Immoral Depravity vs. Spiritual Maturity: Conforming to the Image of Christ
Chapter 3 begins by the Apostle Paul establishing the foundation for the practical section of the book of Colossians regarding the Christian life. He teaches the Colossians to set their minds on things above (Christ, Heaven, and Second Coming). The reason he does this is to demonstrate that the core component to the Christian life is to be constantly seeking and setting our minds on Christ and His heavenly kingdom, and therefore causing us to live in conformity to the holiness and goodness of God.
Now Paul brings us to a 1st century literary element called a ‘virtue and vice list’. Virtues are moral and ethical principles of one's life and conduct of uprightness, moral excellence, goodness, and righteousness. Vices are immoral conduct, evil habits or practices, and depraved or degrading behavior. They are contrary to virtues. Virtue and vice lists were used quite often and were a way of conveying moral truth and instruction in a memorizing learning method. Paul used this list to spell out and enumerate various good qualities to be nurtured (virtues) and bad traits to be avoided (vices).
Read Colossians 3:5-17
Colossians 3:5-9 Old man dead in sin (putting off sinful behavior)
Colossians 3:10-17 New man alive in Christ (putting on godly behavior)
Paul states 3 times to ‘put off’ or ‘put to death’ the characteristics and attributes of worldliness, and 3 times to ‘put on’ the characteristics and attributes of godliness.
This is the classic passage of Scripture explaining what a Christian should look like – just like Christ. The whole text was written to portray how a believer should behave and demonstrate Christ-likeness. Paul uses the illustration of putting on and putting off of obedient and disobedient behaviors to show the Colossians how to be conformed to the image of Christ.
Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
The Message Translation says it this way, “Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
In the Christian Counselors Manual by Jay Adams, it discusses the Elements of Dehabituation and Rehabituation which consists of putting off and putting on behaviors for Christ-likeness. He shares with us 7 principles to put off and put on godly behavior:
First, identify the sinful pattern that must be stopped.
Secondly, find the biblical alternative to change for Christ.
Thirdly, begin taking steps to make the change happen.
Fourthly, start changing the sinful pattern and disrupting its habituation.
Fifthly, get some accountability to help you change.
Sixthly, remember the Lord in reverence that the change is in obedience to your relationship with Jesus Christ.
Lastly, practice doing the new godly patterns to become more Christ-like.
I. Old Man Walkin’ – Sinful Lust
II. Old Man Talkin’ – Sinful Language
III. New Man Walkin’ – Godly Conduct
VI. New Man Talkin’ – Godly Character
I. Old Man Walkin’
A. Sinful Lust (Colossians 3:5-7)
1. Fornication – Generally used to describe unlawful sexual intercourse and immorality such as homosexuality.
2. Uncleanness – Refers to impurity of thought, word, or action. (Moral filth rather than physical filth)
3. Passion – Denotes strong and unbridled lust. Similar to what Paul says in Romans 1 about man’s burning in their uncontrollable vile passions of lusts for immorality and homosexuality.
4. Evil desire – Speaks of intense and often violent cravings.
5. Covetousness & Idolatry – Generally used to describe greediness or the desire to have more. Specifically refers to the ungodly hunger to satisfy sexual appetite of the flesh.
II. Old Man Talkin’
A. Sinful Language (Colossians 3:8-9)
1. Anger – Strong, bitter, unforgiving feeling of hatred.
2. Wrath – Describes angry violent outbursts.
3. Malice – Wicked conduct to another with the intention of harming his person or reputation. It is an unreasonable dislike that takes pleasure in seeing others suffer.
4. Blasphemy – This word is speaking of scolding someone with harsh words. It basically means to tell someone off!
5. Filthy language – Pagan, shameful, indecent, corrupt, disgraceful, impure, and unholy words.
6. Lying – Distort the truth. Not telling the truth. (Cheating on taxes, exaggerating details, making false statements, creating false stories.)
Your Regeneration and Unification: God has transformed us in the knowledge of Christ, which all men, weither Greek, Jew, Barbarian, or Scythian are all nationalities saved by God's grace through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ. God has no salvidic partially to any type of people or nation. Therefore all believers have equal favor with God and in Christ! We need to have no division among us as we use to have as non-believers.
III. New Man Walkin’
A. Godly Conduct (Colossians 3:10-13)
1. Tender mercies – Speaks of a heart of compassion.
2. Kindness – The unselfish spirit of doing for others, the attitude of affection or goodwill.
3. Humility – the willingness to be humbled and to esteem others better than yourself.
4. Meekness – The strength to deny oneself and to walk in grace toward all men. It is the opposite of self assertiveness and self importance.
5. Longsuffering – To have joy and kindness to others along with preserving through trials and suffering.
6. Bearing with one another – Being patience with one another in the failings and weird ways of others.
7. Forgiving one another – To grant reconciliation or pardon to someone for what their previously did that was undeserving.
IV. New man Talkin’
A. Godly Character (Colossians 3:14-17)
1. Love others – The most essential and vital part of the Christian life. Love is the belt that binds all other virtues together in order to make perfection.
2. Peace of God ruling in your heart – The assurance of God’s will playing out in your life.
3. Word of Christ – To saturate our hearts and minds with the word of God, to grow in wisdom and spiritual understanding of the knowledge of the will of God.
4. Teaching others – With all wisdom exposit and share the truths of Scripture with others.
5. Encouraging others – Providing knowledge and application of the word of God to help others.
6. Worshipping – Describing inspired utterances from the depths of our hearts to the rooftops in heaven. Praise addressed to God directly in spirit and about him specifically in truth. (Spirit & Truth - Worship to God, and worship about God)
7. Do everything for the Lord – In all that you do everyday, do it unto the glory of God! Work unto the Lord. Do school work unto the Lord. Exercise and play sports unto the Lord. Do everything everyday for his glory and greater purposes! The reason Paul says this verse is to sum up everything he said regarding putting on Christian virtues.
8. Do everything for the Lord and he will be glorified and you will be satisfied. When you work or do things unto the Lord (meaning you work hard and faithful to glorify God) you will be satisfied by the indwelling Spirit of Christ that comforts our souls with rest. John Piper famously says, “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.”
9. Giving thanks – The doctrine of thanksgiving is a “perpetual duty for those saved by grace and destined for the courts of heaven.” We are to be thankful people who direct our praise of thanks to our Creator and Savior Jesus Christ.
Romans 13:14 is the key, "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Here is something to remember what Paul is trying to teach us in this text that is inspired by God: Do not live like the old sinful man in worldliness, but live like the new righteous man in godliness!