PUT TO DEATH THE SIN IN YOUR LIFE
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. ~ Colossians 3:5-11
In this section of verses, Paul instructs Christians on how to deal with the remaining sin in their lives. Yes, true Christians struggle and fight against remaining sin: "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). For Christians, the issue is not "if" sin happens, but how to deal with sin when it rears its ugly head.
You will notice as you read these verses that Paul describes the "old self" and the "new self." The "old self" identifies with everything that is against God and the "new self" is being renewed into a new and wonderful image that pleases God (Col. 3:10). The "old self" is the language Paul uses to describe the remaining sin that still threatens and weakens Believers, and it is the main subject of these verses.
Paul does two things for Believers in these verses: 1) He identifies the sins of the old self. 2) He gives instruction on how to deal with old self.
The Sin of the Old Self
In two summary lists, Paul describes the sins of the "old self". The first list is found in verse 5, "immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry" (Col. 3:5). There are two important things to notice about this list. It describes corrupted love ("immorality" comes from the word pornea), and it starts with the external expression of sin and moves inward to the place where sin starts-your heart.
The second list is found in verse 8, "anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth" (Col. 3:8). In this list you will notice that Paul describes corrupted anger, and that he moves from inward sin to external sin. From both descriptions Paul proves that our external behaviors are undeniably linked to our inner desires and motivations.
Dealing with the Old Self
Fortunately Paul gives more than a description of the "old self." He tells how to handle it. His language is strong and graphic: "Consider the members of your earthly body as dead" (Col. 3:5) and "put them all aside" (Col. 3:8). In the first image Paul is saying, "Kill the sin of the old self." In the second image Paul is saying, "Strip it off." Believers should not etertain sin, nor try to manage it. As John Owen said, "Be killing sin or it will be killing you."
MOTIVATION FOR KILLING SIN
Why should we deal so hostily with the sin that still remains? Paul offers three reasons:
1) God's wrath is against those who continue to participate in such sins.
"For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience" (Col. 3:6)
2) Believers have been made new.
"and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them" (Col. 3:7)
"since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him" (Col. 3:9-10)
3) God brings Believers together in a new community of people identified with and by Christ.
"a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all" (Col. 3:11)
HOW CAN YOU USE THIS REVIEW IN YOUR LIFE THIS WEEK?
1. Take sin seriously. Identify any sin in your life, confess it, and repent of it.
2. Study these verses as way to remind yourself of the renewal that God is doing in your life.
3. Tell your non-Christians friends and neighbors that God is serious about their sin.
4. Spend time praising God for His forgiveness and grace!