Thanksgiving and its Connection to our Principles

Title: Thanksgiving and its Connection to our Principles

Bible Book: Colossians 3 : 1-25

Author: David E. Owen

Subject: Thanksgiving



Since November has rolled around, my mind has been on the subject of “Thanksgiving.” And in looking at the various occurrences of this word in the scriptures, I noticed that some form of the word “thanks” is used in each chapter of the book of Colossians.

In chapter 1, verse 12, Paul said that Thanksgiving is Connected to us being Partakers of God’s inheritance for us.
In chapter 2, verses 6 and 7, Paul said that Thanksgiving is Connected to the Path of believers.
In chapter 3, verse 15, he said that Thanksgiving is Connected to our Principles as believers.
And in chapter 4, verse 2, Paul said that Thanksgiving is Connected to our Praying.

Certainly, God is worthy of thanks. And there is always something that we can be thankful for. In fact, Paul said…

(Ephesians 5:20) Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

(1 Thessalonians 5:18) In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

If you’re having trouble finding something to be thankful for, listen to this little story…

It is strange to hear the things for which some people are thankful. In a Sunday School class one Sunday the teacher asked the children to share some of the things for which they were thankful. One little boy shot his hand into the air. When the teacher called upon him, she asked, “Well, Billy, for what are you thankful?” The little fellow replied, “I am thankful that I am not a turkey.”

In Colossians chapter 3, Paul mentions thankfulness in both verse 15 and verse 17. But this is but one small part of the several principles that are at work in the lives of believers which Paul enumerates in this chapter.

It is on my heart today to plow down through the various principles that are highlighted in this chapter

I. There Is The Resurrection Principle In This Chapter

(Colossians 3:1–7)

A. We See The Death Of Carnality

(Colossians 3:5) Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

John MacArthur wrote…

Immorality (fornication) translates porneia and refers to sexual sin. Our English word pornography derives from porneia and graphē, which means a writing. Pornography is thus a writing (or picture) about sexual sin. Porneia originally referred to prostitution (the related word pornē is the Greek word for “prostitute”). In the New Testament, however, its meaning broadens to include any form of illicit sex. In sharp contrast to the prevailing attitude in the ancient world, the Bible strictly forbids any sexual activity outside the marriage bond between a man and a woman. The Jerusalem Council ordered Gentile believers to avoid immorality (Acts 15:20, 29; 21:25). Paul was horrified to hear that it had surfaced in the Corinthian church (1 Cor. 5:1), and he told them to flee from it (1 Cor. 6:18). Immorality heads the list of the deeds of the flesh (Gal. 5:19) and is not proper behavior for the saints (Eph. 5:3). The biblical view of immorality is summarized in 1 Thessalonians 4:3: “This is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality.”

Impurity (uncleanness) translates akatharsia, from which the word catharsis or “cleansing” comes. The alpha privitive (a) makes it a negative, meaning “filthiness,” or “uncleanness.” It is a more general term than immorality, going beyond the act to the evil thoughts and intentions of the mind. Jesus said, “Everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt. 5:28), because “from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness” (Mark 7:21-22). Impurity is also one of the deeds of the flesh (Gal. 5:19). It is not to be indulged in by believers (Eph. 5:3), because “God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification” (1 Thess. 4:7).
Evil behavior begins with evil thoughts. Therefore the battle against all sin, especially sexual sin, begins in the mind. Evil thoughts produce sinful behavior, and pure thoughts produce righteous behavior. That is why Paul counsels, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things” (Phil. 4:8), and “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you” (Col. 3:16).

The distinction between passion and evil desire (inordinate affection and evil concupiscence) is not great. Pathos (passion / inordinate affection) refers to the sexual passion set loose in the body, as its two other occurrences in the New Testament indicate (cf. Rom. 1:26; 1 Thess. 4:5). In this context, evil desire (evil concupiscence) undoubtedly also refers to the sexual lust created in the mind (cf. James 1:15). Perhaps the difference between the two terms is that passion is the physical and evil desire the mental side of the same vice. The two terms appear together in 1 Thessalonians 4:5, where Paul commands Christians not to live “in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God.” Such behavior is completely inappropriate for believers.

Paul mentions greed, or covetousness, last because it is the evil root from which all the previous sins spring. It is also mentioned last in the Ten Commandments (cf. Ex. 20:17; Deut. 5:21). Pleonexia (greed) comes from two Greek words: pleon, “more,” and exō, “to have.” It is the insatiable desire to have more, to have what is forbidden. As such, it is the source of fights and quarrels (James 4:2), as well as lusts, passion, and sin.

