“…since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
Pastor Danny Janes of Kalamazoo, Michigan wrote about a surprise visitor to his church: “Parishioners of a conservative, small-town church in rural Indiana were surprised one Sunday when a biker came to visit. He stuck out like a sore thumb—pony-tailed, tattooed, and wearing bikers’ colors. But the church came alongside him and showered him with love and acceptance. He kept coming back and eventually became a Christian.
But there was one lingering question: Why did the biker always wear long-sleeved shirts—even on the hottest days of summer? One day he finally confessed to the pastor that he had a tattoo of a naked woman on one forearm, and he didn’t want the other people in the church to see it.
A few weeks later, the biker walked up to the pastor and asked, “Want to see my new tattoo?” The pastor turned a little pale as the biker proudly rolled up his sleeve. “You know that naked woman tattoo I told you about awhile ago? I had the tattoo artist put clothes on her!”
Paul writes in Colossians 3 about what the symbolism of baptism is all about. A number of first century churches (The old church of St Mary in ancient Ephesus, an old Greek church in Thessalonica and a fourth century Church outside the old city walls at Philippi) had baptistries with divided steps apparently used by a baptismal candidate. They would enter the water leaving behind their old clothes, and exit, rising into new life and putting on new white clothes.
Colossians 3 is about a clothing exchange. Taking off our old clothes and putting on our robes of white is the essence of our sanctification. This New Self… needs constant renewal. 2 Corinthians 4:16 states: “Outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” Romans 12:2 reminds us we are: “being transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Our minds are being renewed into the mind of Christ.
Told you the Colossians 3 passage was about baptism. You have been made clean by the power of Christ. Dress in style and burn those old clothes!