Summary: God has told the followers of Christ to put on their new uniform. He told us how to put off the old self through the power of Jesus’ death & then to keep our eyes on Jesus. Here we find God’s new clothing for each Christian who participates with Him in
COLOSSIANS 3: 12-17
GOD’S PROPOSAL FOR NEW LIFE
Before Ken Robinson became a pastor he served as a police officer. He said people treated him differently when he was in uniform that when he was off duty and wearing plain clothes. Something about the badge and the “blues” gained him instant respect and authority.
He was often addressed as "Sir." When he told people something, they believed him. And when he gave an order, they were quick to obey. Robinson concluded, “I guess the clothes made the difference.” Then he added, when in uniform, I acted with more confidence.”
God has told the followers of Christ to put on their new uniform. He told us how to put off the old self through the power of Jesus’ death and then to keep our eyes on Jesus. Now we are told in our passage for today what kind of new clothing we are to put on.
God has given each Christian the responsibility for putting off the life of the old self by the power of His death. But once we place our minds on Christ and the eternal and start getting rid of the crud, what do we replace it with? Is there a new life that we must put on also? Or must I wait until eternity to experience the benefits of the new life, the born again life, that is given us in Christ? There are eternal blessing provided here for those who will put off the old self and put on the character of the new man. All these characteristics are offered to each person who has accepted Christ and decided to live in the power of the new life, in the power of the Resurrection of Christ. Here we find God’s new clothing for each Christian who participates with Him in the new pattern of life.
I. GOD’S APPAREL FOR NEW LIFE, 12-14.
II. GOD’ PROVISION FOR NEW LIFE, 15-16.
III. GOD’S PATTERN FOR NEW LIFE, 17.
In verses 8-9 Paul listed six vices (anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, and lying). Now in contrast to the fallen way of the old man, Christians are to put on the virtues of the new man, the born again man.
What we wear is important if we want to look our best. Besides, when we feel that we look good, we go through the day with more energy and confidence. The Lord Jesus cares about what we wear, but He is more concerned about what our spiritual clothing. Colossians 3:12 lists some of the virtues with which we should clothe ourselves every morning. “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;”
Christians as the chosen of God [ἐκλετός, 2 Tim. 1:9] have the responsibility to live a godly life. God has a plan for each who response to the initiative of His grace. Those chosen of God (Rom. 8:33; Titus 1:1) are holy and beloved in God’s eyes. We are now different from the world. Just as the marriage ceremony sets apart a man and woman for each other exclusively, so salvation sets the believer apart exclusively for Jesus Christ. It would be a horrible thing if at the end of a wedding the groom ran off with the maid of honor. It is just as horrible if the Christian runs from God to love the world and the flesh. When believers fail to act differently than the world, they violate the very purpose of their calling.
Believers are beloved of God which means they are special recipients of His agape love. God’s love involves Him doing what is eternally best for us though not necessarily what we desire or what is easiest. It is a commitment to remain true to us, in all the circumstances of our life. As we begin to return God’s love we will grow in our obedience to Him and mature (come closer) in our walk with Him. Though God loves each of us just as we are, His love motivates us to respond to Him by becoming who He would have us be and doing what He would have us do.
The Bible then calls believers to take decisive action. We are to put on [imperative] or clothe ourselves (endysasthe from enduo) in the virtues of God’s loving grace. Because we have “put on (endysamenoi) the new self” (v. 10), we should live according to the traits (attributes) and attitudes of the born again person.
Jesus promised His disciples they would be clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49). All the following virtues are planted and grow in the new heart, or in the inner man. Compassion (splanchna oiktirmou) is the first character trait that is to mark the new man. Believers must not be indifferent to suffering, but should be concerned about people’s needs. We are to live in another’s skin, feel what he is going through.