Paul moves from general truths about Christians to specific applications.
Colossians 3:1-17 speaks of the changes that have taken place in the Christian.
Notice the words and phrases that speak of a change of identity, change of life, change of heart.
The Christian has gone from a life dominated by sin to a life influenced and empowered by Christ.

Paul has been exhorting them to be the Christians that Jesus died to make them.
He now takes the application into the realm of the family and household unit.

I. Wives & Husbands

A. Wives V. 18

1. Submit-hupotasso – to arrange one’s self under another

a. Voluntary submission, not unthinking obedience, not a “doormat” mentality

b. Submission to the position, not necessarily the man

i. An intelligent military private may submit to a “not as intelligent” sergeant

ii. Recognition of God’s design of leadership: Husband leading

iii. Not based on intrinsic or earned human value/worth/rightness

c. Submission isn’t denigrating: Jesus submitted to the Father unto death

i. None would say Jesus was wrong.

ii. None would say Jesus should have asserted His rights.

iii. Jesus’ submission to the Father was holy & beautiful.

iv. Neither the Trinity, the church, nor the family is a democracy.

d. To not recognize this design of God results in a power struggle

2. As is fitting – The wife needs to see it as God’s design. It’s the motive for submission.

a. Believer’s Bible Commentary – There are, of course, instances in which the woman cannot obey her husband and still be faithful to Christ. In such an instance, her first loyalty is to the Lord Jesus.

b. It doesn’t mean “only if the husband does what God wants”.

c. Single women – Regarding marriage, look for a man you respect & can submit to

B. Husbands V. 19

1. Love- agapao– self sacrificing love. Not just romantic or emotional, but purposeful love.

a. Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, (for her best welfare, for her wholeness, for her salvation)

b. Christian husbands who rightly understand leadership will be pro-active in leading, not for self gratification, but for the benefit and welfare of his wife and children.

2. Do not be bitter– Bitterness against one’s wife is a common problem

a. It often comes b/c the husband doesn’t get his own way & isn’t loving/leading in a Christ-like fashion

b. If a husband is bitter, he needs to examine himself and ask “why”.

c. It usually points back to a selfish husband.

d. NOTE– The husband is not told to make his wife obey him. If she is unwilling to follow his lead, he commits that to God & obeys God as best he can. If he needs to change, then that needs to happen.

II. Children & Fathers V. 20

A. Children

1. All things– Certainly not in sin, but in every area of life that isn’t sin.

2. This is well pleasing- To be pleasing to God is part of the motivation.

a. Safety, prosperity, and personal development also are reasons

b. Parents aren’t perfect, but they have much life experience/wisdom

c. Even if parents are unreasonable at times, the parent/child relationship must remain intact.

d. Only in the case of obvious sin should obedience not take place.

e. Christian children: believe & trust that God will bless your obedience

3. Jesus is the Example- God the Son obeyed God the Father. Aren’t you glad?

B. Fathers (Parents) V. 21

1. Do not provoke–  to stir up, excite, stimulate

a. Rules & treatment should be consistent, not arbitrary

b. No playing favorites between children

c. Teasing, name calling, verbal & physical abuse, constant disapproval, harsh words

d. Christian training should occur, but even that can be damaging when misapplied & distorted. Must include Spirit led love, understanding.

e. Ephesians 6:4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath (exasperation, anger), but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

2. Discouraged– to be disheartened, dispirited, broken in spirit

a. This is one of the worst things a parent could do to a child

b. To break the spirit, soul, hope, and will of a child is a terrible thing

c. To take away dreams, hopes, aspirations, good desires.

III. Servants & Masters

 

A. Servants (Slaves) Vs. 22-25

Bible Believer’s Commentary– It is interesting that there is no express prohibition against slavery in the N.T. The gospel does not overthrow social institutions by revolution…where the Gospel has gone, slavery has been uprooted & abolished.

1. Obey, not w/eye service, not as man-pleasers. Man-pleasers have bigger problems

2. Sincerity of heart, fearing God-KJV– singleness of heart

3. V. 23– God is the one we seek to please, not just men. Done “from the soul”.

4. V. 24- God is the One whom we look to for fair treatment, not men.

a. The most mundane work is seen & rewarded when done sincerely for His glory.

b. Sign over kitchen sink: “Divine service held here three times daily”.

c. For the Christian, all work is sacred work, done for God’s glory.

d. It is not talent or glory that is rewarded; it is faithfulness & attitude.

5. V. 25- God is the One who repays for wrongdoing, whether master or servant

B. Masters V. 4:1

1. Current day labor unions exist to force fair treatment of workers.

2. Christian masters are not to be moved by external forces, but internally, by the Spirit.

3. They are a master over a human, but a servant to God. Perspective is everything.

SECRET TO A LONG MARRIAGE
A couple was celebrating their golden wedding anniversary. Their domestic tranquility had long been the talk of the town. A local newspaper reporter was inquiring as to the secret of their long and happy marriage.

“Well, it dates back to our honeymoon,” Explained the man. “We visited the Grand Canyon and took a trip down to the bottom of the canyon by pack mule. We hadn’t gone too far when my wife’s mule stumbled. My wife quietly said, “That’s once.” We proceeded a little farther when the mule stumbled again. Once more my wife quietly said, “That’s twice.” We hadn’t gone a half mile when the mule stumbled a third time. My wife promptly removed a revolver from her pocket and shot him.

I started to protest over her treatment of the mule when she looked at me and quietly said, ‘That’s once.’”