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Colossians Three

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

If. The sense of “if” here is “since.” Our life in Christ was assured eternally when we were born again through faith in His finished work of redemption for us. When He died for us, we were “dead with Christ” (Colossians 2:20; Romans 6:8), then “buried with Him” (Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:4), and “quickened together with Him” (Colossians 2:13).

right hand. The first of twenty-one references to Christ at the right hand of God is found in Psalm 16:11. By faith now, in reality in the ages to come, we also “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Colossians 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

in glory. When Christ returns, He will bring the souls of those who died in Christ with Him for the resurrection of their bodies. Those believers who are still living when He returns will be raptured to be with Him in glory, being transformed to be like Him, immortal forever (1 Thessalonians 3:13; 4:14-17; xTerm 3:2; 1 Corinthians 15:52-54).

Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

Mortify. “Mortify” means “put to death.” “They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24).

concupiscence. “Concupiscence” (see 1 Thessalonians 4:5; Romans 7:8) means “desire.”

idolatry. In God's sight, covetousness is worship of the god Mammon, and “ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).

Colossians 3:6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

children of disobedience. Unbelievers are also called “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3). See also Ephesians 2:2; 5:6.

Colossians 3:7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

Colossians 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Colossians 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

new man. Man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Even though that image was badly marred by sin, it is still a part of man's nature (James 3:9), in contrast with the nature of animals. Man still has a moral and spiritual capacity, as well as many other attributes not present in the animals (abstract thought, esthetic sense, etc.). The marred image can therefore be made new again when a man becomes a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Through faith in Christ and His redeeming work on the cross, he “puts off” his “old man” and “puts on” a “new man,” much as one would discard old clothing, and don new clothing.

image. The “image of God” was both “created” (Genesis 1:27; 1 Corinthians 11:7-9) and “made” (Genesis 1:26; Colossians 1:16-17) in man. That image was marred because of sin (Genesis 9:6; James 3:9), but is “renewed in knowledge” through saving faith in Christ (Colossians 1:10; Ephesians 4:23; 2 Corinthians 3:18. Our “image” will eventually be “conformed to the image” of the Son of God when Christ returns (Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 15:49).

him. We are to be conformed to the image of Christ, and Christ is Himself the incarnate image of the triune God (Colossians 1:15; 2:9; 2 Corinthians 4:4). He is especially called “the express image of His person” in Hebrews 1:3.

Colossians 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

neither Greek nor Jew. See Galatians 3:28; Romans 10:12.

Scythian. The Scythians lived in the area north of the Caucasus. The historian Josephus says the Scythians were descendants of Magog (Genesis 10:2).

Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

Colossians 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Colossians 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

peace of God. See note on Philippians 4:7.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

word of Christ. The “word of Christ”—at least for us today—can only be the Holy Scriptures, so this is an exhortation to memorize Scripture. See also Psalm 119:11. Note that Christ and the apostles frequently quoted from memory appropriate Scriptures, sometimes lengthy passages, in their discourses and sermons. This is the only occurrence of the phrase “word of Christ.”

admonishing one another. This exhortation is not referring to public worship, but to daily conversation and even to solitary activity—“talking to yourselves” and “making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).

psalms. “Psalms” clearly refers specifically to the psalms in the Old Testament, which were commonly sung both by the pre-Christian Jews and by the early church, as well as in many churches ever since. Note also Ephesians 5:19.

hymns. “Hymns” is descriptive of songs similar in content and motivation to the psalms, but not taken from the divinely inspired psalms of the Old Testament.

spiritual songs. “Spiritual songs” refers to songs with a Biblical theme but with a more popular style tune than the others. The Greek for “song” is ode, which is a generic term for any kind of song. The adjective “spiritual,” however, delimits it to songs with Christian content.

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Colossians 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

husbands. This section, instructing husbands, wives, children, fathers, masters and servants (Colossians 3:18-4:1) is very much parallel to Ephesians 5:22-6:9. The behavior and attitudes described should characterize the Spirit-filled life (Ephesians 5:18; Colossians 3:17).

Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.

Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

Colossians 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

heartily. Whatever we do should be done heartily (Ecclesiastes 9:10), “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17), “to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Colossians 3:24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

the Lord Christ. This is the only occurrence of the name “Lord Christ.”

Colossians 3:25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.