Jeremiah 8:8-9:26; Colossians 3:1-17; Psalm 78:32-55; Proverbs 24:27
Put Sin to Death, Put on Virtue
Paul uses the clothing metaphor numerous times, most noted perhaps in Ephesians 6, the whole armor of God. We are told in Colossians to remove the vices associated with the old self and not only remove them but put them to death before donning the Christian virtues of our new creation.
Imagine two clothes closets, one for the old self and one for the new. In one closet hangs all the evil desires that lead to idolatry. Paul continues by addressing those things that have to do with interpersonal relationships, most importantly the things that come out of our mouths. “. . you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth” (3:8). Jesus made the same case in Matthew 15 saying we are defiled by what comes out of our mouths not by what goes in.
The new-self closet has no lock. It is open to all for “Christ is all, and in all” (3:11). As God’s chosen we are, “holy and beloved” and we find hanging or folded neatly compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and forgiveness for each other. After we put on all these virtues we still find something lacking, the most important accessory of all: love. And when love is applied all else is knit “together in perfect harmony.” We are ready to go out into the world, glorifying God in all that we do.
We wake up in the morning, roll out of bed, and choose a closet, from which we select the garments for the day. We get some help as the Holy Spirit is never slow to wake. Which doorknob did you turn this morning? Which one will you turn tomorrow?
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
Lake Mary, FL