December 4: Put Off, Put On
Jeremiah 6:1–7:29; Colossians 3:1–17; Proverbs 12:1–28
We often hear that being a good Christian means not doing bad stuff. This statement is true—but not exhaustive. In Colossians 3, Paul says, “Therefore put to death what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustful passion, evil desire, and greediness, which is idolatry” (Col 3:5). He then lists other inappropriate behaviors: “anger, rage, wickedness, slander, abusive language” (Col 3:8). And he also lists new behaviors we need to “put on,” like “affection, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience” (Col 3:12).
From this we can gather that, as Christians, our lives should look different. But is there more to this command than certain behaviors?
We’re not supposed to put on new behaviors simply so that we can have polished, admirable lives. Colossians 3 opens with a statement: “Therefore, if you have been raised together with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is” (Col 3:1). Believers identify with Christ—just like we’ve died with Him, we’ve also been raised with Him. He is life for us. And one day, we will be reunited with Him, and we’ll reflect Him perfectly.
All of Paul’s teaching rests on this truth. And all of our actions should reflect this new life we have in Christ. We shouldn’t continue in the old behaviors that used to be common to us (Col 3:7). We are changing into His likeness. “You have taken off the old man together with his deeds, and have put on the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created him” (Col 3:9–10).
Avoiding certain behaviors is part of being a Christian, but it’s hardly just that. It’s about a new life built completely on the foundation of Christ’s life-giving work. We should forgive one another because He forgave us (Col 3:13). We should love each other and strive for unity because He loved us and united us to Him (Col 3:14). We should strive for peace with one another because Christ has conquered chaos (Col 3:15). The message of Christ and our new life in Him should help us encourage and challenge each other as believers (Col 3:16).
Does your life reflect this new life? How can you turn from simply avoiding bad behavior to seeking new life in Him?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- O ye children of Benjamin, prepare to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa: set up a standard upon Beth Haccerem: for a plague appeareth out of the North and great destruction. I have compared the daughter of Zion to a beautiful and dainty woman. The Pastors with their flocks shall come unto her: they shall pitch their tents round about by her, and everyone shall feed in his place. Prepare war against her: arise, and let us go up toward the South: woe unto us: for the day declineth, and the shadows of the evening are stretched out. Arise, and let us go up by night, and destroy her palaces. For thus hath the Lord of hosts said, Hew down wood, and cast a mount against Jerusalem: this city must be visited; all oppression is in the midst of it. As the fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her malice: cruelty and spoil is continually heard in her before me, with sorrow and strokes. Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee, lest I make thee desolate as a land that none inhabiteth. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, They shall gather as a vine, the residue of Israel: turn back thine hand as the grape gatherer into the baskets. Unto whom shall I speak, and admonish that they may hear? behold, their ears are uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the Lord is unto them as a reproach: they have no delight in it. Therefore I am full of the wrath of the Lord: I am weary with holding it: I will pour it out upon the children in the street, and likewise upon the assembly of the young men: for the husband shall even be taken with the wife, and the aged with him that is full of days. And their houses with their lands, and wives also shall be turned unto strangers: for I will stretch out mine hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord. For from the least of them, even unto the greatest of them, everyone is given unto covetousness, and from the Prophet even unto the Priest, they all deal falsely. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people with sweet words, saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not ashamed, no neither could they have any shame: therefore they shall fall among the slain: when I shall visit them, they shall be cast down, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord, Stand in the ways and behold, and ask for the old way, which is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls: but they said, We will not walk therein. Also I set watchmen over you, which said, Take heed to the sound of the trumpet: but they said, We will not take heed. Hear therefore, ye Gentiles, and thou Congregation know, what is among them. Hear, O earth, behold, I will cause a plague to come upon this people, even the fruit of their own imaginations: because they have not taken heed unto my words, nor to my Law, but cast it off. To what purpose bringest thou me incense from Sehba, and sweet calamus from a far country? Your burnt offerings are not pleasant, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me. Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will lay stumbling blocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them: the neighbor and his friend shall perish. Thus saith the Lord, Behold, a people cometh from the North country, and a great nation shall arise from the sides of the earth. With bow and shield shall they be weaponed: they are cruel and will have no compassion: their voice roareth like the sea, and they ride upon horses well appointed, like men of war against thee, O daughter Zion. We have heard their fame, and our hands wax feeble: sorrow is come upon us, as the sorrow of a woman in travail. Go not forth into the field, nor walk by the way: for the sword of the enemy and fear is on every side. O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in the ashes: make lamentation, and bitter mourning as for thine only son: for the destroyer shall suddenly come upon us. I have set thee for a defense and fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their ways. They are all rebellious traitors, walking craftily: they are brass and iron, they all are destroyers, The bellows are burnt; the lead is consumed in the fire; the founder melteth in vain; for the wicked are not taken away. They shall call them reprobate silver, because the Lord hath rejected them. The words that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and cry this word there, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all ye of Judah that enter in at these gates to worship the Lod. