Colossians 3 English Standard Version (ESV)
Put On the New Self
3 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[b] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[c] 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self[d] with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,[e] free; but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Rules for Christian Households
18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters,[f] not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
Colossians 3 The Voice (VOICE)
Paul knows the people in Colossae are facing many religious and philosophical options, none of which are neutral. Notice Paul doesn’t say, “Just add Jesus to what you already believe,” or, “Factor Jesus into your philosophy,” or, “Include Jesus in this or that ritual.” The claim that “Jesus is Lord” does not allow that. If Jesus is Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer of all creation, then all other teachings must give way. All people must bow before Him and only Him.
3 So it comes down to this: since you have been raised with the Anointed One, the Liberating King, set your mind on heaven above. The Anointed is there, seated at God’s right hand. 2 Stay focused on what’s above, not on earthly things, 3 because your old life is dead and gone. Your new life is now hidden, enmeshed with the Anointed who is in God. 4 On that day when the Anointed One—who is our[a] very life—is revealed, you will be revealed with Him in glory! 5 So kill your earthly impulses: loose sex, impure actions, unbridled sensuality, wicked thoughts, and greed (which is essentially idolatry). 6 It’s because of these that God’s wrath is coming [upon the sons and daughters of disobedience],[b] so avoid them at all costs. 7 These are the same things you once pursued, and together you spawned a life of evil. 8 But now make sure you shed such things: anger, rage, spite, slander, and abusive language. 9 And don’t go on lying to each other since you have sloughed away your old skin along with its evil practices 10 for a fresh new you, which is continually renewed in knowledge according to the image of the One who created you. 11 In this re-creation there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian and conqueror,[c] or slave and free because the Anointed is the whole and dwells in us all.
Paul tells them the key to remain unified is to show compassion and forgiveness toward one another.
12 Since you are all set apart by God, made holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a holy way of life: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Put up with one another. Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you, because you should act in kind. 14 But above all these, put on love! Love is the perfect tie to bind these together. 15 Let your hearts fall under the rule of the Anointed’s peace (the peace you were called to as one body), and be thankful.
16 Let the word of the Anointed One richly inhabit your lives. With all wisdom teach, counsel, and instruct one another. Sing the psalms, compose hymns and songs inspired by the Spirit, and keep on singing—sing to God from hearts full and spilling over with thankfulness. 17 Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing, or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father.
For Paul it isn’t enough just to believe the right things. Right belief always produces right living. The gift of salvation demands that we put into practice the character of our King. Just as we take off and throw away old, worn-out clothes, we must strip off certain attitudes and actions of our old selves. Since our lives have been made new in Him, things like sexual immorality, greed, anger, lies, and the rest must find no place in us. But it is not enough to strip off the old; we must put on the new. And that new creation has many qualities of Jesus: compassion, gentleness, and humility; putting up with each other, forgiving each other, and above all, loving each other. These are the ways of Jesus, so they must be our ways too.
18 Wives: be submitted to your husbands as is appropriate in the Lord. 19 Husbands: love your wives, and don’t treat them harshly or respond with bitterness toward them.
20 Children: obey your parents in every way. The Lord is well pleased by it. 21 Fathers: don’t infuriate your children, so their hearts won’t harbor resentment and become discouraged. 22 Slaves: obey your earthly masters in all things. Don’t just act earnest in your service only when they are watching. Serve with a sincere heart (even when others aren’t watching), fearing the Lord who is always watching! 23 So no matter what your task is, work hard. Always do your best as the Lord’s servant, not as man’s, 24 because you know your reward is the Lord’s inheritance. You serve the Lord, the Anointed One, and 25 anyone who does wrong will be paid his due because He doesn’t play favorites.