Put On The New Self
3 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. 5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. 8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.
When you become a believer, you adopt a whole new set of values. You realign your life to live God’s way instead of Satan’s way. You say, “God, you know better than I do how I should live my life.”
The route to maturity is not the path of secret revelations or of self-punishing disciplines. It consists in understanding and living in the basis of the believers death, resurrection and heavenly enthronement with Christ.
The Colossians had a false notion of heavenly reality, which ironically leads them into fruitless living here on earth. Fruitful living on earth begins, rather, with the right understanding of heavenly reality.
The Apostle Paul spent the first half of his letter to the church in Colossae telling them who they were in Christ, and who Christ was in them. Now he shifts gears and basically says, “You need to put into practice what you already are in principle.” Be who God says you are. Live out your identity. Walk the talk.
An outline for today’s verses could follow the early outline of a water baptism… buried with Christ into death, raised with His resurrection power, up out of the water to live a brand new life. And that’s our three steps for today. First step that I would like to point out is…View your pre-Christian self as dead.
Therefore, put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. 8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.
Verses 3 and 5 sound like a contradiction, verse 3, you died--past tense; and then verse 5, “Put to death...” Why do you need to put to death all these parts of your earthly nature if you already died? It’s a good question, and we already know the answer.
We first become saved as we allow all our sin and pride to be put to death. We humbly come to Jesus as our only hope. And in so doing, we identify with his death. As Jesus’ body enters the grave, we consider that all we are apart from God is now spiritually dead. It’s gone. Sin’s living days are over. Sin is no longer our master! Chains broken!
Does that mean we never sin once we become a Christian? Of course not! We do. And that’s why Paul says we need to put to death these things that are supposed to be dead within us anyway. Even though our pre-Christian-self died at salvation, it still tries to live on at times, and to pretend that nothing has really changed.
Satan would have you believe that God didn’t really make you into a new creation. And so, sometimes we catch ourselves dabbling in things like sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed. Or, if you don’t find yourself in that list, consider the next: anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language from your lips, and lying. Now I think we’ve included everyone!
Look at verse 7: “in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.” Those things are past tense. That’s who you and I used to be, not who we are now. So, put it to death! View your pre-Christian self as dead!
Let me ask you a deep question: How much does a dead person sin? They don’t! Next time you’re tempted to sin, remember that dead people don’t sin! Consider yourself dead to those old ways. YES, I do know that it is hard battle. The old self likes to come out from time to time and tries to take control. We should not let it, remind ourselves that it has died! Our old self is dead!
And then the second step I would like to point out is… to draw on God’s resurrection power!
Verse 1 starts off…
3 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
Something miraculous happened the moment you believed in Christ. In that moment, not only did He put to death your old self, He gave you resurrection power as you became a new creation. We’ve talked before about Jesus’ death bringing about your “justification.” Jesus paid for all your sin for all time. Memorized the meaning of the word “justification” by the phrase, “just as if you’ve never sinned.” That’s the state Jesus moved you to.
And the other thing that happened is “identification.” You identified with Christ. You died to your old self, just as He died. And now you draw on God’s resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead. That same power helps you live into your new identity, a new creation in Christ.
Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to overcome a recurring temptation? You fail and fail again. You pray hard. You try to do the right thing. And then you give in once again, no matter how hard you’ve tried.
We’ve said it before. It comes down to this slogan, “Don’t try harder; trust more!” It’s not up to you to white knuckle it harder. It IS up to you to trust God more. Trust that God can give you the willpower you lack. Trust that God can give you the internal drive to obey Him. Trust that God can line up your desires with His desires.
And that brings us to our last step, which is to... Aim for heavenly thoughts and affections…
2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
We’re talking hearts and minds here. Your heart is where your affections lie. Your mind is where your thoughts are. Paul says keep them both set on God. The word “set” in the Greek implies an ongoing action: keep seeking after God’s righteousness. That idea reminds me of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:33…
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
You see…the more we seek His kingdom, the less we will be focus on self and sin. The less we will seek our selfish desires. When we focus on Gods kingdom, we will be stronger in fighting the desires of the flesh. Keep in mind It should be dead already, ounce in Christ!
Maybe some examples will help. One person kept a gratitude journal. And right before he went to bed, he would write down three unique things he was grateful to God for that day. His rule was that he would never use the same item twice. That made him hunt for unique gratitudes throughout the day.
Or some of you like to take early morning walks, before it gets too hot, or to sit out on the patio or deck. What if you were to use that time sometimes as a prayer time, whether walking or sitting. You can keep your eyes open to pray, you know.
It’s allowed! And you could pray about things you see. “Father, thank you for the beautiful birds who are so busy this morning! Thank you for another and for my brothers and sisters. Fill them with strength, with energy they need to serve You, with a heart that seeks after You and Your ways. Thank you for this place where we live. Help us all get along well together.”
Some of you love watching the news. Have you ever tried praying the news? As you hear about each new situation--most of it bad news, because that’s what sells!--what if you turned each story into a prayer for God’s help, God’s intercession in this world, God’s guidance, for people to live seeking “thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Pray the news!
These are just examples, ways to remind yourself you are dead to old, pre-Christian habits, you have resurrection power to help change, and you can reset your thoughts and desires to heavenly things, where Jesus is seated at the right of the Father.
As you die to self and live for Christ, something incredible happens: God transforms you more and more into the image of his Son. Look at 2 Corinthians 3:18…
2 Corinthians 3:18
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
That’s what God is doing with us, as we spend time with Him. Like Paul, we don’t always do what we know we should do. And all too often, we do what we shouldn’t do. We hurt people, even people who love us. Help us to realize, You have made us into a new creation. Help us reject the old self when it raises its ugly head. Remind us that old self is dead. Help us draw on Your resurrection power. The angel said it well, “Nothing is impossible with God.” Help us place our affections and our thoughts on Your heavenly throne, knowing that you reign over all of us. We belong to you.
When Jesus comes into a human heart by faith, through the Spirit, He sets that person free form the bondage of sin, the chains of death and the futile attempt of trying to become righteous through self-effort.
God is after transformed lives, not merely reformed ones. Part of that transformation happens as we train our minds to focus on the person of Jesus. A s we meditate on Him, the Spirit begins molding us into His image!
Pastor Richard Santos
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