Thursday, January 06, 2022

2022.01.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 3:9–11

Read Colossians 3:9–11

Questions from the Scripture text: What mustn’t we do to one another (Colossians 3:9a)? Why not—whom have we put off (verse 9b)? What else have we put off? Whom have we put on (Colossians 3:10a)? What is new about him (verse 10b)? In accord with what? What eight factors no longer shape what believers are like (Colossians 3:11)? What one factor shapes what a believer is like? How many believers have Him in them?

A man once tried to explain away how he often lost his temper by saying that he was just a hot-blooded Middle Easterner. But Jesus was from what we now call the Middle East. Did He lose His temper? Of course not (cf. Colossians 3:8). 

Whenever He was angry, it was always because it was right for Him to be angry, and He was in control of His anger rather than His anger controlling Him. Neither was He hateful or bitter (“malice,” verse 8). Neither did He speak lightly, or even offensively, of God (“blasphemy,” verse 8). And filthy language had no place in His mouth. Neither did Jesus lie (Colossians 3:9a). This is not surprising, since God cannot lie (cf. Titus 1:2), and Satan is the father of lying (cf. John 8:44). 

When a believer has put off the “old man” that he was in Adam (Colossians 3:9b), he hasn’t just become a new person than before; he has become a new kind of person. He has “put off the old man with his deeds” (verse 9b). The new man that the believer has put on is a man that has Christ in him—for believers, Christ is “in all” (Colossians 3:11b). 

And Christ completely shapes the character of this new man. Nationality or cultural tradition or social class might previously have shaped a man’s character. But for the new man, none of these shape him, “but Christ is all” (Colossians 3:11b). Some mistakenly think that passages like this one, or its parallel in Galatians 3:27–28, mean that believers no longer recognize these distinctions and should do away with ideas like nationality or family traditions. Not only does this lead to the nonsensical (and greatly immoral) idea that there is no longer a distinction between male and female (Galatians 3:28), but it misses the point in both passages: believers have put on Christ!

And in Christ, they have been renewed “in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Colossians 3:10). The word for “knowledge” here refers to the substance of what is known. Not only are believers renewed in comprehending concepts; they are renewed in their personal experience and exercise of those things. They not only know about being in the image of God; they are renewed into imaging God. No longer do we carry the character of Adam; we are renewed and restored into the character of Him Who created Adam (verse 10b).

This is another blessed consequence of the incarnation. Because God Himself became the last Adam in Jesus Christ, when we put on the new man, we are renewed into imaging the character of God, as we were originally created to do. If you have put on Christ, you are a new man; act like Christ, not Adam! 

What are some Adam-like characteristics or habits that you tend to excuse on the basis of nationality, gender, or tradition? How can you be able to put these off? Are you, then, one who is able? Will you?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we bless Your Name for creating us new in Christ Jesus and making Him to dwell in our hearts through faith. Forgive us, for when we act according to the old man whom we have put off. Make us to embrace our new identity in Christ and to enjoy our union with Him by growing in likeness to Him, which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

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