Summary: Put on Christ is so that people can see Christ in us and give glory to him and his saving work on the cross.
Please turn in your Bibles to Colossians 3:1-11.
Last week we examined verses 1-11 of this chapter which have to do with putting away or putting to death sin in our lives. This is something that we’ll want to do and that we’re called to do if we’ve really been raised to life with Christ.
That’s because sin is an ugly thing, it’s on account of it that the wrath of God is coming according to verse 6. And it’s what made Christ’s agony on the cross necessary if we would be forgiven. So we are to put it away.
But putting away sin is only half of what we’re called to do as believers. The Christian life isn’t just about saying no to sin, it’s also about saying yes to obedience.
In verses 12 and beyond Paul shifts his focus from what to put away to what we should put on. He moves to the positive exhortations about the kind of life God has called us to as believers in Jesus Christ.
We’re going to read verses 12-17 this morning. So let’s do that and then I’ll pray.
READ COLOSSIANS 3:12-17
This passage is like an all-you-can-eat buffet. There are so many tasty dishes to choose from, and not enough room to eat it all in one sitting.
There is teaching here on God’s plan for and our need for the local church. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.” There is a theology of the church in that statement. We are not called into peace with God by ourselves, but together with others in a body.
There is teaching here on the motivation and the manner of forgiveness. “As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” It is the remembrance of God releasing us from the penalty for our sin against him that motivates and enables us to release others from the penalty for their sin against us.
There is also a theology of worship presented here. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” The content of our singing is to be a rich diet of the word of God that teaches and admonishes one another as we sing.
And we could learn a theology of thankfulness from this passage, which is mentioned 3 times in these six verses. Be thankful. Sing with thankfulness. Giving thanks to God the Father through him [through Christ.]
It is an all-you-can-eat buffet of spiritual food. But we’re going to have to focus on the main course here in the time we have this morning and return to those other dishes another day. The main course in this banquet is Paul’s exhortation for us to put on something.
The Greek for put on can also be translated “clothe yourselves.” Put on as in putting on clothes. Dress yourself in a certain way. There are things that God the Father wants others to see and experience when they are around us. We are to look like something, or more accurately, we’re to look like someone.
And Romans 8:29 tells us who that is. God says those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.
God’s will for believers is that we look more and more like his Son Jesus all the time, with each passing week and year. That’s what he wants us to put on. The Father did not send the Son only to rescue us from the penalty for our sin and gain for us a home in heaven, though he did do that. But his will is also that we be conformed to or put on the character of Christ. This passage shows us what it looks like to do that, why we should do it, and how to get there.
So the title of the message is ‘Putting on Christ.’ I borrow that phrase from Romans 13:14, which says put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. So let’s start with the first question:
1. What does it look like to put on Christ?
We have a picture of it described for us in verses 12-15. I’ll condense it somewhat.
Put on then…compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another, …forgiving each other…put on love... let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts… and be thankful.
Now time doesn’t permit dealing with each of these in detail. But there are two important observations to make. First of all, these are the character qualities of the Lord Jesus. I made that claim at the outset, but now we can see that this is so.