Today’s reading is drawn from Colossians 3:8-11.
Colosse included people from a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds:
- Greeks, whose cultural heritage dominated the Roman world,
- Jews, who prided themselves as God’s chosen people,
- Barbarians, who spoke no Greek and therefore lacked social standing,
- Scythians, a cruel, warlike people from the north, and
- Slaves, workers at the bottom of society.
Members of all of these groups became followers of Christ and joined the community of believers at Colosse. But their ethnic prejudices created problems, which Paul listed (Col. 3:8, 9). He gives these attitudes and behaviors blunt and unattractive names: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language, and lying. Paul challenged this culturally mixed group to shed these attitudes and behaviors like old clothes and put on Christ instead. He might have been alluding to a first-century baptismal creed that reminded converts that they were joining a new family in Christ.
God’s family has no place for prejudice. Membership in His family calls for new ways of relating to others, with kindness, humility, meekness, forbearance, and forgiveness (Col. 3:12–17). Whenever we act on these ideals, we take a step toward transforming our church and culture.
More: Paul often challenged new believers to set aside their old ways for a new life in Christ.