Colossians 3:8-10

Put Off The Old

 

Introduction:

1. After presenting the believer’s glorious position in Christ, Paul uses that positional truth as the REASON or BASIS for the following exhortations to a worthy walk.

2. The first exhortation was to mortify the sins of the flesh. (vs. 5)

a. Because God’s wrath is executed against such sins. (vs. 6)

b. Because it was part of your former life and is not consistent with your new life in Christ. (vs. 7)

3. The second exhortation was to PUT OFF ALL these sins!

a. The first exhortation was to “put to death.” This exhortation is to “put off.”

b. The wording is different, but the meaning is the same. Such sins are not to be tolerated by the believer in Christ.

c. Paul changes his wording here because he is about to relate our responsibility with ANOTHER aspect of positional truth: the fact that our old man has already been put off, and our new man has already been put on.

4. Paul uses TWO positional truths as a basis for a worthy walk… intended to have an immediate effect on our earthly lives.

a. Our old life came to an end and our new life is hidden with Christ in God in heaven (3:3)
• THEREFORE put to death that which characterized our old fleshly life on earth. (3:5)
• This is a contrast between two kinds of LIFE- our heavenly life and our earthly life.

b. Our old man has been put off (3:9b) and our new man has been put on (3:10a).
• THEREFORE put off the dirty garments of our old life.
• This is a contrast between two PERSONS… our old man and our new man.
» The Holy Spirit places this exhortation on a mighty powerful foundation: we are a new kind of person with a new kind of life!
» Such a radical change of position (death to life; earth to heaven) DEMANDS an appropriate change of behavior.

5. Paul then lists several examples of sins to be put off. (vs. 8)

a. While the first exhortation was quite focused on one particular kind of sin (sexual sins), this is a much broader exhortation to put off ALL sins.

b. The list he gives seems to lend itself to being divided into two main groups: sins of the temper and sins of the mouth.

6. Next week Lord willing, we will look in more detail at the positional truths behind the exhortation.

a. This morning we want to look at the exhortation itself: to put off all these sins: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication, and lying.

Put Off All These

A. Put Off – Defined

1. Strong’s: to put off; lay aside.

2. Zodhiates: To renounce, lay off or down.

3. Dictionary of Bible Languages: To place in another location; figuratively = to get rid of.

4. Lindell & Scotts Greek/English Lexicon: to put away from oneself, lay aside, of arms and clothes.

5. Used in various ways:

a. Acts 7:58 – the men laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet.

b. Rom. 13:12 – cast off the works of darkness.

c. Heb.12:1 – let us lay aside every weight…

d. Eph.4:22, 25 – putting off our former conversation… and putting away lying…

e. The Ephesian usage of the term is identical to that in Colossians.

6. It speaks of putting off the sins of our former lifestyle in the language of a man putting off his dirty clothes.

a. Behavior or character is often described in the Bible as “clothing.”
• Job 29:14 – ?I put on righteousness, and it clothed me.
• Ps. 35:26 – let them be clothed with shame and dishonour.
• The Christian soldier’s armor is a clothing descriptive of his behavior and character… righteousness, truth, peace, etc.
• The believers in heaven are pictured clothed in fine linen, clean and white. (Rev. 19:8)

b. “Putting off” implies putting off the dirty clothing of your past life.
• In vs. 12 we are told to put on the clean clothing fit for our new life in Christ.
• Thus, the terms Paul used picture the believer putting off the sins of the old man in the same way we take off soiled, smelly clothes.
• The dirty garments refer to the unrighteous lifestyle of the old man we used to be. They are to be put off! Get rid of them… put them to death.

c. That clothing was suited for our past life of sin… dirty… offensive to God… but is to be removed and renounced once saved.

B. ALL These

1. In Col. 3:8, Paul commands the believers to put off ALL these sins.

a. 3:7 – Paul just reminded them of their former lifestyle before they came to know Christ as Savior.
• They USED to live in sin… in all kinds of sins.
• Living in sin is natural for the natural man. That’s the only realm in which he is ABLE to walk.
• The natural man has not been born again. He does not have a new nature.
• He CANNOT walk in newness of life.

b. All the old man possesses is the old nature… the sin nature… fallen, corrupt human nature, inherited from his parents…
• The sin nature, the fleshly nature can be moral, have high standards, sophisticated, educated, cultured, polished, and even religious, but it CANNOT please God.
• The flesh CANNOT step outside the realm of sin…
• Even his moral or religious efforts to produce good works flow from his corrupt human nature.
• The fountain is corrupt and everything that comes from that fountain is corrupt.

c. Eph. 2:1, 3 – We were DEAD IN SIN. Sin is the realm in which the unbeliever lives—spiritual death—separated from God. In that realm we “had our conversation”… we walked… we lived.
• We were slaves to sin… and unable to redeem ourselves from that slavery.
• The unbeliever WALKED in the flesh… which was always contrary to the Spirit. (The flesh is contrary to the Spirit).
• It is understandable that an unbeliever would live in sin and walk in darkness.
• That’s all he knows. That’s all he is capable of doing.

