Colossians 3:5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (NKJV)
(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)
As Christians, we got a lot of killin’ to do. But it’s good killin’.
First, let’s see why we are supposed to “put to death” certain things. We find that answer starting in Col 3.1:
Colossians 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. (NKJV)
The first condition is IF you were raised with Christ… have you been? If yes, then you are to “seek those things which are above” which of course are the things of God: holiness, righteousness, humility and love. But most of all, you should be seeking Christ who is “sitting at the right hand of God”, the place of greatest honor and exaltation.
We are to “set” our minds on “things above, not things on earth”. To “set” means to plot a course, to focus on and purposely pursue. It is something you do by choice, not by accident. Thinking about Godliness is not natural, it is a choice. Why are we to make this choice?
Colossians 3:3-4 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (NKJV)
When you were saved, you died to your old “self” and you now belong to Christ. In the end, we will accompany Jesus when He appears in glory. Because of our position with Christ, the Apostle Paul then gives us a list of fleshly things that we need to remove from our life. He calls them “members” and we are not suppose to “shoo” them away, or run them off, or beat them up…. we are to KILL them. Unfortunately, it is more common for us to smack them around once in a while, rather than kill them.
This speaks of any type of sexual immorality: lust, adultery, lasciviousness, etc. Sexual sin carries with it an extra measure of destructiveness because it violates your body, the temple of Holy Spirit. Every time you engage in sexual immorality, you do it with the very same body that the Holy Spirit indwells. He’s right there having to endure the filthiness of the act or thought.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (NKJV)
Uncleanness encompasses other types of impurity such as wicked thoughts and acts, evil motives and intentions. It is the participation in anything sinful that is not fitting for a Christian. This could be in the form of inappropriate entertainment, taking pleasure in wickedness, ungodly music and various other sinful indulgences.
Anything in our lives that does not glorify God and represent your new nature as a Christian should get the death penalty.
Passion & Evil Desire
Sexual immorality is so evil, that it gets multiple mentions in this passage. “Passion and evil desire” are similar terms that speak of sexual lust and illicit behavior. They are the two components that make up lust: the actual act and the thoughts that accompany it.
Romans 1:28-29 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,….
Romans 1:32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (NKJV)
It is the natural path of wickedness to engage in sexual immorality when God is ignored. At some point, God will let you “have it your way” if you persist long enough in the pursuit of sexual immorality. God is patient and protective up to a point and then, when necessary, will allow a person to feel the full consequence of immorality in order that a person might be turned back to God.
It is a VERY sobering thought… “those who practice such things (ie, sexual immorality, lust) are deserving of death“. With lust, pornography and sexual sin being the “dirty little secret” of the modern Western church, we should not pass over this warning lightly.
Covetousness & Idolatry
This is “I-must-have-more-itis”; never satisfied, always wanting more. For the Western world, this is a way of life; it is considered a part of being “successful”. There is an element of covetousness that involves being jealous of what the world has, seeking to obtain those things that will cause the world to admire us.
Why is it “idolatry”? Because it replaces God. The never ending quest for temporal things leaves little or no room to pursue “those things which are above”.
Because of these things…
The Apostle Paul continues the thought with a warning: the wrath of God is coming on those who engage in these things. The “wrath of God is coming”… that should send a shiver up your spine. I know that as a Christian, my sins are forgiven eternally, but I still wonder sometimes how it will feel when I come face to face with Jesus knowing that I chose so many times to go ahead and sin, knowing perfectly well what I was doing.
Verse 7 gives the good news for those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ… you “once walked” in those things; past tense. The blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit gives us what we need to no longer be slaves to the flesh and the world. On a daily basis, we can overcome the works of the flesh with God’s help. On an eternal basis, we have already overcome and been forgiven. Thank you Jesus!
Lord, Help us to make these sins “past tense” in our life. Help us to remember that we are raised with Christ and to set our mind on things above. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Contemplation: How many of these things are part of your life even now after being saved? Do you take pleasure in the sinful things of our society? Have you killed the “members” of the flesh? Or do you just smack them once in a while?
Application: It is convicting that these verses speak of behavior that should be describing unsaved people; but the honest truth is that the typical professing Christian today is not a whole lot better. That’s just the sad truth. It is up to each of us individually to restore and seek a higher level of holiness and righteousness for God’s glory.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?