In writing to the Romans, the apostle Paul urged them not to fit the pattern set by the world. Be transformed, he told them, and this week we have Scripture that shows us how this transformation takes place in men and women.
When he wrote to the Colossians, the apostle said they should “seek those things which are above” because it is Christ Jesus who has given us life, and believers live every day in anticipation of His return.
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth,” Paul wrote. Mortify means to kill, or put to death, and a Christian is supposed to put to death evil desires leading us to sin. Paul became very specific, and that might make some people uncomfortable, but we should not be at ease when we are near sin if we have life in Christ.
The sins he referred to are fornication, which means sexual sins committed by single people, but it also includes adultery. Gentiles came from a background in which they believed there was nothing sinful about these acts, and that is why Paul addressed this subject more than once in his writings. He said Christians ought to abstain from uncleanness, the sin that includes adultery, incest and sodomy.
Inordinate affection and evil concupiscence are the sins of lust and evil desire. These are sins that dwell so powerfully in the mind they lead a person to commit sexual sins. Put to death, also, the sin of covetousness, Paul said. It is idolatry because our affections are on the things of this world, and we are led to worship those things rather than our heavenly Father.
These sins will lead to God’s judgment and destruction for “the children of disobedience,” the people who live in rebellion against Him. “God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
Before they believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Colossians sinned in these ways. As Christians, all of us must be diligent to put away anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy communication. Do not be hot-tempered and do not desire to do evil against another person. Never speak evil against another person, and definitely do not speak evil against God. A Christian guards himself against speaking filthy words.
Be honest and live with the knowledge that you have a new “self” made possible by the grace and mercy of Christ Jesus. “Christ is all, and in all,” said Paul. There should never be any walls separating Christians, and prejudices have no place in our lives.
A Christian is kind, compassionate and humble toward all people. Be patient even with the people who sometimes try our patience. There will be times when we have a quarrel with someone, but we must remember Christ forgave us and surely we can forgive someone for offending us.
Above everything else, “put on charity,” or bind everything up in love. That’s how the things we do are put together. When we truly know Christ’s love for us, then we will be able to love.
Speak and act in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. He gives us life and eternal life. Without Him we are a lost and hopeless people. With Him, we have joy and life everlasting.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church. He can be reached at [email protected]