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The focus in these verses that we’re going to be looking at this morning is putting off the old self and putting on the new self. The KJV begins verse 5 by talking about putting to death, which does sound like a battle!
Two questions. Who is this new self that we are called to put on? How do we put on this new self?
We’ll divide these verses into three sections.
Deprive of power evil desires and their expressions
You were dead in your sins. When Christ circumcised your heart you were buried with Christ. That resulted in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh. So, there is an operation in the heart at conversion that puts to death whoever we were and the bodily activity of sin that was part of who we were.
We are supposed to be counting as dead evil desires and their expressions. Paul’s focus here is on two things that need to be counted as dead. The evil desires that lead to sins and the sins that come as a result of these desires. This list of sins is not exhaustive.
The process looks something like this. This requires intention, courage, and daily surrender to Christ and it is a lifetime process. It doesn’t just happen to us, other than the first step. We participate at every step by surrendering, inviting Jesus to work within us and to change us.
- At conversion, Jesus performs an operation inside of us that “dies us with Himself” just like He died on the cross.
- We must enter into, in our hearts and minds, and count as dead all the things that Christ has died for.
- We then need to replace evil habits with righteous habits
Something new cannot grow and flourish unless something dies. We have to give up our commitment to our cherished feelings. We all have them. Mortification is not self denial and self control, it may include that but it is taking up your cross and following Christ.
Strip off behavior and the old self as clothes that no longer fit
The idea of “strip off” is about removing something that no longer serves a purpose. Something that no longer fits who we are.
Paul mentions anger, rage, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication, and lying.
Clothe yourself with new behavior and the new self
The person who has died and risen with Christ is in the process of becoming a new person. This “new person” includes this person who dies to self when we are converted, it isn’t necessarily something we see or feel, but it is a reality that God accomplishes.
The “new self” is the person we are becoming because we are putting on the new behavior, the new habits. How is this individual becoming a new person? By being renewed, the grown towards maturity and knowledge. Knowledge alone is not enough, but we don’t grow as a result of ignorance.
The new man has a new way of thinking about and relating to people. Social barriers, racial barriers, etc, should not exist amongst believers, they don’t count. Everyone is on an equal footing.
Be sympathetic, be kind, be generous, be gracious, be humble, be meek, be patient, don’t retaliate, bear with the faults and irritations of others. There are many more of these.
If everyone thought the way that we do, saw things the way that we do, that would help! But that just isn’t how it is is it? Paul summarizes all this by saying to abide in peace and in the love of God.
Scriptures used – Colossians 3:5-17