Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your 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 Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
One of the most precious truths in the Bible is that we are saved by grace, not works. We have not been saved because of any good that we have done, rather by our faith in Jesus and what he has done for us on the cross. However, we do not understand or accept this grace if we keep on living our lives as if nothing has changed.
This is Paul’s message to the Colossians and to us. Now that we have received a new life in Christ, we need to get rid of all the sinful parts of our old life. Paul tells us to such things “put to death”. It is very easy to treat sin casually and to deny just how abhorrent our sins are to God and how they destroy our relationships with God and with one another. Paul wants us to have a zero policy towards our sin.
We read in Romans 8:13: “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live”. John Owen, a 16th century pastor said: “Be killing sin, or it will be killing you!”
To underline his point, Paul moves onto another analogy: “rid yourselves”. He speaks as if he means take off your old clothes (of sin) and put on your new clothes of righteousness and purity. Paul gives us two lists of sins that we need to remove from our lives. The first set consists primarily of sexual sins as well as greed and idolatry. Greed is linked with idolatry. Greed means that you are not content with what God has given you. You are seeking what you desire rather than what God desires. Idolatry is much the same – it’s putting something else before God, whether work, family, sports, whatever.
Paul’s second list contain interpersonal sins. These are ones which culturally we consider not to be as bad; more socially acceptable as everyone does them. Maybe we don’t take them seriously and assume God doesn’t either. But God says “Yes”. Sin is sin is sin.
Finally, Paul gives us four reasons as to why we need to eradicate sin from our lives.God’s wrath is coming because of our sin (verse 6)Sin belongs to your old way of life, not your new life (verse 7)God is making you into someone new (verses 9-10)In Christ all the man-made barriers have been removed. (verse 11). These barriers are racial, religious, cultural and social.Paul and ultimately God wants us to be holy and to live in harmony with others. Getting rid of all of the first group of sins makes us holy and pure. By removing the second set of interpersonal sins, we can live in harmony with others. Both are equally important. We are transformed and our relationships with others are also transformed.
Paul intended this letter and particularly this passage to be one of encouragement rather than one of chastisement. He wanted us to grow as Christians and to be more like Christ.
Let us pray: Father God, thank you for your Word. Thank you that when we come to you, you are willing and able to forgive us for all our sins. Thank you that we can call out to you and you will send your Holy Spirit to help us when we cannot help ourselves. As we ponder this passage today, please help us. Show us those things that we need to get rid of in our lives, so that we can be free to be the people you intended for us to be. AmenScripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www. zondervan.com. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™
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