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Janet's Corner

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A Heart Renewed

Lesson 8   Colossians 3:5-11

 

Our life is framed with the confession that “Jesus Christ is Lord.”  In our frame Jesus is Lord, the Word does not just warn us about what we can get kidnapped by as we fill our frame, but also gives us understanding of how we control the flesh. We can’t control the flesh without knowing who we are in Christ – our position in Christ gives us not only the mindset but the empowerment for victory. Did you pick a verse that can help you focus on these truths? Paul says our hearts and minds need to be set on things above. Scripture helps us do that very thing.

Read Colossians 3:5-11

As we move onto the next verses in Colossians, Paul begins with the word “therefore,” referring back to his clear statement in verses 1-4, on how we are to think about our relationship to Christ – our spiritual position “in Christ.”

1.     You have died with Him

2.     You have been raised with Him

3.     Your life is hidden with Christ in God,

4.     Your life is Christ

5.     You will appear with him in glory         

I heard a great statement this weekend from Rabi Zacharias. “Jesus did not come to make bad people, good but dead people alive.” Romans 6 says we are to think about ourselves as dead to sin and alive to Christ. We are now to offer our body as instruments of righteousness, not instruments of wickedness.

Paul says because you are dead to sin, you need to put to death certain  sins…don’t let them fill your picture frame. These sins belonged to the old life – the life you used to live – and have no place in this new life in Christ. “Put to death” is stated in the aorist tense which means it is a definitive act – just do it!! When you believed, you were enabled by the Spirit of God to destroy their strength or deprive them of their power. Jesus conquered the power of sin on the cross and you have identified with his death and resurrection. So put these destructive, deadly, dehumanizing behaviors to death without delay!!! We need to recognize what they are – just like the Colossians did so they would not subtly drift back into some of these practices. Much of their culture was wrapped up in pagan rituals which revolved around sexual activity. Sound familiar? Maybe these practices have never been a part of your life – and praise God for that- but they are a part of the lives of people in the world we live. And when we minister to people who come to Christ out of the pagan culture of our world today, we need to know they may not fully realize the truth of what has happened to them. And that these practices bring about the wrath of God. Ignorance is not bliss!

 

So Paul begins with a list of sexual sins in verses 5.

Immorality: fornication including marital unfaithfulness and prostitution

Impurity: uncleanness, filth, dirt, engaging in sexual immorality other than fornication

Lust: having sexual passion – it is a state of mind

Evil desires: a longing coveting, craving of the heart. Something that is often an active expression of the lust in the mind.  Jesus said…out of the heart comes that which defiles us.

Greed: always wanting more - in light of these sexual sins –“the grass always looks greener on the other side.”

Idolatry: putting something in the place of God. In relation to this particular list of sins, it may be the root from which all of these sins grow. People want to satisfy themselves by means of lower objects of nature, rather than the living God! Any time we worship an appetite of our flesh (sex, drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, shopping) it is idolatry. Idolatry is one of the greatest temptations. Think about what God addresses in the first two commandments.

Jesus came to make us dead to sin and alive to Christ!!!

In verses 8 -9, Paul goes onto to say there are some other sins to rid ourselves of – which may be categorized as social sins. I think we need to watch out for these – they could be looked as the “sins in good standing” as one commentator states. Things that we just let slip by…or in…

Anger: a habitual attitude or angry state of mind with a bent toward revenge or reprisal. It’s a rational, calculated emotion. Are you an angry person? Ask yourself what is making you angry.

Rage: In comparison to anger, this is a sudden outburst of anger which may subside as quickly as it came. It could be described like a sudden gust of wind and ask yourself where that came from.

We could justify some angry attitudes or behaviors as righteous anger and really never call them for what they are – sin. So there is never an avenue for forgiveness and cleansing with God or others.

Malice:  ill-will toward someone. Generally one would rejoice when someone is in trouble, and be sad when they are successful. Ask yourself why you are thinking like that.

These three have to do with attitudes toward others. The next two have to do with our speech. As James says, our tongue is like a fire.

Slander: Blasphemy speaking against someone.. Destroying someone’s reputation by evil reports. Tearing down by malicious gossip.

Filthy language: Obscenities and also coarse humor.

Lying: any misrepresentation of the truth. Lying could be said to involve all the other sins listed, because it is often used to cover up the others –when you are trying to hide them or get caught it them.

How we need to be so aware of not compromising in these areas. They can destroy lives and distort reality. Paul says get rid of them.

 

What’s the basis of putting these sins to death – to rid ourselves of them? Verses 9-10 say “since” you have taken off the old self and put on the new self. The old self is that unregenerate man which is identified by its evil practices. It is the very essence of our nature before we know Christ. We were trapped in sin. We are told to literally strip ourselves of that nature once and for all. It’s a picture of taking of clothes that don’t represent you any more. Your old self was crucified with Christ (Romans 6). It’s dead and buried so sin may be done away with. That old self gives us an appearance and that is not who we are any more. We are to take that old appearance off and put on - dress ourselves with - the new self. What does that new self look like? It’s created in the image of the creator!  Our very nature being restored on a continual basis to the image of God  - to what man was before the fall. Where the putting off of the old self happens at one time, for all time, this renewal occurs as a process because we are growing in the knowledge of Jesus. As we come to know Him more and more things that represent him emerge in our lives. II Corinthians 3:18 notes this renewal. “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” We can openly and honestly deal with sin because we know that God’s Spirit is continually renewing us – making us new – those of us who have committed our lives to Christ. And we give others grace to do the same thing. I think it is important to note that Paul is not speaking to just one person. When he uses the word “you,” it is in the plural. So it is addressed to the body of Christ. It takes the body of Christ for this renewal to happen to its fullest degree in our individual lives. We can’t go it alone. Each of us changing impacts another person or persons. “In Christ we are spiritually, physically, relationally, purposefully wound into the lives of other believers.” This happens by being together as God’s people in worship, Bible Study, prayer, fellowship and service to others. We need to give to others as God is renewing them and we need interaction wet others for God to do that renewing.

Why? We are all being made one in Christ. This renewal, according to verse 11, brings about  no categories or distinction between races, religions, political orientation or genders. Christ is our all in all.

 

A heart being renewed by the transforming grace of His Word and His Spirit. We are being made into new women – being renewed in the knowledge in the image of the creator – being restored to what Eve was before the fall!

Ask God for his perspective on your life. Listen to Him. Spend some time with Jesus. Maybe there are sins that need to be confessed and you just need the quietness for God to show you to get rid of those clothes and put on the new ones.

Remember I John 1:9. Jesus is always ready to forgive and to cleanse you of sin.

And then allow God to dress you up in new clothes that represent you as a new woman! What clothes are you dressed in???

 

Does the reality of your life bear the image of your creator?