completely there until He comes back.

The part where Paul talks about no divisions, but that we are all equal in Christ – I think he says this in almost all of his letters. But, realize that the ancient world was even worse then we are now about dividing people. The Greeks were the aristocrats of the time and they looked down their noses at everyone else as barbarians. The Jews were God’s chosen people and they looked down on everyone else. Slaves had no rights and there was no fellowship between a slave and a freeman.

It was Christ who broke down the barriers. In the early church, quite often a slave was the preacher in a church and the master a humble member. Max Muller wrote that the study of language is relatively new because people didn’t want to know about each other until Christ replaced the word Barbarian with the word brother!

Where Paul calls the Colossians, “God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved.” Those are 3 terms that originally belonged to Israel. And Paul gives them to the Gentiles. He shows that the love and grace of God has gone to the ends of the earth and there is no “most favored nation” anymore.

Again in the list of virtues notice that they all have to do with personal relationships between people. And there’s nothing listed like efficiency and organization. Actually, that doesn’t mean those 2 things aren’t important, but Christianity is a community. One of the virtues I do want to mention though is compassion. In the ancient world the people were very unfeeling. There was no provision for the aged. The sickly and maimed were left to die and the treatment of the simple minded was unfeeling and inhuman. And it was Christianity that inspired helping those kinds of people.

The last thing I want to mention about this list of virtues is that in other places in the Bible they are virtues attributed to Christ and God. (Romans 2:4) (2nd Corinthians 10:1) (Philippians 2:8 and 3:14-17)

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