The Book of COLOSSIANS
James J. Barker
THE NEW MAN
- Verses 9 and 10 refer to the old man and the new man. The old man is who we were in Adam. The new man is who we are in Christ.
- Not only is the Christian to put off the evils of the old life, he is also to put on the graces of the new life (3:5ff).
- Colossians 3 teaches us that Christians have put off the unregenerate self and have put on the regenerate self.
- This took place at our conversion when we were regenerated by the Spirit of God.
- Guy King told a story about a group of tourists visiting a beautiful castle in England. While wandering around the grounds they came across an old man. Thinking he was one of the gardeners they asked him if the duke was home.
- It turns out that it was the duke himself, but he was dressed in gardener's clothes. That day he wasn't dressed like a duke normally would.
- As Christians we are to dress the part, every day and on every occasion -- "as the elect of God, holy and beloved" (3:12).
- Romans 13:14 says, "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof."
- Isaiah 61:10 says, "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness."
- Titus 2:10 says we are to "adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things."
- Every day our regenerate self is continually being renewed in knowledge after the image of God that created us (3:10).
- "But though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day" (II Cor. 4:16).
- This begins at conversion and continues till we get to heaven. Titus 3:5 says God "saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."
- Being "renewed in knowledge" (Col. 3:10) means growing in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18).
- Being "renewed in knowledge" means "transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). This comes as we study God's Word (Col. 3:16).
- It is the Spirit of God transforming us. "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the LORD" (II Cor. 3:18).
- Because we are in Christ, and "have put on the new man," certain distinctions have been done away (Col. 3:11). To the Jew, the world was divided into two groups: Greeks (Gentiles) and Jews; those who were circumcised (Jews) and those who were not (Gentiles).
- The Greeks and Romans considered non-Greeks and non-Romans as "Barbarians" and "Scythians." Scythians occupied Scythia, modern day Russia. The more civilized nations of antiquity regarded the Scythians as the wildest of barbarians (Strong's Concordance).
- Colossians 3:12 says we are to put on "bowels of mercies," a heart full of compassion. Next comes "kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering."
- First Peter 5:5 says we are to "be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble."
- This is in direct contrast to the conduct of the old man (cf. 3:8).
- Those who are humble will be slow to resent wrongs (3:13) -- "even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."
THE BOND OF PERFECTNESS (3:14)
- Paul continues to use the figure of clothing. The "bond" was a girdle by which the robes of an Eastern man were gathered about his waist.
- Charity (love) is the bond of perfectness (3:14). Over all these spiritual "garments" (compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, forbearance, forgiveness), we are to put on love, because love binds everything together in "perfectness" (Christian maturity).
- W.H. Griffith Thomas said, "Love is regarded as the means of uniting and holding together all the elements of the true believer's life" (Studies in Colossians).
- Griffith Thomas said the Christian life is a pilgrim life, and the Christian needs a compass ("the peace of God" -- 3:15), a staff ("the word of Christ" -- 3:16), and a passport ("the name of the Lord Jesus" -- 3:17).
- "The peace of God" (3:15) includes sins forgiven, burdens lifted, and condemnation removed.
- "The peace of God" (3:15) means divine pardon, divine justification, and the divine presence.
- Philippians 4:7 says, "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
- Isaiah 26:3 says, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."
- Thankfulness is the inevitable outcome of God's perfect peace. The Spirit-filled believer appreciates all God has done for him, and who he is in Christ, and is thankful to God (Col. 3:15b; 17).
- First Thessalonians 5:18 says, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
THE INDWELLING WORD OF CHRIST (3:16)
- The Greek word translated "dwell" comes from "a house." The Word of Christ is to take up its abode in our hearts.
- There is a marked similarity between the result of letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly and being filled with the Holy Spirit (cf. Eph. 5:18-20).
- When one is truly filled with the Spirit he will likewise be filled with the Word of God, and visa versa.
- Colossians 3:16 and 17 describe for us the genuine Christian life. This is what it means to put off the old man and put on the new man.
I will conclude with another quote from W.H. Griffith Thomas.
"What does the peace of Christ do? (3:15)...here Christ's peace is to be received into the heart as the arbiter deciding
the course and ruling the life (Gr., "umpire")...This word, translated here 'rule,' suggests that which settles differences,
especially where there is any conflict of thoughts and feelings. Under such circumstances 'the peace of Christ' is to decide;
and if it be asked how peace is able to do this perhaps the explanation is that just as peace with God is the result of our
acceptance of Christ as Savior (Rom. 5:1), so the experience of peace in the soul, in union with Christ and through the
presence of the Holy Spirit, will at once settle every difficulty, resolve every conflict, and show us what is the will of God."