Colossians 3:15-17

“…put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection” Colossians 3:12b-14.

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

Colossians 3:12b-14 covered here on 4-20-20 and on 4-23-20 has been included above for context. We will concern ourselves with Colossians 3:15-17 in this post.

In Jesus’ own words “the peace of God” comes down to this.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27.

So what is this peace and how do we get it?

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.

The peace comes by being anxious for nothing because the Christian trusts God and brings all things before the throne of God in prayer and supplication.

The word prayer in Philippians 4:6 above has the idea of a house of prayer; in other words Christians who are in an almost continual state of prayer, the word for prayer here is the same as used in the following verse.

“…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…” Ephesians 6:18.

The word supplication has a very strong connotation also. The dictionary defines supplication as; seeking, asking, entreating, or entreaty. Entreaties are earnest requests.

The tone here is one of pouring out your heart to God, not just once but over and over until you get an answer.

“Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. And I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Luke 11:5-10.

See also the account of the unjust judge below in Luke 18:1-8.

“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: ‘There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, “Avenge me of my adversary.” And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, “Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.”’ Then the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man [Jesus] comes, will He really find faith on the earth?’” Luke 18:1-8.

The peace of God can come upon all Christians if they will allow it. But it is those who will really seek to enter into this peace that will dwell in it the most fully.

Consider too the fact that the peace of God in Colossians 3:15 is mentioned after putting on love in verse 14. Love through which all of the virtues operate brings the believer into a state of being at peace with others, and is better able to let the peace of God rule in their hearts.

“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:14-15.

Peace in your heart is maintained by knowing what is right and doing it. Though there are many facets to peace, the Christian can enter into it and Christ will, by His Spirit, maintain that state as long as the believer lets Him.

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

All of these things that have been discussed will come more easily and take stronger root within our hearts only if the word of God is studied carefully and meditated on reverently daily.

It is in this manner that Scripture all Scripture, Old and New Testament begins to dwell richly within our hearts.

But the word of Christ dwells “richly in all wisdom”; this wisdom consists in rightly dividing the word of truth.

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.” 2 Timothy 2:15-16.

The word of Christ first dwells richly in all wisdom within our own hearts, and then wisdom goes forth out of our mouths from our hearts and lifts up and encourages others.

“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it’, whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21.

The “word behind you” is the promptings of the Holy Spirit working through the word of God guiding you in the way.

Being guided by the Holy Spirit works best when we have the word of God dwelling richly in our hearts, have meditated upon it, and then listened for God’s guidance as we walk through life.

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” John 16:13.

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path.” Proverbs 2:6-9.

“For wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.” Proverbs 8:11.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by me [wisdom] your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you.” Proverbs 9:10-11.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.” James 3:13.

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” James 3:17.

When these things become mature in the individual or the congregation they begin to pour out in:

“…teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16b.

The dictionary defines the word admonish as, to caution, advise, or encourage; to reprove, or warn, especially in a mild way; to urge to duty or remind of an obligation, which is also just what the Greek word means, to admonish, warn, exhort.

Psalms is a difficult one to define since everyone seems to have a different idea as to what it means in this verse.

One commentary said that psalm in this case was just another reference to the word hymns, but why put in two words when one would do?

It could, but probably does not, mean the singing of psalms from the book of Psalms. The word psalm actually means, a striking, or twanging, like the striking of the chords of a musical instrument. Yes, I found that one interesting too.

Anyway the intent of the word psalm in Colossians 3:16 seems to be a sacred song sung to the accompaniment of musical instruments. However, it is also possible that it is a song sung or recited by a worshiper in the congregation.

Hymns are songs in direct praise to God.

“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25.

A good example of a hymn is “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” by Edward Miller:

“When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Lord of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.”

Or “Lord of Glory, We Adore Thee” by Lowell Mason:

“Lord of glory, we adore thee, Christ of God, ascended high! Heart and soul we bow before thee, glorious now beyond the sky: Thee we worship, thee we praise, excellent in all thy ways.”

Spiritual songs pretty much cover the rest, remembering that the word spiritual limits these songs to sacred music, such as singing praises of God, songs of exhortation, prophetic songs, and songs of the Christian experience.

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17.

Just think of what it would be like if all Christians were to do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus. Everything we said, everything we did would glorify Christ. If that were possible, the world would be turned on its ear.

It is a good admonition which should cause us all, you and I, to think before we act or speak. In fact, here is some more good advice from the book of James.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20.

Let us all my friends, give continual thanks to God for all things, another day of life, green grass (Snow where you are? The grass will again flourish), cool water, blue skies, and for loving us.

“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5b.

“Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard rather than the shout of a ruler of fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war; but one sinner destroys much good.” Ecclesiastes 9:17-18.

Colossians 3:15-17 taken from posted on 2-21-14, updated on 4-26-20.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

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