Can you imagine someone screaming trying to get their clothes off as they are preparing for bed at night because their clothes are fighting them? Your clothes can’t fight you because they have no power in and of themselves. That is why getting dressed or undressed isn’t that difficult. Your clothes have no ability to stop you, or prevent you from putting them on or taking them off either.
“But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” Colossians 3:8 KJV
The reason I used the clothing example above, is because when you study this verse you will find that the words “put off” means, to take off like clothing. The Holy Spirit is comparing putting off clothing to putting off these works of the flesh.
As one minister put it, no one has to have an extra large breakfast to stoke up their energy for the fight they are going to have with their clothes just to get dressed in the morning. In other words, how much energy does it take to get dressed?
And how much strength does it take to take off your clothes? That’s how much strength it takes to put off the works of the flesh. That is exactly what this verse is telling us. And you gain the strength that is necessary from the Word of God.
Now here are the things we are instructed to take off. And when you get a good look at them, you won’t want them hanging all over you anyway. They are ugly and always out of style!
ANGER = inner anger; indignation
WRATH = the showing forth or demonstration of anger; violent outbursts; explosions of anger.
MALICE = vengeance; the desire to defame or injure others.
Malice comes out through the words of your mouth. It is the things you say behind people’s backs. Somehow you have to bring them down to make yourself look good. In other words, you have to blow out everyone else’s candle so that it looks like your’s is burning brightly.
BLASPHEMY = to malign or slander others.
This is to slander someone either to their face or behind their back. This isn’t necessarily blasphemy toward the Lord, but toward others.
FILTHY COMMUNICATION = filthy language; obscenities.
This verse says to put these things off just like you would put off your clothes. Those things that you put off from yourself can’t just jump right back on you any more than a dirty shirt could leap from the laundry basket and wrap itself around you again.
Once you have removed these sinful works of the flesh from your life, you must choose to put them back on if you want to wear these dirty, smelly clothes again. It is impossible for them to jump back on you again unless you purposely put them back on.
“Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;” Colossians 3:9 KJV
Interestingly, these words “put off” in verse nine mean something totally different than those in verse eight. Here they mean, “stripped, spoiled and disarmed.”
Now as an example of this, when Jesus stripped and spoiled the devil and all the demons, He totally humiliated them completely (see Colossians 2:14-15).
When it comes to the deeds of the flesh we are to put them off like clothing. But when it comes to the one who sponsors those things, the nature of the flesh, you strip it, spoil it and disarm it completely. You humiliate the nature of the flesh to the point where it doesn’t want to rise up ever again.
In other words, we have the same power over our flesh as Jesus did over the resurrection. And your greatest opposition is not the devil, it’s the flesh.
“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” Colossians 3:10 KJV
In the previous verses of Colossians chapter three we saw that we are to put some things off. But beginning in verse ten, we see what to put on to replace those things we took off.
Now, it’s important to understand that the new man consists of both the spirit and the soul. And the way the inward man is renewed is by the knowledge of the Word of God through the revelation of the Holy Ghost. Paul said the new man is renewed day by day (see 2 Corinthians 4:16). And as we are renewed in knowledge we take on more and more of the image of Him who made us.
IMAGE = exact image; it speaks of someone sculpting an exact image of someone.
In other words, it takes much time and effort to get the image just right. This is what happens when we study and feed on the Word of God constantly. It is consistently forming us more and more into the Lord’s exact image.
We are to put on the “new man.” But that happens by continually feeding on the Word of God. Spiritual growth will continue as long as you are alive on the earth, if you continue in the Word and church attendance. You will never come to the place in your walk with Christ that you can put aside feasting on the Word in your daily life or that you can afford to skip church.
So then there are things we are to take off and there are things we are to put on. So dress appropriately. Take off the soiled clothing you once wore and put on the new man. And then everywhere you go you will look just like Jesus.