C. But Now

1. Paul states in vs. 7-8 that the Colossians USED to live that way at one time, BUT NOW… put off all these!

a. But now = indicates that a CHANGE has occurred.

b. But now = now that you are saved… regenerated!

c. Now that you have been raised up with Christ into heavenly places!

d. Now that you are a new creature… indwelt by God…

e. Now that you have a new nature and you are now ABLE to walk in newness of life…

f. THEREFORE… put of ALL these… not just the sexual sins… but ALL of the sins Paul lists in vs. 8-9 too!

g. It is understandable that the unsaved man walks in such sins. BUT NOW that you are saved, it’s time to put off those all those kinds of sins!

h. Col. 1:26-27 – BUT NOW Christ dwells in us. His presence in us… should CHANGE the way we live… the way we think… every aspect of our behavior…

2. The sins associated with our former lifestyles are to be put off as one would put off dirty clothes…

a. Reason: because those dirty clothes are not fitting for one in our new position—a life hidden in heaven!

b. Illustration: The laborer in the coal mine is grimy all day long at his job. His clothes are dirty… even when washed! If that laborer is given a promotion to work in the front office, he is expected to put away the grimy, dirty, old, clothes as unfit and inappropriate for his new POSITION.

c. It would be an insult and an embarrassment to the manager who PUT you in that new position, for you to show up in the office in your dirty clothes.

d. His position determines his clothing!

e. Application:
• Our new position in Christ demands that we discard the dirty clothing of our past. They are unfit and inappropriate for our new position in heavenly places in Christ.
• It is an insult to God for one of HIS children and representatives to be seen in such dirty clothing!
• Our position in Christ determines our clothing/behavior too…
• These are ever the expressions of gracious exhortations to holiness… in the age of grace.

Anger, Wrath, and Malice

A. Introduction

1. Paul separates the two lists of sins. They are two different categories of sins.

2. The first list (vs. 5) all spoke of sexual sins.

3. This next list (vs. 8-9) speaks of sins that “lash out at people”… either with our temper or our mouth.

B. Anger Defined

1. Anger is a chronic attitude of smoldering hatred.

a. Wuest: (O???), “an abiding, settled, and habitual anger that includes in its scope the purpose of revenge.”
• This is the term that is translated “wrath” in vs. 6.
• This term is used of God. God possesses a settled, habitual anger of smoldering hatred against all forms of unrighteousness.
• It is right for a believer to also have a controlled, settled sense of indignation against sin too.

b. But this is not what Paul is speaking about here.
• He is speaking about a sinful anger we allow to simmer in our minds and hearts…
• This is a smoldering hatred for a person… or even against God Himself!

2. This kind of smoldering hatred can fester in the heart for a long time… even for years!

a. Ex: Absalom – II Sam. 13:22-23 –
• This may have BEGUN as righteous indignation against the sin.
• Absalom held in his wrath… and never dealt with it the proper way. He should have gone to his brother and confronted him… man to man.
• But instead, he didn’t talk to his brother, and allowed his anger and hatred to simmer in his heart for two full years.
• In time, he plotted to murder his brother.
• This was not a quick outburst of anger, (a crime of passion), but a slow, simmering wrath that was allowed to continue on and on… (Premeditated).
• Anger is behind a crime of passion. Wrath is behind premeditated murder.

b. Ex: someone says or does something that gets you angry, and it gets under your skin and eats away at you.
• You are furious, but you don’t blow up, you hold it all in… perhaps for years.
• As a believer, if a brother in Christ offends us we are to go that brother and straighten it out… face to face.
• We are to deal with it SOON… and not allow the sun to go down upon our wrath.
• But often we don’t… and let it eat away at us… and ruin our fellowship.
• Allowing anger to continue to simmer slowly in our hearts is SIN.

