Useful Bible Studies > Colossians Commentary > chapter 3
In verse 5, Paul described wrong and selfish desires in five different ways. Here in verse 8, he describes cruel and nasty attitudes towards other people, also in five different ways.
Paul wants his readers to see that, as in verse 5, there is a range of different kinds of wrong acts here (verse 8). So, there is the cruel behaviour that may continue for a long period of time. Then, there is the sudden emotion of anger that seems impossible to control. There is the desire to hurt someone else. There are the untrue words that people speak in order to spoil a person’s character. Finally, there is the shameful language that nobody should ever say.
So, verse 5 described the selfish behaviour by which we try to please ourselves. Verse 8 describes the nasty behaviour with which we try to hurt other people. None of this behaviour should have any place in a Christian’s life. It is all wrong and evil; it all offends God. Christians must learn, with God’s help, to live in the way that pleases God.
God’s law is that we must love our neighbour as ourselves (Mark 12:31; Romans 13:9). Our ‘neighbour’ means whichever other people God permits to be in our lives (Luke 10:29-37). We must show God’s love to everyone, whenever God gives us the opportunity. Therefore, there is no proper place in our lives for selfish behaviour, and there is no proper place for cruel behaviour (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
In Romans 12:9-21, Paul gave some practical advice about how Christians can do this. He told them, where possible, even to show kindness to their enemies. In that way they overcome other people’s evil actions, by their own good actions.
Next part: Christians should not speak lies (Colossians 3:9)
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© 2019, Keith Simons.