Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:5-10, NIV)
Paul has just encouraged us, since we’ve joined the resurrected life of Jesus, to set our hearts on things above. Being a teacher, Paul will explain what he means shortly (see 3:12ff), but first he gives us a contrast. If we are to set our hearts on “things above,” we should reject the “things below.”
New Testament scholars call this (and others like it in the NT) a “vice list.” Vice comes from the Latin meaning “defect, blemish, offense, or imperfection in a physical or moral sense.” This is a short list of the human moral defects and they don’t need much explanation:
• sexual immorality
• evil desires
• filthy language
Very simply we are to reject these vices as they are inconsistent with our “new selves.” And it isn’t just a matter of will power, but by the renewing of our minds in Jesus. Through our walk with him and the Spirit’s work in our lives, these will simply no longer be a part of our character. They will be replaced with the things above (stay tuned to next week).
If any of these are operating in your life, today’s a good day to put them to death! They are inconsistent with who God has made you to be. I’ve got some killing to do…