Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility,
Paul offers a strategy to help us live for God day by day: (1) Imitate Christ’s compassionate, forgiving attitude; (2) let love guide your life; (3) let the peace of Christ rule in your heart; (4) always be thankful; (5) keep God’s Word with you at all times; (6) live as Jesus Christ’s representative.
The Scripture clearly teaches that God, in His sovereignty, has chosen men to belong to Christ. We do not believe that God has ever chosen anyone to be damned. Just as we believe in God’s electing grace, we also believe in man’s responsibility. God does not save men against their will. The same Bible that says “elect according to the foreknowledge of God” also says “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Next, Paul addresses the Colossians as holy and beloved. Holy means sanctified or set apart to God from the world. We are positionally holy, and we should be practically holy in our lives as well. Because we are the objects of God’s love, it gives us a desire to please Him in every way.
The Christian graces which we are to put on like a garment. Tender mercies speak of a heart of compassion. Kindness speaks of the unselfish spirit of doing for others. It is an attitude of affection or goodwill. Humility means lowliness, the willingness to be humbled and to esteem others better than oneself. Meekness does not speak of weakness, but rather the strength to deny oneself and to walk in grace toward all men.
The common assumption is that when a man is meek, it is because he cannot help himself; but the Lord was “meek” because He had the infinite resources of God at His command. If humility is the “absence of pride,” then meekness is “the absence of passion.” Longsuffering speaks of patience under provocation and of the long endurance of offense. It combines joy and a kind attitude toward others, along with perseverance in suffering.
In living with others, it is inevitable that we will find out their failures. We must bear with one another. Forgiveness should be exercised toward others when they have offended. If we had been the one who had committed the offense, then we should have gone and asked for pardon. Forbearance suggests our not taking offense; forgiveness—not holding it. Even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. How did Christ forgive us? He forgave us without a cause. So should we. He forgave us freely. So should we. He forgave, and He forgot. So should we. Both as to manner and extent, we should follow our blessed Lord in this wonderful attitude.
meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. Colossians 3:12-13