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God’s Word for You

Colossians 3:9-10 you have put on the new self

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, June 29, 2019

9 Never lie to each other, since you have taken off the old self with its practices, 10 and you have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge, according to the image of its Creator.

Paul uses a clear and clever word-picture for the Christian’s new life: “Take off, put on.” You’ve taken off the old self, the sinful self, with your baptism. In fact, the old self was removed from you, like a mother pulling off her child’s filthy clothes before she puts him into the bathtub. But unlike a human in a tub, the Christian is never spiritually naked. Once the old self is taken off, the Christian is instantly, immediately and thoroughly clothed in Christ. And this is why we should never lie to each other.

Let’s look at the word “put on (clothes).” It’s endyo (ἐνδύω), which has a built-in preposition, en (ἐν-), which means “in,” meaning that one steps “inside” clothes and walks and works “in” the clothes. In English, we talk about putting an outfit “on,” but the Greeks thought of being “in” the outfit. This is important because the concept of being a Christian is often illustrated in the Bible as being “in” Christ. Here’s where Paul’s word shines. Being “in” Christ, we are completely within what he did for us. He atoned for our sins, and we’re within that atonement. He covered over our sins, and we’re completely in and under that covering. There is no part of us that is not in Christ, which means that there is no sin we have committed that is not forgiven by Christ.

The “old self” or “old man” is the sinful nature we’re conceived in and born with. We are redeemed by Jesus’ blood and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. “Sanctification” means being set aside for a holy purpose, and this is the purpose for which God has made us Christians. He wants us to give him glory with our lives. Yet we are taught both in Scripture and in the laboratory of our own sinful lives that while we are forgiven, we are, at the same time, still sinful. For it is Paul the Christian, not some unregenerated pagan, who says, “What I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15). The life of sanctification wars against sin, which is never exterminated from man’s nature in this lifetime. This new life of sanctification has three elements:

1, The renewal of the heart. Our minds are now set on “things above,” as Paul just said (Colossians 3:2). The sanctified Christian has a changed heart, renewed and reborn in baptism.

2, The struggle against sin. The flesh is still sinful as long as we are in the world, but we now have the desire to resist sin. “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24). The Christian wants to suppress his own sinful impulses, but also temptations from the outside. “Resist him (the devil), standing firm in the faith” (1 Peter 5:9).

3, Good works. Our good deeds have a place here, in the life of faith, rather than before when we were still in our sins. The sinful man cannot please God at all, but the Christian, renewed and reborn by baptism, is able to do good works that please God. These proceed from faith (1 Thessalonians 1:3) and they spur other Christians on to do things to please God as well (Hebrews 10:24).

The sanctified life is different in each of us. In some it is stronger and more eager to serve, in others it is a more quiet and thoughtful faith in action. But what we do out of love for our Savior will always be loved by God.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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