“Every marriage between Christians creates a little church. That’s why these verses, written to the church at Colossae in Asia Minor in the first century, awaken our hearts in a 21st century wedding.
Just listen to the lavish relationship riches that Paul lays out for you – like a lady’s maid laying outfits on a bed for her mistress, or like a manservant laying out suits for his gentleman.
Except here, Paul urges you (and all who are in Christ) to put all the suits and outfits on at once and together. Even if some who read these verses know nothing of Christ or only pretend to know Christ, these qualities are desirable.
Who does not long for an intimate marriage or even significant relationships filled with the qualities of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, love, peace, truth and purpose?
Everyone wants to live and love someone who is adorned with these graces. Everyone aspires to these graces. What bliss if both find them. And that is what we aspire to in marriage. This is why these verses draw us. They invite us into a dressing room of marriage so luxurious with grace that our longings are captured by its prospects.
But these garments of grace for marriage (and for the church) do not come from the bargain basement. They are infinitely unaffordable, infinitely costly.
Many have aspired to such beauty in marriage; have given every ounce of life and spirit to achieve these graces, this love and tenderness and strength, only to collapse in exhaustion and disappointment. Indeed, the view of Colossians 3:12-17 is a cruel view unless first their opening words capture our hearts.
All these relationship riches are retrieved from these few words, this small treasure box of Christ: Such relationships, such marriages as urged here, are the property of those who have been chosen by God. We cannot manufacture these graces, but we can receive them.
God’s choice makes us holy. If you know your own hearts at all, you know that, in yourselves, you are not holy. But God sent His Son, Jesus, who is and always has been holy, to offer Himself for un-holy people like you and me. It is the free gift of His holiness that makes us holy.
And in God’s choice, we are dearly loved. “This is how we know what love is,” says the apostle John, “not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His only Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins… We love because He first loved us!”
Colossians 3 calls us to go to Christ and to constantly receive from Him the beauty of His graces for marriage and for the church.
Then dressed in His holiness and love, we can dazzle our spouse more and more with the wardrobe of grace that Christ provides, so that
“whatever you do– in your marriage — whether in word or deed,
you will do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Gary Spooner, pastor
Covenant Presbyterian Church
445 Shelton Road, Auburn, AL. 36830