PUT OFF, PUT ON
A. Introduction: As Christians, our number one responsibility is to become increasingly Christ-like in our
attitudes and actions. The Bible instructs Christians to live and walk even as Jesus did: Those who claim to
belong to him must live just as Jesus did (I John 2:6, NIRV).
1. We need to understand God’s plan for humanity. He wants a family of holy, righteous sons and
daughters who are like Jesus in character. Jesus is the pattern for God’s family. Rom 8:29
a. Sin has damaged God’s original plan for the family. Men and women have become sinners rather
than holy, righteous sons and daughters. Jesus came into the world to save us from this condition.
He died as a sacrifice for sin, and opened the way for us to be restored to our created purpose.
b. Salvation from sin through faith in Jesus means more than going to Heaven instead of Hell when we
die. Salvation is the purification and restoration of human nature from the damage sin has done—
by power of God, on the basis of Jesus’ sacrificial death—so that we can be restored to God’s plan.
1. This restoration is a process. It begins when we acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord, and it
will be completed when we see Jesus face to face. I John 3:1-2
2. When this process is completed, we will be fully conformed to the image of Christ, Christ-like,
or like Jesus in character (attitudes and actions). We’ll be sons and daughters who are fully
glorifying to our heavenly Father in thought, word, and deed.
2. As Christians, we are called to follow Jesus (go His way, imitate Him, Matt 4:19; I Cor 11:1), because
He shows us what holy, righteous sons and daughters of God look like and how they behave.
a. God’s standard for our behavior is that we love Him with all of our heart, mind, and soul (obey His
moral Law), and love our neighbor as ourselves (treat them as we want to be treated). Matt 22:37-40
1. Last week we began to talk about the fact that for most of us, the biggest challenge to growing
in Christ-likeness (becoming more like Jesus) is dealing other people.
2. Followers of Jesus are instructed to love people, even those we don’t like—the ones who annoy
us, disappoint us, and hurt us. And this can be difficult. Even if we truly want to obey God
and love people, we find that there’s something in us pulling us in the opposite direction.
b. Before we get back into specifics of how to treat people, we need to understand some things about
human nature and answer some questions. Why do we need restoration? What is wrong with us?
What is God’s remedy for what is wrong with us? We’ll address these issues in tonight’s lesson.
B. God wants sons and daughter who live in a voluntary relationship with Him. He gave humans free will
(the power of choice), with the hope that we would choose to live in dependence on and submission to Him.
1. However, beginning with the first man and woman, human beings have chosen independence from God
through sin. The essence or root of sin is choosing my way over God’s way—what I want rather than
what He wants, when my will conflicts with His will. Isa 53:6
a. The first man, Adam, chose to eat from a tree forbidden to him by God, a choice of independence
from God: I’ll decide what is right for me, what is good for me. I’ll decide what I want to do.
b. Adam’s choice had a profound effect on the human race that was resident in him. Human nature
was corrupted or made sinful. Rom 5:19
1. Our nature includes everything that makes us human—reason, intelligence, personality, drives,
and desires. Because of Adam’s sin, every part of us was corrupted. Natural desires became
excessive and unrestrained (inordinate. Humanity developed a desire to please self above all.
2. Corrupted means changed from a sound condition (sound means free from flaw, defect, or
decay) to an unsound one (spoiled, contaminated, deteriorated from the normal standard).
c. This corruption makes it easy for us to put self above God and others. And as we grow up, we build
selfish thought patterns, habits, and behaviors that make living as a self for self (instead of a self for
God) normal and natural. And, we live lives that make us unfit for God’s family.
2. God deals with our condition through salvation. Jesus died to reclaim and restore sinful, corrupted
human nature—our entire being (inward and outward), our intellect, reason, emotions, personality,
desires, drives, and eventually our body (through resurrection of the dead).
a. Before Jesus came into this world, God promised that He would one day give His people a new heart
(Jer 32:39; Ezek 36:26). The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew. The word new
comes from a Hebrew word that means to rebuild—not create something that never existed before.
b. The New Testament calls those who believe on Jesus new creatures (II Cor 5:17). The Greek word
translated new (kainos) means new in quality and superior in character as opposed to new in time.
c. People talk about having a sin nature that must be removed and replaced by a new nature. But
that’s not Bible language. Yes, but doesn’t the Bible talks about a sin nature (we’ll get to that).
