Yet again it says put on the new man which is renewed in the knowledge. Now what does that mean ‘renewed in the knowledge’? Well, we know that Romans 12.2 says,
You see brothers and sisters; it says we are to be in God’s word daily. The new man needs to be in God’s word daily, after the image of Him who created him.
Do you see? Paul is reflecting back here to Genesis 1.26.
We were made in the image of God and the old man is the first Adam. The new man is in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We should be after the image of Him that created him. We should be after the image of Jesus Christ.
Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free but Christ is all, in all.
Brothers and sisters, we are one body in Christ Jesus. Because we’re one body in Christ Jesus, God favours no race, no nationality, he doesn’t care about how much melanin you have in your skin. He doesn’t care what culture you’re from, whether you’re high born or born lowly, but all are one in Christ Jesus.
I love the way the Harris Bible says even barbarian and Scythian, he’s almost saying: even the most unlovable, if they repent of their sin, are one in Christ.
Romans 1.16 says:
To anyone that believes. It’s for everyone anyone who will repent of their sin and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and saviour.
As the elect of God holy and beloved.
The new man is elect of God. This means he’s chosen by God and redeemed by God. Not only is the new creation in Christ elect but it is also beloved.
Brothers and sisters, sometimes I don’t feel very ‘belovable’ (if that’s even a word), but my salvation isn’t based on how I feel, it is based on how great my God is. It’s based on His redeeming work for me.
Sometimes, I don’t feel very lovable, and sometimes, I’m not very lovable.
But my assurance of salvation is based on how good and how big my God is, and how faithful He is. For He is always faithful, and we can rely on that.
It then says,
This is very challenging because, often, in the new man, we don’t have mercies and kindness and humbleness of mind and meekness and long-suffering.
You may be reminded that in John 13.35, he says,
If you were to speak to my next-door neighbour or speak to your next-door neighbour, would they know that you’re a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ by the way you act?
It’s certainly something to think about.
Or even, if we asked your work colleagues or your friends, if you spoke to mine, would they know that I’m a disciple of Lord Jesus Christ because I exhibit these qualities?
It’s very challenging!
I was speaking to brother David a couple of Sundays ago and it was the Lord’s Day, and he was explaining that he was in the car, and he was praising God and, all of a sudden, someone cut him up and shouted expletives at him. And rather than retaliate, he said ‘bless them Father’. He was walking in the Spirit, he was showing mercies, kindness, humbleness, and long suffering.
Brothers and sisters, we have to do that all the time, not just on a Sunday morning.
When I was looking at what the meaning of these words:
Mercies: ‘compassion of forgiveness shown towards someone who is within one’s power to punish.’
Kindness: ‘the quality of being friendly generous and considerate.’
Humbleness: ‘having or showing a modest esteem of one’s importance.’
Long suffering: ‘having or showing patience in spite of troubles.’
and Meekness: ‘quiet, submissive.’
Now, when I was looking at meekness, I was reminded of a preacher who once explained what meekness means.
‘Meekness’ doesn’t mean ‘weakness’. He explained a story about when he was on holiday, and it was next to a police dog training camp. And every day, they would line the dogs up and they would throw a stick and they’d go ‘fetch’ and the dogs would go and get it and bring it back.
The next day, they’d throw the stick, say ‘fetch, get’ and their dogs would go get it and bring it back.
Day after day, after day, after day.
Then, one day, the police would line up the dogs. They would throw the stick and say ‘stay’. And every ounce of those dogs wanted to go and get the stick, but, in meekness and quiet submission, they waited until the master said ‘go’, and then they would go.
Please don’t confuse meekness with weakness.
It’s got everything to do with ‘quiet submission’ and we need to have that with the Almighty.
Well, brother and sisters I was very challenged at this point.
I need to forgive the way the good Lord forgives me and so often I failed to do that, even with my own family members.
So, I started to list certain things which God does and how the good Lord forgives versus how man forgives.
God holds back in anger for a very long time when we sin against Him. He is long suffering. Man retaliates quickly and he’s not long suffering.
God reaches out to the bad people to bring forgiveness. Man does not reconcile if the offended person is a bad person.
