Colossians 3:16 is a great verse. As believers in Christ we would do well to memorize and put it into practice.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (NKJV)
The verse begins with an interesting word, the word “let”. Could we substitute the word allow? Allow the word of Christ to dwell in you…? The word let seems to be indicating that “the Word of Christ will dwell in you”, unless you do something to prevent it.
Let’s back up a few verses and get a running start at this. The book of Colossians is only four short chapters long. I would recommend you pause now and take a few minutes to read it straight through.
Let’s backup to verse twelve and read through to verse 17.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;
13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (NKJV)
Have you noticed all the imperatives or commandments in this passage? If we will do those things Paul commands in verses twelve through fifteen, then we will be enabled to execute verses sixteen and seventeen successfully.
The phrase “elect of God” in verse 12 identifies the author’s audience to be believers in Christ. The word elect in the Greek means choice or select. Paul’s audience is commanded to put on (clothe or cover) themselves with tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering (patience).
“Bearing with one another [other believers]”, means to be patient with one another.
“Forgiving one another” is a powerful imperative. The word forgiving means to cancel a debt. And how should we do that? As Christ forgave or cancelled our debt.
Among these commandments Paul identifies the top priority. “But above all these things put on [clothe yourselves with] love”. Why? Because love is the bond [that which glues together] of perfection. The word perfection here means completeness.
These imperatives from Paul are not about religious observances or rituals. Notice that all of this is about relationship. Paul is encouraging believers in their relationships with each other.
Get to know the people in your christian circle. Invite someone from your church out to lunch, or into your home. Decide that when you fellowship with other believers you will be both blessed and a blessing. Put down your computer, cell phone, tablet. In other words, ignore social media for a while, and fellowship one on one with someone.
Pick up the phone and let someone know you are thinking about them and praying for them. God thought this was important enough to inspire Paul to record it in the Bible. Shouldn’t we strive to obey the commandments in this passage?
When I put on clothes in the morning all of my scars or imperfections on my body are covered. All you see are the clothes I’m wearing. What if we all truly put on love? How different would our lives, and the lives of those around us be if when they looked at us they saw love?