Put On the New Self
3 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 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.
Rules for Christian Households
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
Colossians 3 Commentary
by Hank Workman
We are walking miracles. God has taken the dead and raised them to life. Through Jesus Christ, the grave clothes that wrapped us so tightly are replaced with beautiful robes of righteousness. Through Jesus, we have hope. Through Jesus, we have assurance. Through Jesus, we can face anything of the old and look toward His promises.
As usual in Paul’s writings, he takes a turn to a more practical aspect of our following Jesus. As He has laid out the false teachings that had inundated the church, his commission is now to turn aside from these doctrines and return to Jesus. He calls the reader to make sure Jesus is indeed Lord of our lives.
The first 17 verses speak to what this looks like. Summed up in 5 beginning statements of how that happens he writes:
- Set your heart
- Set your mind
- Take off the old
- Put on the new
- Clothe yourself
Setting our heart is a decision daily through the power of the Spirit of God to look and strive toward the reality Jesus is on the throne. It’s taking all things we battle and going back to the truth Jesus is higher than anything else and is Lord of all. When we set our mind it is choosing to not let the things that so easily distract be center stage. As Paul would say, it involves taking every thought captive and looking beyond the circumstances to what really matters. And what really matters is our being pleasing to Jesus not only from within but in our behavior and actions. This leads to taking off the old.
There are things of our life when we were dead, that we’ve been set free from in our coming to Jesus. We must strive to not return to these. Practically Paul lays out the old nature as to what to combat. This all about cutting away the things that once were part of us. As we put on the new, this is our new identity in Jesus, this is a daily submission to the Spirit of God who empowers us to live like we should.
This is being receptive to His words and allowing Him to guide our steps even day by day. The new is not something we can do on our own. Our human nature is a fierce opponent to the new nature Jesus offers and desires us to have. In essence the way we handle ourselves, behave must be consistent with our faith.
The clothing of ourselves is sheer opposite of what had marked us previously. So beautifully Paul gives points as to what this looks like and means. It is imitating the absolute compassion of Jesus. It is having the heart of God in all matters. It involves letting love guide us rather than rules or opinions. It’s always being thankful, letting the peace of God be a steady constant.
We all know this is not an easy process. In fact, it is impossible without the power of the Holy Spirit guiding us daily. Make it a decision to invite the Holy Spirit into your day first thing. Ask Him to point out the areas where He wants to work then seek wisdom and discernment from Him to do so. Jesus miraculously called each of us from the dead. Living life requires our continual dependence on Him which affects not only our behavior but our attitudes. Only He can change such things.
Colossians 3 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Ironically, the ethics listed here in Colossians 3 are not foreign to the Jewish law. No one who grew up learning the law of Moses would scoff at the morality prescribed here by Paul. However, the difference for new believers is moral competency. Through Christ and His grace, we are now empowered to do the will of God. By faith, we can please God. The practical advice here is a reminder that a moral life of holiness is possible through Jesus.
Paul is simply describing what has taken place in his own life. When your heart is pricked by what Jesus has done for you, the reaction is to put on the new self and put off the old. As many of you know, this is a heavy responsibility. Yes, we have the power to resist sin but we also battle daily and the struggle is intense. We must make war on our old self. We must fight to cling to Jesus throughout our transformation.
Where are you in this process? Do you feel defeated? Are you seeing progress? Are you growing in your reliance on faith? Sometimes we expect instant overnight change and many times our growth process is a slow, painful journey. For those who persevere, God is faithful!