Colossians 3:9, 10
Lie not one to another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds;…
Seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him who created him. We have here the negative and the positive aspects of the great spiritual change effected in conversion.
I. THE NEGATIVE ASPECT OF CONVERSION. "Ye have put off the old man with his deeds."
1. The old man is the old unconverted self, strong in his deeds of sin. His deeds are catalogued among the "works of the flesh;" (Galatians 5:22, 23), as well as in the context. He is to be discerned, indeed, by his works like a tree by its fruits.
2. The putting off of the old man is twofold, namely, at conversion and in the gradual process of sanctification. Some teach that the old man is an unchanged and unchangeable being, and that, as he has been crucified in Christ (Romans 6:6), we have nothing more to do with him. In that case, if we have put on the new man, we are perfectly sinless.
(1) There is a putting off of the old man at our justification.
(2) There is a gradual putting off likewise - a "mortifying your members which are upon the earth," which is to continue till we get rid of all his deeds. The counsel, therefore, to put off the old man and put on the new man is like the similar counsel, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 13:14), addressed to those who had already "put on Christ" (Galatians 3:27).
II. THE POSITIVE ASPECT OF CONVERSION. "And have put on the new man." This is the regenerate man. He is a "new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15).
1. The nature of this newness.
(1) He has a new nature - "born from above" (John 3:3). He has "a new heart."
(2) He has a new obedience, both as to its spirit, its matter, and its end (Romans 12:1).
(3) He has a new citizenship (Philippians 3:20).
(4) He has new desires (Psalm 51:2; Matthew 5:6; 1 Timothy 4:8).
2. It is a nature constantly renewed unto full knowledge. "Which is being renewed unto knowledge." It is not at once complete, but in a state of constant development by the Holy Spirit. Knowledge is a principal part of the new grace of the believer.
(1) It is the beginning of eternal life (John 17:3).
(2) It has transforming power (2 Corinthians 7:18).
(3) It is necessary to our understanding the wiles of the devil and resisting the temptations of the world (1 Peter 5:9).
3. Its renewal is after a Divine pattern. "After the image of him who created him." The allusion is to Genesis 1:26. The image of Christ in the believer is analogous to that of the image of God in the original man, but will be far more glorious, as the second Man is more glorious than the first man. Thus we see the process of putting on the new man in its beginning (Galatians 3:27), in its continuance (Romans 13:14), and in its completeness (1 Corinthians 15:53, 54). - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;