Because it places selfish desire above obedience to God, greed amounts to idolatry. Covetousness is the root cause of all sin. William Barclay wrote, “It is, therefore, a sin with a very wide range. If it is the desire for money, it leads to theft. If it is the desire for prestige, it leads to evil ambition. If it is the desire for power, it leads to sadistic tyranny. If it is the desire for a person, it leads to sexual sin”

Cf. (Galatians 2:20) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

(Galatians 5:24-25) And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. {25} If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

B. We See The Doom Of Corruption

(Colossians 3:6-7) For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: {7} In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

Adam Clarke wrote…

[The wrath of God cometh] God is angry with such persons, and he inflicts on them the punishment which they deserve.

[In the which ye also walked sometime] When ye were in your unconverted state, ye served divers lusts and pleasures.

Cf. (Ephesians 5:6) Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

C. We See The Difference In Christ

(Colossians 3:1-4) If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. {2} Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. {3} For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. {4} When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Albert Barnes wrote…

[If ye then be risen with Christ] The apostle in this place evidently founds the argument on what he had said in Colossians 2:12. The argument is, that there was such an union between Christ and his people, that in virtue of his death they become dead to sin; that in virtue of his resurrection they rise to spiritual life, and that, therefore, as Christ now lives in heaven, they should live for heaven, and fix their affections there.

[Seek those things which are above] That is, seek them as the objects of pursuit and affection; strive to secure them.

[Where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God] The argument here is, that since Christ is there, and since he is the object of our supreme attachment, we should fix our affections on heavenly things, and seek to be prepared to dwell with him.

Colossians 3:2

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

[Set your affection] Margin, “or mind.” Greek” think of” - ‎froneite‎. The thoughts should be occupied about the things where Christ now dwells, where our final home is to be, where our great interests are. Since we are raised from the death of sin, and are made to live anew, the great object of our contemplation should be the heavenly world.

[Not on things on the earth] Wealth, honor, pleasure. Our affections should not be fixed on houses and lands; on scenes of fashion and gaiety; on low and debasing enjoyments.

Colossians 3:3

For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

[For ye are dead] Dead to the world; dead to sin; dead to earthly pleasures. On the meaning of the word “dead.” The idea of the apostle is, that as Christ became literally dead in the tomb, so we, in virtue of our connection with him, have become dead to sin, to worldly influences, pleasures, and ambition. Or, in other words, we are to be to them as if we were dead, and they had no more influence over us than the things of earth had over him in the grave.

[And your life] There is still life. Though dead to one class of objects, you are alive to others.

[Is hid with Christ in God] The language here is taken probably from treasure which is “hid” or concealed in a place of security; and the idea is, that eternal life is an invaluable jewel or treasure, which is laid up with Christ in heaven where God is. There it is safely deposited. It has this security, that it is with the Redeemer, and that he is in the presence of God; and thus nothing can reach it or take it away. It is not left with us, or entrusted to our keeping-for then it might be lost as we might lose an invaluable jewel; or it might be wrested from us; or we might be defrauded of it; but it is now laid up far out of our sight, and far from the reach of all our enemies, and with one who can “keep that which we have committed to him against that day;” 2 Timothy 1:12. Our eternal life, therefore, is as secure as it could possibly be made. The true condition of the Christian is, that he is “dead” to this world, but that he has immortal life in prospect, and that is secure, being in the holy keeping of his Redeemer, now in the presence of God. From this it follows that he should regard himself as living for heaven.

II. There Is The Raiment Principle In This Chapter

(Colossians 3:8–14)

A. There Is A Wardrobe Associated With Lostness

(Colossians 3:8-9) But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. {9} Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

Kenneth Wuest explained these terms saying…

(3:8) “But now” says in effect, “Now that you have passed from that life of sinful conduct, see that you strip yourselves of these vices” (Expositors). “Anger” is ‎org¢‎, “an abiding, settled, and habitual anger that includes in its scope the purpose of revenge.” “Wrath” is ‎thumos‎, “the boiling agitation of the feelings, a sudden violent anger.” “Malice” is ‎kakis‎, “malignity, ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity.” “Blasphemy” is ‎blasphemia‎, “slander, detraction, speech injurious to another’s good name.” “Filthy communication” is ‎aischrologia‎, “foul speaking, low and obscene speech.”

