Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
Established November 2008 Published: May 01, 2020
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
Welcome back to HBS.
Let’s review the previous Bible lesson.
“But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, see that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”
In 3:8-9 Paul instructed the Colossians’ to physically do something; he said, “put off” (cease practicing) “anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication and lying (dishonesty) to another.” Although it’s true their “old man” or their Adamic nature, was “put off” having been “crucified with him” (the Lord Jesus Christ) sin in its many forms must be “put to death” continually:
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from (the power of ) sin” (Romans 6:6-7).
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Our “old man” or our old selves, as we were in and from Adam is contrasted with the “new man” (Colossians 3:9-10), which is what we currently are and have in Christ. The word “our” indicates what is said is said of and to all those who are positioned in Christ, which indicates the term “old man” is a federal one (pertaining to all) and the same is true of the “new man:”
Therefore, when Paul told the Colossians to “put off” or (put to death) the “old man” (3:8), he was addressing them as “new creatures” in Christ because that’s who they are. The “old man” represented all that they once were by nature because that’s who they used to be. Paul said they have put that off (3:9).
Please open your Bible at Colossians 3:10-14.
Don’t You Know Who You Are?
“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
Verse 3:10 picks up in the middle of a discussion Paul started in verse 3:9b, where he said, “seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” (3:10). As previously stated, in contrast with the old man, the Believer is a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17), therefore they ought to live as they are known by God, i.e., as His “beloved children:”
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14).
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” (Ephesians 1:4-5).
In the Ephesian 1:4 Paul revealed the will of the Father re: the Church, a.k.a. the Body of Christ, namely, “that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” Please know only “in Christ” can we stand before the Father, as “beloved children” for only the Lord Jesus Christ has met every demand of God’s righteousness and holiness. Who we are and what we are is by divine mercy and grace that has been freely given to us through the death of His Son.
In Colossians 1:21-22, Paul said we have been reconciled to God in the death of Jesus Christ that we might be “holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight,” then in Philippians 2:15, Paul wrote: “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” “Holy and without blemish” speaks of personal sacrifice, i.e., “an acceptable offering,” a message Paul communicates in Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
We find this principle stated again in Titus 2:11-14:
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
In Titus 2:14 the purpose of our redemption is brought into the spotlight “…that he might redeem us from all iniquity (sin), and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” These aforementioned scripture passages appear to emphasize the sanctified saints’ walk. God who has called the Believer into this new life in Christ Jesus has made perfect provision for any and all of life’s trials and tribulations, in His Beloved Son, and the supply of one’s needs is sufficiently met according to His glorious riches (2 Corinthians 9:8; Philippians 4:19) for which we give God praise and thanksgiving. God now asks the Believer to demonstrate the fruit of Christ’s indwelling in how they live (Galatians 2:20-21, 5:22-23).
Once again, all of this is possible because Christ dwells within us, which speaks of our standing before God. This places the emphasis not upon our “condition” but rather upon our “position.” In Ephesians 5:27 Paul wrote: “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Now we ought to know on this side of glory no Believer lives the perfect life. They are going to be tempted and there will be occasions when they succumb to sin, such as those Paul listed, “anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication, lying, and so forth, but here’s the thing. The sinner saved by Grace (plus nothing else) is called to live a righteous and godly life, a life of good works, for which God’s Grace is all sufficient (Romans 6:11-15; Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 2:22, 3:16):
“And God is able to make all Grace abound toward us; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
To that end in Colossians 3:10 Paul said the new man is being continuously “renewed’ or refreshed. How? In knowledge of the One who “created him,” that is, Christ Jesus. Knowledge which is imparted from Christ to the Believer is noted throughout this letter as being an important aspect of the saved sanctified saints’ new life (1:9–10, 2:2–3).
That thought brings to mind Paul’s statement in Galatians 3:26-28:
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For has many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
The phrase “have put on Christ” (v 27) is an ancient idiom for assuming the standing or position of another person. To “put on Christ” therefore means to assume (adopt) His standing or position before God the Father and speaks of adult sonship and confirms what Paul said in verse 26, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Since Jesus Christ is God’s Son, every Believer in Christ is God’s son or daughter by adoption and He views them all the same (ye are all one), as His dear children, there being no religious “Jew nor Greek,” social “bond nor free,” or sexual, “male or female” distinction (v 28).
The idea expressed here is that now all those who are positioned in Christ are the same in God’s sight there is no distinction of nation in His Church; all are to be regarded and treated as one. What’s more, there is no place for religious barriers or cultural arrogance in the Body of Christ. God has united all Believers in Christ Jesus. This was a startling revelation back in Paul’s day. The racial, religious, cultural, and social barriers separating people were as deep-seated and formidable as any we come up against today. But God has taken down every man-made barrier and makes Believers into one new man. Therefore, there is no place for traditional distinctions in the Body of Christ because Christ is all and in all:
“Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all: (Colossians 3:11).
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
Starting in verse 3:5-9 Paul used the analogy of “getting dressed.” He begins by telling them what they need to “put off,” then in 3:10 he described the Believer's new identity in Christ here identified as “the new man;” and instructed them to “put on” Christ-like qualities, namely, “bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;”
The virtues Paul mentioned above is not a complete list. They merely represent the kind of life a saved person in Christ ought to live, understanding all the while that they begin and end every day with the “old man” (their rebellious nature) within them no matter how you dress him. This brings a life-experience to mind. Several years ago I attended an Easter morning church service. Directly in front of me sat a young family. They were all decked out in their Easter finery including their daughter. She looked adorable, until her mother corrected her, then she became a belligerent brat. She disrupted the church service to the point where her mother had to physically remove her and she went kicking and screaming the entire way. This shows the “old man” within us can be awakened at the most inopportune time and his earthly behavior stands in opposition to our new nature that also resides within us. Therefore, all things being equal, Paul wants the Colossians to understand they are not alone in their struggles; everybody struggles the only thing that changes is the date on the calendar.