1. Jesus didn’t die to replace us with something or someone that never existed before, or take
something out of us and replace it with something that was not originally part of human nature.
2. He died to purify and restore what has been corrupted by sin, our entire human nature,
everything that makes us human—every part of us, inside and out.
3. When I set my heart on Jesus (believe on Him) and make the decision to follow Him, God purifies me
inwardly. God indwells me by His Spirit and life and saves me from sin’s penalty and power.
a. Note what Paul the apostle wrote about what happens: He saved us, not because of works done by
us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of
the Holy Spirit whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ, our Savior (Titus 3:5-6ESV).
1. When you believe on Jesus (acknowledge Him as Savior and Lord) the Spirit of God comes into
you and imparts eternal life (His life) to you, resulting in a new state or condition of being.
Jesus called this being born again or born from above, born of the Spirit. John 3:3-5; John 1:12
2. The Greek word that is translated regeneration (paliggenesia) literally means birth again. The
Greek word translated renewal means renovation, and the root of the word is kainos.
b. God doesn’t take something out of your (your old nature) and put something new in (a new nature).
He comes into you and begins the process of purifying and restoring you.
4. Paul the apostle is the one who calls those who have been born of God new creatures (II Cor 5:17). It’s
clear that Paul isn’t talking about someone who never existed before or someone who has had a new
heart put into him. He’s referring to someone who has turned from living for self to living for God.
a. Note the context. Paul just said that Jesus “died for everyone so that those who receive his new life
will no longer live to please themselves. Instead they will live to please Christ” (II Cor 5:15, NLT).
b. Then he says, “What this means is that those who become Christians have become new persons.
They are not the same any more, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun” (II Cor 5:17, NLT).
1. They are new (kainos) persons. The old life is gone (passed away). The Greek wording
translated passed away does not mean cease to exist. It has the idea of passing from one
condition to another—the old (previous moral and spiritual condition has passed away.
Behold, the fresh and new has come (II Cor 5:17, Amp).
2. New creatures are no longer the same because they have turned from living for self to living for
God, and because they have God in them by His Spirit and life. They are now born of God,
sons and daughters of God. I John 5:1
3. The aim or goal of their life has changed. They are going to live a new kind of life (not change
jobs or houses or scenery). They now live to please and glorify Jesus, who died for them.
C. Why does a proper understanding of what God has done and is doing in us matter? Because even though
we’re new creatures, part of us still wants to do bad stuff. Even though we have chosen to follow Jesus and
truly want to obey God and love people, and even though the Holy Spirit has indwelled us to begin the
process of restoring us to the image of Christ, we find that there’s still something in us pulling us in the
1. When Christians struggle with un-Christ-like feelings or behaviors, well meaning people sometimes say:
You’ve got a new nature. That’s not you anymore. Just confess who you are in Christ until those bad
things go away. If you know who you are in Christ, and let your recreated spirit dominate, you’ll
spontaneously live right. But that’s not the testimony of Scripture, and it doesn’t match our experience.
a. What you’re feeling, that urge to act in an ungodly way, IS YOU, the as yet unchanged, unrestored,
un-Christ-like part of your being—the overdeveloped desires and appetites, the selfish inclinations,
thoughts, and behaviors that you developed throughout your life.
1. Volumes of theological books have been written on this topic, trying to identify the source of
the bad in our being, even after we are Christians. Many call it the sin nature.
2. That’s why some Bible translations use the phrase sin nature (even though the phrase isn’t
in the Greek). Some say this sin nature makes it impossible for us to stop sinning (not so!).
b. Whatever you want to call what is not yet changed in you, the most important thing is to understand
how to deal with it. We must make an effort to say no to the inclinations and desires of our
corrupted human nature, and make an effort to live according to what the Bible tells us.
c. We must build new thought patterns and new habits of behavior and response. This isn’t
automatic, nor is it generated by human effort (something I do by sheer will power). We do this
with an attitude of dependence on the Holy Spirit in us to strengthen and empower us. Phil 2:12-13 2.
To address this issue, Paul exhorted Christians to put off the old man and put on the new man. He
uses those terms several different ways (lessons for another day). One way he uses them is to
describe us as non-Christians (the old man) and us as Christians (the new man).
a. In Eph 4:22-24 Paul said we should put off the old man and put on the new man. In Col 3:9-10 Paul
says that we have put off the old man and have put on the new man. Which is it? It’s both.