3. It is the kind of anger, which instead of exploding, implodes.

a. It is all held in… pent up feelings of anger…

b. It is anger that is kept under control, but tolerated.

c. It can be behind a long-standing grudge… a family grudge… (McCoys and the Hatfields) even a church grudge…

d. A person becomes angry, and does not deal with his anger, and chooses instead to file it away on the back burner… and there is sits for years!

e. Everything the believer does while he allows the sin of smoldering anger in his heart is wood, hay, and stubble!

4. Maybe YOU have a pot of resentment or bitterness sitting on your back burner… slowly cooking… or perhaps it is a grudge against a brother… a co worker… a spouse!

a. God says “Get rid of it!” It is completely unbecoming for a child of God.

b. Eph. 4:26-27 – wrath is to be dealt with each day.
• Don’t allow it to fester into the next day.
• When that becomes one’s habit, anger begins to pile up day after day.
• Confess it as sin every night… and wake up clean and with a clear conscience to start off the new day.

c. Anger in the heart not dealt with not only interrupts and harms interpersonal relationships, but FAR more serious is its effect on our relationship to GOD!
• Simmering anger tolerated in the heart separates us from fellowship with God in the same way any other sin does… even the sins of the flesh mentioned in vs. 5!
• Sin is sin. There are no venial sins.
• Unless the sin of smoldering anger in our heart is dealt with, God will not hear our prayers. He will not accept our fellowship because we are walking in darkness!
• God does not accept our worship until it is made right… confessed and forsaken.
• Prayer and worship are empty shams… hollow forms unless our hearts are right. Worse then empty... it is evil to approach an infinitely holy God… the One who rules the Universe… with unconfessed sin in our hearts. God knows our hearts.
• Men can easily SEE the sin of drunkenness or HEAR the sin of cursing. But slow, simmering anger often goes unnoticed by men—and we think we are getting away with something. God sees our hearts.
• Sin tolerated is repulsive to God… and more so when we feign to worship Him in such condition.

C. Wrath

1. Wrath – (thymon) rage; an outburst of anger.

a. Wuest: ??µ??, “the boiling agitation of the feelings, a sudden violent anger.”

b. This is the type of anger that explodes rather than implodes.

c. This is the type of anger that the Greeks described as straw in a fire: it goes up in a blazing fury, but is over quickly.

d. This is the type of anger that causes us to punch a wall… swear… throw whatever is in your hand at the wall… yell…

e. It is the type of anger that arises when someone cuts you off in traffic… when you hear some bad news… when your nerves are frazzled and your six year old does something stupid…

2. Often the thumos anger explodes BECAUSE the orge anger had been simmering beneath the surface and was just waiting for an opportunity to explode!

a. If we CHOOSE to allow orge anger to simmer, we are NOT walking in the Spirit but are walking in the flesh.

b. When walking in the flesh, expect an outbreak of the flesh at any moment!

c. If we tolerate orge… slow simmering anger to fester in our heart, then don’t be surprised if it boils over at some point into an outward outburst!

d. But if we walk in the Spirit, we are NOT willing to tolerate anger at any level… and we will NOT fulfill the lusts of the flesh… including explosive anger.

e. We will DEAL with anger in our heart before it boils over and manifests outwardly.

f. Keep your heart with all diligence!

3. Examples:

a. King Asa – II Chron. 16:7,9c,10
• Asa did not have a hearing ear.
• Vs. 9 – He was rebuked by Hanani, a prophet of God for relying on Syria rather than relying on the Lord.
• Vs. 10 – because of your folly you will have continual wars!
• Kings were not accustomed to be spoken to that way… and Asa flew off the handle and went into a rage.
• This was no slow simmer. This was an outburst of rage and anger… he blew up.
• He put the prophet into prison.

b. What Asa did you and I have done scores of times!
• Unfortunately we know all too well of the sin of flying off the handle… blowing up and saying and doing things we regret later…
• Each explosion is sin and is to be confessed and forsaken as sin.
• And the sin of anger can arise at any moment… unprovoked! Be ready to confess and forsake… day after day… and don’t grow weary of dealing with sin!
• The outward sins are relatively easy to deal with. The sins of the inner man we will have to deal with for the rest of our days.
• But DEAL with it we must! Don’t make excuses for it. Don’t brush it under the rug. CONFESS it as the awful sin that it is!
• Make things right with God AND man.
• But as time goes on, though we will never in this life be sinless… as we mature, we can sin LESS… less frequently…

