Changing Spiritual Clothes

July 13, 2016

Colossians 3:9, 10

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

We’re still on our Colossians passage that was the featured Scripture for the last five Can’t Or Won’t! blogs.  But in further study, I decided on a different title for today – Changing Spiritual Clothes.  Here are the two verses on which this is based – Colossians 3:9 and 10:

      Do not lie to one to another since you have put off the old man with
      his deeds; and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge
      according to the image of Him who created him….

We looked at eleven negatives which Paul says to put off – “…fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire…covetousness…anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language [and]…. Do not lie…” (Colossians 3:5, 8, 9).  But then he generalizes, with this illustration of Changing Spiritual Clothes:  “…put off…and…put on….”  Peter tells us in II Peter 3:16 and 17 that the apostle Paul in some of his writings is, “…hard to be understood….”  That’s because he goes deeply into his teachings.  There has never been a greater theological mind than Saint Paul’s!  But he also has the gift of simplicity, and relies on it often!  In our featured Scripture he uses the simple terms of Changing Clothes to encapsulate the eleven negatives and the several positives we will be examining soon.

•      Colossians 3:9 – “…put off the old man with his deeds….”  The old man is the old sinful nature with which we are born into this world.  It is also called by several other names – sinful flesh (Romans 8:3); the flesh (John 6:33; Romans 7:5, 25; Galatians 5:16-21 and many other Scriptures); natural man (I Corinthians 2:14); carnal (Romans 7:14); carnal mind (Romans 8:7); and the body of this death (Romans 7:24).  This is the natural state of a human being before he or she puts his or her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  And we have inherited this nature from our parents – passed down from generation to generation beginning with our very first ancestor, Adam! (See Romans 5:12).

Although we can be born again by wholeheartedly believing in Christ (see John 1:12, 13); and upon such spiritual birth we receive a new godly nature (see Ezekiel 36:26; II Corinthians 5:17); we still have the old sinful nature with which to contend!  Paul tells us in Galatians 5:17 (Good News Bible):

      For what our human nature wants is opposed to what the Spirit wants,
      and what the Spirit wants is opposed to what our human nature wants. 
      These two are enemies, and this means that you cannot do what you
      want to do.

The apostle’s own struggles between the flesh and the Spirit he graphically describes in Romans 7:14 through 25.  And when I read that passage, I so often see myself in Paul’s struggles!  But I have learnedas Paul also came to experiencethat a Christian can move from the struggles of Romans 7 to the victory of Romans 8!  He writes in verses 1 and 2:

      There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who
      do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  For the law
      of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin
      and death.

How did he do it?  By Changing Spiritual Clothes!  He and we must…put off the old man with his deeds….

•      Colossians 3:10 – “…and…put on the new man….”  The new man is the new nature that is born of God’s Holy Spirit born again (see John 3:3-7; I Peter 1:23).  This birth introduces into our person a nature that is in the image of God – a nature that cannot and will not sin! (See I John 3:9; 5:18).  But this fact does not guarantee we will have victory over the old nature!  We must actively and constantly turn away from the old and give precedence to the new!  Or in the words of Paul in our Scripture:  “…put off the old man with his deeds; and…put on the new man….

Paul tells us in Romans 6:11, “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  This dying to ourselves is what Jesus calls us to do when He told His followers in Mark 8:34 through 37:

      Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his
      cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but
      whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.  For what
      will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 
      Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

The cross is an instrument of death!  If we take up our cross and follow Jesus, we are going out to die with Him!  Jesus also showed us the simplest way to accomplish this dying to self – simple but not easy!  In Luke 22:42 the Savior prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane:  “Father, if it is Your will, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”  To die to our old sinful nature so the new godly nature can shine forth, we must constantly say in one way or another,Never mind what I want, God!  What do you want?  Tell me, and I will do it with your help!”  And His help?  Study what Paul wrote in Philippians 2:12 and 13!

Jesus set the example!  Paul set the example!  As Jesus said in Luke 10:27, “Go and do likewise.

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