Colossians 3:15 comes to us in one of the most beautiful and powerful passages in Paul’s writings. It is full of the grace and majesty of the gospel life. To meditate on the passage is to come in touch with what it means to be a disciple of Christ in the world today. Its beauty is in its contradiction to what the world teaches.
We are told in the verses before our verse for today that we are to put away our old ways and to “put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator.” (verse 10) We are no longer to see our differences, or to compare ourselves to others, but to recognize that in Jesus, “there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free, but Christ is all in all.” (verse 11)
Paul tells us today, just as he told the Colossians back then to, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another…And over all of this put on love, that is, the bond of perfection” (verses 12-14) Here, in a beautiful nutshell, Paul has given us a primer for the Christian life. These are the virtues and the behaviors we are to develop in ourselves. This is the way, the truth, and the life that is Jesus, which we are to model in our own lives today. This is truly joyful good news. And at the same time we are aware of how difficult these things are to practice faithfully and regularly in this life. Yet again, we know that the Holy Spirit is with us in our efforts.
That is why we are to let the peace of Christ rule our hearts. It is in that peace alone that we are empowered to live in his way. It is this peace that gives us the insight and the courage to no longer see our differences, to recognize that we are called by Christ to be one body in him. As Christians believers we are to be one. It is only in the peace of Christ that this can be one. And this oneness in Christ will be the source of our peace. For this we can be eternally thankful.
Lord, give us that depth of faith in you today that will help all Christians to be united as one body in Christ. Help us to overcome our differences and to find that peace of Christ that is promised to us. Give us the graces we need to develop heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility gentleness, and patience so that we may bear with one another and forgive one another in your peace. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen!
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