Online Bible Commentary
Doing His Will
Colossians 3: 12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (NIV)
Paul continues with his rules for holy living. In the previous passage he reminded us, as Christians, that we are a new creation, no longer enslaved by our earthly nature, our sin nature. He then admonished us not to partake of that sinful lifestyle, identifying some specific sins. He finished by commanding all Christians to be knowledgeable of the Bible, the teachings of Christ, and to imitate Christ by holding to those teachings. Both the Old and New Testament embody the teachings of Christ since he was the Messiah of the Old Testament and the Christ of the New Testament.
In this passage, Paul gives us some specifics of how we should act, as “God’s chosen people” (v.12). He writes “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” The word translated “clothe” is a command, something we should actively obey. A better translation is to “put on.” The fruit of the Spirit gives us many of the listed “rules”, but we still must actively put them on, or appropriate them into our behavior. Verse thirteen brings to mind the Lord’s Prayer as we are commanded to forgive others as the Lord forgave us.
Next we should put on love, because that binds all the others together (v.14). Again, this is an action that we must appropriate into our behavior. Finally, Christians are to put on “peace”, another fruit of the Spirit, and to be thankful for all things, for all things come from God (v.15).
Paul then writes that we should teach and admonish one another (v.16). Many Christians resent Biblical teaching if it does not agree with their own thinking. This is because their thinking is of the world, and not of God. They then twist God’s teaching to align with their worldly thinking, and justify their position by playing the “interpretation” card. God sees through their ruse. If their thinking was of God they would have no problem with Biblical teaching, and for that matter admonishment. Paul specifically calls us to admonish one another when someone is not acting according to the teachings of the Bible. But many Christians again resent this admonishment, calling it “judging”. This “digging in” or “bowing of necks” against the word of God is sin.
We are to “let the word of Christ dwell” in us as we teach, admonish, and sing praises to our Lord, all while giving thanks to God the Father for Him (v.16). And we should glorify the Lord in all that we do, while again giving thanks to the Father (v.17).
So how should we best apply this passage in our world today? It appears to me that the phrase “not my will, but Your will” best sums up the passage. As Christians, we first should study the Bible so that we know what the will of God is in all situations that we face in life. Once we know His will we should be obedient to His “rules”, with thanksgiving. Obedience is not always an easy thing to accomplish. It requires dying to ourselves and living for Him.