It sounds strange to say that we should GET BUSY GETTING GODLY, but that’s what I see in this section of Colossians 3. The Christian life is not passive. There is much for us to DO, and much for us to put into PRACTICE! Let’s continue our study by looking at the third set of two challenges in this great text:
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Today the two challenges are:
(1) Do not lie to each other (v. 9), and
(2) Clothe yourselves with . . . (v. 12).
First, we must not lie to each other. Why not? Paul says because we have “taken off” and we have “put on.” We have “taken off your old self with its practices.” Conversion begins the process of our recognizing and rejecting our old selves, our sinful selves, our self-obsessed selves. We stop lying to each other because the truth is now more important to us than our reputations! We are also told that we are to “put on the new self.” We experience an identify switch or change when we are saved.
The story goes that Augustine was walking down the street when he saw a familiar woman walking towards him. He bowed his head and walked to the other side. She called out to him, “Augustine! Augustine!” He did not look up or answer. She called all the more urgently and other passers-by began to notice. “Augustine! Don’t you remember me? Don’t you remember those nights together? Augustine! It is I!” Finally he looked up and replied, “Yes, but it is no longer I.”
Our identity has changed in Christ! We have put on — and must continue to put on — the new self “which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (v. 10).
Second, we are told we must “clothe ourselves with” (v. 12). Newborn babies are naked. New believers in Christ are not to be naked (spiritually). We have the responsibility to clothe ourselves with: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Wow. Those are a lot of virtues to work on!