Colossians 3:5-8 — Therefore, put to death

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience,

in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.

therefore (v.5) — because your life is hidden in Christ and you will appear with Him in glory (vs. 3-4)

put to death (v.5) — tense indicates an act with a definite result — put to death with a decisive act

members (v.5) = limbs — used here in the sense of instruments by which we sin

fornication (v.5) = illicit sexual intercourse — Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body (1 Corinthians 6:18).

uncleanness (v.5) = impurity, in thought, word and act

passion (v.5) — ungovernable desire

covetousness (v.5) = a desire to have more, in a bad sense — here probably used of sexual coveting

The Colossians had been saved out of paganism which indulged in sexual immorality, as did some branches of the Gnostics.

sons of disobedience (v.6) — not in the best texts, but found in Ephesians 5:6

disobedience (v.6) = obstinacy, being unpersuadable

you (v.7) — emphatic

Notice the beauty of this verse, “the wrath of God” does not come upon you, but upon them, as he says in Ephesians 2:3: “[ye] were the children of wrath,” but God has done something with you. He has given you life in Christ, you’ve been crucified with Christ, the old man is dead and you are “raised to walk in newness of life.”

Now that does not mean that the believer cannot fall into sin; or that the believer cannot fail, for he often fails. For this reason the apostle says that it is our responsibility as believers to constantly be “putting to death” that which is earthly in us, that old nature that would lead us back into sin again. And he says we shoudl do it because of “these things [for which] the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience.” The unsaved, the lost, will be punished for those things. Surely you ought not to practice them, just because you have been delivered from sin.

We have the same idea in the Ephesians epistle again, where in one breath the apostle makes two amazing statements: “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). — Colossians — by C.R. Stam, pages 177-178.

but now (v.8) — as opposed to “once walked” in v.7

put off (v.8) — tense indicates a decisive act

anger (v.8) = hatred

wrath (v.8) = outburst of passion

malice (v.8) = determination to do evil to someone

blasphemy (v.8) = (here) slandering, false accusations

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