Put on the New Self—Colossians 3:9-11
“Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all” (Colossians 3:9-11)
I love this Biblical concept because it illustrates the idea of effortless change. It is what God’s provision and His Spirit will do in you; He will change you from the inside out. Previously Paul commented that submitting to behavior based rules as a change element was destined to perish with use (Colossians 2:20-22). This is merely the human approach for change; based on mortal commands and teachings. It is important to pay attention to God’s way for change.
Take off the Old Unregenerate Self
Growing up in a church, this idea about taking off the ‘old self’ is normal, I’ve heard it many times. However, I realize a statement like this can be somewhat shocking—after all, what does that even mean? It is important to understand, especially since this is some of the best advice you can get—to take off the old self that clings and oppresses with desires of the sin nature.
Here’s the idea behind it. It is the idea of separating, spoiling and stripping off to one’s own advantage something that is ancient, old and no longer useful. Let’s break this down. First, the word used for taking, putting off or removing, is the same word used in Colossians 2:15 where Jesus spoiled and disarmed the powers and authorities against Him. This word is only used twice in the New Testament and only in these two instances. At His death, Jesus completely defeated the forces attacking Him by devoiding them of power and overthrowing them. “...He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15b). He defeated and disarmed them. They assaulted and attacked trying to overpower; but the cross proved too much for them. Jesus put them off, spoiled and stripped them of power granting Him the advantage and victory.
This is the same idea behind putting off the old self; it’s the same Greek word, (apekdyomai; G554). The earthly nature will attack and assault you (vs. 5-8); but you have the power to overcome it by spoiling, putting off and removing it—by devoiding it of power. The old nature is of no value to you. When you put it off; stripping it of power you will have the advantage and victory.
Here’s how to put it off...
Put on the New Regenerated Self
“put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (vs. 10).
If the cross is where Jesus defeated and put off his attackers; then this is where we begin also. The cross was a complete victory and it can be a day to day victory in our lives as well. Paul said, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Galatians 5:16).
Primarily, we must understand that the power to put off the old nature and put on the new comes from the Spirit of God living inside. The idea of the new self “...stresses the fact of the believer's "new" experience, recently begun, and still proceeding. (Vines Dictionary of New Testament Words). So understand it is a process. You were made new at the moment of salvation; but experiencing this newness comes in stages. “And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it” (vs. 10 AMP). In the same way as you get dressed every morning; you can equip yourself to continually put on the new self.
Here is a few suggestions on how to do this...
First, prepare yourself. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world cause by evil desires” (II Peter 1:3-4). To escape the desires of the old nature you must know the very great and precious promises available to you. This comes through our knowledge of Christ; this knowledge equips us for a life of godliness through the power He gives.
Secondly, let the Word of God transform you. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). This is the quickest avenue for effortless change. The Word of God has the power to transform you from the inside-out. When you constantly remind yourself of who you now are in Christ; then you are putting on the new self renewed in the image of its Creator.
Next, choose holiness.“As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy” (I Peter 1:14-16). Sometimes we must choose what is right when it is not popular or accepted. Sometimes putting on the new self means you have to make a conscious choice, and we are instructed to be holy on the basis of God’s holiness.
Lastly, emulate Christ.“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2). Here’s the beautiful application to this truth, in Christ all distinctions vanish (Colossians 3:11). Being human, we look for things to divide us. However, the longer we abide and mimic Christ, distinctions that separate tend to dissolve, what is left is unity in the body of Christ. This is the goal.
Today, may you strip off everything that the old self tries to chain you in. May you “be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:23-24).
I’d Love To Hear From You…
Where have you experienced freedom from living out of the new self rather than the old?