Home > Mallinak > Things to Put Off, Things to Put On (Colossians 3:8-12)

Things to Put Off, Things to Put On (Colossians 3:8-12)

February 24, 2010

I saw a man at a wedding once.  I should add that he wasn’t just at the wedding.  He was getting married.  As in, they like called him “groom” and stuff.  He was standing at the front, waiting for his bride to walk down the aisle.  He had his hair combed, his face shaved (except for that patch of hair surrounding his mouth).  He wore a rented tux, complete with bow tie, cumberbun, and shiny pants with the racing stripe down the side.  And, he wore tennis shoes.  High top, Converse tennis shoes.

I tried not to stare at his shoes.  But then, he stepped up on the platform.  His shoes were right at eye level.  I struggled valiantly to focus on the event.  But I just couldn’t help myself.

Paul uses a metaphor in verses 8 through 12 of Colossians 3.  He instructs the Colossians to “put off” (v. 8), and he instructs them to “put on” (v. 12).  He tells them to put off anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of their mouth.  He tells them to put on bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering… and above all these things, charity, which is the bond of perfectness.  God does not want His people clothed with anger, with wrath, with malice, and etc.  Rather, God wants them clothed with mercy, with kindness, with humility, and so forth.  So, Paul urges these brothers and sisters to strip off those old attitudes, and to dress in a new attitude.

Central to this dressing and undressing is another putting on and putting off that has already occurred.  Paul tells them to “put off these… seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.”  This putting off had already occurred, and was already completed.  You have put off the old man with his deeds, and thus there are some other things that you must put off.  One putting off is done, and one must be done.  And the first putting off is essential to the second.  You have put on the new man, and thus you have other things you must put on, as the elect of God, holy and beloved.  You must adorn the new man appropriately.  This first putting on is central to the second.

I suppose that some might think Converse Tennies “cute” when worn with a tux.  Maybe that is what the bride thought when she picked it for him.  She probably thought it went well with his souped hair-do and goatee.  But something about the Tennies screamed “inappropriate.”

And that is why Paul wants you to strip it all off.  Don’t just strip part of it. When you change your outfit, you need to change it all.  Take off the jeans and T-shirt, the tube socks and sneakers.  Then, put on the suit, the dress shirt, the necktie, the dress socks, and the dress shoes.  Don’t mix the two outfits.  You’ll feel a whole lot better.

How often do Christians, having put off the old man with his deeds, still carry around the old man with his attitudes. That’s what I’m talking about, man!

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