More About Putting on the New Self

[In our last daily devotion from Colossians 3, we took a look at the first part of verse 10.  Today, I want to take another look at the first part of verse 10.  Hey, it’s my blog I can do that, right?]

As Christians, we are called to persevere in Jesus Christ.  Perseverance is defined as, “steady persistence in a course of action…especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.”  This means that though we have been saved by God’s grace, our troubles, trials and temptations do not end with our new life in Jesus.  In many cases, life gets harder for new Christians because there is now a new awareness of sin and Christians are called to deal with sin.  New Christians are also entering into spiritual warfare.

Once in Christ, the penalty for our sins has been paid by Christ.  However, we still must deal with sin in the present.  So, how are we to deal with sin?  So far in our study of Colossians, we have been given these reminders: put sin to death (v. 5), put sin away (v. 8) and put off sin (v. 9).

Again, these are our responses to sin as believers.  This is not relating to earning our salvation.

Put persevering in Christ isn’t just about what we “put off.”  No, it’s also about what we “put on”:

“And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” – Colossians 3:10 (ESV)

Christianity is often viewed as religion of no-nos – a big religious list of don’t do this and don’t do that.  But that entirely misses the point.

We are sinners and Jesus Christ has saved us from eternal damnation.  He did this not because we deserved to be saved, but because He loves us.  Therefore, we should begin to live our lives with a different perspective.  Yes, we live our lives as a “thank You” to God, but more than that, we want to live our lives to honor Him.  Because of this, our attitude about sin should change.

In the book of 1 John, the Apostle John writes this:

If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. – 1 John 2:29 (ESV)

He adds to this in the next chapter:

No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.  By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. – 1 John 3:6-10 (ESV)

In these passages, John is writing of our attitude concerning sin when we are alive in Christ.  He uses the term “practices righteousness” and reminds us that whoever “practices righteousness” has been born again (v. 2:29) and “whoever practices righteousness is righteous” (v. 3:7) and “whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God.” [emphasis added]  He isn’t, of course, referring to “practicing righteousness” as a means to earn our salvation.  He’s talking about the discipline of our lives after we are in Christ.  He’s talking about what will flow out of us as a result of knowing Christ.

So, based on this concept of “practicing righteousness,” let us look again at verse 10 of Colossians 3:

“And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” – Colossians 3:10 (ESV)

“And have put on the new self…” – Putting on the new self is the practice of identifying ourselves with Jesus Christ.  We are His, therefore, we should live as such.  This isn’t something we perfect upon our conversion.  It is a part of “practicing righteousness” as we discussed above.

“…which is being renewed in knowledge…” – Because we don’t automatically download the perfect life upon our conversion, we have to be taught, reminded, encouraged, disciplined, etc. concerning how our lives should model Christ.  As Paul reminds us in Romans:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2 (ESV)

This describes perfectly the process of “new self which is being renewed in knowledge.”

“…after the image of its creator…” – After we come to know Christ we aren’t just soaking up any sort of knowledge, we’re trying to absorb knowledge related to “the image of [our] creator.”  This is referring to God.  The “knowledge” that transforms us is the information we learn about God.

As we continue, Lord willing, into the remainder of this chapter, we’ll be reminded of what is to be “put on.”

 

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