10…and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:10-15
You have a new spirit in Christ, but the body and soul must be submitted to the redemptive work of the Gospel ‘till we are fully united with Christ Jesus. We can’t see your new spirit. But like fashion, the old nature and new nature is what is seen by others. When Paul speaks of the traits and qualities of the old nature and the new nature he uses the language of fashion: “put it off” and “put it on.”
For the Believer who has received Jesus Christ as Lord, the work of salvation is the renewal of the spirit. Once you were dead in your sins, but now you are alive in Christ. (Ephesians 2:1-10) You are a new creation; you have a new self, the old is gone and the new has come. (1 Corinthians 5:17) In Christ Jesus you also have a whole new wardrobe accessible in the new you that can be seen by others.
You have now become a participant in your total makeover through the Holy Spirit, God’s word, and the new community called church. Our daily responsibility is to put off the old nature and then to reach into the new wardrobe gracefully outfitted by Christ Jesus. We are to put on the new nature so that the life of Christ occupies our body and soul. This change is dynamic, not static, and it is a continual process of growth and maturity in Christ Jesus.
The new nature is so relational! Its ours because we are “God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved.” Its so relational because we have been brought into the new community where race, religion, culture, and status are not determinant. Instead Christ Jesus is all. And its Jesus who gives us a new wardrobe. We can put on:
The peace of Christ
There is no place where these qualities are not required of the Christian. As we will see later in Colossians Paul envisions the new nature being expressed not only in the fellowship of the church, but also in the home, and in the workplace. Each of these settings has a way of showing the deficits in our character.
We may be frustrated that the new nature is not automatic! But Christ’s healing and His power for life comes with the daily and seasonal work of prayer, Scripture memory, meditation, fasting, confession, worship, and the grace of receiving connection—knowing and being known, acceptance, forgiveness, and the blessings from others who are also occupied by Jesus Christ. This is how Jesus creates a gospel-shaped life with us, and us with Him.