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Colossians 3:5-7

Idolatrous Passions

5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

Since your life is hidden in Christ and you are to place your affections on the things above, Paul instructs them to, "put to death your members which are upon the earth." The word "members" refers to their body parts, which are flesh and therefore the root of all wicked passions. One's desires should noy be for earthly things or that which pleases the flesh but for heavenly and spiritual things. Therefore, put those passions to death.

Then, Paul gives us a list of those sins of the flesh, which were associated with the pagan religious worship of that day. πορνεία porneia (por-nei'-ah) is the first. It is a word that covers all immoral sexual practices including prostitution, homosexuality and pornography, all forms of sexual activity out of wedlock or any unnatural sexual acts. Paul is not speaking only of engaging in those things but also about restraining even one's thoughts from wandering in that direction, so that the focus is toward heavenly tings. The meaning of the word, porneia, is further developed in the other four words that follow it.

"Uncleanness" refers to a moral uncleanness and had been used to also describe ceremonial uncleannes. This describes a man's commitment to serving his natural lusts as though he had not been changed by the power of the gospel.

The word πάθος pathos (path'-os) follows next. It originally described uncontrolable emotion that would dominate a person to the point of torment. Here, however, it is used to denote a dominating sexual desire that is downright shameful. Sexual deviants who cannot control their desire to prey on others have this sort of passion.

"Evil concupiscence", or evil desire, is described by P. T. O'Brien, "Evil desire is a manifestation of the sin which dwells in the natural man and which controls him. It reveals his carnality (Gal 5:16, 24), his separation from God and his subjection to divine wrath (Romans 1:18-24)."

The last word that we find in verse 5 is "covetousness." This is the desire to have those things which God has not given to you. It consists of greed, jealousy of others who have what you do not, and an utter discontent with the provision of God. It is one of the most difficult sins to avoid, because we all live in the flesh and in a materialistic world that the flesh desires.

Covetousness was often related to idolatry. After all, why were idols worshiped if not for what the worshipper perceived the idol could do for him. By covetousness, men have even turned the true God into an idol, because they only come to Him for what they can get, not to surrender to Him or to serve Him out of pure love.

The things on this list of sins are the reasons that God's wrath is poured out on the children who live in constant disobedience to the Lord Jesus. They list the things in which we all walked at one time before the Spirit of God changed our hearts, our minds and our way of life. Nevertheless, we still have to live in the flesh until God calls us home and the temptation to fall backward is always there. Christians might slip, but not for long. Their consciences will quickly bring them back to God. Hypocrites are sinners who have never left these things behind and will be consumed by them.

Before The Throne:

Some or all of these wicked desires are still tugging at your flesh. Pray that God would give you power over them so that you can bring every though and imagination into submission before Christ. Praise Him for saving you. Ask Him to help you rescue someone who is still a child of disobedience.

For Further Study:

** Mortify. Rom 6:6; Rom 8:13; Gal 5:24; Eph 5:3-6; * members. Rom 6:13; Rom 7:5, 23; Jas 4:1; ** fornication. Matt 15:19; Mark 7:21-22; Rom 1:29; 1Cor 5:1; 1Cor 5:10-11; 1Cor 6:9, 13, 18; 2Cor 12:21; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:3; 1Thess 4:3; Heb 12:16; Heb 13:4; Rev 21:8; Rev 22:15; ** inordinate. Rom 1:26; 1Thess 4:5; ** evil. Rom 7:7-8; 1Cor 10:6-8; Eph 4:19; 1Pet 2:11; ** covetousness. 1Cor 6:10; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:3, 5;

(v.6) ** which. Rom 1:18; Eph 5:6; Rev 22:15; ** children. Isa 57:4; Ezek 16:45-46; Eph 2:2-3; 1Pet 1:14; 2Pet 2:14;

(v.7) ** Col 2:13; Rom 6:19-20; Rom 7:5; 1Cor 6:11; Eph 2:2; Titus 3:3; 1Pet 4:3-4;


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