3:1 If. The sense of “if” here is “since.” Our life in Christ was assured eternally when we were born again through faith in His finished work of redemption for us. When He died for us, we were “dead with Christ” (Colossians 2:20; Romans 6:8), then “buried with Him” (Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:4), and “quickened together with Him” (Colossians 2:13).
3:1 right hand. The first of twenty-one references to Christ at the right hand of God is found in Psalm 16:11. By faith now, in reality in the ages to come, we also “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).
3:4 in glory. When Christ returns, He will bring the souls of those who died in Christ with Him for the resurrection of their bodies. Those believers who are still living when He returns will be raptured to be with Him in glory, being transformed to be like Him, immortal forever (I Thessalonians 3:13; 4:14-17; I John 3:2; I Corinthians 15:52-54).
3:5 Mortify. “Mortify” means “put to death.” “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24).
3:5 concupiscence. “Concupiscence” (see I Thessalonians 4:5; Romans 7:8) means “desire.”
3:5 idolatry. In God’s sight, covetousness is worship of the god Mammon, and “ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).
3:6 children of disobedience. Unbelievers are also called “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3). See also Ephesians 2:2; 5:6.
3:10 new man. Man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Even though that image was badly marred by sin, it is still a part of man’s nature (James 3:9), in contrast with the nature of animals. Man still has a moral and spiritual capacity, as well as many other attributes not present in the animals (abstract thought, esthetic sense, etc.). The marred image can therefore be made new again when a man becomes a new creation in Christ (II Corinthians 5:17). Through faith in Christ and His redeeming work on the cross, he “puts off” his “old man” and “puts on” a “new man,” much as one would discard old clothing, and don new clothing.
3:10 image. The “image of God” was both “created” (Genesis 1:27; I Corinthians 11:7-9) and “made” (Genesis 1:26; Colossians 1:16-17) in man. That image was marred because of sin (Genesis 9:6; James 3:9), but is “renewed in knowledge” through saving faith in Christ (Colossians 1:10; Ephesians 4:23; II Corinthians 3:18. Our “image” will eventually be “conformed to the image” of the Son of God when Christ returns (Romans 8:29; I Corinthians 15:49).
3:10 him. We are to be conformed to the image of Christ, and Christ is Himself the incarnate image of the triune God (Colossians 1:15; 2:9; II Corinthians 4:4). He is especially called “the express image of His person” in Hebrews 1:3.
3:11 neither Greek nor Jew. See Galatians 3:28; Romans 10:12.
3:11 Scythian. The Scythians lived in the area north of the Caucasus. The historian Josephus says the Scythians were descendants of Magog (Genesis 10:2).
3:15 peace of God. See note on Philippians 4:7.
3:16 word of Christ. The “word of Christ”—at least for us today—can only be the Holy Scriptures, so this is an exhortation to memorize Scripture. See also Psalm 119:11. Note that Christ and the apostles frequently quoted from memory appropriate Scriptures, sometimes lengthy passages, in their discourses and sermons. This is the only occurrence of the phrase “word of Christ.”
3:16 admonishing one another. This exhortation is not referring to public worship, but to daily conversation and even to solitary activity—“talking to yourselves” and “making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).
3:16 psalms. “Psalms” clearly refers specifically to the psalms in the Old Testament, which were commonly sung both by the pre-Christian Jews and by the early church, as well as in many churches ever since. Note also Ephesians 5:19.
3:16 hymns. “Hymns” is descriptive of songs similar in content and motivation to the psalms, but not taken from the divinely inspired psalms of the Old Testament.
3:16 spiritual songs. “Spiritual songs” refers to songs with a Biblical theme but with a more popular style tune than the others. The Greek for “song” is ode, which is a generic term for any kind of song. The adjective “spiritual,” however, delimits it to songs with Christian content.