Thursday, December 30, 2021

2021.12.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 3:5–8

Read Colossians 3:5–8

Questions from the Scripture text: What are believers to do to which aspects (“members”) of themselves (Colossians 3:5a)? Which six members of themselves does verse 5b mention as being “on earth” (i.e. from our former fleshly/earthly nature, rather than from their new/Spiritual/heavenly nature)? What is coming because of these things (Colossians 3:6a)? Upon whom (verse 6b)? What have believers previously done (Colossians 3:7a)? When (verse 7b)? What are we to do with the things in which we no longer walk or live (Colossians 3:8a)? What four expressions of members does verse 8b specifically identify?

This passage teaches us very clearly how to think about our remaining sin and how to respond to our remaining sin.

Recognize remaining sin as part of us but no longer the nature of who we are. Christ is our life now (Colossians 3:4), which means our life is hidden with Him in God (Colossians 3:3b), and our former self has died (verse 3a). What is this former self who died? Among other things, it is a self that walked in sin and lived in sin (Colossians 3:7). 

Does this mean that believers no longer sin? No. There are remnants of our former self that are not set “on things above” but rather “on the earth” (Colossians 3:5). In Colossians 3:2, the apostle was not talking about geography but mindset. He was not talking about ignoring this world but rather about setting the principles and priorities of heaven over-against the principles and priorities of a fallen world. 

So when he tells us to “put to death your members which are on the earth,” he is calling to our attention that there are aspects of the believer’s now-deceased former self that are themselves still alive and kicking. They do not belong to who we are now, but they are still attached to us and part of us. Believers should recognize their remaining sin, and take responsibility for their remaining sin, even while rejoicing that their remaining sin is no longer “who they are” (Colossians 3:3a, Colossians 3:7; cf. Romans 7:17–18, Romans 7:22–23).

Kill remaining sin, and put it off, as that which has no right to us and no place in heaven. It’s important for us to see what the apostle is telling the Colossians in Colossians 3:5. Colossae isn’t Corinth, but the believers there have all of these things yet in their hearts to some extent. So do all believers on earth today. 

One of the ways that gullible westerners have been such easy prey for Islamic jihad is that they thought they could be friends. They did not realize that there were enemies present. They did not know or act as if they were at war. If you are a believer, you are at war. If you fail to recognize your enemy, or think that you can coexist with your enemy, you will only harm yourself. 

A little bit of lust is not okay. Kill it. Enjoying the filthiness of a joke is not ok. Kill any remaining tendency to smirk at what is crass. Being controlled by your emotions is not ok. It’s something you should kill. Thinking something is fun because it is forbidden is called evil desire. Suffocate it. Complaining against God’s providence to you, or wishing it was different, is to put yourself and the desired thing in the place of God. You don’t shrug at that “remaining fallenness”; you ruthlessly execute it and seek to be content with God Himself as your Portion. 

(Hasty) anger and wrath are not just part of life. It is part of your former life. Put that off, and start getting dressed for heaven. Hostility and bitterness in your heart are malice. That’s the clothing of the old man, not suitable for resurrected residents of heaven. Get rid of it. Light speaking of God is indicative of someone who has not come near to Him and knows not His glory. Refuse to have such speech attached to you. Filthy language has no place in your mouth; wash it out by the Spirit, and never let it back in.

Yes, it is a fact that believers have much that is earthly and fleshly yet attached to them. But we have a new life in Christ that is from heaven and for heaven. We must be killing that which remains from our former self, and putting off that which is suitable only to our former life.

Which of these things that you should be killing is most “alive” still in your life? Which of these things that you should be putting off do you still “dress” in most often? How can you be confident in this killing and putting off?

Sample prayer:  Holy, holy, holy God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—how we thank You for creating us that we might enjoy You. And especially for redeeming us in Christ, killing our former, wicked selves and raising us up together with Him to reflect and enjoy Your holy glory. Forgive us for being so passive about letting things from our former selves linger, and give us zeal in the pursuit of that life and character that belongs to our new and eternal life with You. For, we ask it through the Name in which You have saved us, Jesus Christ, AMEN!

No comments:

Post a Comment