D. Malice

1. “Malice” (kakian) – ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, a general term of all that is bad or evil…

a. Titus 3:3 – before salvation, we LIVED in malice… ill will towards others.

b. Admit it—we have all had ill feelings towards others… a desire to injure them… or a desire to see something bad happen to them… and then a little gloating over their misfortune!

c. When someone gets us angry, it is natural to want to get even… to want to harm them… a desire to injure them.

d. It is natural—and that is the problem. It is part of the natural man… the old man… the person we were in Adam BEFORE we were saved!

e. That’s the way we were—BUT NOW—now that we are saved, we are to put off malice… ill will towards others.

f. The word malice appears in the New Testament in a couple of passages where we are told what to DO with malice.
• Jas. 1:21 –
» Naughtiness = same word as malice
» Lay apart = same word as put off in Col. 3:8… put off malice like old dirty clothes.
» Lay apart all malice and RECEIVE the engrafted word which is able to SAVE your soul
· James is not writing to unbelievers, but believers.
· He is not telling them how to be saved or justified, but how to be delivered from the sins mentioned: filthiness and malice!
· We are delivered from such sins by receiving the Word…
• I Peter 2:1-3
» Lay aside = same word as “put off” in Col. 3:8.
» Lay aside all malice… put it off like a dirty rag…
» Once off, DESIRE the sincere milk of the word… that ye may grow thereby!
» Malice in the heart hinders spiritual growth and progress as believers. Get rid of it!
» Such malice is childish… BUT keep on filling your mind and heart with the Word… and you will grow to maturity!
» Malice is evil intent towards others. God’s Word will fill our minds with the Person of Christ… of whom it was said at His coming into the world: good will towards man…
» The more the mind of Christ is developed in our minds… the more we will think and behave like Him. That IS spiritual growth!

• In both passages, using the same verb as Col. 3:8, the Word of God is mentioned as God’s answer to malice in one’s life.
» Desire it like a baby desiring his milk… develop a hunger and thirst for God’s Word.
» RECEIVE it… take it in. Satisfy that desire!
» A mind and heart that is filled up with God’s Word… saturated with it… is less likely to be seeking ill will toward a brother!
» Nor will that man be as likely to break out into a rage… or to tolerate slow simmering wrath.
» If you have TASTED that the Lord is gracious, KEEP ON tasting!
» The one who is filled with Christ, His Spirit, and His Word will not be filled with lust, anger, or malice!
» The answer isn’t found in psychology. But the answer IS found in the BIBLE.

Blasphemy, Filthy Communication, Lying

1. Blasphemy: (blasphemian, “slander, evil speaking”).

a. Wuest: slander, detraction, speech injurious to another’s good name

b. This would include blasphemy against God…
• Referring to oneself as deity is blasphemy. That is what Jesus was accused of.
• But it is blasphemous to use the Lord’s name in vain too! That too is sin.
• It has become popular today—especially with young girls to say, “O my God” as if it were an interjection.
• God’s name is HOLY. It is not an interjection. It is a precious name to used with great care… and not in vain (empty; no purpose).
• Do not blaspheme… speak evil… by using God’s holy name in a casual manner.

c. While the term blasphemy is used as evil speaking against God, in writing to believers, it is more likely Paul had in mind evil speaking against men.
• We have all been guilty of this sin too: speaking evil of others… slander… saying things about a person that was intended to hurt them… to damage their reputation… make them look bad before others…
• This is malice coming forth out of the mouth!
• If malice is in the heart… and a slow simmering anger against a person is in our heart… then eventually it will come out of our mouths… in the form of evil speaking!

d. Blasphemy… ALL evil speaking… is to be put off like a dirty rag. It is unbecoming for a saint of God.

2. Filthy communication (aischrologian) is shameful, indecent, dishonorable, or abrasive speech.

a. Wuest: foul sneaking, low and obscene speech.

