Sunday, 7 May 2017
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5
Paul begins this verse with “Therefore” in order for the reader to consider what he has just said. He has been speaking of our state in Christ. We died with Him and we were raised with Him. And so what does that mean for us when He appears in glory? We too shall appear with Him in glory. Because of this, he will now tell us what we should abstain from in verses 5-9. Then he will relay positive things that we should strive to do in verses 10-16. In these, we will put off the old man, and we will in turn put on the new man.
In order to put off the old man, he says to “put to death your members which are on the earth.” The word is nekroó, and it means “to view as a corpse,” and thus “to regard as dead.” We are to look at our bodily members as if they are dead, and then he lists those members. To be noted is that he makes no distinction between the bodily members, and what they accomplish. In other words, “fornication” is listed first as if it is a bodily member. The part of the body is being equated directly with the negative act it can commit. However, the same body parts that are listed can be used in a positive way as well, and so we are being given insights into how we are to conduct ourselves while still in this physical, corrupt body. We are to treat it as if it is already glorified.
As noted, the list begins with fornication. Fornication is sexual intimacy which is outside of the bonds of marriage.
Next is “uncleanness.” This is a general reference to life’s impurities, and anything that a man could pursue which would otherwise defile himself.
He then lists “passion.” This indicates strong emotions which are not directed by God, such as consuming lust.
After that are “evil desires.” Such desires are reflected in things like lewdness and the working of all uncleanness and greediness.
Coming next is “covetousness.” This is closely associated with fornication and uncleanness. It indicates a desire for more and more. It demonstrates eyes that are never satisfied with what they have, and an attitude which is insatiable towards self-gratification. Paul then explains covetousness by saying “which is idolatry.” The reason covetousness is described this way is because it dethrones the Lord from our hearts and souls. Instead, we take what our attention is directed to and place it upon a throne of our heart’s making.
Life application: In the Old Testament, as forbidden actions were given there was an accompanying penalty which was noted for the offense. Such is not the case in the New Testament. We have died to the law through Christ’s death. Therefore, our penalty is something that will be realized less in this earthly life than it will be in the next. A believer’s salvation is secured, but our rewards are based on the lives we live after that salvation. However, this doesn’t mean we won’t also suffer in this life if we do bad things. We may profit from a greedy heart by making millions, but we may also lose by getting fired from our job. Paul’s point is not what will happen in this life though, but in what will be reckoned to us in the next. Therefore, let us pursue Christ now, being obedient to the admonitions and exhortations we are provided with.
How glorious it is to consider Your ways, O God. You have given us such marvelous beauty in the world we live in. You have provided countless tastes to delight our senses. You have given us the ability to love and care for others. The list could go on and on, but just considering the things around us, how can we not praise You? How beautiful it is to consider Your ways, O God! Amen.