A study of Colossians 3:9-13 identifies a new self renewed after the image of its creator, finds unity and belonging in Christ, demonstrates Godly traits, and encourages a heart of forgiveness.

A Study of Colossians 3:9-13 reveals a new self renewed after the image of its creator

V.9-10 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 

Who am I? Why am I here? What’s my place in the world? There’s a lot of “Identity” confusion in today’s world as people struggle to know and express who they are. But Christ-followers don’t have that problem. Because scripture says our identity is “In Christ” and explains what that means.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (ESV, 2 Corinthians 5:17)

Paul identified a list of sins in V.8 we are to put away using a picture of removing old, dirty clothes and putting on new ones. In V.9 he adds “lying” to the list and tells why we should put the old practices away. Because they represent our old self and we now have a new one. Furthermore, the new self is renewable.

The Greek word for “renewed” is anakainŏō, which means to renew and renovate. Why is a renewable self important? Because our new nature is still corrupted by sin. So even though we strive not to sin, we still do. But when we confess and repent of that sin, God forgives it and renews us as the prophet Jeremiah confirms.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (ESV, Lamentations 3:22-23)

Furthermore, our new self is renewed “in knowledge.” The Greek word ĕpignōsis means recognition, full discernment, and acknowledgment. It suggests a true knowledge of God. This knowledge fosters a mindful awareness of our ongoing sinfulness and God’s amazing grace. And it creates the desire in us to pursue godliness after the image of our creator.

A Study of Colossians 3:9-13 reveals finding unity and belonging in Christ

V.11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

The desire for relevance drives us all. To feel a sense of value. Achieve a status above others. So it’s no surprise the ancient world had as many ethnic, political, and social divisions as today. But Paul makes it clear there is no privileged class in the body of Christ. Because Christ is all and in all.

In other words, Jesus alone is sufficient and there are no extras beyond him. No extra requirements, classifications, or qualifications. Furthermore, his presence resides equally in each follower. And no one has a special portion of Jesus beyond anyone else.

A Study of Colossians 3:9-13 reveals godly traits Christ-followers should demonstrate

V.12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience

A life that follows Jesus Christ extends beyond the “don’ts” and includes the “do’s.” So Paul now lists the godly new traits believers should put on and wear. And he starts with with our identity, which is “holy and beloved.” The Greek word for “holy” is hagiŏs. It means sacred, blameless, consecrated, and saint. The Greek word for “beloved” is agapaō, which means love.

Of course, God loves all mankind equally. But Christ-followers are cleansed from sin through the blood of Christ. And this changes our identity status from sinners to saints. It doesn’t mean we’re better than anyone else. But it does mean we strive to imitate the life of Christ. And these are the new clothes we should put on and wear.

compassionate hearts = ŏiktirmŏs and splagchnŏn. Oiktirmŏs means pity and mercy and splagchnŏn means pity, sympathy, inward affection and tender mercy. Do I give people the benefit of the doubt? Do I consider what life is like in their shoes?

kindness = chrēstŏtēs, which means usefulness, excellence in character or demeanor, gentleness, goodness, and kindness.

humility = tapĕinŏphrŏsunē, which means modesty and humbleness of mind. It’s not thinking less of myself but thinking of myself less.

meekness = praütēs, which means mild, gentle friendliness, and a calm temper of mind that is not easily provoked. It was valued in Greek culture as long as it was backed by strength. To equate meekness with weakness is a misunderstanding of the term. Jesus could have exercised the almighty power of God at any time. He restrained himself from doing so.

patience = makrŏthumia, which means longanimity, forbearance and fortitude.

Encouraging a heart of forgiveness

V.13 Bearing 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.

Repentance and forgiveness is a key component of the gospel. To repent of sin before God and receive his forgiveness. And since we have freely received God’s forgiveness, we should freely offer it to others as well.

The Greek word for “bearing” is anĕchŏmai, which means to put up with, bear with, endure, and suffer. Differences in personality, temperament, experiences, and viewpoints will always cause friction–even among Christ-followers. Bearing with others includes recognizing and appreciating those differences as we seek to work through them. Along with the willingness to admit and apologize when we’re wrong.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

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