Colossians 3:5-11 Devotional Commentary

No longer the old: Devotional Commentary for July 21-27

Colossians 3:5-11 (NASB)

This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us wisdom and insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.

3:5-6
5Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.
6For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience,

Having exhorted the Colossians to set their heart on things that are above, Paul now undertakes to explain how the attention and affections of the heart can be divested from things that are on earth. He does not issue a list of actions to be taken in order to facilitate the transformation. Instead, he exhorts the Colossians to be of a certain mindset befitting the New Man in Christ.

Paul tells the Colossians and all Christians to have the right perspective concerning their own transformation, and to correctly perceive God's righteous and holy disposition toward ungodly behavior. He tells them to always keep in mind that they are dead to sin, and being alive to sin invokes God's wrath. God's wrath had come upon those who are alive to sin.

Being in the right perspective of a transformed mind, and, being fully aware of God's displeasure with disobedience, the child of God would soon recognize that those who are alive in Christ would not interact with the sin-nature. Therefore, as one who is redeemed, and as one who recognizes one's separation from the sin-nature and from sin, one would consciously suppress the appetite of the old-nature and reject the idolatrous appeal of adultery, impurity, evil urges, unhealthy passion, and greed. Such are the works of the flesh which the sin-nature seeks to impose upon the New Man in the place of God, hence, idolatry.

3:7-11
7and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.
8But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.
9Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,
10and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him--
11a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

These foul behaviors are not new to the redeemed. Believers lived in them while we were yet dead in our transgressions, before we were made new in Christ. Paul is reminding us, since we are familiar with the ways of the sin-nature, we know exactly what we need to do: put away anger, wrath, malice, slander, filthy language, obscene expressions, and every one of our ungodly passions.

Not only are we familiar with the ways of the flesh, we also know that the old-nature and all of its attributes have been laid aside by the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit. That means we do not have to appease the old-nature and engage in its evil practices any more. We should not lie to one another. We should consciously reject the behavior of the old-nature. Such behavior should not consume the life of the redeemed. It is the natural expression of the sin nature but not of the New Man in Christ.

The believer is admonished to reject the ways of the flesh by replacing them with the attributes inherent in the personage of the New Man. Thus, as the child of God puts off the characteristics of the old-nature, The Christian would simultaneously put on the qualities of the New Man by the Power of the Spirit. The Christian would disavow the old self with its evil practices and put on the new self, created and renewed in the image of Christ. In other words, the child of God would disregard the old self and respond to the new self. This is true of all believers regardless of heritage, culture, economic status, social class or any other distinction. This is not action at will. It is responsive obedience.

Notes/Applications

Put off the old and put on the new. Those are the simple words Paul used to describe the transformation of the life of a sinner saved by Grace. The conventional import of these simple words might convey something superficial, something we project, something external. Nevertheless, Paul calls for a pervading radical transformation.

Oftentimes, when we make changes in appearance, deportment, or even motivation and personal goal, others would remark: We are like new. We have turned a new leaf. We have become new individuals. That is usually the case, because we can easily impress the mortal eyes of our fellow human beings who can only observe the external. The radical transformation in Paul's exhortation calls for a deeper stirring of the soul and the spirit of the redeemed.

In other words, the old order of the old self is now replaced by the new because all prior things are passed away, as in dead. That is, if we have been made new in Christ, then there is a new order which interacts only with the new Master in place, the Holy Spirit. Since the New Man has no common grounds with the old self, the transformed will of the New Man deliberately and consciously disavows the old and refuses to respond or react to the old-nature.

Paul's exhortation is incisive and challenges us to reflect our spiritual transformation in our life, demeanor, actions, decisions, relationships, and in every aspect of our being. The positional transformation of a justified believer must bear fruit in the daily walk of the child of God. The redeemed must leave the flesh with all of its passion nailed to the Cross of Christ and rise anew with Jesus Christ in His victorious Resurrection.

Our transformation is radical. Our regenerated spirit is equipped to recognize the corrupt signals coming from the flesh. It is empowered to resist the sin-nature. Our transformed will is fashioned to respond to the precepts of the Word of God and to the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit. Our spirit is enabled to reject the will of the dead flesh. We are radically different from what we were because we are new in Christ. Light has nothing in common with darkness, nor righteousness with corruption.

Here at Practical Christianity Foundation we believe that God has mercifully extended His Grace toward us and has given us His living and Holy Word to guide us in our journey in this world. We count it privilege to come alongside you and minister to you through prayer and the sharing of God's living and holy Word. Please contact us if you have any questions concerning your faith and journey as a Christian.

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