1. We are new in that we have God in us by His Sprit and life. We’re born of Him, sons and
daughters of God. But we still have remnants of the old man in us—habits, over-developed
appetites, and behaviors that were formed when we lived as non-believers.
2. Something is new—you’ve changed direction in the aim of your life—you’ve put off the old
man. You’re born of God. But you still have unchanged, un-Christ-like habits and behaviors
that must be dealt with. You must put on the new man by addressing these issues.
b. Let’s get the context of Eph 4:22-24. Paul states what people who don’t follow Jesus are like, and
then reminds his readers that that’s not what you learned when you believed on Jesus (Eph 4:17-20).
1. Then Paul says: “You…were taught…to put off your old self, which belongs to your former
manner of life and is corrupt according to 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 (Eph 4:22-24, ESV).
2. Next he lists specific activities that they must stop and those they must adopt (Eph 4:25-32).
Note that much of it has to do with behavior toward others. Remember, we express our love
for God by the way we treat other people.
3. Paul caps it off with: Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children and walk in love, as
Christ loved us and gave himself up for us (Eph 5:1-2, ESV).
c. The context of Col 3:9-10 is similar. Paul lists specific behaviors and attitudes that must change
(Col 3:5-8), reminding them that you once walked in those ways, but you must put them away now.
1. Seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is
being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator (Col 3:9-10, ESV).
2. Put away means to put off from one’s self. Part of our responsibility as Christians is to put off
certain attitudes and behaviors, and then put on others which are Christ-like.
A. Paul expresses the same ideas with different wording in Rom 13:13-14—Let us walk
properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and
sensuality, not in quarrelling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no
provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires (ESV).
B. “Put on” means to clothe. It was used by Greek writers to mean imitate the example of
someone, copy his spirit. To the original readers. put on Christ meant to take Him as a
pattern and guide, imitate His example, obey His precepts, and become like Him.
3. Note that Paul refers to being renewed in knowledge after the image of God (Col 3:10) and being
renewed in the spirit of your mind (Eph 4:23). The Greek word used in Ephesians means to renovate.
The word used in Colossians is from kainos and means to make qualitatively new, to renovate.
a. We said last week that part of becoming Christ-like is changing your perspective or the way you see
and think about things, including other people and yourself in relation to them.
1. In the context of Jesus’ attitude toward God and people, Paul wrote: You should think in the
same way Christ Jesus does (Phil 2:5, NIRV).
2. Rom 12:2—Don’t copy the customs and behaviors of this world, but let God transform you into
a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do
and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is (NLT).
b. God has given us His written Word (the Bible) through which we can learn what Jesus is like, as
well as how sons and daughters of God are supposed to live and walk. Through His Word, we can
be renewed, made new in the way we see things and the way we think.
1. God’s Word shows us what we are (good and bad), and assures us that God is and will work in
us, as we keep our hearts set on Him, and choose to put His way above our way.
2. As we willing obey God He, by His Spirit through His Word, works in us to restore us to what
He always intended us to be. Progressive growth and change takes place.
c. II Cor 3:18—And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of
God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image
in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord
[Who is] the Spirit (Amp).
D. Conclusion: God is restoring our corrupted human nature. As we choose to cooperate with Him, He will
help us by His Spirit in us. Consider two thoughts as we close.
1. One of the most helpful things you can do to get control of un-Christ-like emotions and thoughts is to
develop the habit of praising God continually.
a. If, when you feel aggravated, annoyed, or angry at another person or your circumstances, the first
words out of your mouth are “Praise the Lord, thank you Jesus”, you can get control of your
emotions and actions. James 3:2
b. This seems awkward and even ridiculous at first, but when praise becomes a habit of response,
you will be able to demonstrate Christ-like character much more effectively.
2. As you work to put off the old man and put on the new man, do so with the awareness that God is in you
by His Spirit to help you. And He who has begun a good work in you will complete it.
a. Phil 1:6—And I am sure that God who began the good work within you, will continue his work until
it is finally finished on that day when Jesus comes back again (NLT).
b. The Greek word translated finished means to complete, to bring to a full end. Its root is the same
word translated perfect when Jesus said be perfect as your Father in Heaven (Matt 5:48), and Paul
said that his goal was to present every man perfect in Christ (Col 1:28).
c. Remember, Paul wrote that while the process of being made like Jesus is underway, it is possible to
be perfect, even though there is more perfection to reach (Phil 3:12-15). Much more next week!