Summary: The 1) Position (Colossians 3:9–10a), 2) Progress (Colossians 3:10b), 3) Partnership (Colossians 3:11), 4) Performance (Colossians 3:12–13), and 5) Perfection of the New Person. (Colossians 3:14).
If you received a new pair of paints, dress or another part of clothing for Christmas, you most likely have tried it on by now. You may be wearing it today. We tend to get excited about new clothing for we wonder how it will look on us, how it will wear and just the general excitement of something new. We tend to have a particular style of dress and will generally only wear that which tends to match our sense of style.
In Colossians 3:9–17, Paul counselled the Christians of Colossae to dress themselves spiritually in accordance with their new identity. They have died with Christ and risen to new life. Salvation thus produces a two-sided obligation for believers. Negatively, believers must throw off the garment of the old, sinful lifestyle, as Paul pointed out in 3:5–9a. Positively, believers must put on the lifestyle of the new person in Christ.
At the start of a new year, it is a great time to cast off old bad habits and replace them with positive new ones. For such a practice to be truly effective our choices in this regard should align with the will of God. When these choices do, God will empower us to rid that with hinders us and gain that which will have the greatest impact for ourselves, families, workplaces and the Kingdom of God as a whole
In order to do this we must understand the 1) Position (Colossians 3:9–10a), 2) Progress (Colossians 3:10b), 3) Partnership (Colossians 3:11), 4) Performance (Colossians 3:12–13), and 5) Perfection of the New Person. (Colossians 3:14).
1) The Position of the New Person (Colossians 3:9–10a)
Colossians 3:9-10a Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, (which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator). (ESV)
Why, we may ask, does Paul single out lying for special treatment? The present-tense prohibition implies, Don’t lie anymore, as if various kinds of lying are common in the surrounding pagan society. Deeply ingrained habits resist change. Furthermore, this is a direct command, without the metaphor of shedding a garment. Truthfulness is a crucial ingredient of Christian community. Lies and pretense destroy the fabric of trust essential for community, even more so than other vices (cf. Ephesians 4:25) (Ernest D. Martin. BELIEVERS CHURCH BIBLE COMMENTARY: COLOSSIANS, PHILEMON. 1993 by Herald Press, Scottdale, Pa. 15683).
• Being honest with ourselves and each other is necessary for positive change in the new year. There is no use trying to change outward behaviour or appearance without dealing the inward realties that cause those outward manifestations.
Seeing/Since indicates that transition to be an accomplished fact. The old self with its evil practices has already been put off/laid aside ( Cf. Rom. 5:12–21; 1 Cor. 15:22, 45–49.). The exchange goes deeper than quitting a few bad habits and trying harder to be nice. It involves a change of character, not only a change in status before God. This implies an inner regeneration that is then to result in changed outward behaviors. Notions of self-reformation fade away when the change is thought of as putting on Christ. (Cf. Rom. 13:14, “Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”)
• The best place to start ourselves on in a new year is an inventory of what has been accomplished. It makes no sense trying to change what we cannot, nor what has already been changed. A sober self-examination enables us to focus on elements that our under our control. The glorious and startling thing to keep in mind is that we start on a footing that we could never have gotten to on our own effort.
Please turn to 2 Corinthians 5 (p.966)
What is the old self? It is the unregenerate self, the former manner of existence in Adam. The old, wretched, depraved, habitually sinful self is “being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit” (Eph. 4:22). At the moment of regeneration, it was that which was replaced by the regenerate self.
2 Corinthians 5:14-21 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (ESV)