Translation. But now put away once for all also all these things; an habitual, revengeful anger, violent fits of anger, malignity, slander, obscene speech out of your mouth.

(3:9-11) “Lie” is present imperative in a prohibition, forbidding the continuance of an action already going on. It is, “Stop lying to one another.” These Colossian saints had carried over into the new life, the sin of lying. They should stop lying because they had put off the old man with his practices, that person they were before they were saved, and had put on the new man, that person they were now in Christ Jesus.

B. There Is A Wardrobe Associated With Life

(Colossians 3:10-13) And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: {11} Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. {12} Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; {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.

Wuest explained verse 12 and 13…

“Put on” is ‎endunœ‎, “to envelope in, clothe with.” Thayer, commenting on the use of this verb in 3:10 (put on the new man), defines it as follows: “to become so possessed of the mind of Christ as in thought, feeling, and action to resemble Him and, as it were, reproduce the life He lived.” The verb in 3:12 is imperative in mode. This is a command to be obeyed. It is aorist in tense, which means that the command must be obeyed at once. Commenting on “therefore,” Lightfoot says “as men to whom Christ has become all in all. The incidental mention of Christ as superseding all other relations, gives occasion to this argumentative ‘therefore.’”

“The elect of God” is ‎eklektoi ‎‎tou ‎‎theou‎. The adjective ‎eklektoi ‎is from the verb ‎eklegœ‎, “to select out from a number.” It refers to God’s choice of certain from among mankind who were as saved individuals, to be channels through which others might learn the way of salvation, this choice having been made before the universe was created. “As” is ‎hœs‎, “like as, even as, in the same manner as.” The word is an adverb of comparison. It does not merely identify. The idea is, “Put on therefore in the same manner as the elect of God.” That is, see that your manner of life is fitting, seemly, in accordance with that kind of life the elect of God should live.

“Holy” is ‎hagios‎, from ‎hagizœ‎, “to set apart for God.” The elect are those set apart for God. The word speaks of their standing in grace as separated ones, to live a separated life. The same adjective is translated “saints” in 1:2. “Beloved” is ‎agapaœ‎, a perfect participle. This is the Greek word for God’s love, the love shown at Calvary, a love that denies self for the benefit of the object loved. The perfect tense is used to show the far reaching and the abiding character of that love. The saints are those who have been loved by God with the present result that they are the objects of His love.

“Bowels” is ‎splagchnon‎. Thayer says that “in the Greek poets the bowels were regarded as the seat of the more violent passions, such as anger and love; but by the Hebrews as the seat of the tenderer affections, especially kindness, benevolence, compassion, hence, our heart, tender mercies, affections.” “Mercies” is ‎oiktirmos‎, “compassion, pity, mercy.” Thayer translates, “a heart of compassion.” “Kindness” is ‎chr¢stot¢s‎, “benignity, kindness.” The word speaks of a gentle, gracious disposition. “Humbleness of mind,” is ‎tapeinophrosun¢‎, “the having a humble opinion of one’s self, a deep sense of one’s (moral) littleness, modesty, lowliness of mind.” “Meekness” is ‎praot¢s‎, “an inwrought grace of the soul, that temper of spirit in which we accept God’s dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. It is the humble heart which is also the meek; and which, as such, does not fight against God, and more or less struggle and contend with Him. This meekness, however, being first of all a meekness before God, is also such in the face of men, even of evil men, out of a sense that these, with the insults and injuries which they may inflict, are permitted and employed by God for the chastening and purifying of His elect” (Trench). “Long-suffering,” ‎makrothumia‎, speaks of “the man, who, having to do with injurious persons, does not suffer himself easily to be provoked by them, or to blaze up in anger.” The word expresses patience under the ill-treatment of others.

“Forbearing” is ‎anechœ‎, “to bear with, endure.” “Forgiving” is ‎charizomai‎, “to show one’s self gracious, kind, benevolent, to grant forgiveness.” The Greek word “grace” is ‎charis‎, and has the same form as this word. “Quarrel” is ‎momph¢‎, “cause of blame, matter of complaint.” “Even as” is ‎bathœs‎, “according as, just as, in proportion as, in the degree that.” We are to forgive others because God forgave us, and in the degree that He forgave, that is, a full forgiveness.

