Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Colossians 3:12 (ESV)
Each morning when we ready ourselves for the day we put on clothes. Many of us are required to wear uniforms for our jobs that identify us with our profession. Some wear business or casual dress. But, we all, for the most part, wear something. The same pertains to the Christian life. The bible instructs us to “put on” an array of apparel that identifies us as followers of Christ.
In the Greek (the original language of the New Testament), the phrase “put on” means to sink into a garment, to invest with clothing, array or clothe. If we have received Christ as Lord and Savior we too are choses ones, holy and beloved. So, not only is Paul addressing the Colossian church in the passage above, he is addressing us as well.
A few verses earlier in Colossians chapter three Paul exhorts the church that since they had come to Christ they should put off the old self, that is the person they were before they came to Christ, and put on the new self which is being renewed in the image of its creator (Colossians 3:5-10). He made the same appeal to the Ephesian church: Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV)
As Christians we have been baptized into Christ and as such have put on Christ (Galatians 3:27). We are to cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light making no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires (Romans 13:12-14). We are to imitate the very life of Christ.
Our flesh at times loves the feel of the old-self garment and at times Satan throws temptation our way. Even so, we are neither hopeless nor helpless in our struggle to dress in proper Christian apparel. God has provided a uniform for the battle (Ephesians 6:14-15). The Scriptures instruct us to, Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11 ESV)
And if we are found faithful in the battle God has promised to clothe us even further. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:53 ESV) For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (2 Corinthians 5:4 ESV)
In John’s revelation he saw a multitude of people clothed in white robes standing before the Lamb. When he inquired as to who they were, one of the twenty-four elders replied, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9-14 ESV). Jesus has promised to clothe in white garments those who conquer (Revelation 3:5). He is coming like a thief. We will be blessed if we are found in pure garments (Revelation 16:15).
Are you daily putting on the new self? Does your apparel identify you as a follower of Christ?
Scriptures for meditation:
2 Corinthians 5:2
1 Peter 5:5