“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering”
The list of virtues here is the opposite of the list of vices just denounced in verses 8 and 9. Paul exposed the social sins of the unregenerate man in the previous verses, and now he challenges people to the social virtues of the regenerate man.
“Put on” parallels the preceding “put off.” Having removed the clothes (characteristics) of the unregenerate old man, God wants us to put on the clothes of the new regenerate man.
“Put on” means to put on a garment. “Put on” can also carry the idea of develop or function. We cannot put on our position of election in Christ, for it is already on the believer. God gave us eternal standing before Him at the point of salvation, which goes on forever. We cannot put on our election, but we can function based on our election or position. We live as those whom God elected; we carry ourselves before others as a child of God.
God orders us to put on eight garments listed in verses 12 and 13.
God expects us to approximate our daily condition to our heavenly state.
God wants us to wear His spiritual garments. It will not do to let these garments hang in the closet of the Word of God. They will not do us any good there. We must wear them in experience.
God expects us to approximate our daily condition to our heavenly state. He wants us to put off the sins of the disposition, but he also wants us to put on the disposition of the new man. It is a robing procedure. We cannot put on the robes of the new man until we have put off the rags of the old man. We cannot put on the robes of praise over those rags. It is not befitting a Christian to come to God wearing the rags of criticism and bitterness. We need spiritual attire to walk in fellowship with Him.