Changing Identities … A Call to Holiness

 The subject centers around the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and the believer’s positional union with Him. Then comes an appeal for the believer to make his experience compatible with his exalted position in Christ. This is a call to holiness of life which is to be implemented as illustrated by the putting off the “Old” Man and putting on the “New” Man (Col. 2:11-3:25).

The following texts teach a similar, but not identical truth (Rom. 13:11-13; Jn. 11:1-44; Mk. 5:1-20; Zech. 3:1-4).


Please observe:

      ….God never puts new wine in old bottles,

            New cloth on the old garments,

            New lump in with old leaven, and new on top of old.

      ….God wants a change of identity—a true conversion and

            separation from the world.


O the best thing in my life I ever did do,

O the best thing in my life I ever did do,

O the best thing in my life I ever did do,

Was to take off the old robe and put on the new.

 O the old robe was dirty all tattered and torn,

O the new robe was snow white and never been worn,

O the best thing in my life I ever did do,

Was to take off the old robe and put on the new!


Further observations:

(1) The “Old Man” to be put off is the “Sin that dwelleth in me” (Rom. 7:14-23).

  (2) The “Old Man” “with his deeds” is the enemy of God and man, having made mankind his slave (Rom.8:6-8).

  (3) The “Old Man” pays off his slaves with “death” (Rom. 6:21-23).

  (4) The question all people need to ask is, “Who shall deliver me?” (Rom. 7:24).

  (5) The answer is: Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, on behalf of lost sinners, destroys the “Old Man’s” control and delivers the believer (Rom. 7:25; 6:6-14, 17-20).

  (6) Christ’s liberating work and the sinner’s needs meet at the point of faith in Christ and the baptizing work of God the Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:1-6; Col. 2:9-15; Gal. 3:27).

  (7) The believer, by Spirit baptism, is positionally joined to           Christ to have a new identity…i.e., the “New Man” (2 Cor.    5:17; Eph. 2:15-16). The “New Man” is the Christ of the

 Mystery. The Mystical Christ (Eph. 3:1-6). The “Head” and the “Body” inseparably joined together; “…so also is the Christ” (1 Cor. 12:12).

   (8)   Here is what the “New Man” looks like (Col 3:10-11; Eph. 1:23; Gal. 3:28).

   (9) Problem: “How do believers live less like the ‘Old Man’ and more like the ‘New Man,’  and a life that pleases God?”

Note: The Gnostics, Ascetics and the Pharisees, whose erroneous teachings were being addressed by Paul in the Book of Colossians, believed that was accomplished through:

“Rudiments of this world” (Col. 2:8, 20)

  1. “empty and vain philosophies”
  2. “traditions of men”

“Shadows” (Col. 2:17)

  1. religious ceremonies and observances
  2. asceticism
  3. worship of angels/messengers/pastors
  4. visions and mysteries – “things…not seen”

…These did not help to overcome the “Old Man” with his deeds (Col. 2:23)!


 (10) Believers make their experience (the way we live) more

like the reality of our position in Christ by following the

Pauline instructions – godliness by Grace, not Law.

  Fill in the blanks using your KJV Bible.

  1. Having the right (desire) _________________(Col. 3:1).

    …We are to “Set” what? _________________ (Col. 3:2).

(The Greek word is elsewhere translated “mind.”)

  1. Acknowledge your “new” identity and position.

    Christ is your ________________________ (Col. 3:3-4).

  1. Put off the “_______Man” with his _______(Col. 3:8-9).

    Note: how the “Old Man” behaves (Col. 3:5; also Gal. 5:19-21).

     “_____________” = harlotry, incest

     “_____________” = physical or moral impurity

     “_____________” = depraved lusts

     “_____________” = worthless lusts and cravings

     “_____________” = fraudulent greed

     “_____________” = image worship

  1. “Put on the ‘_______________’ Man” (Col. 3:10).

    “Put on ___________________” (Rom. 13:11).


Note: how the “New Man” behaves (Col. 3:12-14; also Eph. 5:24-32). (Use your English or Greek dictionary to look up the full meaning of these words.)

“bowels of mercy”____________________________

“kindness”  __________________________________

“humbleness”  ________________________________






“Let the peace of God___________________(Col. 3:15)

“Let the word of Christ__________________(Col. 3:16)

“Do _________in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col .3:17)

“Giving _______________ to God the Father” (Col. 3:17)


(11)  The behavior of the “New Man” is to be practically

applied through the yielded Christian (Col. 3:18-22; 4:1).

Wives are to_____________________________________

Husbands are to __________________________________

Children are to ___________________________________

Fathers are to ____________________________________

Servants are to ___________________________________

Masters are to ____________________________________


(12)  The rewards for the “New” Man:  “Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:24).

(13)  The wages for the “Old” Man: “But he that doeth wrong shall re- ceive for the wrong which he hath done; and there is no respect of persons” (Col. 3:25).