In Churches of Christ Colossians 3 is best known for 3:16 where Paul writes,
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.“
Paul has just spent three chapters telling the Colossians just how blessed they are. He has described the gracious acts of God on their behalf. Paul has instructed them in their salvation and the forgiveness of their sins. What is very important starting in chapter 2 and moving into 3 is that the Colossians understand how they are to respond. They are to respond by taking off the old ways and putting on the new. They are also to respond with thankfulness and gratitude. Here is 3:16 with the verse on each side,
“15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Thankfulness is a constant thread through Colossians. Here we see that they are to express their thanks for all God has done for them as described in the preceding few chapters in song. But before one can truly be thankful one must be at peace. It is difficult if not impossible to find thankfulness if you are not at peace. Paul tells us that the way to thanksgiving through peace must have two components:
1 – It can’t just be any peace, it must be Christ’s peace.
2 – Christ’s peace has a particular purpose and position in your life – it is to reign or rule your heart.
What does it mean for the peace of Christ to reign in your heart? It means the peace of Christ gets to call the shots. It gets to create boundaries around our heart of what gets in and what goes out and what doesn’t. When the peace of Christ rules your heart you will finally be able to see all you have to be thankful for. Chaotic people are rarely thankful people but people of peace embrace thanksgiving.
If you want to be a person of peace, let your peace be Christ’s peace and let it reign in your heart to bring about thanksgiving. This can truly revolutionize your soul.
Good article on the peace of Christ, Matt. Would you agree that the peace of Christ that we are told to let rule in our hearts, is the same as the peace of God that guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus? I think that the way we are to, and can have, “the peace of Christ”, is answered in the next verse. Namely, to let the word of Christ, dwell in us. In THAT way (by letting his word dwell richly IN us), Jesus Christ himself, will:
* comfort our hearts and establish them
* guard us against the evil one
* direct our hearts to the love of God
* give us peace at all times
What a blessing it is, to have Jesus Christ himself, do all these things for us. How powerful indeed, is the word of Christ – when dwelling richly in us!
Having said that, I wonder why the NIV (and other non literal transaltions), have the peace of Christ ruling “IN” our hearts, but the word of Christ, dwelling “AMONG” us?