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"and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator". Colossians 3:10 ESV

"new" -neon.

"renewed"-anakainoumenon.

If the new self is "born again"-our taking on a new nature-how are we renewed?

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Colossians 3:10 ESV:

and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

This emphasizes the concept of progressive sanctification. Without the new self, the process cannot begin. Even with the new self, sanctification cannot be achieved instantly. It is a process of daily renewing. The end goal is for us to resemble the creator.

How are we renewed?

We are being renewed in the knowledge of God. We are learning to know him more and more. We should be getting more and more holy and less and less sinful.

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Colossians 3:9 is not a complete sentence by itself, nor is it an independent thought. Colossians 3:10-11 are part of the same sentence. Therefore, putting on the “new man” is just as important as putting off the “old man.” One can’t be done without the other.

Often the emphasis is on denying the flesh (Romans 7:18), which is described in Colossians 3:5 and 8. We can’t conquer our flesh in our own strength; we need the supernatural ability of God for that to be accomplished. That is what Paul was referring to when he spoke of putting on the “new man.”

This is speaking of letting the attributes of our born-again selves begin to dominate our thoughts and actions. We don’t have to conquer the “old man” before the new can be revealed (Galatians 5:16). Instead, we receive the “new man” while we are still dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1) as a gift of God’s grace. Then as our “new man” begins to manifest, the effects of our “old man” are diminished (Romans 6:6).

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Paul's constant theme of the new life in Christ appears in many places in the NT.

  • 2 Cor 5:14-17 - For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all, therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one according to the flesh. Although we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!
  • Rom 6:4, 8-10 - We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may walk in newness of life. ... Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has dominion over Him. The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. So you too must count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
  • Rom 7:6 - But now, having died to what bound us, we have been released from the law, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
  • Titus 3:5 - He saved us, not by the righteous deeds we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of new birth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
  • Acts 5:20 - “Go, stand in the temple courts and tell the people the full message of this new life.”
  • 1 Peter 1:3 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

Paul's discussion in Col 3 is an extended discussion about the new life in Christ that contrasts:

  • The old sinful life involving: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed (v5), anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language (V7)
  • The new life in Christ where all these sinful practices are put away. Now we are controlled by compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (V12)

Col 3:10 "new" and "renewed"

Col 3:10 contains a quintessentially Hebrew idiom that is verbally redundant for emphasis, "new, being renewed". Both words are from the same cognate root; the first is an adjective and the second a verb.

  • νέος = "new"
  • ἀνακαινόω = "being renewed"

The verb is used only in Col 3:10 and in 2 Cor 4:16 -

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, yet our inner self is being renewed day by day.

Both refer to exactly the same thing - the new life in Christ must be constantly refreshed. That is, the new life is Christ is not a once only event, but a constant remaking of the life in the image of Jesus.

2 Cor 3:18 - And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

APPENDIX - Col 3 analysed

What happens at conversion to Christ:

1 Therefore, since you have been raised with Christ, strive for the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

The Old way of Life before conversion

5 Put to death, therefore, the components of your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience. 7 When you lived among them, you also used to walk in these ways. 8 But now you must put aside all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

What Happened at conversion

9 Do not lie to one another, since you have taken off the 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. 11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, or free, but Christ is all and is in all.

How do we live after conversion?

12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with hearts of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and forgive any complaint you may have against someone else. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which is the bond of perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, for to this you were called as members of one body. And be thankful.

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  • Dottard, That was really good, thorough and very well written.
    – Sherrie
    Sep 9 at 15:19
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How do the two sorts of "new" in Colossians 3:10 relate to each other?

[I do not know ancient Hebrew or Greek and wouldn't profess to know them but provide the following in what I found in my research.]

In the study note for Colossians 3:10, the New World Translation mentions the following:

is being made new: Paul uses a Greek word not found in ancient Greek literature that precedes his writings. The verb form here suggests, not a one-time act of renewal, but a continuous, ongoing process. If a Christian stops putting forth diligent effort to cultivate the new personality, the old one is likely to resurface. (Ge 8:21; Ro 7:21-25) Paul thus emphasizes to Christians their need to continue applying the accurate knowledge they acquire regarding the Christian personality. They must work hard to develop such qualities as those he lists in verses 12-15.​—See study note on 2Co 4:16.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words breaks down anakainoumenon (G341 anakainoó)

Renew, Renewing (Verb and Noun):
"to make new" (ana, "back" or "again," kainos, "new," not recent but different), "to renew," is used in the Passive Voice in 2Cr 4:16, of the daily renewal of "the inward man" (in contrast to the physical frame), i.e., of the "renewal" of spiritual power; in Col 3:10, of "the new man" (in contrast to the old unregenerate nature), which "is being renewed unto knowledge," RV (cp. No. 3 in Eph 4:23), i.e., the true knowledge in Christ, as opposed to heretical teachings.

Essentially, we are "new" when we come to know God's requirements but because of our sinful tendencies must be "renewed" on a daily basis to continue doing God's will.

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  • ἀνακαινίζω Thayer -Biblehub (Isocrates Arcop. 3; Philo, leg. ad Gaium § 11; Josephus, Antiquities 9, 8, 2; Plutarch, Marcell c. 6; Lucian, Philop c. 12 . . . . . . . . . .Liddell & Scott (1854 Edition) also reference Isocrates in 380 B.C.
    – Nigel J
    Sep 7 at 17:52
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How do the two sorts of "new" in Colossians 3:10 relate to each other

The Bible urges Christians to put on "the new self" or personality that was created like Adam -[ before he sinned]. By this Paul does not mean that the change will take overnight, we do not lose the old traits of our character Eph.4:24

Ephesians 4:24 ESV

24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Paul in his letter to the Colossians urges Christians to put on the "new nature by continuously renewing or taking true [accurate] knowledge." So changing our personality is an ongoing process. It is not surprising, then, that on occasion we discover flaws in ourselves. Col. 3:9-10

Colossians 3:9-10 NASB

9 [a]Do not lie to one another, since you stripped off the old [b]self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self, which is being [c]renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created it—

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