Over our last several lessons, we’ve been discussing putting things off and putting things on. In Colossians 3, Paul is reminding Christians that their life in Christ should come with a new perspective. And that perspective should lead to a life of constantly putting off sin in our lives and an attitude of putting on the things in life that will please God. We’ve also spent the last couple of lessons talking specifically about the first part of Colossians 3:10:
“And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” – Colossians 3:10 (ESV)
All of this talk about “putting things off” and “putting things on” could lead some to think that Paul is referring to earning our salvation, but that’s not correct. He is reminding us of what happens after we come to Christ. I think that will become more clear as we finish looking at verse 10:
“And have put on the new self…” – In Revelation 21:5, Jesus says, “Behold, I am making all things new.” This is indeed true of us as we come to Christ. Though we aren’t given a brand-new physical body at that moment, we are, as Paul writes to the Ephesians, “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10 ESV). This “new self” refers to the new creation we are in Christ.
“…which is being renewed in knowledge…” – When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, the Bible isn’t automatically downloaded into our brains and our bodies don’t immediately forget all of the sinful practices we have perfected. That would be nice, but it doesn’t happen that way. As Paul writes in Romans 12, as followers of Jesus, our minds are being renewed. This process of being renewed is influenced by “knowledge” and, I believe, knowledge here is referring to the word of God or the truth about God (which is only found in God’s word). God’s word is contained in the Bible and our understanding of it is illuminated by the Holy Spirit. We are also influenced by teachers and mentors who rightly divide God’s word.
“…after the image of its creator.” – This phrase helps us to clearly understand that “knowledge” is referring to truth about God. We are reminded in Titus that “knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness.” As the old saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.” In our case, a good diet of the truth of God means that as we are “being renewed in knowledge” this renewal will be “after the image of its creator.”