Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved….
— Colossians 3:12
If you know Jesus Christ today, it is no accident. God personally summoned you to know Him. The fact is, God looked out into eternity and saw you — and He said, “I want you. I’m calling you out of this lost world to belong to Me!” God literally chose you for Himself, which ought to be one of the truths you speak to yourself every day!
How can we know that to be true? God gives us that assurance in Colossians 3:12, where it says, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved….” This verse is very important for us to understand because it tells you and me what God thinks of us. This is vital for us to get into our hearts, because we need to know what God thinks of those whom He has redeemed.
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Pay close attention as we dig into this verse. Let these truths sink deep into your heart — because they have the power to transform the way you think about yourself!
Colossians 3:12 begins by saying, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God….” This word “elect” is the first word that reveals what God thinks of us. It is the Greek word eklektos, which is a compound of the words ek and lego. The word ek means out, and lego means I say. When they are compounded, the new word literally means, “Out, I say!” In other words, God loved us so much that He called us out from a lost eternity and began the process of making sure we came to Christ. For that reason, the word eklektos can be translated elected or selected, carrying the idea that we are personally chosen by God.
The verse continues, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy….” This word “holy” is the Greek word hagios, which in ancient times described awe, respect, and reverence for a holy place or a holy shrine — a place separated and set apart from other places. Consequently, the word eventually came to refer to something that was separated from the rest of the world and was thereby sanctified, consecrated, or holy. The use of this word in the New Testament tells us that once we came to Christ, the blood of Jesus separated us, consecrated us, and made us holy. He removed our past sins and threw them into the sea of forgetfulness, separating our sin from us as far as the east is from the west (see Psalm 103:12).
The word “holy” (hagios) means that God Himself respects you as a holy dwelling place for His Spirit. God sees you as consecrated and sanctified, different from others, so special that you are in a totally separate category from the rest of the world.
So the next time the devil tries to tell you that you’re too fat, too skinny, too homely, not spiritual enough, undeserving, or inferior in any way, read the preceding paragraphs to him as a rebuke! Then the first thing every morning, look in the mirror and declare: “I am holy! Jesus’ blood separated me from my past! He wiped it out and cleared the slate! He threw my sin into the sea of forgetfulness and separated it from me forever. Now I am clean, set apart, and consecrated — and God Himself respects me as the temple of His Spirit!”
All these things are absolutely true about you. That’s why you must do your best to live in obedience to God’s Word and to avoid grieving the Holy Spirit who resides within you (see Ephesians 4:30). Whenever you do anything out of order or anything that would bring grief to the Holy Spirit living within you, just confess your sin to the Father, and you will be immediately and completely cleansed by the blood of Jesus (see 1 John 1:9).
Next, Colossians 3:12 goes on to say, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved.…” This word “beloved” is the Greek word agapao, which comes from the word agape, the Greek word for love. The tense used in this verse is very significant, because it means God has loved us in the past; He still loves us in the present; and He will continue to love us in the future.
Do you remember moments in your past when you were so very aware that God loved you? Were there moments when you felt overwhelmed by God’s forgiveness, acceptance, and tender care for you, even at times when you knew that you had done something wrong and didn’t deserve His love? The psalmist David wrote that God’s love is unfailing. In Psalm 36:7 (NIV), David said, “How priceless is your unfailing love….” In fact, David and the other psalmists were so aware of God’s “unfailing love” to sustain them that they wrote about it 70 times in the book of Psalms.
Are you still aware today that God loves you with an everlasting, unfailing love? God’s love for you has never changed. He loves you today as intensely as He loved you yesterday! You may have done things that were not appropriate for a child of God to do. But nonetheless, you are His child, and He loves you with an everlasting love. Even if you’ve largely ignored God and you need to ask His forgiveness, He never forgets that the Holy Spirit lives in you, and He respects you as a dwelling place of His Spirit. And the really great news is this: God’s love for you tomorrow will also be unfailing. It will never change. Even if you fail, God’s love for you will not fail. His love is steadfast and unchanging toward His sons and daughters.
Before I finish this point about you being the “beloved” of God, I want to take some time to explain further what the word agape really means, since it is one of the Greek words Paul used in Colossians 3:12 to reveal what God thinks of you.
This word agape refers to what I call high-level love, for there is no higher, finer, or more excellent love than agape love. In fact, the word agape is filled with so much deep emotion and meaning that it is one of the most difficult words to translate in the New Testament. Trying to explain this word has baffled translators for centuries; nevertheless, I’m going to try to clarify the meaning of this powerful word.
Agape occurs when an individual sees, recognizes, understands, or appreciates the value of an object or a person, causing the viewer to behold this object or person in great esteem, awe, admiration, wonder, and sincere appreciation. Such great respect is awakened in the heart of the observer for the person or object he is beholding that he is compelled to love it. In fact, his love for that person or object is so strong that it is irresistible.
In the New Testament, perhaps the best example of agape is found in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” In the phrase, “For God so loved the world,” the word “love” is the word agape.
This means that when God looked upon the human race, He stood in awe of mankind, even though man was lost in sin. God admired man; He wondered at man; He held mankind in the highest appreciation. Even though Satan held mankind captive at that moment, God looked upon the world and saw His own image in man. The human race was so precious to God and He loved man so deeply that His heart was stirred to reach out and do something to save him. In other words, God’s love drove Him to action.
You see, agape is a love that loves so profoundly that it knows no limits or boundaries in how far, wide, high, and deep it will go to show that love to its recipient. If necessary, agape love will even sacrifice itself for the sake of that object or person it so deeply cherishes. Thus, agape is the highest form of love — a self-sacrificial type of love that moves the lover to action for the sake of the beloved.
When you put together the meaning of these three words in Colossians 3:12, you gain a deeper revelation regarding what God actually thinks about you. He has personally chosen you; He has separated you from your sin; He respects you as the dwelling place of His Spirit; and He loves you so much that His thoughts are continually turned toward you, causing awe, admiration, and wonder to be drawn from His heart. That is what God thinks about you!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Heavenly Father, I am in awe of Your great love toward me. Thank You that even before the foundations of the world, You looked into eternity and saw me personally. When You fastened Your gaze upon me, Your heart of love opened toward me and You deliberately chose me that I might know You. Holy Spirit, You are the treasure within my earthen vessel. Help me see myself as the Father sees me. Then empowered by the confidence of His love and favor, strengthen and guide me to walk as a continual demonstration of that love to others for the glory of Your name!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I am personally summoned by God to know Him intimately. When God sees me, His great “agape love” for me compels Him to behold me with an admiring gaze as when one beholds a treasure with awe and wonder. I am the chosen dwelling place of God’s own Spirit. Therefore, I am valued greatly and esteemed highly by Him. I believe and receive God’s great love for me, and today I walk in the reality of its irresistible strength and power. I am continually aware of His love for me, and for that reason, I remain secure and my faith in Him never fails!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Describe a moment when God’s unfailing love for you left you feeling overwhelmed and speechless. How did that moment and expression of God’s love for you change your walk with God and your relationship with others?
- As you meditate on how God thinks about you, how does that change the way you think about yourself?
- Did you realize you were the special dwelling place of God and that God respects you as a consecrated dwelling place? If you really embrace that truth, how will that help to shape your self-image?