God makes the first move towards us in forgiveness. Man will only be reconciled if the offending party craves forgiveness.
God forgives knowing that we will sin and probably sin in the exact same way. Man will only forgive if the offended party suddenly promises never to wrong again.
God’s forgiveness is so complete and glorious that He grants adoption to the offenders. Man will only offer forgiveness and will never allow the offender to take partnership.
God bore all the penalty of the wrongdoing we did against Him in full. When man is wronged, he will not forgive unless the offended party agrees to bear the penalty and full liability.
God keeps reaching out to man for reconciliation, again and again, and again, and again.
God requires no probation for us to receive His forgiveness and salvation. Man will not restore an offender without a period of probation.
As God forgiveness offers complete restoration and honour, I was reminded of Isaiah 61.10
With man, the offended party should first earn back his trust.
Brothers, sisters, praise God that He doesn’t forgive like we do. His forgiveness is so much higher than ours.
But we should aspire today to forgive like He does because He forgave us. That same way so should we forgive others.
It’s very challenging and it’s certainly something that I was challenged with.
God’s ways are not our ways, but this certainly challenged me and, I hope, it also challenges you that we should forgive the way the good Lord forgives us.
You might have said this phrase ‘I’ll forgive you, but I’ll never forget’. I’ve said that even to family members and I was very challenged by it. I probably said it to my sister. Mum would agree!
But Psalm 103.12 says:
Brothers, sisters, let’s try and forgive like the good Lord forgives us.
Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.
This world has to go on and go about its business without the peace of God ruling in their hearts. And the peace of God can help in some very difficult situations.
I asked permission before I shared this story. My mother, at one point had skin cancer and she was lying on the bed and she had absolute peace of her assurance of salvation that even no matter what happened during the operation, as they were cutting out the cancer, that the Lord God was in control.
And she explained that she couldn’t even explain the peace that she had at that time because the peace of God was ruling in her heart at that time.
You may be reminded of Philippians 4.6-7:
Allow the good Lord to reign in your hearts.
This is the new man; this is our position. This is not the old man.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom,
The Word of Christ dwell in you not poorly, not halfway, but Richly.
I was reminded of John 1:
Let Christ rule in you richly and let’s be in God’s Word daily with the renewing of our mind,
… teaching admonishing one another in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs, sing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
The Greek word for ‘admonish’ is noutheteo which means ‘put in mind caution to reprove and to warn’. This is basically what we do here every Sunday.
You see, we meet here not for entertainment, not to make you feel good, and not to make me feel good. But we’re here to admonish one another, discipline, spur each other on; to sing songs and psalms.
We’re not here for entertainment. I certainly didn’t have much entertainment whilst preparing this. I was very challenged!
Sing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
I quite like this part because it didn’t say ‘in tune’. Because when the good Lord made me, He didn’t bless me with that quality.
But it did say sing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
How it must warm the Lord God’s heart when we do what we were designed to do, and that was worship the almighty.
You see, if you go back to Genesis, we were made to have a relationship with the Almighty, and we were made to worship Him. How it must warm His heart when He hears the beloved of the Lord sing to Him in worship, in spirit, and in truth.
Sing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Do you see? The new man does everything unto God whether that’s looking after the children, working with his hands, working in the office, cooking, or cleaning, pastoring or mentoring.
All life’s tasks are to be done unto the Lord.
I need to be reminded of this on a very cold Monday morning and when I go into work and it’s freezing cold.
I have to do all things unto God and maybe Monday morning. Maybe, I ought to go in with a smile on my face. And then, when they say ‘Daniel, why have you got a big smile on your face on site?’ I can say ‘because I do all things unto God’.
I wonder whether that will spur a few conversations…
So, in summary of Colossians 3.10-17, the new man, the character of the new man:
- The new man is to be renewed in the image of Him who created him.
- The new man is one in Christ with all who believe irrespective of earthly man-made divisions
- The new man should show mercy kindness, humbleness, meekness, and long suffering
- The new man should forgive the way the good Lord forgives
Let God rule in our hearts, do all things under God and let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching, admonishing one another in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs. Singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord.