Colossians 3:15-17 Part 1
Peace has always been a hot commodity in our world. From the time Adam and Eve rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3), the human race has found itself on an ever-ending quest for peace. Many alliances have been formed over the centuries in the hope that peoples can live at peace with each other. Individuals have also been on a futile quest for peace for the void they feel within. God is the only one with the solution to bring about peace. He did that by giving us His Son. Jesus is the price God paid to establish peace between mankind and Himself.
The child of God is certain of one thing: he or she does have peace with God! This is the peace to which the Apostle Paul refers in Philippians 4:7, when he wrote, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. This is a complete peace that anchors on having one’s sins forgiven by God. That level of peace is what anchors the child of God, even in times of greatest personal or natural challenges. The peace the Apostle Paul talks about in Colossians 3:15-17 is the peace that governs the heart of the child of God to reflect the characters of God, even in times when they are being offended.
Let me begin with a review of v. 1-16 so we can put it all in context. In v. 1-17, Paul is giving us, the children of God, some basic rules/guidelines about living as a child of God, as a kingdom person. We can say he is giving us some basic rules for holy living.
He begins by giving us some practical applications to help us grasp the doctrinal part of the letter. He is giving actual hands-on rules/guidelines to help us live out what he described doctrinally earlier.
In 1-14, Paul spends much of that time exhorting us to not give in to our sinful nature, but to strive to live the kind of life that the Lord has called us to live; the kind of life that will set us apart from those who don’t yet know Christ.
In verses 5-12, Paul spends much of the time showing us the characteristics that are unbecoming of a child of God. These are things that you and I must fight daily to stand against. They are the things we also need to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus.
In 13-14, Paul then shows us what the life of a child of God should look like. Those characters are congruent to the fruit of the Spirit we see in Ephesians 6. Paul exhorts us by using a series of imperatives. He says: Clothe yourself with compassion, Bear with each other, forgive whatever grievances we have against each other, and put on love.
In order to understand verses 15-17, we must look at those verses within that context and within the overall theme of the word of God. The big word in the next portion is PEACE!
This first part of the blog will actually focus mostly unpacking the true meaning of the term “the peace of Christ”. I will proceed by using a series of question to help generate personal thought.
Let’s look at verses 15-17 now.
In verses 15-17, Paul gives us 4 specific exhortations:
1. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts (v. 15a)
2. Be thankful (v. 15c)
3. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly (v. 16a)
4. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (v. 17)
A. What does Paul mean here by PEACE OF CHRIST?
The peace of Christ an arbiter, a referee, or a governor of the heart of the child of God. It is a ruling kind of peace that causes the character of God to flow through and out of the heart of the believer. In other words, the peace of God in the heart of the believer, causes he or she to reflect the fruit of the Spirit of God and those become quite evident to everyone else around the believer.
B. Can you think of a couple of other passages that emphasize PEACE WITH ONE ANOTHER?
a. Romans 12:17-19…Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Carefully consider what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible on your part, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written: “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord.”…
b. Matthew 5:9…Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
C. Why is living in PEACE with one another something God expects from all His children?
a. God is the ultimate peacemaker
b. God gave His Son as the ultimate price for our souls when we clearly did not deserve it?
c. Paul tells us why very clearly in Colossians 3:15b…
D. Why does Paul use the words RULE IN YOU HEART in the passage? What does that imply?
E. What does it look like when the peace of Christ is the arbiter or referee in your heart?
a. We submit to the Lord and recognize that He is the just Judge and His judgment will always be perfect
b. We trust God because we know that He knows every dimension of every issue with may face with one another
c. We are less likely to be stressed out by one another
F. What does making PEACE with one another or living in Peace with one another look like?
THE BIG IDEA
Here’s the big idea here:
The only way for us to truly let the peace of Christ rule in our heart is for us to be completely surrendered to Jesus! And this is exactly where Paul takes us in v. 16-17.
I will fully address the rest of the passage in the second part of this blog:
Colossians 3:15c-17… Be Thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.