Can’t Or Won’t? – V

July 11, 2016

Colossians 3:5, 8-10

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

We will continue for one more blog featuring Colossians 3:5, and 8 through 10:

      …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 approaches this from two directions – how we are to live out our Christian faith – negative in verses 5, 8 and 9, and positive in verse 10 through 18.  There are eleven negative things we are to put to death [in]…our members….”  We covered five in the last blog, all in verse 5:  “…fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”  Let’s look at the next six in verses 8 and 9:

•      Colossians 3:8 – “…anger….”  Greek – ο’ργή, meaning “…properly desire (as a reaching forth or excitement of the mind), that is, (by analogy) violent passion (ire, or [justifiable] abhorrence); by implication punishment…” (Strong, Dictionary of the Greek Testament).  Paul here chose the word to mean “violent passion or ire.”  Instead of negative passion, Christians are to show compassion (see I Peter 3:8).

•      Colossians 3:8 – “…wrath….”  Greek – θυμός, meaning “…passion (as if breathing hard)…” (Strong).  This is anger that affects the physical body of the angry one, in this illustration, one’s breathing.

•      Colossians 3:8 – “…malice….”  Greek – κακία, meaning “…badness, that is, (subjectively) depravity, or (actively) malignity, or (passively) trouble…” (Strong).  This refers to bad attitude and actions that come out of the depraved human nature of the unsaved person.

•      Colossians 3:8 – “…blasphemy….”  Greek – βλασφημι’α, meaning “…vilification (especially against God)…” (Strong).  Webster defines blasphemy as, “…profane or mocking abuse of God or anything sacred…contempt for God.”  Further research showed that blasphemy is also speaking against accepted Church doctrine, or presenting a different heretical doctrine.

•      Colossians 3:8 – “…filthy language out of your mouth….”  Greek – αι’σχρολογι’α ε’κ tou στο’ μαtos υʽμων (Greek New Testament, British and London Bible Society), literal meaning – “…abuse out of the mouth of you…” (The R. S. V. Interlinear Greek— English New Testament).  This is what James warns against in James 3:8-10 (Contemporary English Version):

      But our tongues get out of control.  They are restless and evil, and always
      spreading deadly poison.  My dear friends, with our tongues we speak both
      praises and curses.  We praise our Lord and Father, and we curse people
      who were created to be like God, and this isn’t right.

•      Colossians 3:9 – “Do not lie….”  Greek – mh’ ψευ’δesqe meaning “…notto utter an untruth or attempt to deceive by falsehood…” (Strong).

Eleven things we are not to do!  But there are still some who identify themselves as Christians who continue to practice such actions.  I have known persons to will say something like this:

•      “I have a temper.  That’s just who I am.  I can’t change who I am! ”  Can’t Or Won’t?

•      “I grew up with my dad cussing like a sailor!  I learned to do it also without even trying!  It’s who I am and I can’t change.  I really don’t mean anything by it.”  Can’t Or Won’t?

Some people have a personality disorder that lends significantly to their actions.  I had a ‘shirt tail’ relative who turned out to be a compulsive liar and gambler.  He just ‘could not’ change!  Can’t Or Won’t?

Paul gives us the answer to Can’t Or Won’t in his epistle to the church at Philippi.  He tells us in Philippians 2:12 and 13, “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”   Yes, we are to work out (or live out) our salvation, in all seriousness!  But we not alone in this!  God – by His Holy Spirit within us – gives us not only the power to do what needs to be done, but to want to do it!  That is what is being emphasized in verse 13.  And when we want to do something, it becomes much easier to accomplish it! (See also the blog from March 13, 2013 – A Little Help Here, Please!).  No wonder the apostle writes in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

So let’s be honest, and own the truth that our decisions are not really based on “I Can’t do it! ”  It is really that “I Won’t do it! ”  But with God’s power,I can and I will! ” – whatever the Lord directs me to do!

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