“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering”
In this verse, we come to the third of seven divine directives in chapter three. Having “put on” the “new man” (Co 3:10), the believer is to assume or “put on” the characteristics of the “elect of God.” First, we saw the negative, “put off” the old man with his deeds (Co 3:8-9), now the positive characteristics of “put on.” We must discard the old garments of the unregenerate life before we put on the new characteristics of the new regenerate man. We must put off the sinful behavior and put on the garments of our life in Christ. We put off six garments of the old man and put on eight garments of the new man.
The command to “put on” certain virtues begins with an appeal to our status with God. If the believer is aware of his relationship with God, he can live the Christian life as it should be lived. Paul appeals to three prerogatives to motivate the Colossians: they are “elect,” “holy,” and “beloved.” These are titles God gives to those who know Him.
“Therefore” harks back to verse ten: “put on the new man.” Now that we have put on the new man, this is how we are to be outfitted for the new life in Christ. The garments listed in verses 12-14 look good on our new man. They fit him. They befit him. They are characteristics of those with Christ.
It is not enough to “put off” something; we must “put on” something. We must put off the sins of verses 8 and 9, anger, etc., but we must also put on “tender mercies,” etc.
We need to deck ourselves out in the new man. The Christian never looks better than when dressed in the garments of the new man.
A new character demands new characteristics.
The logic of commitment to the Lord goes something like this. If we owe all to the Lord, He should have all of us. This commitment is the logic of love. There is a close connection between God’s grace and our response to Him. Grace and gratitude are from the same root in Greek. The virtues in the following list root themselves in our election.