How God sees us
As Paul is wrapping up the transition point in his letter to the believers in Colossae, he makes an incredible statement that reveals how God views believers. Previously, Paul urged them to kill off their old sinful habits because they
…have put off the old man with his practices and have put on the new man
For the rest of the letter, Paul is going to describe what the life and practices of the new man will look like. Reading ahead, you’ll find that Paul describes a life of freedom, love, and thankfulness. However, the beginning of this new section says something we need to pause and consider.
Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on…
These three descriptions – chosen, holy, and loved – come before Paul lists out the qualities that he wants the Colossian believers to put on and practice. This means that God views us by these descriptions – regardless of how well we live life wearing the practices of the new man.
So what, exactly, do these descriptions mean?
Although some people assume that the word chosen means that Paul is talking about God choosing people out of the world to be believers, the context doesn’t allow for that interpretation.
Keep in mind that Paul wrote to those who already trusted Jesus as their Savior. Also remember that in the previous sentence, Paul described the family of God, saying
Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all.
From this context, we see that all believers are chosen ones. In fact, this entire section is only dealing with internal, family matters. After Paul refers to the Colossian believers as chosen ones, the rest of sentence talks about the qualities of a maturing believer’s life. Therefore, it is clear that God is choosing all believers to mature and become more Christ-like. Not just some of us. Not just the “good kids.” God chooses all of us for maturity.
The word holy conveys the idea of being set apart for a special purpose. A word that also embodies this idea is the word sacred. Whenever we refer to something as sacred, we imply that it is in a category all to its own. Sacred things are handled reverently and carefully…not because of weakness, but because holy and sacred things are considered to have a priceless value. Notice that God sees us as holy, set apart, and He considers our relationship with Him to be a sacred one.
Lastly, Paul says that God sees us as loved. We’ve heard that God loves us so many times that we can have trouble remembering the depth of His love. Here, however, the tense of the verb loved helps to remind us. Loved is a perfect passive verb in this sentence. The perfect tense in Greek describes an action which is viewed as having been completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be repeated. A passive voice means that the subject is the recipient of the verb’s action. Taken together, when Paul says that we are loved by God – it means that we are the recipient of His love, and His love for us was firmly established a long time ago.
God sees us as chosen ones, holy and loved. Think about that. Smile about that. No matter what happens today, or how well you handle it, those things do not change.
God sees you as His chosen one, holy and loved.