C. There Is A Wardrobe Associated With Love

(Colossians 3:14) And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

MacArthur said…

In keeping with the motif of putting on clothes, love is the belt or sash that pulls all these things just mentioned together (cf. Phil. 2:1-5). Love is the most important moral quality in the believer’s life, for it is the very glue that produces unity in the church. Believers will never enjoy mutual fellowship through compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, or patience; they will not bear with each other or forgive each other unless they love one another. In fact, the way to sum up the commands of 3:12-13 is to say, “Love one another.” Paul said in Romans 13:10 that “love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.” To try to practice the virtues of 3:12-13 apart from love is legalism.

III. There Is The Ruling Principle In This Chapter

(Colossians 3:15–17)

A. Paul Mentions The Governing In Our Hearts – We Are Thankful In Our Peace

(Colossians 3:15) And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

MacArthur notes…

Eirēnē (peace) includes both the concept of an agreement, pact, treaty, or bond, and that of an attitude of rest or security. Both aspects are in view here. Objectively, believers are at peace with God: “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). The war between the believer and God is over, and the treaty was paid for by the blood of Christ. Because of that, believers are at rest, and secure. Paul told the Philippians that the “peace of God … shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7). Here he calls it the peace of Christ because it is the peace He brings (cf. John 14:27; Eph. 2:14).
Rule is from brabeuō, a word used only here in the New Testament (although a compound form appears in Col. 2:18). It was used to describe the activity of an umpire in deciding the outcome of an athletic contest. The peace of Christ guides believers in making decisions.

B. Paul Mentions The Grace In Our Hearts – We Are Thankful In Our Praises

(Colossians 3:16) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

MacArthur said…

Paul then mentions two specific results of the Word of Christ dwelling in the believer, one positive and the other negative: with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another. Teaching is the impartation of positive truth. Admonishing is the negative side of teaching. It means to warn people of the consequences of their behavior. Both are the result of a life overflowing with the Word of Christ.

Having the Word of Christ richly dwell in us produces not only information, but also emotion. It generates psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, and singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Psalms were taken from the Old Testament psalter, the book of Psalms. They sang psalms put to music, much as we do today. Hymns were expressions of praise to God. It is thought that some portions of the New Testament (such as Col. 1:15-20 and Phil. 2:6-11) were originally hymns sung in the early church. Spiritual songs emphasized testimony (cf. Rev. 5:9-10). They express in song what God has done for us.

Commentators are divided on whether chariti (thankfulness) should be translated “thankfulness” (as in the NIV and NASB) or “grace” (as in the KJV). Perhaps its use here encompasses both ideas: believers sing out of thankfulness for God’s grace.

C. Paul Mentions The Gratitude In Our Hearts – We Are Thankful In Our Practices

(Colossians 3:17) And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Barnes said…

[And whatsoever ye do in word or deed] Whatever ye say or do – whether relating to temporal affairs or to religion. The command here extends to all that we do.

[Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus] Do it all because he requires and commands it, and with a desire to honor him. His authority should be the warrant; his glory the aim of all our actions and words.

[Giving thanks to God and the Father by him] Through him; or in his name. All our actions are to be accompanied with thanksgiving; Notes, Philippians 4:6. We are to engage in every duty, not only in the name of Christ, but with thankfulness for strength and reason; for the privilege of acting so that we may honor him; and with a grateful remembrance of the mercy of God that gave us such a Saviour to be an example and guide.

IV. There Is The Relational Principle In This Chapter

(Colossians 3:18–22)

A. Notice The Instruction About Our Partnership Relationships

(Colossians 3:18-19) Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. {19} Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

B. Notice The Instruction About Our Parental Relationships

(Colossians 3:20-21) Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. {21} Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

C. Notice The Instruction About Our Professional Relationships

(Colossians 3:22) Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

V. There Is The Reward Principle In This Chapter

(Colossians 3:23–25)

A. Our Obligation Is Connected To Christ

(Colossians 3:23) And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

B. Our Ownership Is Connected To Christ

(Colossians 3:24) Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

C. Our Outcome Is Connected To Christ

(Colossians 3:24-25) Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. {25} But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.


I’m thankful that I’ve LEFT the CEMETERY
I’m thankful that my LIFE has CHANGED
I’m thankful that the LORD is in CONTROL
I’m thankful for His LEADERSHIP in my CONNECTIONS
I’m thankful that my LABOR will be COMPENSATED

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