The fact Paul urged these Believers to “put on” the virtues cited in verse 3:12 signifies that none of them has arrived at the desired goal, spiritually speaking. As the Believer develops these virtues, he or she must be forbearing and forgiving toward their brethren because they are also involved in the process of practical sanctification, i.e., acquiring the same virtues of verse 3:12 and therefore retains noticeable deficiencies and weaknesses, which underscores the need for the virtues Paul mentioned along with “forbearing and forgiveness,“ bearing this thought in mind “… even as Christ forgave you (past tense), so also do ye.” (3:13b).
How much did the Lord Jesus Christ forgive the Colossians? He forgave them and us everything. Let’s examine this truth more closely. Please turn to Ephesians 1:7:
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
Paul, the apostle to the gentiles and the revealer of the mysteries of God to the Church which is His body, gives only one condition for salvation, belief in his gospel (Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). In Ephesians 1:7 the forgiveness of sins is linked with our redemption, which is based upon Christ Jesus’ shed blood and the riches of His grace.
Also notice carefully that the forgiveness of sins is past tense for the Believer in Christ. They have redemption and the forgiveness of all their sin the moment they believe. I have selected a few Bible verses that teach this biblical truth. Please note they all come from Paul’s writings:
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities (sins) are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Romans 4:5-8).
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins:” (Colossians 1:14).
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;” (Colossians 2:13).
The above Bible verses represent the doctrine of forgiveness for the dispensation of God’s grace (Ephesians 3:1-9). Forgiveness under the Law is an entirely different matter and does not apply here (See 2 Chronicles 7:14). Therefore, the instructed grace Believer knows man is by nature dead in their trespasses and sins and as such cannot merit a place in heaven with God (Ephesians 2:1, 8-9). God has provided forgiveness for fallen man through the shed blood of His Son (Romans 5:8-9), but it is appropriated only by faith. Thus, faith in Christ Jesus is the responsibility which the sovereign God has placed upon mankind in response to His great love. Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead is the gospel which Paul received from the glorified, risen Lord and preached throughout the then known world (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The Holy Spirit of God then takes the believing sinner and baptizes him or her into Christ, thus establishing an eternal union (I Corinthians 12:13). This truth is confirmed by our apostle Paul who wrote: “nothing can separate us from the love of Christ…” because the Holy Spirit has sealed us until the day of redemption or His coming in the clouds for the Church. (See Romans 8:31-39; 1 Corinthians 15:52; Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30).
That’s what Christ has done for the Colossian saints and for every person who is positioned in Christ Jesus. With the idea of practical sanctification in mind Paul instructed these folks to forebear one another, and forgive one another. This wasn’t being done in Colosse, obviously, otherwise, why introduce the subject? In Colossians 3:9a Paul emphasized the importance of honesty among fellow Believers. There he instructed them “lie not one to another.” In verse 3:13 he added the command “forbearing one another,” which means: “ceasing; pausing; withholding from action; exercising patience and indulgence.” Believers ought to treat one another with kindness and grace and this includes “forgiveness,” as well as tolerance. It’s a very good thing that God didn’t require perfection before He saved people. With that thought in mind we are not to demand perfection from one another. Plainly said, we need to endure other Believer’s spiritual immaturity and oddities, and when they fail, we need to be ready to forgive them; just as Christ has forgiven us. By that I mean to say, we don’t hold a grudge and remind them of their failures again and again. For this reason we read in Ephesians 4:30-32:
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Paul’s message to the Ephesians and the Colossians is a matter of the heart. I say this because of what Paul wrote in Colossians 3:14: “And above all these things put on charity (agape love), which is the bond of perfectness.”
The term “perfectness” means: “the highest degree of goodness or holiness of which man is capable in this life.” In 1 Corinthians 12:31 Paul called love “the more excellent way.”
In 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 Paul speak of “Charity (that) never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
The modern Bible translations exchange the word “charity” for love and in doing so water-down its intended meaning. In the Greek language there are three types of love; There’s “eros” (passionate love), “phileo” (brotherly love as in Philadelphia the city of brotherly love), and then there’s “agape” love. Agape love denotes the divine love of God toward His beloved Son, human beings in general (as witnessed on the cross of Christ), and those who are currently positioned in Christ, a.k.a. Believers. It is also used to depict the outwardly focused love God expects Believers to have for one another and put into practice. Charity, therefore, is the highest form of love. In layman’s terms it means seeking another’s highest good. Putting their interest above yours. An example of this is a fellow soldier putting themselves in harm’s way for the benefit of others. In verse 3:14 Paul reinforced this teaching by stating charity is the most important virtue to “put on” and exhibit.
The fact that Paul had to broach this subject indicates “charity” (agape love) was lacking in their church. I arrived at that conclusion because Paul has mentioned love on three earlier occasions in this letter (1:4, 8, 2:2) and he mentions it again in 3:19. So please know from Paul’s perspective, charity brings people together and makes their obvious differences harmonious. Harmony means: “the positive combination of things which are not exactly the same.” This in no way implies Believers are perfect or that they do not make mistakes. Instead, just as an orchestra must play together to make a pleasing sound, charity is the virtue Believers must “put on” and display in order to live and work together harmoniously.
(To be continued)
© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved