DRESSING THE NEW MAN
Verse 12-14 says, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”
The new man in Christ has been identified. He has been redeemed, Christ is dwelling in Him and his life is hidden with Christ in God. All of this is between him and God. But are others going to notice a change in him? Yes, first he takes off the garments of the old man (vs 8-9). Now in our present verses he puts on the garments of the new man. Everyone who knows him will be aware of a change of clothes. Will they like his new wardrobe? Some will and some won’t. But the clothes identify him as a new person in Christ. They are the required dress. He can go back to the old dress but not without a penalty. You see, the new dress is required. It is not a condition to entrance into the family but it is the required dress to those born in the family. The family is identified by the dress. It is not difficult to identify one who is a member of God’s family. They dress differently. Lets examine some of the dresses.
THE GARMENT OF MERCY
Paul says, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies.” The words “Put on” translate “enduo” and means, “to sink into (clothing), put on, clothe one's self.” It is an aorist middle imperative verb. First, the aorist tense means it is referring to the ACT of putting on. You go into the dressing room with one set of clothes on, you come out with a completely new wardrobe. The middle voice is where the subject (the believers in Colosse) participates in the result of the action. They are helping themselves when they put on these garments. They will not only be helped by being identified as members of a new family but will be rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ for their obedience. The imperative mood is a command expressing urgency. Why is it urgent that the Christian dress the part of a Christian? First, it is important as an indication of the reality of one’s profession. Did you truly repent? Have you accepted the Lord Jesus and His family? Do you realize that the new birth is not just a fire escape from hell? It is a new life entered by the miracle of the new birth, and new family members with whom to associate, and different dress codes from that of the world. It would be completely inconsistent with one to profess faith in Christ as Lord and Saviour and begin to argue about the dress codes. You must understand that it is not the dress that saves you, but the dress of the old man is what we repented of. We agreed with God that “anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communications, and lying were offensive garments to God. We ask Him to forgive us for these things. God forgives us and makes us new creatures in Christ and tells us to pull these things off and put on a new wardrobe that He has provided.
He begins with the garment of mercy. The word “mercy” translates “oiktirmos” and means, “compassion, pity, mercy.” This is to come from the deepest seat of the emotional life expressed by the word “bowels.” The new birth changes the heart. God puts a new heart in the Christian. Whereas before there was anger and wrath and bitterness and hatred toward others, it is now replaced with “bowels of mercies.” You will notice that it is plural. God has mercies running out of Him like the mighty Mississippi. I am so glad that God didn’t just have the initial mercy to save me. I have had to come back to Him over and over again with some of the same things. I have found that because of God’s MERCIES I have been able to obtain undeserved forgiveness each and every time I come. The garment described as the “bowels of mercies” is where the new creature in Christ puts on this garment that makes him look like Jesus. Amen. Someone hold my mules! Next we see,
THE GARMENT OF KINDNESS
The word “kindness” translates “chrestotes” and means “moral goodness, integrity.” Isn’t this a quality that an unsaved man can have? I have known unsaved men who were what we call kind men. They were men of integrity. But it is impossible for an unsaved man to have this quality without it producing pride in him. And when it comes down to the line, he will tell you that he is as good as the Christians he knows. And it is probably true. But when he says this it means that he is saying that he is offering this to God as a means of acceptance. This is the reason for Isaiah 64:6: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” How could it be true that “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags?” First, you are expecting acceptance by God on the basis of your goodness and He has said that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” So you are telling God He is wrong, that you are different. Second, you are not approaching God for mercy because you don’t think you are wrong. You are asking for justice, God forbid. If you or me got what we deserved we would find ourselves in hell before we could think the thought!
The word “kindness” is found translated “goodness” as a fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. The kindness that Paul is talking about is a characteristic of Christ produced by the Holy Spirit in the life of the yielded saint. When goodness is in us as a fruit of the Spirit, and is demonstrated in our lives toward the undeserving, it does not build pride in us as it does the unsaved man. We know that God is working the goodness of His Son in us, and we bow in thanksgiving rather than in pride, giving thanks to God that He would mirror in us the nature of His Son. The origin of that goodness is not in us, it is in the Holy Spirit. Next we see,
THE GARMENT OF HUMILITY
Paul says, “humbleness of mind.” This translates one word in the Greek text: “tapeinophrosune” and means, “having a humble opinion of one's self, a deep sense of one's (moral) littleness, modesty, humility, lowliness of mind.” Those who promote “self esteem” will try to find a way around this definition. You say, “Preacher, I am a nothing, I have never been anything but a failure and I do not believe I will ever be.” Ok, now tell me something I didn’t already know! But you say, “Do you mean you are going to agree with me?” Oh yes, I agree one-hundred percent. You say, “Well, I’m not as bad as that.” Do you see what you are doing? You were really lying about yourself and the moment someone agrees with you, you prove that your low self esteem is really false. It is self love that expresses itself in this way to get attention, and to find someone who will argue with you. You get your kicks that way. All your phony self love is going to have to go. God saved you and the way He began was to convince you that you ARE A SINNER. You don’t just commit sins, you are a sinner to the core. If you are saved you admitted this and ask Him for MERCY and He granted it. Now that you are saved, you are no longer the issue. Christ is the ISSUE. You are by the power of the Holy Spirit to put on “humbleness of mind.” What you put on is SEEN. You wear it like a garment. So “humbleness of mind” will be evident to anyone who is around you. It is no longer the false humility of low self esteem where you live in an eternal pity party, it is the genuine attitude of humility that is the life of Christ being lived out in you. This is no longer a dreaded attitude that comes out of the self life, expressed in a continual pity party, it is the humility of Christ being worked out in our daily lives.
Peter says in 1 Peter 5:5, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” Imagine Peter lecturing us on this subject! He says, after the Lord had TAMED him, “and be clothed with humility.” Paul’s “humbleness of mind” and Peter’s “humility” translate the same Greek word. This is the daily uniform of the believer and one cannot be around him without seeing the uniform. These are not underclothes! Then next we see,
THE GARMENT OF MEEKNESS
The word “meekness” translates, “praotes” and means, “gentleness, mildness, meekness.” The word “meek” describes a tame person. You can tame a lion which means that his nature is still there. He has just been trained to control it. Moses is associated with this word. Numbers 12:3 says, “(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.).” To say that Moses was a weak man with no temper is to miss the mark. Moses was a bomb under control. Jesus said in Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Jesus is meek. He has power unlimited but He was in submission as the God-man to His Father and never one time lost His temper. He used it at times to do righteous things but He never lost it. He was the power of God under control. He was meek.
This is a garment that we are to wear as Christians. You say, “that is just not me. I am not meek.” My answer is that you are not the issue. Christ is the issue. It is not natural meekness that is being asked here. Paul is asking us in the power of the Holy Spirit to put on “meekness” which is a God-produced fruit. This means that in the process you die to what you want and yield yourself to Him to manifest His meekness through you. When people see meekness in you, you know it is not you. They may not know that but you do. Because you know what you are by nature, i.e., anything but meek. This is an obvious characteristic in a yielded wife. Peter says in his instructions to Christian wives in 1 Peter 3:4, “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
We are not dressed properly if we are not wearing these garments. No wonder the Word of God tells us to pray for one another.
May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.