The "Put-Off, Put-On" Principle

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Colossians Series #11

The "Put-Off, Put-On" Principle

By Bill Denton


A.  Illustration

Years ago I read about a teacher describing a conversation he had with a college student who was in his class and that he had tried to reach with the gospel.  Despite long talks and much effort, the young man would never make a commitment to Christ.  Finally, the teacher sat him down one day and put things rather directly.  "I know you've heard the gospel, and I know you've thought about your need to be saved.  What's holding you back from making a commitment to the Lord?"  The student paused for a moment and replied, "Frankly, it would mess up the way I'm living my life."

1.  At least the young man understood that a commitment to Christ called for a change

     of life - he knew he could no longer live the way he was living

2.  Sadly, it is that need for change that presents a problem to many people

a.  for some, it delays or prevents their commitment to Jesus

b.  for others, they may make a commitment to Christ, but it's empty and

     stagnant because they won't leave their old life behind

c.  this is a bigger problem than anyone might imagine

B.  Too many Christians think that subscribing to the right doctrines is all it takes

1.  That is a narrow, limited view that produces an impotent and lifeless Christianity

2.  Real discipleship is always a combination of right doctrine coupled with right


C.  Last week we looked at Col. 3:1-4, a statement that flows out of what he said earlier

1.  Colossians 2:12 -- 12having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also

     raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the

     dead. NASB95

2.  Colossians 3:1-4 -- 1Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking

     the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on

     the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3For you have died and your life

     is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also

     will be revealed with Him in glory. NASB95

3.  Seek things above - set your mind on things above - now let's get practical with the

     basic operating principle governing Christian life - the put-off, put-on principle

I.  Christians Function By A Death And A Resurrection

A.  Sometimes I think people hear this as just so much theological terminology and they do not

      understand that it represents a legitimate and very real approach to life

1.  Colossians 3:3 -  3For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.


2.  Romans 6:1-13 (perhaps the clearest statement of death, then life)

1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7for he who has died is freed from sin. 8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. NASB95

3.  Colossians 3:5 (Paul's statement here is based on the same idea)

        5Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality,

      impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.  NASB95

B.  What does it mean to "die to sin" or think of ourselves as "dead to sin"

1.  It is conscious choice, a decision we make, an act of the mind and will

a.  many people seem to think they have no control over their impulses, their

     temptations, their natural inclinations

b.  they think that they can't help themselves and are therefore at the mercy

     of things that pull and persuade them into sin

c.  scripture says this isn't true - we might have a fight on our hands, but we can

     choose the things we will or will not do

2.  It involves repentance - a change of mind

3.  It involves conversion - a turning away from sin and toward God

C.  Paul gives two reasons think of ourselves as dead to sin

1.  These are the things that produce the wrath of God

a.  the disobedient will ultimately taste the wrath of God

b.  if that's not what you want, then drop the sin

2.  These are the things that marked your life outside of Christ

a.  you expect lost people to practice immorality, impurity, passion, evil desires,

     greed, idolatry, anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech, lying

b.  Christians need to drop these practices - think of themselves as dead to them

3.  The "old man" has been laid aside, or put off

a.  at least that is what should have happened

b.  people who are seeking things above, setting their minds on things above, are

     people who simply cannot practice things they might have once done

4.  Christians have died to one life and have been raised to another

II.  How The New Life Is Identified?

A.  It is identified by the things we choose to "put on"

1.  In other words, just as we purposely choose to put away sinful practices from our

     life outside Christ, so we purposely choose to put on Christ-like practices that are

     consistent with life in Christ

2.  This is one of the most powerful, practical, life-changing and life-shaping principles

     found anywhere in scripture

B.  Paul's list of things we must put on is a list consistent with how Jesus would live or act

1.  Colossians 3:12-15 -  12So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved,

     put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13bearing

     with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone;

     just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14Beyond all these things put on

     love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,

     to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. NASB95

2.  New life in Christ is identified by two things, one negative the other positive

a.  have you put off the sinful practices of life before you were saved?

b.  have you put on the godly practices consistent with Jesus himself?

C.  All of this is a work of God in which we participate

1.  When we put our faith in Jesus and are saved from our sins, some things literally

     change immediately

a.  our sins are washed away and we are counted righteous because of the

     sacrifice of Jesus

b.  we are transferred from the kingdom of darkness and put into the kingdom

     of Jesus Christ

c.  we become part of the Lord's church which is made up of all the saved of all

     the ages, from all the people, in every place

d.  we receive the blessing of eternal life, victory over death, and a home in


2.  But there are also things that relate to daily living that require our active continual


a.  each of us must make the conscious choices about the sins in our own lives,

    that we will put them away, that we will stop practicing them, the we will

    choose to do away with certain things that are ungodly and sinful

b.  each of us must also make the conscious choice that we will adopt or learn

     other kinds of things that are consistent with the life Jesus calls us into

c.  how we handle the put-off and put-on principle will determine how well we

    manage to become like Jesus


A.  What do you need to put off?  Chances are there are some things you simply need to stop

B.  What are the things you need to put on?  It's equally likely, each of us needs to make it our

      purpose that we will start practicing things that Jesus would do

C.  Invitation - you may need to start at the beginning point of life and death - salvation

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