There are two interesting chiastic structures in the middle of Col 3:
Col 3:5-9, Putting Off
1a) Col 3:5a, Put to death earthly members;
1b) Col 3:5b, Fornication, uncleanness, improper affection, evil appetites, covetousness/ idolatry;
central axis) Col 3:6-7, “Because of these things the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience: in which you also once walked, when you lived in them;”
2b) Col 3:8-9a, Put off anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy talk of your mouth, lying;
2a) Col 3:9b, Seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds.
The reason that it is appropriate and possible for us to now put off these old man deeds, is that the old man is dead, a new man being risen to new life, which is hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:1-4). Let what is dead, be dead. We are not children of disobedience, who have wrath reserved for them when the day of wrath comes (Col 3:25), but the new man is a child of obedience. There is a new way to walk now. Which brings us to:
Col 3:10-16, Putting On
1a) Col 3:10, Put on the new man, renewed in knowledge after the image of Him who created him;
1b) Col 3:11, There is neither Greek nor Jew … bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all;
1c) Col 3:12, Put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
1d) Col 3:13a, Forbearing with + forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any;
central axis) Col 3:13b, Even as Christ forgave you;
2d) Col 3:13c, So also do you (forgive others);
2c) Col 3:14, Above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection;
2b) Col 3:15, Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, for you are called in one body; and be thankful;
2a) Col 3:16, Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching + singing.
The central axis is the forgiveness we received from Christ, precisely for all the terrible old man deeds that we once walked in. He has dropped them in the sea of forgetfulness. Complaints against others are a part of life … sometimes we will be the one in the wrong in the complaint, and sometimes the other party will be the one in the wrong. Regardless, we forgive without requiring right restitution first, just as Christ forgave us while we were still His enemies, before we gave Him right restitution. But rather, above all we put on love and tender mercy from the heart, being patient with the shortcomings of others, in kindness and humbleness of mind … living in peace with all in the body, disregarding human classes of division, because we are all in Christ and of Him.
How can we attain to this seemingly impossible standard? It is the nature of the new man to live this way. We feed the new man nature as we let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. Richly means abundantly, far more than is necessary. If a man is rich, he has far more than he needs for his needs, right? So let us feed and renew the new man with the knowledge of Him found in the word of Christ, and he will grow. What we feed, increases, and what we starve, decreases. ♥