The New Man (Colossians 3:6-11)
There’s power in the Gospel. This morning, we want to examine that power.
The New Man Lives Without Wrath, v 6
Because of the acts of the old man, God’s wrath is coming. Paul defines the “old man.” He describes these acts as “on the earth.” “On the earth” is the opposite of “in heaven.” Thus, these acts are contrary to heaven. The sins listed here form the way of life for the old man. This old man is to be “put to death”–We are to get rid of these actions and change our lives.
Because of the old man, God’s wrath is coming. God’s wrath is coming “on account of these.” God’s wrath is not coming because God wants to punish people. God’s wrath is coming against sin (Rom 1:18).
This wrath will not be on everyone. This wrath is coming against the “sons of disobedience.” “Disobedience” characterizes these individuals–“sons of disobedience” are those who disobey God. Those who disobey God will experience his wrath (2 Thess 1:8-9). If one isn’t a son of disobedience, he won’t experience God’s wrath. If you want to escape God’s wrath, you need to put away your earthly acts. Are you going to experience God’s wrath?
The New Man Lives Differently, vv 7-9
We once walked in sinful ways. The lives of these Colossian Christians were at one time characterized by these sins. But, Paul uses the past tense. These Christians lived in these sins in the past. But, they no longer lived in such sins–their lives were different. Our lives, too, need to be different after our conversion. We were baptized to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4). We are a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17).
Yet, we are to put off sinful ways. Paul lists sins which are consistent with the old man. These sins largely deal with doing wrong to our fellow man. The “old man” harms other people.
These sins are to be put off. This pictures an ancient baptism. When one went into the water, he would remove his clothing to show that he was putting off his old lifestyle. After he was baptized, he would put on a pure white garment to symbolize his new life in Christ. We need to take off sin (Heb 12:1).
We are not to lie to one another. Lying is a part of the old life. We must lie to cover up our sins. We dare not lie since Satan is the father of lies (Jn 8:44).
Is your life different?
The New Man Lives Like Jesus, v 10
We are to put on the new man. We cannot be content simply to remove our old lifestyle. We need to add Christian virtues to our lives.
The new man is renewed in knowledge according to the image of his Creator. “Renew” means to make something like new. The new man becomes new according to knowledge. The “knowledge” being discussed here is not simply biblical knowledge. This knowledge is ethical knowledge. This knowledge is knowing how to live. It is not enough simply to know the Bible; we must know what it teaches about how to live.
This knowledge makes the new man like Jesus, his Creator. The Lord created the new man, and we are to become like him. The goal of our lives is to be like Jesus. God predestined Christians to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom 8:29). We are to be partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet 1:4).
Are you living like Jesus?
The New Man Lives with Different People, v 11
In Christ, all the old ways of viewing individuals are gone.
The groups discussed here:
- The Greeks. After the conquest of Alexander the Great, the Greeks considered themselves superior. They became the elite of the ancient world, and anyone who wasn’t a Greek was a barbarian.
- The Jews. The Jews considered themselves God’s special people. They despised other groups, saying they were created to burn in hell.
- Barbarian Those who didn’t speak Greek.
- Scythian. These individuals were considered the most barbaric people. The Greeks said they were more barbarian than the barbarians. Josephus, a Jewish historian, said they were little more than beasts.
- Slave. Slaves in the Roman Empire were not even considered human beings. Masters could do whatever they wanted to a slave, including killing them.
- Free men. These, like the Greeks, were considered elite. A free man and a slave would have absolutely no fellowship.
Yet, in Christ, all these barriers are destroyed. Christ is all. This means that if we despise other groups, we despise Jesus himself. Matthew 25:41-45. Christ is all in all. The Lord will dwell in any group. The Lord doesn’t view certain groups better than others and neither should we.
The new man doesn’t view himself better than anyone else.
Are you a new person in Jesus?