Put On Then as God’s Chosen Ones
The passage which follows it truly beautiful. Again we must emphasize that though the Apostle speaks of “putting on,” he does not mean something as simple as clothing. The Christian life comes of faith which is of the new birth which we call “regeneration.” This cannot be overstated. Christians are people who have been born again, born from above, who have received a new nature, “which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.” Yes, we still contend with the old nature, but we should be growing in the grace of our Lord and Savior. In this passage, Paul describes beautifully what that growth should look like. And he further reminds us that this new nature is not predicated on race or ethnicity or status but upon Christ and his work within each of us.
“Put on as God’s chosen ones….” Paul grounds our regeneration in the doctrine of God’s election. He is the One who chose us, not vise-versa. So we may have faith that He has chosen us for the purpose of sanctifying us, which work He carries out in us through the power of His Holy Spirit. In other words, through God’s help, we can do this. From this beginning, Paul moves to several virtues all of which have to do with restoring and maintaining unity in the church: compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiving each other, and most of all, loving each other. No doubt, there was some discord in the church due to the superior attitude of those brethren who had adopted or at least flirted with the heretical teaching described in chapter two. Confession was needed. And note that Paul calls on the non-offending brothers to forgive so to heal the breach.
Upon this, the Apostle then turns their hearts to Christ reminding them that it was to his peace that they were called, and that “in the one body.” Peace and unity go hand in hand, and there can be neither in the church without Christ whose sacrifice is our peace. We are reminded to be thankful; seek nothing else beyond the faith. Finally, Paul exhorts them to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” that it may be the source of mutual teaching and admonition through its wisdom thereof. This is a discipline that believers must adopt—Scripture reading and memory that the word may dwell within us that we may be ready with a word from the Lord when needed: “To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is” (Proverbs 15:23). And to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus with thankfulness—what better way to check our words and deeds at the door.