Colossians 3:12-13 One Another Commands of Scripture: Forgive One Another WC McCarter
I have been studying the book of Hebrews intensely this week and have learned all sorts of new things. You know, we never grow out of learning as Christians. You do not get too old or too knowledgeable. There is always more to learn. Not only that, but there is always room to be reminded of the things that we already know. It does not hurt to be reminded of the things that we have already believed. In fact, a lot of what I do as a pastor/teacher is remind you of the things you have already heard and believed. To be a “disciple” is to be a learner. We never stop being disciples of our Lord. One of the famous verses from Hebrews that stood out to me again this week is Hebrews 9:22 which says, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Why does it have to be that way? Because God said that the life is in the blood and sacrifice would have to be made to pay for sin. What is the ultimate point of this statement? Christ has laid down His life in your behalf, to pay for your sins as your substitute on the cross. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a loud, bold statement of FORGIVENESS. It is the model and definition.
READ Scripture (3:1-17) – This is the Word of God
The Christian’s Clothes 
In this Scripture, the Christian’s reformation of character is described. Like garments, we are to take off the deeds of unrighteousness and put on the acts of holiness. You have just heard me read all those things that we are to take off and what we are to put on in its place.
The readers are referred to as God’s chosen people, the elect, who are holy and beloved. We need to be reminded over and over again that we are called out of this world. We are not only expected to be different, but we actually are different. We have a relationship with the Creator/Sustainer/Savior/Lord of the world. We have been set apart as unique and special unto the Lord for His purposes and for His glory. Therefore, God has given us standards by which to live by and He has sent His Spirit to empower us to fulfill His Word. God does not say “Be holy” and not work it in you. He does not say “love one another” and not teach you to do so.
Tender mercies is compassion. We have to look on others differently than the world.
Kindness is gracious sensitivity triggered by compassion.
Humility forces us to consider others better than ourselves.
Meekness is gentleness. It is to criticize someone else and they take it as help and not hurt
Longsuffering is patience. It is to not seek revenge, but to pursue holiness for long haul
Those Christians in ancient Colossae were exhorted to manifest their love for one another by conducting themselves according to mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, and longsuffering. All these are to permeate a church. These are simple virtues for those who love one another, as we talked about last week. The Christian has a certain wardrobe that God has prepared. It is always nice to buy/receive a new piece of clothing, isn’t it? God has laid out a new outfit for you to put on that is clean and holy.
The Christian’s Characteristics 
You heard me say in the very first sermon that you heard me preach, and maybe a couple times since then, that I believe that a church must foster a grace atmosphere. The air that we breathe when we are gathered together will be what we have either intentionally promoted or what we have allowed. I think that if we are not deliberate in cultivating a grace environment, a truly Christian atmosphere, then we will fall prey to discord, gossip, hardheartedness, and the like.
So, you say, what is it that we should be intentional about? This is a large subject, but part of what you can do is stated in verse thirteen. Not only can you, but you should bear with one another and forgive one another. This is not a one-time thing either. We are to constantly bear with each other and forgive one another.
The Apostle goes on to say that believers are to bear with each other. This is related to longsuffering. Next we encounter a valuable Christian standard.
Those who do not know how to forgive another do not know the Gospel. Those who understand how to forgive others, but refuse to do so are standing in opposition to the Gospel message that they claim to believe. I am using strong language, but that is what the passage is saying. Do you need a definition of Christian forgiveness? Here it is, “as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Maybe it will be helpful to hear it the way the NIV has put it, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Instead of complaining and arguing or becoming bitter, learn to forgive one another with the grace of Jesus Christ.
Conclusion and Christian Application
Many refer to Ephesians 5 for women to submit to their husbands. But we are to all submit to one another. Also, men are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. These are the more difficult things to do. Likewise, we are all to forgive as Christ forgave us. He did so with a sacrificial love.