Practical Exhortations
Colossians 2:20 - 4:6


The Double Remedy for the Believer: Death and Resurrection with Christ (2:20 - 3:4)

As Dead with Christ, do not Occupy with Ordinances (2:20-23)

20 If ye have died with Christ from the elements of the world, why as if alive in the world do ye subject yourselves to ordinances? 21 Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch, 22 (things which are all for destruction in the using of them:) according to the injunctions and teachings of men, 23 (which have indeed an appearance of wisdom in voluntary worship, and humility, and harsh treatment of the body, not in a certain honour,) to the satisfaction of the flesh. 

As Risen with Christ, Occupy with Heaven, not Earth (3:1-4)

CHAPTER 3
If therefore ye have been raised with the Christ, seek the things which are above, where the Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God: 

2 have your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth; v.2 The exhortation is to set our mind on heavenly things. The mind is the Devil's plaything, and if we do not have it occupied with Christ then Satan can turn us aside.

3 for ye have died, and your life is hid with the Christ in God. 4 When the Christ is manifested who is our life, then shall *ye* also be manifested with him in glory. 


The Outward Transformation of Our Lifestyle (3:5-17)

Having Put Off the Old Man, Now Mortify your Members (3:5-9)

5 Put to death therefore your members which are upon the earth, fornication, uncleanness, vile passions, evil lust, and unbridled desire, which is idolatry. 6 On account of which things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 In which *ye* also once walked when ye lived in these things. 8 But now, put off, *ye* also, all these things, wrath, anger, malice, blasphemy, vile language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, having put off the old man with his deeds, 

Having Put on the New Man, Now Put on Christ's Character (3:10-17)

10 and having put on the new, renewed into full knowledge according to the image of him that has created him; 11 wherein there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Christ is everything, and in all. 

image and likenessAdam was created in the image and likeness of god. as the likeness of god, he was good and upright (Christ is never said to be the likeness of god, because he is god). as the image of god, Adam was the representation of god in the earth (although none but Christ is the perfect “image” or reflection). when Adam fell, God-likeness was lost and god-image was distorted. in Eph. 4 likeness is restored, and the christian imitates god in his characters of light and love. in Col. 3 image is renewed in the new order of manhood, and we reflect the character of god.

The Old Man and the New Man. The old man is an abstract term that describes the characteristic features of the fallen race of Adam in its depraved moral character. The new man is an abstract term that describes the characteristic features of those in the new creation “in Christ”. These terms are not well understood, therefore often confused with the old and new natures. I highly recommend reading the encyclopedia entry for the old man and the new man.

12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, longsuffering; v.12 This "putting on" is automatic if we are occupied with Christ, but it is given to us a an exhortation because we are being addressed in our responsibility.

13 forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any should have a complaint against any; even as the Christ has forgiven you, so also do *ye*. 14 And to all these add love, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of Christ preside in your hearts, to which also ye have been called in one body, and be thankful. 
16 Let the word ['logos'] of the Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another, in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to God. v.16 What is "the word of Christ"? When Christ returned to heaven He took a new exalted position as a glorified man, and He speaks to redeemed men from that position. The word of Christ therefore is that part of the written Word which flows to us from an ascended, glorified man; specifically the New Testament epistles. In 1 John 2:14 we are told to have God's Word abiding in us in the broadest sense; to be well-acquainted with the whole revelation of God. Here it is more specific to the epistles (see notes on the Word and Words of God).

17 And everything, whatever ye may do in word or in deed, do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by him. 


Practical Exhortations for Our Natural Relationships (3:18 - 4:1)

We might wonder what the natural relationships are addressed here. One reason is that these are mentioned is that issues in our natural relationships can really upset our equilibrium, and get our mind off "things above".

Wives and Husbands (3:18-19)

18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. 

Children and Fathers (3:20-21)

20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing in the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not vex your children, to the end that they be not disheartened. 

Servants and Masters (3:22 - 4:1)

22 Bondmen, obey in all things your masters according to flesh; not with eye-services, as men-pleasers, but in simplicity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatsoever ye do, labour at it heartily, as doing it to the Lord, and not to men; 24 knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the recompense of the inheritance; ye serve the Lord Christ. 25 For he that does a wrong shall receive the wrong he has done, and there is no respect of persons. 
 
Masters, give to bondmen what is just and fair, knowing that *ye* also have a Master in the heavens. 


Practical Exhortations for our Prayer-lives (4:2-4)

2 Persevere in prayer, watching in it with thanksgiving; 3 praying at the same time for us also, that God may open to us a door of the word to speak the mystery of Christ, on account of which also I am bound, 4 to the end that I may make it manifest as I ought to speak. 


Practical Exhortations for our Public Testimony to this World (4:5-6)

5 Walk in wisdom towards those without, redeeming opportunities. 6 Let your word be always with grace, seasoned with salt, so as to know how ye ought to answer each one.