Summary: The Bible tells us to put on the new self. What does it mean "new self?"
YOU CAN’T SEE THIS
Q & A ON COLOSSIANS 3
JOHN CENA ILLUSTRATION: For those that follow professional wrestling, I know that none of you do (30 years ago most of us did, that’s why Hulk Hogan became a household name—sadly he is becoming a household name again for all the wrong reasons). But for the one of you that does, there is a character out there named John Cena. And in order to antagonize his opponent, he waves his hand in front of his face using wrestling sign language to state “You Can’t See This.” The message sort of means “you can’t touch this” and refers to himself. Perhaps, another way of saying it is that “you are out of my league.”
TRANSITION: You know what, God IS out of our league. But despite being out of our league, he joined us in ours. And this lesson is going to focus on us putting on our new self. More importantly, putting aside the camoflouge we wear around the world and putting on a new piece of clothing called Christlikeness.
BIBLE VERSE: COLOSSIANS 3:10-12
…and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free, but Christ is all in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
1. Verse 10 tells us to put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Question A: What is the new self? And how do we put it on?
In a general sense, the “new self” here makes mention to the new person created after salvation has occurred. Baptism is the metaphor represented in this manner. After a person accepts Christ as their savior and gets baptized, the symbolic gesture that PERSON A has been buried in the water and PERSON B arises out of the water alive in Christ is one idea of the new self (leaders, you may want to talk to the students about baptism here, there exists a good chance that someone who knows the Lord may not have been baptized yet).
In addition, notice that Paul uses a key word here, the command order “put.” Why is this significant? The short version answer is that Paul wants to use a clothing metaphor here just like he used when he tells us to “put on the full armor of God.” We should wear our new lives outwardly just as we wear new clothing.
Paul has been using an aorist tense of two participles suggesting that something has already happened but needs to happen again. What? Yeah, think about it…how can someone who is in Christ and has a new self put a new self one when he is wearing it already? I mean, since we are one with Christ the moment we accept him, why would Paul suggest to the believers to wear something that they wake up already having on—a new self?
So what is Paul exactly saying? The long answer here is that Paul is continuing on a long term discussion that begins in Colossians 2:11 and elsewhere in the scripture, and that is that becoming Christlike is an ongoing process. For many people who give their life to Christ, they can remember the very place and moment they made such a decision. But for others it is a process. And for everyone who does accept Christ, the process never stops. I guess that I am trying to say that Paul is trying to say, is that every day we are new again. I am not the Christian today that I was yesterday. I am not the believer today that I was 5 years ago. And if I would wake up every morning and put on my Jesus, the person I am will be completely different 5 years from now. My name will still be Tom Papez, but I will be a NEW Tom Papez and hopefully much improved.
CHEESE EXAMPLE: This may be a distant try here, but there is a product that is forever changing while its being created, the product is cheese. So a person gets some milk and a couple of different things, shakes it well, and makes cheese (I really am being vague on the actual creation of cheese here so forgive me kind cheesemakers). But if that person continues to shake it, maybe add a couple of things, the cheese is now a different variety of cheese. It’s still the same, but it’s different—it’s new.
POINT: THE LORD WANTS US TO NOT BE LIKE WE ARE—HE WANTS US TO BE NEW. Make sense?
THE RACHEL HELD EVANS EXAMPLE: Has anyone ever heard of Rachel Held Evans? I hadn’t. But in her opinion, she went to an extreme for one year in order to re-organize her life around the scriptures. Now I don’t recommend exactly what she did because for most it just isn’t necessary, but for her it was something she felt she had to do. She went to the extreme to become “an absolutely Biblical housewife.” What did she do? What did she not do is the better question.