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  • Writer's pictureRICHARD DEAN BROOKS



11Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

13Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.And be thankful.

16Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

17And 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.

3: 11   The Christian church should have no barriers of nationality, race, educational level, social standing, wealth, or power. Christ lives in each of us. He breaks down all barriers and accepts all people who come to him. Nothing should keep us from telling anyone about Christ, welcoming others from different backgrounds, or accepting into our fellowship any and all who are interested in knowing about Jesus (Ephesians 2: 14-15). Christians should be building bridges, not walls.

3: 12-17   Paul offers a strategy to help us live for God day by day: (1)   Imitate Christ’s compassionate, forgiving attitude (3: 12-13); (2)   let love guide your life (3: 14); (3)   let the peace of Christ rule in your heart (3: 15); (4)   always be thankful (3: 15); (5)   keep God’s Word in you at all times (3: 16); and (6)   live as Jesus Christ’s representative (3: 17).

3: 13   Forgiving others starts by remembering how much God has forgiven us. Is it difficult for you to forgive someone who has wronged you a little when God has forgiven you so much? Realizing God’s infinite love and forgiveness for you can help you love and forgive others. Let God worry about the wrongs you’ve suffered. Don’t squander your life in bitter feuding; be renewed in love and joy.

3: 14-15   Christians should live in peace. This does not mean that suddenly all differences of opinion are eliminated, but it does require that loving Christians work together despite their differences. Such love is not a feeling but a decision to meet the needs of others (see 1   Corinthians   13). To “put on” (live in) love leads to peace between individuals and among the members of the body of believers. Do problems in your relationships with other Christians cause open conflicts or uncomfortable silence? Consider what you can do to heal those relationships with love.

3: 14   All the virtues that Paul encourages us to develop are perfectly woven together by love. As we clothe ourselves with these virtues, the ultimate garment we are to put on is love, which holds all the others in place. To practice any list of virtues without practicing love will lead to pride, false piety, and stagnation (1   Corinthians 13: 3).

3: 15   The word translated “rule” comes from the language of athletics: Paul tells us to let Christ’s peace be an umpire or referee in our hearts. Our hearts are the center of conflict because there our feelings and desires clash— our fears and hopes, distrust and trust, jealousy and love. How can we deal with these types of conflicts and live as God wants? Paul explains that we must resolve conflicting issues by using the rule of peace. Which choice will promote peace in our souls and in our churches? (For more on the peace of Christ, see Philippians 4: 7.)

3: 16   Although the early Christians had access to the Old Testament and freely used it, they did not yet have the New Testament in its present form or other Christian books to study. Their stories and teachings about Christ were memorized and passed on from person to person. Sometimes the teachings were set to music, and so music became an important part of Christian worship and education.

3: 16   Thankful people can worship wholeheartedly. Gratitude opens our hearts to God’s peace and enables us to put on love. Discontent people constantly evaluate what’s wrong with their lot in life and compare themselves negatively with others. To increase your thankfulness, take an inventory of all you have (including your relationships, memories, abilities, and family, as well as material possessions). Use this inventory to pray with gratitude. Try declaring Sunday as your day of gratitude. Before worship, quit rushing around; instead, find time to reflect on reasons to be thankful. Celebrate God’s goodness to you, and pray for guidance and peace for all your needs in the week ahead.

3: 17   Doing “all in the name of the Lord Jesus” means bringing honor to Christ in every aspect and activity of daily living. As a Christian, you represent Christ at all times— wherever you go and whatever you say. What impression do people have of Christ when they see or talk with you? What changes could you make in your life in order to honor Christ?

Tyndale. NIV Life Application Study Bible.


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