Knowing our King | Colossians 3:8-11 | Christ is all
8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
I think it is important to mention in passing that these verses were often used to prop up the false teaching of asceticism. The teaching that a way to a holy life is by denial and even punishment of our “earthly members.” This is so close to the truth that it makes it the most dangerous sort of lie, which are the sorts of lies the Devil loves to propagate. What we have just said is a reframing of the truth, turning it on its head, or telling half-truths. In these verses we are taught to “Mortify our members on earth,” Put off all these” but what I want to point out is this is the fruit of holiness not the root of holiness.
Notice how the verse begins, “But now.” What is meant is now that you are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ. All these verses about holy living are tied to the first statement made in our chapter, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God,” and “risen with Christ.” This is the seedbed of all the instruction that we find in the chapter, it is where holiness grows from. Verse eight starts with “but now” That is the caveat to holy living, now that you are a child of God, now that you have been baptized into his death and raised together with him, now you can! Now you can set your affections on things above, now you can mortify your members on earth, now you can put off all these things. The word “but” is a conjunction that ties together opposing thoughts or views. Has there been a “But now” moment in your life? When your life, which was so contrary to God, was conjoined with him by Jesus Christ? If not all our righteousness will be self-righteousness, not “The righteousness which is by faith.”
Our verses today it abundantly clear that holiness is the fruit of union with Christ instead of the root of union with Christ. Notice what verse nine says, “Seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds, And have put on the new man.” Notice this is different than what is said in verse eight, in verse eight he instructs, “Put off the old man” but now he informs “Ye have put off the old man,” “And have put on the new man.” Dear friend, what is required for our holiness has already been completed. We all believe in salvation by faith in the completed work of Christ, his death burial, and resurrection. We should exercise that same faith in his completed work for sanctification as well. We believe that this issue of holiness and sanctification is our work. Dear friend, It is his work as well! You don’t have to die daily, you are dead to sin already, you are alive in Christ now! Like you trusted in his completed work of Salvation for eternal life trust also in his death to sin and his resurrection to life for sanctification of earthly life! Yes, he is “Christ our Sacrifice” but he is just as much “Christ our life.” His death, burial, and resurrection are not only the gateway to heaven in eternity but heaven on earth.
I can’t help but believe that the new man’s “renewing of knowledge” spoken of in verse 10 is speaking of these very truths. Our word knowledge comes from the word Gnosis, this would have meant a great deal to the people at Colossae. The cult that was threatening their fellowship was called the Gnostics. They believed that knowledge and wisdom were the way to God. We know this to be another one of Satan’s reframing of the truth, and actually God, Jesus Christ, is the way to knowledge and wisdom [Col 2:3]. Knowledge is a word used several times in the scriptures and never in a bad light. It is not the root of our Christian life but the fruit of our union with Christ, it is one of the first things that we should add to our faith according to 1 Peter 1:5-7. This knowledge is the agent of renewal for the new man. Renewed day by day according to 2 Corinthians 4:16 “16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” Knowledge of our savior and his work is what transforms us into his image day by day. As I know him more, I am transformed daily into his image. I believe this is why it is so important to have our view on salvation correct, to understand that it is he who saved me, is saving me, and will save me. Then I can rest in His salvation and press on in this life with assurance and boldness to tell the good news of a savior that saves completely! I also need to know that I have no power to sanctify myself! His death burial and resurrection were not only to pull me from the penalty of sin but from the power of sin! I died with him, my old man is dead, separated from me, and has no authority over the decisions I make and I am alive to God in Christ! When I knew this there was peace from my striving to be holy and a calm assurance and actual power to live a holy life, not perfect but far better than when I tried in the power of my flesh to be holy. Knowing that he has already sanctified me positionally, in Christ, renews my mind, places my confidence in his work instead of mine, and his sanctifying grace is delivered by faith. Knowledge should be added to your faith, it is by knowledge of who he is and what he has done that you will come to trust him more and have more of his grace delivered by faith, “Without faith it is impossible to please him.” Ephesians 3:19 Paul offers this prayer for believers; “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Being filled with all the fullness of God is a fruit of knowing the love of Christ. Do you know him? How well do you know him? Do you need renewing? Then know more of him, know more about him, “Know the love of Christ that passes knowledge, that ye may be filled with all the fulness of God!”
“After the image of him that created him,” our sanctification is this life is a day by day renewing. A conforming into his image, less like me and more like Him! This is the fruit of our union with Christ, don’t work for it, trust in it! Know that in him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hid, that HE is the fulness of the Godhead bodily, know that He is the head of principalities and powers, know that HE is all I need, all I need! Dear friends know that when you received Christ, you were “Blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Rest in his finished work, faith in his grace is the only way to salvation, and by the same means he became our sacrifice he also became our life.
In Him there is no advantage to being a Jew or a Greek, a free man or a slave, no advantage to being circumcised and no disadvantage to not being. He is all and in all! What a marvelous truth! That he that is all, All the fulness of God, the creator of all, the sustainer of all, the fulness of the Godhead bodily, in whom dwells “all fulness.” The Christ we have been shown in this epistle is all and is in all. Hallelujah! He who is all is in all of his people! Therefore, there is not one of his lowliest saints who is at a disadvantage. If you have Christ, then you have all! No matter your lot in this life, you are bound to him by an unbreakable union, this union affords you Salvation! Sanctification! And one day, Glorification! How many of these blessings are you enjoying? Do you say I’m too great a sinner for God to use me? Paul was chiefest among sinners and God used him. The same all-powerful Christ that saved, sealed, sanctified, and used Paul is in you! He is all and is in all! You have all that you will ever need, in this life and the one to come, for “He is all and is in all.”
Day by day, and with each passing moment, Strength I find to meet my trials here; Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment, I’ve no cause for worry or for fear. He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure, Gives unto each day what He deems best, Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure, Mingling toil with peace and rest