Colossians 3:11-15
Col 3:11 (KJB)
Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
When Christ saves someone it does not matter what their background was or where they came from. This verse teaches us that there are four different types of prejudice which can be encountered:
Greek nor Jew - Racial prejudice
Circumcision nor uncircumcision - Religious prejudice
Barbarian, Scythian - Cultural prejudice
Bond nor free - Social prejudice
The Barbarians were originally designated as those who did not speak Greek but when Rome finally conquered Greece, they took the same position that anyone who did not speak or act according to the Greco-Roman world was considered a Barbarian. The Scythians lived northeast of the Roman Empire and were nomadic and had Iranian roots. They lived in area of the Ukraine and Belarus from the 8th century B.C. to about the 2nd century A.D., and were considered the lowest class of Barbarians. So we see that Paul lists four types of prejudice which becomes extinct in Christ, that is, when one becomes saved, they are all equal, no matter who they are or where they originated from.
Col 3:12 (KJB)
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Paul turns to positive characteristics which the Christian should put on and to resist the old sins of the flesh which he just listed in verse 11. Paul gives a list of traits which should be part of every Christian’s life, just as their wardrobe. The word “Put on” means “to be dressed or clothed.”
Elect - Those who are chosen of God to be His children.
Holy - Those who are set apart by salvation for the Lord. Rejecting the World’s systems.
Beloved - Love or wish well to
Bowels - The bowels were thought to be the seat of affection in the human body as Paul is telling them to be sensitive to the needs of
Kindness - To show mercy or goodness to others
Humbleness - To have an attitude of humility toward others thus erasing any arrogance or feelings or thoughts of superiority
Meekness - To show intentional gentleness toward others even though you may be physically stronger
Longsuffering - To show forbearance and patience toward others
Col 3:13 (KJB)
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Quarrel - Complaint, occasion of blame or censure
As with any other group in this world, Christians are not exempt from quarrels. From time to time, there will be disagreements that will crop up. The difference is how these are attended to. There is two ways that Paul is saying that the Christians should handle this and they are forbearing, that is, to have patience within the disagreement and to forgive one another when needed. We are not to hold any grudges or any lingering hatred toward a brother or a sister. As we saw in the previous verse, “put on” meant to clothe someone. The basic garments of the new life includes the ability to forgive an erring brother or sister. Christ has forgiven every sin that we ever committed. We read this back in Colossians 2:13-14. Therefore, how can we hold anything against a brother or sister whom Christ has totally forgiven.
We must never be like the wicked servant in Matthew 18. The king forgave him a 10,000 talent debt. In ancient times the talent weighed approximately 75 pounds, so if the talent was gold or silver, it was equivalent to 750,000 pounds. If Gold was $35 per ounce, 750,000 pounds comes out to $315 million dollars. If Silver is in view and it is worth $9 an ounce, that would come out to 108 million dollars. A sum which no one could pay if they work for a living. He was forgiven this and went out and found a man who owed him 100 pence. That would be approximately $15 and he refused to forgive him that puny little debt in comparison to his. The teaching is that if we truly look at our lives, we will see how much we have been forgiven and therefore we must do the same for others, as they are only human too.
Col 3:14 (KJB)
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
Charity - Love without expectation of a return
The bond - That which binds together
Of perfectness - Something which has reached its full and intended end
Here Paul is stating that Christians needs to put on charity. The modern versions change charity to love but charity is a better rendering because when you are charitable, you are, without any expectation of being requited. Charity is the great bond of Christianity because it shows that a person’s Christianity has reached the stage of perfection, that is, they have reached the full and intended end. If a Christian is full of charity, they will then be able to look at people, not counting their faults against them. Charity is the highest Christian goal because it is the umbrella under which all the other spiritual virtues exist. It is like an expensive oil which keeps a complex engine running smoothly and it unites all the other Christian traits into a state of completeness.
Col 3:15 (KJB)
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 - Inner tranquility
Rule - Govern or preside
The peace of God is what the believers have first as a result of salvation and then secondly that peace flows over into the life of the believer. (Phil 4:7 KJV) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. When God rules the heart of the believer, the peace of God sits on the throne of his or her heart and allows that peace to flow through them. This peace is manifest best in tough times, when the world is shaking from anxiety, the believer is at peace. We were called to be at peace with all other Christians and that, of course, is attained when forgiveness runs through the body like blood through a human body. An air of thankfulness must also permeate the Christian because when we begin to thank God, we begin to see our dependence upon Him and when we realize our dependence upon God, we will have peace in rough times because we will be more dependent upon God. Thankfulness is a way of bringing a universal peace to the body of Christ because of its focus, which is totally on the Lord. (Isa 26:3 KJV) Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.