Paul continues in Colossians chapter 3 to explain what a life of love looks like. Remember, Paul has already identified the key to overcoming the flesh. It is living into all that became new at our salvation. It is laying aside the old self with its evil practices and putting on the new self with its holy attributes. And the greatest of these is love.
“And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Col 3:14-15). Two times in these two verses, Paul writes about the unity of the body. One of the signs of a life of love is the peace that comes in our relationships with other believers.
The peace of Christ is the opposite of strife. The peace of Christ is the opposite of dissension. The peace of Christ is the opposite of jealousy. The peace of Christ is the opposite of all these things that tear down the body of Christ. Peace is synonymous with unity. And it is God’s design that we live in peace. And this peace leads to thanksgiving.
“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 thanksgiving in your hearts to God” (Col 3:16). In this context, the “word of Christ” is not just referring to Scripture. It applies to all the ways we hear the voice of Jesus. We hear His voice in the Bible to be sure. But we also hear His voice in our Spirit, the Spirit of Christ that indwells us. In fact, we should expect to hear the voice of Jesus through His Spirit that is alive and active inside us.
In this particular verse, Paul highlights hearing the voice of Jesus in the community of believers that surrounds us. We are literally the voice of Jesus when we teach and admonish one another; when we sing with and sing to our brothers and sisters in the Lord; when we express our admiration and thanksgiving to God. Let the word of Christ, in all its different expressions, richly dwell in you. A life of love is a life of listening to the voice of Jesus.
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Col 3:17). When we set up a rule-keeping system for pleasing God, we tend to separate our lives into the spiritual – following the rules, doing things to earn God’s favor, keeping spiritual disciplines – and the secular – our normal everyday responsibilities. But when we walk in the Spirit, our connection to God is 24/7. There is no separation between the sacred and the secular for the believer.
By virtue of who you are in Christ, all you do in word and deed is sacred. Your homemaking, your 40-hour-a-week job, your visiting a neighbor are all sacred because you are indwelt by the sacred Spirit of Jesus. Christ in us, living His life through us, sanctifies all of who we are and all of what we do. This is “doing all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (vs 17).