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Colossians 3:13

Exhibit Grace

13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.

This verse is an extension of what was said in the previous one. The Colossians were to put on the aforementioned things "while forbearing one another." They were to "bear with," or, "put up with," one another. Although Christians are new creations in Christ, they still retain their unique personalities and social needs, which can conflict with those of others. Paul instructed the saints to understand and put up with one another.

Along with forbearance goes the act of forgiveness. We might put up with one another, but there are bound to be misunderstandings and intentional or unintentional offenses. Without forgiveness the church could never stay together and maintain its focus on the mission.

Peter T. O'Brien pointed out that the Greek word used here is not that which is normally used for "forgiving." The word is χαρίζομαι charizomai (khar-id'-zom-ai) v. to grant as a favor, i.e. gratuitously, in kindness, pardon or rescue. The more commonly used word, on the other hand, is ἀφίημι aphiemi (af-ee'-ay-mee), to send forth, hence to forgive "cancel, remit, or pardon." Thus, the word that Paul used carries a much more gracious meaning, as it is an undeserved favor.

The condition, "if any man have a quarrel against any," recognizes that there will be disagreements within the body of Christ. Personalities will clash. There will be many different levels of spiritual maturity as new Christians begin to learn about their new life in Christ and as others might go many years without any spiritual growth whatsoever. Within the church, there will still be varying degrees of affection for the things of this world. Learning forbearance and forgiveness are vital factors in a Christian's spiritual growth and in the survival of the church.

The basis for Paul's instruction is expressed in the words, "...even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye." There can be no greater awareness in the life of any Christian than that of how undeserving he or she is of the grace that was given him by Jesus Christ. Even while suffering and dying on the cross, He shouted, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do!" This is the kind of forgiveness that Paul wanted the Colossian saints to exhibit toward one another, even if they had a legitimate quarrel against another. Christ certainly had a legitimate quarrel against each of them, but He graciously forgave them.

Christ is our example. We are each in debt to Him for forgiving us. Therefore, we are called upon to exhibit that same grace to others, especially to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Before The Throne:

Do you have a grudge against anyone who has done you wrong? Pray for a forgiving heart. Ask God to give you the spiritual maturity to put up with the flaws of others. Ask Him to help you be a leader who can be an example to them and who can disciple them to grow in the graces of the faith.

For Further Study:

** Forbearing. Rom 15:1-2; 2Cor 6:6; Gal 6:2; Eph 4:2, 32; ** forgiving. Matt 5:44; Matt 6:12, 14, 15; Matt 18:21-35; Mark 11:25; Luke 6:35-37; Luke 11:4; Luke 17:3-4; Luke 23:34; Jas 2:13; ** quarrel. Matt 18:15-17; 1Cor 6:7-8; ** even. Luke 5:20-24; Luke 7:48-50; 2Cor 2:10; Eph 4:32; Eph 5:2; 1Pet 2:21;


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