I am amazed by Paul's clear cut thinking, there is no blurring of sin, and labelling it as something more socially acceptable. Look at these verses:
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Col 3:1-11 (KJV - bold emphasis mine)
Paul offers no excuses, he merely says "mortify" and "put off" the old ways you in which you previously acted. I don't know about you, friend, but I still struggle with these sins daily! Sometimes I even let Satan deceive me into thinking that I am not a true Christian, because I still struggle with these sins. But, in this text, Paul is speaking to believers! He is reminding them of the promise of being hidden in Christ! That is a promise that I need to burn on my mind and heart daily! (Read Romans 7 for another illustration of how Christians struggle daily to conquer the "old man.")
It is not enough just to rid myself of these habitual sins. I need to replace them with something positive, read these verses:
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Col 3:12-17 (KJV - bold emphasis mine)Paul tells us to "put on" these Christlike qualities. This is no easy task. In fact, one cannot do it alone! It takes the work of the Holy Spirit within you to achieve this end! I might be able to fake my salvation by doing certain external things: wearing skirts, homeschooling my kids, publicly submitting to my husband (to name a few), but these things alone do not prove one's salvation. Only God can do a work within your life that shows itself in meekness, forbearance, and love! I cannot fake those divine attributes!
Another thought from the above verses... did you notice how Paul tells his readers twice to "let" something take place in their lives? This gives me the impression that we can thwart the purposes of God in our life (to some extent. God is still Sovereign, and His Perfect Plan allows us to make some choices). Paul says "let the peace of God rule in your hearts." This certainly sounds like there are things that we can do which would NOT let the peace of God rule, but would hinder it. Paul then says, "Let the Word of Christ dwell richly in you," as though we can do something to prevent this from happening. Are you letting God's peace dwell in you? Are you letting the Word of Christ dwell (richly!) in you?
So, my challenge to myself and to my readers is this... Are you dead, with your life hid in Christ? And, if so, are you praying that God would mortify the "old man" within you?
What have you put on today?