THE PATTERN OF RENEWAL

Scripture Reading: Colossians 3:5-11

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you…In these things you once walked when you were living in them…But now you must put them away…and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.” (Colossians 3:5a,7,8a,10)

Paul explains the pattern for spiritual renewal in these verses. Believers are to lay aside the old self. Paul explains this in greater detail in his epistles to the Ephesians and to the Romans — “That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit” (Ephesians 4:22). We must remember that the old self was crucified with Christ — “Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6). Therefore, we must consider ourselves dead to sin but alive to God — “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11).

This is why Paul wrote — “But now you must put these away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self” (vs. 8,9).

We cannot put these things off without putting something else on in their place — “And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator” (v. 10). We are to remember that we have been raised with Christ, so that we can walk in newness of life — “Therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). We have the ability to live in a manner worthy of the gospel, for we have Christ living in us (Galatians 2:20).

The key is to learn the practice of renewal. It involves a continual putting off and putting on. It takes both. Daily we must keep this before us. We must be aware of our old self attitudes and behaviors, so that when they occur we can take decisive action to put them off and immediately to put on the new self — “And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:23). We will look at this in more detail in the next passage.

Lord Jesus, give me the strength and the desire to put off my old self, which is corrupt and sinful, and to put on my new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator. I can never do this alone; I need Your strength and presence to do it.

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