July 8, 2016
Colossians 3:5, 8-10
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
I am changing the featured Scripture in this series, Can’t Or Won’t! For the next two blogs Colossians 3:5, and 8 through 10 will be the passage which we will closely examine:
…put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, un-
cleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry….you
must also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy lan-
guage out of your mouth. Do not lie to one to another since you have
put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man who is
renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him….
Paul is writing to the Colosse Christians, showing them the proper way to live out their lives as followers of Jesus Christ. And he is writing from two approaches – negative (in our Scripture today and Friday) and positive (which will be the direction of the featured Scripture next week – Colossians 3:12 through 18).
The apostle starts by giving his readers a general command in verse 5: “…put to death your members which are on the earth….” It is not our hands and feet and other bodily members, which is how we might think of bodily members in modern thought. It is our actions that come out of the old earthly person, controlled by Satan (see Ephesians 2:1-3), actions which defined our lives before we put our faith in Christ! Then Paul goes into specifics:
• Colossians 3:5 – “…fornication….” Greek – πορνεύω, meaning, “to act the harlot, that is, (literally) indulge unlawful lust (of either sex), or (figuratively) practice idolatry…” (Strong, Dictionary of the Greek Testament). Fornication is forbidden by God in His Word! (See I Corinthians 5:1-11; 6:13-20; 10:8; II Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5;19; Ephesians 5:3; I Thessalonians 4:3; Revelation 2:20, 21; 9:21). God designed sex to be enjoyed within the bonds of marriage (Hebrew 13:4), and Christians are to follow that design!
• Colossians 3:5 – “…uncleanness….” Greek – ἀκαθαρσία, meaning “…impurity (the quality), physically or morally…” (Strong). Paul writes this in Ephesians 5:5 (English Standard Version): “For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure…has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
• Colossians 3:5 – “…passion….” Greek – πάθος, meaning “…suffering (pathos), that is, (subjectively) a passion (especially concupiscence)…” (Strong). Webster defines concupiscence as, “strong sexual desire, lust.”
• Colossians 3:5 – “…evil desire….” Greek – κακός ἐπιθυμία, meaning “…a longing… depraved, or injurous…(especially for what is forbidden)…” (Strong).
• Colossians 3:5 – “…covetousness, which is idolatry.” Greek – πλεονεξία, meaning “…avarice, that is, (by implication) fraudulency, extortion…” (Strong). Avarice is having an extreme greed for material wealth. Since such greed takes over the first place in a person’s life, it becomes idolatry – putting something in the position in which God is to be! (See Luke 10:27; also the blog from October 31, 2014 – The Circular Ten Commandments).
We have only covered five manifestations of the old nature (the sinful flesh). There are five more to examine in verses 8 and 9 of our featured Scripture. But all such manifestations of unregenerate man we are to avoid! And with the Lord’s empowerment, we can accomplish just that! (See I Corinthians 15:57; Philippians 4:13).
I knew a man in his 70’s who told me he was a Christian. He was also ‘hook, line, and sinker’ into pornography. He told me that he Can’t kick his addiction, it is too ingrained in him. There is no hope for him, and he is resigned to be addicted to pornography for the rest of his life. Is it that he Can’t or that he Won’t? If we are not putting to death sinful manifestations in our daily living, remember – it is never a matter of Can’t! It is always a matter of Won’t!
Do you recall the black comedian Flip Wilson? If you do, you are probably as old as I am! One of his iconic lines was “The devil made me do it! ” While it drew a lot of laughs, it is seriously flawed theology! The devil does not force anyone to sin! Except perhaps in cases of extreme demonic possession where one of Satan’s host so takes over a personality, that person then loses control of his or her decision-making ability (see Mark 5:2-15) – the evil one can only tempt a person to do wrong! The actual decision to commit sin is up to the individual!
Can’t Or Won’t! – stop ‘Flipping’ into ‘Wilsonian’ theology! Own up to the fact that when we are tempted, we always have a choice laid before us! With the Lord’s help, we Can resist, and we Will! (See I Corinthians 10:12-14).