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Amen your ways and your works, and I will let you dwell in this place. Trust not in lying words, saying, The Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord: this is the Temple of the Lord. For if you amend and redress your ways and your works; if you execute judgment between a man and neighbor, And oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed no innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your destruction, Then will I let you dwell in this place in the land that I gave unto your fathers forever and ever. Behold, you trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not? And come and stand before me in this House, whereupon my Name is called, and say, We are delivered, though we have done all these abominations? Is this House become a den of thieves, whereupon my Name is called before your eyes? Behold, even I see it, saith the Lord. But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my Name at the beginning, and behold, what I did to it for the wickedness, of my people Israel. Therefore now because ye have done all these works, saith the Lord, (and I rose up early and spake unto you: but when I spake, ye would not hear me, neither when I called, would ye answer.) Therefore will I do unto this house, whereupon my Name is called, wherein also ye trust, even unto the place that I gave to you, and to your fathers, as I have done unto Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim. Therefore thou shalt not pray for this people, neither lift up cry or prayer for them, neither entreat me, for I will not hear thee. Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead the dough to make cakes to the Queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me unto anger. Do they provoke me to anger, saith the Lord, and not themselves to the confusion of their own faces? Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, mine anger and my wrath shall be poured upon this place: upon man and upon beast, and upon the tree of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground, and it shall burn and not be quenched. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat the flesh. For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning bunt offeirngs and sacrifices. But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways which I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they would not obey, nor incline their ear, but went after the counsels, and the stubbornness of their wicked heart, and went backward and not forward. Since the day that your fathers came up out of the land of Egypt, unto this day, I have even sent unto you all my servants the Prophets, rising up early every day, and sending them. Yet would they not hear me, nor incline their ear, but hardened their neck, and did worse than their fathers. Therefore shalt thou speak all these words unto them, but they will not hear thee: thou shalt also cry unto them, but they will not answer thee. But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that heareth not the voice of the Lord their God, nor receiveth discipline: truth is perished, an is clean gone out of their mouth. Jeremiah 6:1–7:29
- If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Set your affections on things which are above, and not on things which are on the earth. For ye are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ which is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are on the earth, fornication, uncleanness, the inordinate affection, evil concupscience, and covetousness which is idolatry. For the which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience. Wherein ye also walked once, when ye lived in them. But now put ye away even all these things, wrath, anger, maliciousness, cursed speaking, filthy speaking, out of your mouth. Lie not one to another: seeing that ye have put off the old man with his works, And have put on the new, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him, Where is neither Grecian nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond, free: But Christ is all, and in all things. Now therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on the bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering: Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel to another: even as Christ forgave, even so do ye. And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which ye are called in oe body, and be ye thankful: Let the word of Christ dwell in you plenteously in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing your own selves, in Psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with a grace in your hearts to the Lord, And whatsoever ye shall do, in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God even the Father by him. Colossians 3:1–17
- He that loveth instruction, loveth knowledge: but he that hateth correction is a fool. A good man getteth favor of the Lord: but the man of wicked imaginations will he condemn. A man cannot be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved. A virtuous woman is the crown of her husband: but she that maketh him ashamed, is as corruption in his bones. The thoughts of the just are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. The talking of the wicked is to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the righteous will deliver them. God overcometh the wicked, and they are not: but the house of the righteous shall stand. A man shall be commended for his wisdom: but the froward of heart shall be despised. He that s despised, and is his own servant, is better than he that boasteth himself, and lacketh bread. A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the mercies of the wicked are cruel. He that tilleth his land, shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth the idle, is destitute of understanding. The wicked desireth the net of evils: but the root of the righteous giveth fruit. The evil man is snared by the wickedness of his lips, but the just shall come out of adversity. A man shall be satiate with good things by the fruit of his mouth, and the recompense of a man’s hands shall God give unto him. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that heareth in counsel, is wise. A fool in a day shall be known by his anger: but he that covereth shame, is wise. He that speaketh truth, will show righteousness: but a false witness useth deceit. There is that speaketh words like the prickings of a sword: but the tongue of wise men is health. The lip of truth shall be stable forever: but a lying tongue varieth incontinently. Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counselors of peace shall be joy. There shall none iniquity come to the just: but the wicked are full of evil. The lying lips are an abomination to the lord: but they that deal truly are his delight. A wise man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of th fools publisheth foolishness. The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the idle shall be under tribute. Heaviness in the heart of man doth bring it down: but a good word rejoice it. The righteous is more excellent than his neighbor: but the way of the wicked will deceive them. The deceitful man roasteth not that he took in hunting: but the riches of the diligent man are precious. Life is in the way of righteousness, and in that pathway there is no death. Proverbs 12:1–28