“Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds.”
“since you have put off the old man”
The figure of the “old man” is common in Paul’s writing (Rom. 6:6; Eph 4:22). It refers to the whole unregenerate life. This life came from Adam and therefore has corporate associations. We put away our old life in Adam since we received new life in Christ. This transformation causes us to embrace the cause of Christ. We, therefore, renounce lying and commit ourselves to the truth.
As in verse 8, “put off” reoccurs in verse 9. The words “put off” mean to take off or strip off clothing — to undress, to disrobe, strip off.
“He stripped off the clothing of the rulers and authorities and made them a public spectacle” (Col 2.15).
Colossians 2:11 used a weaker term for stripping off. In Colossians 2:15 and 2:11, “put off” refers to the effects of the cross. The word, however, in this verse is an intensive double compound (much more potent than “put off” in verse 8). This word carries the idea of “stripping off from oneself.”
“Put off” in Greek indicates that this stripping off from oneself took place at the cross. That is where the great change took place. This principle is the basis for all spiritual life in the New Testament. God never urges us to crucify ourselves. God wants us to utilize the crucifixion of Christ in our conflict with sin. Our Lord’s crucifixion for us is the reason we are not to lie.
The words “old man” refer to what belongs to the past, i.e., the believer’s former self before his conversion, his life in Adam. It is old because it has been superseded by something new (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9). “Old man” is an idiom for our former life — the old or former behavior pattern before becoming a Christian. This life in Adam stands in contrast to the new way of life given to us in Christ. God wants us to rid ourselves of the old life before Christ (Ephesians 4:22). Life in the old man is an obsolete life model because the Christian has new life in Christ.
“with his deeds”
The word “deeds” denotes a doing or transaction–the action looked upon as incomplete and in progress. “Deeds” is a function, implying sustained activity and responsibility. We stop acting upon our old life and start acting upon our new life.
The basis of putting off the old life is the cross.
Christian living has a negative thrust — we must “put off from” ourselves the deeds of the flesh. Our former outfit was the old corporate self derived from Adam and his sin. The old nature or capacity is the factory that produces sin in our lives. This “hand-me-down” from Adam pulls our spirituality down. Jesus gave us a new life by the cross, a whole new suit of clothes. God does not want us to clean the “hand-me-down” clothes. He wants us to divest ourselves from them and “put on” (Co 3:10) a whole new set of clothes.