The believer is not a mixer of the old and new self. We are not a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” part sinner and part saint. Though the Christian still lives in their body, they are no more their flesh than they are their stomach. Christians are not both sinners and saints, they are altogether sanctified saints (1 Corinthians 1:2). Therefore, as a saint living the new life we are to continually be renewed in our knowledge to our true identity.
This is the very image that man was created in in the Garden of Eden. Now this image is restored to the spiritual soul and shines through the body of flesh until the second of coming of Christ, whereby the spiritual soul will be given a resurrected body, like that of Jesus when He was raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:42). That is why Paul called Jesus, “the first born among the dead,” in Colossians 1:18. Jesus displayed what we have to hope for in the world to come! Today our spiritual soul is a precious treasure in a jar of clay (2 Corinthians 4:7) and a light on a hill that must shine for all to see (Matthew 5:14).
UNDERSTANDING THE SPIRITUAL LIFE AS A WHOLE
Colossians 3:1-17, “1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
- In chapter 3 Paul now gives the climax and application of all the previous points made.
- Paul uses the foundations set in chapters 1 and 2 concerning (1) “Christ in You” and (2) “The Sinful Nature is Cut off,” to give the reader direct commands and practical guides to living the “new life in Christ.”
- The new life in Christ is made in Christ’s image and is made for the purpose of reflecting the image of Christ from the inside out.
- Also, it is good to note what Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:22-24, “22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
SUMMARY OF COLOSSIANS 3:1-17
(a.) vs. 1-2, Making reference to the believer being raised with Christ in Col. 2:12, Paul now gives the command to set both the heart and mind on Christ.
TAKE AWAY #1: The secret to living a “God-kind-of-Life,” according to Paul is to set your heart (affections) and mind (thoughts) on Jesus.
(b.) vs. 3-4, Paul makes clear that the believer has died and now lives a new life in Christ. This new life will result in receiving glory when Christ appears at His second coming.
TAKE AWAY #2: There are not “two you’s”- one “holy” and the other “sinful.” If you are born again you are one new person in Christ, your old life is dead- you are a new creation, 2 Cor. 5:17.
(c.) vs. 5-9a, Paul gives the list of things the believer must put to death, “slay utterly and totally,” (1) sexual immorality, (2) impurity, (3) lust, (4) evil desires, (5) greed (which is idolatry), (6) anger, (7) rage, (8) malice, (9) slander, (10) filthy language, and (11) lying.
TAKE AWAY #3: Though the believer has died and been cut off from the flesh, the flesh remains with the believer in their body and therefore must be put to death whenever its desires and temptations arise.
(d.) vs. 9b-11, Paul boldly declares that the “old self” has been taken off and the believer has put on the “new self.” Therefore, to be saved according to Paul one’s old self must be taken off and a new self put, “born again,” John 3:3. Plus, in this new life one’s prior nationality or social position; Greek, Jew, circumcised, barbarian, slave- doesn’t matter, Christ is in all!
Greek Scholar and New Testament Theologian Daniel Wallace states in the NET’s commentary on this passage, “Paul’s point, then, is that Christians should take off their dirty clothing (inappropriate behavior) and put on clean clothing (behavior consistent with knowing Christ) because this has already been accomplished in a positional sense at the time of their conversion (cf. Gal 3:27 with Rom 13:14).”
TAKE AWAY #4: Because believers are new and yet still carry the “body of death/flesh” with them in this life Paul’s prior command in Col. 3:1-2, “to set one’s heart and mind on Christ” is very important. What believers do with their heart and mind determines the kind of life they will live- whether they will live in the “new self as they really are” or in the “old self as they once were.”
(e.) vs. 12-17,
- First, Paul describes believers as, (1) God’s Chosen People, (2) Holy, and (3) Dearly loved.
- Second, he lists the attributes of the believer’s new self as, (1) Compassion, (2) Kindness, (3) Humility, (4) Gentleness, (5) Patience, (6) Forbearance, (7) Forgiveness, and (8) Love (which binds all the others together).
- Third, he commands all believers to, (1) Let the Peace of Christ Rule in Their Hearts, (2) Be Thankful, (3) Let the Word of Christ Dwell Richly in Their Midst, (4) Teach and Admonish with the Word of God, (5) Sing Songs and Spiritual Songs with Grateful Hearts, and (6) Do All Things in the Name of Jesus Giving Thanks to the Father.
- Likewise, when we don’t follow the natural process of growth through obedience (knowing & showing) we find that Christ must be formed in us again via our thinking and behaving, Galatians 4:19.
TAKE AWAY #5: First, know who God says you are (“chosen,” “holy,” etc.), Second, live like Jesus (have compassion, kindness, etc.) by following Jesus’ commands, (“let peace and the Word of God dwell with you,” etc).
“Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness!” Ephesians 4:24