December 1st, 2021 – Colossians 3:16

Verse of the Day Devotion  Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  

Paul here is referring to the gospel when he says, ‘the word of Christ’. We see that Paul, in many verses, uses the ‘word of God’ as in “Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,” Colossians 1:25, as well as “And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17.  So, what we see is that here in verse 16 he is referring to the ‘message about Christ’ rather then the message from Christ.

The meaning we can derive of the command is that the Christian message must be an integral and permanent living force in all Christian’s hearts, not just an outward performance or routine activities. It may be rather difficult in some languages to speak of a message living in someone’s heart. However, we can re-state it by saying,  a message may speak to the heart. This message should be such that if affects our very being.  Paul makes it clear by saying we must let it ‘richly dwell in us’. Richly is a metaphor for all the resources and blessings which are to be found in the Christian message. The phrase in all its richness may characterize either the message or the way in which the message must live in the believer. The meaning is essentially the same in either case. In the first instance, one may speak of the “the wonderful message” and in the second instance, “must live in a wonderful way.” And this is to be taken in two valid ways, in the heart of each individual as well as in the heart of the Church as a whole.

The main idea is that this message regarding Christ must be what we base our lives on.  We must live out this message in ourselves, and we must also help others live it out as well.  Many people who are new to the faith do not fully understand what this life is all about.  This is what I believe Paul was speaking of.  The word ‘teaching’ is the Greek word didaskō which has the idea of teaching publicly or privately, but also the idea of admonishing when they do not follow appropriately.  And we are called to do it with all wisdom, meaning ‘by using all wisdom’ or ‘by being wise in every way’.  We should not flippantly teach about Jesus and the gospel message but should do all we can to train everyone truly in the ways of Christ.  Too often people share the truth but do not go into the depth needed for others to understand it fully.  This message is far too important to simply present it without making its meaning clear.  You may be able to do this with one discussion, or it may take additional training.  But what is important is that the message is understood.

And the message we present, either of training or admonition, should be such that it prompts praise and thanksgiving to God for all He has done and is doing. The message of Christ is a message of grace and mercy.  We had no hope for salvation until Christ came and presented His body as a sacrifice for us all.  There was nothing we could do, so He did it all.  And finally, when we do all this, we must remember that “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17.  We must let our words be right, and our actions upright.  Theologian Adam Clarke puts it this way. “Begin with him, and end with him; invoke his name, and pray for his direction and support, in all that ye do; and thus every work will be crowned with all requisite success.” We must remember what Paul said to the Church at Philippi. “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13.  God is working through us to do what we are called to do.  And when we submit to God and allow Him to work through us, we can rejoice with the success we have in helping others become the Christian they are called to be.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

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