*This blog post was adapted from Pastor Bobby’s sermon on 4/24/2022. You can find the sermon video below.
Throughout our Colossians series, we’ve heard that we are complete in Christ. Through His finished work on the cross (and our faith in that), we’ve been set free from laws and bondage. Our salvation does not depend on our behavior or our works. We are free!
That freedom doesn’t mean that we accept our sinful ways. As believers, we are also free to step out of our sinful patterns and into a better way of living.
When we accept Christ as our personal savior, we become justified. The next step is our sanctification, which means we become more holy. In this process, we work together with God to become more like Him.
Colossians 3:5 says, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you…” Even as believers in Christ, we still have earthly tendencies. In this passage, Paul calls us to put these tendencies to death with radical intentionality.
For some of us, that might mean changing jobs, moving, asking for accountability from other believers, or other difficult changes. Putting something to death is painful and it requires us to take purposeful action.
Colossians 3 continues with “...sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.”
Paul starts this list with sexual immorality. The people of Colossae were known to be very promiscuous and even to incorporate sexual practices into their religion. Paul challenges this by calling them to put their sexual immorality to death.
Paul’s list also includes idolatry and evil desires, which can grow like weeds in our hearts. These evil desires can extend beyond sexual lust into lusts for things like security, comfort, attention, and more. All these “lusts” are misplaced passions that we should put death in ourselves.
When we fail to put these things to death and make mistakes, it’s important to remember that we can be forgiven. 1 John 2:1-2 tells us, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
When we make mistakes and give into our misplaced passions, we can find forgiveness by confessing our sin to God. We can also find healing as we confess to other believers. May we never forget that the gospel includes grace!
Our passage continues with Colossians 3:8, which says, “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”
We may not always realize it, but we all have perceptions about our needs, wants, and expectations. When these needs, wants, and expectations are not met, we get angry. It’s critical that we find healthy ways to process our anger rather than repressing it, because repressed anger can cause us to lash out at others.
It’s normal for us to wrestle with our misplaced passions and misguided anger. However, there are some helpful ways we can combat these things in our lives.
First, we need to be honest with ourselves and others. Colossians 3:9 says, “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices…” It should not be our goal to hide our sin from other believers but instead, to confess it. Sin grows in darkness, so shedding light on it is an effective way to put our sin to death.
1 John 1:8-9 also tells us, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” In addition to confessing to others, we should also be confessing our sins to God and asking for His forgiveness when we recognize our misplaced passions.
Next, we need to be intentional about putting on our new selves. Our passage today concludes with “...and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the imageof its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”
Our new identity is that we belong to Christ. When we remember that, we can redirect our passion toward Him. This is the transformational process that God leads us through (after our acceptance of Christ) that ultimately helps us to become more like Him.
Mandy manages CFC’s social media presence. She started attending CFC in 2016 after God led her to visit the church with her husband, Ben. Mandy also serves on the Writing and Research Team for the Women’s Ministry and as a preschool teacher for Community Kids. She is grateful for the opportunity to combine her love of content creation with her desire to serve the Lord. Mandy lives in Lancaster with Ben and their three girls: Elyse, Evelyn, and Ella.