Colossians 3:1–17 - Brand New Life
Don't buy into the empty promises of sin, but see the joy of a new-life in Christ
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Read Colossians 3:1-17
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.
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Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 90
Q. What is the coming-to-life
of the new self?
A. It is wholehearted joy in God
and a delight to do
every kind of good
as God wants us to.
The structure of the Heidelberg Catechism follows a similar pattern which you may notice in many of the New Testament letters:
The problem of sin.
The salvation from sin is through Jesus Christ.
A saved life is a changed life of gratitude for that salvation.
Paul’s letter to the Colossians also follows this outline.
In chapter 3, Paul uses the language that is found in this week’s questions and answers— putting to death the old self and putting on the new self. He begins with the Christian’s union with Christ’s resurrection, “You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ” (3:3). Jesus ascending to glory opens the way for his followers to follow Him there.
Paul’s call to the Christian uses the strong language of “put to death,” all that which is evil and impure. He lists all the ways this old self acts: sexual immorality, covetousness, anger, slander, etc. He tells us not to mess around with sin and sinful desires. These old clothes need not just be stuffed away in the back of a closet but be thrown out and burned.
The new clothes include all the virtues and characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, love, and thankfulness. These are not how salvation is earned, but evidence of a saved life.
Since the serpent entered the garden, humans have been deceived into thinking that sin is more desirable and fun than living a righteous and holy life before God. When you think of holiness, or your idea of a ‘religious person,’ you might not think of someone smiling, laughing, and enjoying themself. But that's exactly how the catechism describes a life of wholehearted joy in God through Christ.
The coming-to-life of the new self includes a renewed perspective and a new heart and desires. It means recognizing that the pleasures of sin are empty and temporary, but what God gives us is truly amazing and full of delights that last forever (Ps. 16:11).
Colossians 3 describes a vision of a community working in perfect harmony and giving thanks to God in all things. This reality is more than new clothes, but a new life. Everything will not automatically start looking like this in its completion in this life, which is why Paul commends us to “Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (3:16).
A fitting Psalm to drive home the message of the Questions and Answers this week is Psalm 51. David beautifully describes the posture of godly repentance and restoration to the joy of salvation.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who is our gloriously holy and loving God;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask the Holy Spirit to help you set your heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - 1 Corinthians 12