29: The Christian Life (Col 3:1-17)
exposed the futility of self-imposed religion in the previous lesson, he now
speaks of the effectiveness of a new life in Christ. The natural consequence of
setting one’s mind on things above and of having one’s life hidden with Christ
is that one becomes or seeks to become dead to the things of the world (3:1-5).
It seems almost superfluous to have to warn against the evils stated in 3:5 and
yet it is clearly not so because there is so much of this evil in the world. In
this section, Paul writes of how to live a Christian life devoid of these
“…since you have
put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed
in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (3:9,10).
Did You Know…?
1. Barbarian, Scythian (3:11): A barbarian was
“someone who did not speak Greek and was thought to be uncivilized… Scythians
were known especially for their brutality and were considered by others as
little better than wild beasts. They came originally from what is today south Russia.” 4/1816
1a. The goal sets the
direction. Where are the goals of a Christian life?
1b. What exactly does it
mean to set our minds on things above? (cf. Rom 8:5; 12:1-2; 13:14; Phil
2a. 3:3,4 give an
interesting picture of spiritual reality. Read Rom 6:3-11, 2Tim 1:12 and 1Thess
4:16,17. Discuss the implications when Paul says that
you have died and your life is hidden with Christ.
2b. What is the promise
for those whose lives are hidden in Christ?
3. 3:6-7 suggests that evil is partly due to
the worldly company one is in. A Christian life entails separation from the
world. Read Jn 17:14-16, 1Cor 15:33, 2Cor 6:14-18 and
1Pet 2:9-12 to have an idea of what this means. Now discuss the essence of each
of these passages.
4. Why is covetousness deemed as idolatry (3:5;
Verse 8 lists the
things we should “put off.” “Malice,” a word that means evil or wickedness, may
refer to a vicious attitude. “Blasphemy,” also translated “slander,” means
speaking evil of another with the intention of wounding his/her reputation or
speaking with irreverence concerning God (see notes at the end of this lesson).
5. “Do not lie to one another since you have
put off the old man with his deeds” (3:9) Upon scrutiny, the conjunction
‘since’ looks odd because if one has already put off the old man with all his
deeds, why should the apostle continue to instruct that one should not lie?
6a. Which affiliation do
you consider most important in your life? Is it your nationality, your race,
your old school/college, the company you work in, your neighborhood, your
family, your church or your relationship with God? Discuss this in the light of
6b. What about the
church? Is it a human affiliation?
7a. Read verses 12-13 and list the aspects of
character that the elect of God should have.
7b. Is it possible for
Christians to survive in this competitive world while having these virtues?
8. How would you reconcile Paul’s exhortation
in 14-15 for love to bind together all in the one body (the one church) and
that the peace of God rule in individual hearts with his often stern epistolary
rebukes (see for example, 1Cor 5;1-6; Gal 1:6-9)?
9a. What does it mean to
do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus (17)?
9b. How does verse 17
sum up the entire passage?
10. In retrospect, what is the new man? Summarize
the main points in 3:10-17 with regard to the individual and with regard to the
as “Oh my God!” “Jesus Christ!” “Gee!*” or “God!” uttered in amazement or
frustration are improper for Christians because not only do they not glorify
God, such speech may constitute blasphemy.
Some people may
say that they do not mean anything when uttering such expressions. But even
without any intention of blaspheming God, using the name of God in an empty or
frivolous manner would be a violation of the third Commandment—”You shall not
take the name of the Lord your God in vain for the Lord will not hold him
guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Ex 20:7).
* “Gee” or “Jee” are alterations of “Jesus.”