Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom (Col. 3:16a).
In this text the apostle Paul is exhorting the Colossians to be heavenly minded. They and all God’s children are to put off the old man and put on the new man, that they look not to the things of the earth which is characterized by wickedness, but look to heaven which is the home of eternal glory. One’s whole life is then one of love, the bond of perfectness. With that love we have harmony with God with the result that peace shall rule in our hearts. In order that we live a life of sanctification and have peace rule in our hearts we must let the Word of Christ dwell in us.
That Word of Christ is none other than the Word of God through Christ and his faithful servants. This is in contrast to the word of Satan as it comes to us from the lips of men of the world, dreamers and philosophers and unbelieving educators. The Word of God through Christ is exceedingly rich. Although the Word of God in creation is rich yet the Word of God through Christ is far richer. It contains rich and precious promises to us. Here we find the gospel, the good news of salvation unto us in which we see the love and mercy of God.
Paul tells us here to let this Word of Christ dwell in us richly. That does not mean that the Word of Christ merely dwells among us, in our midst. It must certainly be preached from the pulpit, taught in catechism, discussed in our society meetings, and taught in our homes. But if this is all we have we are still not heeding the admonition in our text and the preceding. All these require that the Word dwell in our hearts as we see in vs. 15 which reads, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,” and in vs. 16, “singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Indeed, the Word must be in our spiritual control center, the heart. The heart controls all of our thinking, willing, thus all of our activity for out of it are all the issues of life. Therefore, the Word of Christ must be in our heart, ruled by it so that it will rule us in all our actions. If the Word is not there, what more do we have than Satan, for he too has the Word in his mind. We must have it in our hearts; otherwise the Word of Christ in our midst will have no positive effect at all. The Word must be a permanent resident, not an overnight or weekend guest. Our hearts must be the house of the Word of Christ, its home. He must be the resident.
It follows, then, that he will also be the ruler, for he who dwells in the house rules it. A guest may enjoy the facilities, but the house is ruled by the man that dwells there. He has the say as to what goes on in that house, determining all that takes place within that house. So the Word of Christ dwells in us in order to rule us. It rules by very virtue of being the Word of God. It is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our pathway. Thus, it is profitable for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
It becomes very plain, then, that the Word is authoritative. It dwells in us that it may rule us. For that purpose we receive it into our hearts. If we lean unto our own understanding and pay attention to the world’s ideas, then the Word of Christ is displaced and Satan is dwelling in us and ruling us. If you do not believe that this can happen, it only shows how much this is true already.
Our calling is to let it dwell there in our hearts so that it may continue to rule us. Paul in effect is saying, “Keep that Word in your hearts.” Paul is addressing the saints, regenerated children of God, including you young people as the seed of believers. Let that Word continue to dwell in your hearts and be the sole tenant in that spiritual control center. The word of Satan has always been there and we are exhorted to evict him so that the Word of Christ may dwell alone.
If that Word is to dwell in us richly, we must learn it richly. We must be taught from childhood, in our schools, from the pulpit nothing other than that Word of Christ. We must learn it fully, in rich detail, that it may dwell in us richly. May the Lord and king of his church richly supply you with His grace unto that end.