b. This term speaks of foul language… swearing… cursing… a dirty mouth…

c. The Christian is a new creature, and should develop a new vocabulary!
• Some words may not actually be curse words… but they might not be fitting for a believer.
• Some terms might be insensitive, coarse, tactless, rude, vulgar, or offensive.
• The believer ought to be CAREFUL about the very words we choose to speak.
• Remember, we are going to be judged by our words… every idle word spoken will be evaluated at the Bema seat of Christ.
• Matt. 12:36 – But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

d. Eph. 5:4 – Paul expands this to foolish talking or jesting.
• Filthiness – obscene speech; shameless speech or conduct. (Cf. Eph. 5:12 – a shame to speak of some things!)
• Jesting = (lit = good + turn… twisting words and meanings around to make it funny)… joking around.
» But Paul is not forbidding joking in general. He is forbidding jesting “which is not convenient --- fitting, becoming a saint.”
· Note that Paul uses the very same REASONING here as in Colossians.
· The REASON not to use coarse language is based upon our position.
· If you are born again, you are a saint of God. Your speech should reflect your position!
» Good clean jokes are good, clean fun.
» But beware because good clean jokes in a time of laughter can easily and quickly degenerate into that which is no longer good clean fun.
» When that occurs, walk away. Don’t get caught up in that frenzy… and find yourself laughing at clever, but filthy jokes!
» Dirty jokes… even off colored jokes… questionable jokes… or jokes designed to hurt people… are UNBECOMING a saint of God.
» And don’t tell jokes that on the edge of being dirty… or ambiguous in meaning… shady…
» If you wouldn’t tell the joke if Christ were standing next to you, then don’t tell it ever… because Christ lives IN you!
• Our speech should be PURE… clean… holy… honorable… glorifying to God.
• In this context, Paul says that THANKSGIVING is fitting for the believer. Replace the coarse, vulgar speech with thanksgiving.
• Eph. 4:29 – let NO corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth… but that which is good to the use of edifying that it may minister GRACE to the hearers.
• This is a command to be OBEYED!

3. Lying (Eph. 4:25) for truthfulness is essential in followers of the One who is “the Truth” (John 14:6)

a. Defined: to lie, to speak deliberate falsehoods; to deceive one by a lie.

b. Lying is more than just an inaccuracy. It is the MOTIVE that makes it a lie… the INTENT to deceive.

c. You’re not lying if you give inaccurate information, but you THOUGHT it was true. It is a lie when you give inaccurate information and intend to deceive and mislead.

d. Thus, because it involves our intentions, we can lie in lots of ways… not just speech… in writing… in what we leave out of a conversation… through innuendo…

e. Wuest: “Lie” is present imperative in a prohibition, forbidding the continuance of an action already going on.
• It is, “Stop lying to one another.”
• Yes even believers lie… and it is always sinful.
• We are to put it to death… put it off like a filthy garment.
• What could be more contrary to our position in Christ, who is the TRUTH?!

Seeing Ye Have Put Off the Old Man with His Deeds

1. Here Paul continues his exhortations based upon our position.

2. The old man is the man we were in Adam.

a. It stands in contrast to the new man we are in Christ. (vs. 10)

b. The old man is the unregenerate you… the unsaved you… the person you were before you came to Christ for salvation.

c. That person was dead in sins… enslaved to sin… only had one nature: a sin nature.

d. Therefore, the old man LIVED in the kinds of sins listed.

e. These sins were characteristic of his lifestyle.

3. He states that the Colossians had already put off the old man.

a. The old man is crucified… dead… mortified… put off (Col. 2:20; Col. 3:3; Rom. 6:6).

b. This is not a command to put off our old man. It is a statement of fact. He is dead already!

c. This is true of EVERY true believer in Christ.

d. That means that the person we USED to be… the one who was ENSLAVED to sin and had no choice is now DEAD. He died with Christ!

e. We have been set FREE from bondage and slavery to sin. We don’t HAVE to live that way any more!

f. The liar died with Christ! Praise the Lord.

g. The blasphemer died. The man with the dirty mouth died. The man who led an unclean, lascivious, and covetous life is dead.

h. Therefore, don’t behave like that old man. Put off his dirty clothing… his bad behavior.

i. BUT NOW we are saved! BUT NOW we are new creatures! BUT NOW our old man is dead…

j. Therefore, behaving like that dirty old man is unbecoming one in our glorious heavenly position!

k. We have a new position. God expects us to wear the new clothing… white linen… clean and white… the righteousness of the saints. We should be CLOTHED with righteousness… in mind, heart, speech, and behavior.

l. And this command is to be OBEYED… NOT in order to BECOME a saint of God… but because we already ARE a saint of God… a new creature!

m. Our new position as a redeemed son of God, as a citizen of heaven, as one who is risen with Christ and seated in heavenly places, ought to have an effect on our thinking, our attitude, and our behavior!
• It should CHANGE the condition of our daily lives… and make us more like Christ!
• If it doesn’t change us, then it really hasn’t sunken in yet!


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