“…Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;” (Colossians 3:12)
1. God showed to us His infinite mercy in giving His beloved Son for us to die for us on the Cross of Calvary.
2. We have to also show mercy to others, forgive others, knowing that He forgave us all our debts, all our sins, all our trespasses.
3. In order to do that we have to:
a) Mortify some deeds of our bodies – fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
b) Put off something old habits – namely anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
c) Put on bowels of mercy and other virtues as a person puts new clothes on.
So my main topic of conversation is going to be a search to find the answer – how to put on the bowels of mercy.
4. We have to do that heartily, as to the Lord knowing that there is some special reward from God for obeying those commandments and there is some certain punishment for disobeying those commandments.
(Context of the Colossians 3:12, b/c your life is hid with Christ in God)
5. Old Testament and New Testament examples of people who decided to put on and not to put on the bowels of mercy.
6. What it is a hypocritical, fake putting on the bowels of mercy.
7. What is the true putting on the bowels of mercy.
8. Some methods on how we can continually put on the bowels of mercy today.
9. Some results of our putting on the bowels of mercy.
It is hard even to think what would happen to us if God would give us only those things that we deserve. That is His justice. Yet it is so great to know that God was pleased to show us His unspeakable mercy in the person of His Son Jesus Christ. Praise God! God deals with us in Christ Jesus as with His own children. God deals with us on the basis of mercy. There was a time, when we were dead in our sins and God raised us from dead by the Holy Ghost, by the power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. That happened not because we were so good, that happened not because of our own desire, that happened not even because we have been better than other people around us. That happened out of God’s good pleasure. He desired to raise us up from death and to bring us to life by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That happened when we believed in the truth about Jesus work on the Cross on our behalf. Before that we were dead. After that event, after God’s touching us with His hand, with His Spirit, with His power we became alive. We became new creatures in Christ Jesus. We came to a new relationship with God. Now He deals with us not as with condemned sinners worthy of death and eternal punishment, but now He deals with us on the grounds of His mercy shown to us in the person of Jesus Christ. We accepted the death of His Son. We were mysteriously connected with Him in both His death, burial and resurrection in our baptism. We were and are now connected to Him by our faith. That is a tremendous change that has been wrought in us by His mighty Spirit. Yet we admit that living in this body we struggle. We need to be changed. We need to grow in righteousness and holiness. (Rev.22:11) As Apostle Paul couldn’t say that he already reached perfection, so also we cannot claim perfection in this life on earth. But today I want to speak on a very narrow subject, but which I believe is needed for every Christian. This is a subject of putting on the bowels of mercy.
What is the bowels of mercy? I will read it in several translations so that you would get the idea:
NKJV – tender mercies, NLT – tenderhearted mercy, NIV – compassion, ESV – compassionate hearts, NASB – heart of compassion. This Greek phrase used here – splagchnon oiktirmos , word for word it is translated in the KJV – bowels (or the heart) of mercy (or compassion, pity).
Interesting is the context of Paul’s admonition. He doesn’t just demand mercy from the believers in Colossi, yet he pleads with them in view of (v.1) Their union with Christ in His resurrection, in view of the fact that they are dead (to this world), in view of the fact that their life is hidden with Christ in God – and in view of those great things he pleads with believers at Colossi to mortify, to put off the deeds of the body and to put on the new man, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;…love, letting the peace of God rule in their hearts, being thankful, letting the Word of God dwell in them richly, singing and admonishing one another with psalms, doing everything as it is fit in the Lord. And finally doing it in the view of the future reward and the day of Judgment.
Yet there is one more interesting detail. In verse 12 he says: “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved…” He appeals to their election, He appeals to their being sanctified by God for a specific purpose unto Himslef, he appeals to the love of God that was shown to them in the person of Jesus Christ, then He says, and then truly – put on bowels of mercy. Let your heart be tender. Let your heart be loving towards other people. Let it be such a change, as people change one set of clothes for another. And this is not an impossible thing to do. Yes, it is impossible for a man, who is not filled with the Spirit of God to have such a tender heart to all men. Yet for a man who is filled with the Holy Spirit it is mandatory that he would choose this kind of clothes out of his “spiritual wardrobe”, namely – bowels of mercy. Think about it when you awake. What mood do you want to put on? What emotions are you going to to show to other people? What words are you going to speak to them and why? What clothes for your inner man are you going to choose to wear today? Are those going to be ones of the “black wardrobe” of anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy communication out of your mouth? Or are those going to be ones that come out of your relationship with Christ in the Heavenly places – bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering? Love, willingness to forgive, spirit of Bible study, prayer, singing unto the Lord?
It appears that the holy people of God are called by God to choose to wear those clothes. Why? The answer is given to us in different places, but it is the same one:
“… even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” (Col. 3:13)
More like this in Ephesians:
“…And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
“…Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1John 3:16)
“…7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” (1John 4:7-12)
So you see Apostle Paul puts the love of God to us in Christ as an example to us that we should live like that and be full of the same love, of the same tenderheartedness to each other as God was tenderhearted to us in giving His Only Begotten Son to the Death on the Cross on our behalf. That’s the plea of an Apostle. He wants Christians to be forgiving to one another because God forgave them first. And this is the main motivation to holiness and to obtaining the tender heart – looking at the Crucified Saviour. What do we see there? Do we see the love, the tender mercy of God towards us, do we see His bowels of mercy, His kindness towards us, or are we blind? Now reverse what you see upon your heart. Project God’s love upon your heart and if you do it right you would be compelled to either reject His love for you, or to be clothed in the same tenderheartedness as God showed you in the person of Jesus Christ.
Now, you will say what will happen if I still reject to be tenderhearted and will stiffen my neck and ne hard-hearted instead? In that case I first doubt that you are a true Christian, but if you are, God will brake you. God will show you your mistake. God will bring you to the Cross of His son again and again telling you that that was done for you.
A) Listen to one story that Jesus told to his disciples about forgiveness. Mathew 18:21-35
B) Listen to the examples from the Old Testament about showing and lack of compassion.
We must put on the bowels, the heart of mercy and compassion “… even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” (Col. 3:13) Yes, you are the elect of God, yes you are called by a holy calling, but if your life doesn’t show any fruit of compassion, of bearing other people’s mistakes, burdens, sins – that means that either you are still immature, or that you never truly knew the love that God showed to you in the person of His Son Jesus Christ.
FINAL: Call to the unconverted to turn and live a new life in Christ.