Our verse reads; “Put on therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” Previously, Paul had made the point that each of the Christians in Colossae had an identity in people groups. The church is made up of Jews, Greeks, barbarian; Scythian, free, slave, male, female, and you can go on. The common characteristic in all people groups is sin that leads to condemnation.

Now Paul says their chief identity is in Christ, and here he unpacks what that identity means. It means they are God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved. These are not descriptions of what they must strive to become; this is what they are. Here we see the value of Christ. If you have faith in Christ, you can say to yourself, “I am a chosen one of God, holy and beloved.” And it be true.

It is a very humbling thought to consider you are a chosen one of God. It wasn’t because you merited this distinction that God chose you in Christ. By choosing you, God guarantees that all things whatsoever will work for good to those called according to his purpose. When God speaks of his people being chosen, he speaks of them being a treasured possession. It confirms the promise: if God be for you, who can be against you? 

 In Christ, God has eternal purposes for you and always has. This is a powerful balm in suffering and affliction. Other chosen ones of God have experienced it in this world. We can’t conceive of all God’s ways, or they wouldn’t be God’s ways. Nevertheless, nothing that happens in this world can change the favored position with God those in Christ have. 

This is also strength when tempted to doubt God or run after other gods. Here is an indelible stamp; I belong to the one, true, God who has chosen me to be his in Christ. You cannot be tethered anymore securely to God. Nothing can sever the bond between God and his chosen ones. Therefore, Christians are taught not to be double-minded, but seek that which is above, where Christ is.

Paul also calls Christians “holy.” Paul means those in Christ are blameless before God. God reckons them spotless and pure in his sight. This is an amazing statement. We know God’s holiness is the blessedness of his nature. God is separate from anything impure. He is unmixed perfection.

Stephen Charnock, a 17th century Christian minister, wrote: “It is a contradiction for him to be God and to have any darkness mixed with his light. To deny his purity, makes him no God. He that says God is not holy, speaks much worse than if he said there is no God at all. Holiness is the beauty of God.”

You may ask, “How can a murderer like Paul, (or sinner like myself) call himself blameless or holy before God? Because God took his record of sin and moved it to Christ’s record, and Christ paid the penalty for it. There is no condemnation for those in Christ. Being clothed in the righteousness of Christ is the promise of God to his people. God provides, in Christ, what we need to meet his holy standards.

Christians are commanded to live holy lives, but (and we need to hear this again and again) they cannot meet God’s standards of perfect holiness. Christ has done this on their behalf. Rather, the holiness they do is the response of a grateful life.  They consider themselves separate from both the corruption and condemnation of the world, and therefore strive to die to sin in themselves and live holy lives. Humility is inseparable from any progress in holiness. Humility is rooted in knowledge of Christ, and his dying for your ungodliness.

Paul also says being “beloved” is part of their identity in Christ. Paul used this word of the Father’s love for Christ in chapter one: “He has transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” You may hesitate to say it, but if you are in Christ, God’s love toward you is likened to that he has eternally for the Son of God. You are beloved of God, who has infinite love.

So we have here a statement of identity. Those in Christ are the chosen ones of God, holy and beloved. That is who they are, and who they will be forever. If you are in Christ, wear this as a necklace around your heart. And be thankful, growing in your love for God.