Is the Christian life lived as though on a solitary island, or is it lived with and among others? Of course we live the Christian life as part of a greater whole. That is, whether we are talking about the local church, the universal church, or even our membership in the human race, we interact with others and we affect each other in ways that are not always positive. When we add sin to the mix, wounds become deeper, the pain becomes sharper, and reconciliation becomes harder.
As members of the Body of Christ, we live in the closest proximity to one another. We even have a unity and connection with those whom we have never met. So, how should we live our lives in such close relationship with others? As we continue our journey through Colossians, we will notice that from this point forward, the Apostle Paul's concern is how to live and behave toward one another in all of our various relationships. He begins with those things that we should do away with.
We are told to "put off the old man with his deeds." That is, just as we would discard stained or unsuitable clothing, we should discard these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication, lying. Just like the previous list (v. 5), this list shows a progression from the internal motivation to the outward actions. So, if we see in ourselves an angry disposition toward our brother or sister, then we are on the road to actively seeking revenge, engaging in gossip, and even lying and this is a dangerous road indeed. For we know from God's Word, that lying is the very work of the devil and God's just wrath rests on those who love and make a lie (Rev. 22:15). There is absolutely no place for any of these six behaviors in the life of the Christian or in the Church of Christ.
We are not only told to lay aside the old man with his deeds, we are also told to put on the new man. In particular, the Scriptures tell us that the new man is "renewed in knowledge." Let us remember though, that knowledge in the Scriptures never means a mere accumulation of facts. In fact, the text tells us what being renewed in knowledge means - it means to know who God our creator is and who our Redeemer is. In the Fall of Adam, the image of God in us was damaged. Our minds, our wills, and our passions were corrupted and twisted. But in the redemption we have in Christ, the image of God begins to be restored and will ultimately be completely restored.
So our relationships with others should reflect the new man, not the old man. And when this happens, we will experience the blessings of unity and peace because, in principle, we are one in Christ and those things that would otherwise divide us are abolished. Regardless of whether we are talking about ethnic divisions, cultural divisions, or social divisions, there is one race, one culture and one society in Christ. For as we read in the text, "Christ is all and in all." Let us then, put off the old man, and put on the new. (Ephesians 4:2-6)