“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:15
How should those who have died with Christ and have been raised with Christ now live? Today’s focus verse sits nestled in the answer to this question. The Apostle Paul provided the saints in Colossae with wonderful, helpful instruction that puts meat on the bones to that answer. We find this particularly true in chapter 3, as Paul talks about the “old man” and the “new man”. We find this to be true as he talks about what must be “put off” and what must be “put on”. God’s people are to “seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” (v. 1) We are to set our minds “on things above, not on things on the earth.” (v. 2) Why? “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (v. 3-4) There is so much we could unpack in these verses, in this chapter.
As those who were once dead in trespasses and sins, as those who were right recipients of God’s wrath, as those who were in bondage to sin, how awesome it is to know His great mercy and love towards us in Jesus Christ! How wonderful and beautiful is our salvation. We have been brought from death to new life in Christ! We have peace with God. We are no longer slaves to sin, but are slaves to Christ. Hallelujah! We have been united to Christ and partake of the benefits of our union with Him. One of those benefits is our sanctification, where by His grace we are enabled more and more to die unto sin and live unto righteousness (WSC 35).
Verse 15 comes in the context of how we should live. We need to put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. We are to forgive one another. We are to love one another. Notice that Paul says we also need to submit ourselves to the governance of the peace of God. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts“. God has given us His peace and it should rule in our hearts. As those who have died with Christ and have been raised with Christ, we must not give in and dig in to temptation when pride, stubbornness, fear, anxiety, anger, etc. rear their ugly heads, demanding rule of the situation, the day, our very hearts. No, the peace of God must rule here! We need to have dispositions to peace among ourselves in the church. We need to have peaceable spirits that keep the peace, and make peace. Remember that the kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). When differences and conflict arise in the body, we are to be those who keep the peace and make peace. We are to be quick to act, resolve, reconcile. We need to keep short accounts with one another. We should have a fervent desire to maintain the peace, purity, and unity of the body. Why? We have been called to such as one body. It is our duty to be peace makers and peace keepers. For we are the body of Christ, and members individually (1 Corinthians 12:27).
Further, Paul encouraged the saints in Colossae, and encourages us to be thankful. There is much we are to be thankful for. However, consider the role and importance of thankfulness in the peace and unity of the body. Having thankful hearts, in many ways, preserves us in being peaceable. From a thankful heart, we are also mindful of God’s grace, mercies, and work in and among us in light of our temptations, failures, and weaknesses. A thankful heart flows from humility and desires to maintain and pursue peace.
May this be true of us, my beloved brothers and sisters! May we be those who submit to the governance of God’s peace in our hearts, as one body walking together in love and unity, being truly thankful. Praise God for His Word!