"Put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him." (Colossians 3:10)So here's the question, if we have been made "new" then why do we need to be "renewed"? Why did God give us something new that was lacking and required to be renewed? If our new man was created in righteousness and holiness, then what more renewing must be required? What more must we be lacking? The answer is found in what it means to be made new and to be renewed.
The Greek word used in Colossians for "new" means to be recently born, young, or youthful. The word used for renew can also mean to cause to grow up. The understanding is that we are made new in Christ as babes; born again as babes that still need to grow up into the things of God. At our conversion, our new man is created in righteousness and holiness, yet is still remains for us to grow up into those things; to see them become realities, not just potentialities, in our lives. We can squander the gifts of righteousness and holiness given to us and remain babies all our lives, or we can grow up into the men and women God always intended us to be. We have been made new, yet Jesus still wants us to grow up.
The hope of Christ is that we would not always remain babes. Paul, speaking of the equipping ministries that God has given to the church, says that their ministry is to this end,
"For the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ." (Ephesians 4:12-13)
Darby translates this as, "until we arrive... at the full-grown man". God wants us all to be full-grow men and women of God; fully grown "to a true knowledge" of Him. So what does it mean to be a "full-grown man" or a "full-grown woman" of God. Over the next several posts we will look at what this means.