“Putting off” and “putting on” is not about what we wear. It’s about the way we can change, the way we can be transformed, and the way we can become more and more like Jesus. So how should we understand this?
Change by Choice
When Jesus saves a repentant sinner, He forgives the person’s sins and imputes His righteousness to the forgiven sinner. Doctrinally, this is called justification (Read: The Gift of SalvaTION: Justification & Imputation). We also call it being saved or being born again, and it’s the result of a free-will choice to believe and trust in Jesus, and to turn to Him in faith asking for forgiveness.
While we needed to turn to Jesus in faith and seek His forgiveness to be saved, we must understand that Jesus alone did the work of saving and justifying us. The transformation that took place when He saved us happened instantaneously, But then we were set on a life-long journey of sanctification in which we participate. (Read: What you need to know about Sanctification)
The Bible tells us that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to sanctify us, (ie. conform us to the image of Jesus, Ro 8:29), yet we participate by making free-will choices. When Jesus saved us, He did not take away our brains, nor did He limit our free will. Daily we must make choices to live in the light of Jesus or to follow the dark ways of the world.
Choosing to Change in Sanctification
Paul wrote a great deal about our free-will choices in our journeys in sanctification. Every person’s journey is personal and unique, but all of our journeys are about conquering our sins and growing in holiness. To the churches at Rome, Ephesus, and Colossae, Paul effectively addressed this with choosing to put off and put on:
Rom 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
Eph 4:22-24 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Col 3:8-10 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
Putting Off Needs Putting On
Putting off without putting on is always susceptible to failure. When Christians put off a thought, word, or action that is sinful, negative, un-Christlike, etc, they must also put on a thought, word, or action that will replace that which they put off. If putting on is not done, that which was put off will return, which will and hinder them in becoming more Christ-like.
Choose Today to Put Off the Old Man and Put On the Lord Jesus Christ
Rom 13:12, 14 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. . . put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Putting On the Fruit of the Spirit
Let’s look at the practical side of this and what the Bible says about putting on the fruit of the Spirit.
Gal 5:22 the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Gal 5:23 gentleness and self-control.
Put off Lack of Love (Prov 26:24, 1 John 4:20, 1 Cor 13:1)
Put on Love (John 15:12)
Put off Anxiety (Ps 32:9a, Prov 29:25a, Phil 4:6)
Put on Joy (John 15:11, Ro 5:11, Phil 4:4)
Put off Strife (Prov 13:10)
Put on Peace (Isa 26:3, James 3:17)
Put off Impatience (Prov 14:29, 29:20)
Put on Patience (Heb 10:36, James 1:4)
Put off Unkindness (Prov 15:1b, Eph 4:31)
Put on Kindness (Ro 12:13, Eph 4:32)
Put off Hypocrisy (James 1:8, 1:22, 1 Pet 2:1)
Put on Sincerity (Prov 11:3a, 1 Th 2:3)
Put off Lying (Prov 12:22a, 19:9, Eph 4:25)
Put on Speaking Truth (Prov 12:17, Eph 4:15, 25)
Put off Harshness/Bitterness (Prov 15:1b, Col 3:19)
Put on Gentleness (Prov 15:1a, 2 Tim 2:24)
Put off Anger (Prov 15:18a, 29:22, 2 Tim 3:2-3)
Put on Self-Control (Prov 17:28b, 1 Pet 4:9)
Start putting off and putting on today! Make it a conscious choice to stop sin and un-Christlike behaviors. And always remember to replace them with a godly though, word, or action so you can walk forward and stand strong in your journey of sanctification.
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