Putting on the Ways of the New Creation (Col 3:12-17)
One imagery the Bible uses to speak of becoming a Christian is being raised from death to life. We once were dead in our sins, without spiritual life and estranged from God. But Jesus came and killed death by dying on the cross for our sins and rising up to life in his resurrection. Everyone who turns from their sins and places their faith in Jesus is made spiritually alive—we are regenerated.
The imagery the Bible uses to speak of someone growing as a Christian is that of clothing oneself. A believer is already a new creation, but now strives to put away the traits, mentalities, and attitudes associated with the old self (the way apart from Christ) and to put on the traits, mentality, and lifestyle of the new self, formed after the image of Christ.
The clothing we put on as Christians is the outfit modeled after Christ. We put on attitudes and actions in our hearts and lives that are modeled after Jesus. Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience are the beautiful ways of our Lord. We put these on and pursue them, striving to make them our own through the Holy Spirit who empowers us and helps us. We see the majesty of Christ and we strive to imitate him in every way in our minds and hearts.
The clothing we put on is also displayed through our relationships with others. In Christ we see the display of the perfect humanity, the perfect example of how to relate to one another and to God. We see a ‘bearing with others;’ a self-sacrificing for one’s self for one’s enemies; we see a radical love; we see purity; we see how God meant us to live and relate to others. This clothing is made possible by Christ who died to make peace for us with God and with each other; all the hostilities that divided are crushed. We are left with a peace that rules our hearts and the Word of Christ to dwell richly in us.
Finally, the clothing we wear is not one that we take off when we feel like it, but is one that is to be worn at all times. The Lord Jesus calls for our allegiance in everything we do, in word and speech. All that we do now is marked out by our new identity and commitment to Christ. We serve him in everything not because we have to, but because we want to. He is our joy and our life and nothing we do can be the same. We are Christians before we are anything else (family title, job title, societal title).
The cost of this clothing was infinite: the eternal Son of God died for us. He gave his life for our sins. We can never repay or pay for this new life we have, but can only receive it as a gift if we profess our need for a Savior and rest in Jesus as that perfect Savior.