Thursday, September 3, 2020

Things That Should Die

"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5)

In Colossians 3:5–11, Paul covers four of the most important areas of Christian ethics. The first he mentions is “sexual immorality, impurity, lust.” It is clear from the Bible and from the New Testament that all sex outside of marriage is sinful and offensive to God, as well as destructive to human life. There is never any excuse for sex before marriage or for adultery during marriage. Moreover, we are to fight against mental sins in this area, cutting off even the least stirrings of lustful attitudes.

Second, Paul mentions “evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” The reference here is to envy or covetousness. It is not wrong to want something someone else has, provided he is willing to sell it. It is wrong, however, to want something the other person has if it is not available to you. Such covetousness leads to resentment and frequently manifests itself in tearing the other person down. It can lead to stealing or to an attempt to ruin the other person. Moreover, in addition to the specific sin of coveting things, there is the general sin of covetousness, which we commit when we become consumed with having the things of this world. Putting our faith and security in things is idolatry.

Third, Paul mentions “anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language.” Violent behavior, whether in action or in words, is never proper for any Christian. When we “fly into a rage” over something, it is a sign that we are not right with God, and we need to repent. A man who is constantly at war with everyone is a man who does not have the peace of God.

Finally, Paul says, “Do not lie to each other.” A Christian’s word should always be trustworthy. People should always be able to count on us whenever we make a promise. We should be known as a people who are truthful and honest. We must not deceive one another maliciously or go around as gossips. And also, when it is necessary to say an unpleasant truth to someone, we should do so in a loving and prayerful spirit.

We notice that Paul has covered the last five of the ten commandments here, showing the Judaizing Gnostics the true and right way to apply the Old Testament. Are you having a problem with temptation or even outward sin in one of these areas? Make it a matter of serious soul-searching prayer today, and take steps to get your life straight before God and before men. Repentance is not easy—it’s required.