Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
— Colossians 3:9–17
This passage is talking directly about what it’s like to do and live life with one another in the Church when Jesus is at the center of all of our lives.
It starts off by describing how Christians have taken off the old self and put on the new. This is describing what happens through our conversion. We put aside a life that is consumed by chasing after worldly aspirations because, now, Christ is at the center of all of our works and interactions.
It then goes on to say in verse 12, “as God’s chosen ones,” that we are not given this new self by any work of our own, but we are transformed by the saving work of our God. We can not boast in anything we have done, but we all meet together on the same playing field. This is so important because it removes the distinctions that often separate us in life. The things that make us distrustful, suspicious, jealous, or puff out our chests are removed by Christ’s being all and in all. When we meet with other Christ followers, we are united only by the boasting of the work of Christ.
There is something unique about meeting with other people whose lives are centered on “Christ is all, and in all.” Some of the greatest and most fulfilling times in my life have come by the way of my Community Group (CG). That being said, an hour before it’s time for CG, I often find myself wishing that it would be canceled for that night. I sit thinking about how busy I am, and how CG takes up another night when I could be getting things done or spending much-needed time with my family. Then often, the same night after wishing I didn’t have to go, I leave CG so satisfied, fulfilled and fired up about the work that God is doing in my life.
Community Group helps develop “Christ is all, and in all” in me. My old self struggles with significance, happiness and security in relation to other people. But my new self is only identified by the work of Jesus Christ. As I gather with people weekly with the same identity, I am reminded of and rejuvenated by the like-minded work that Christ is doing in our lives.
It says in verse 10 that we are in the process of “being made new.” In other words, as John Piper says, “Christ is all that he might become all-in all.” We are constantly being transformed into this way of living. Community is one of the main tools that God uses to reach the potential of this new self.
Community Groups are where we struggle with questions such as, How is Christ my all when I lose my job? How is Christ my all when someone in my family dies? How is Christ my all when I keep on sinning, even though I do not want to?
Community Groups are a place to live life with one another in a way that reminds our fellow brothers and sisters that Christ is all in all. We get to love one another, support one another, walk with one another, and pray with one another through all of the different areas of life. Through this type of living, God is constantly making us new through other Christ followers in the image of our creator.