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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

MORTIFY YOUR MEMBERS

Colossians 3:5-7 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.

In order to set their affection on things above, not on things on the earth (Vs. 2), as Paul wrote to the Colossian brethren, he now tells them how this can be achieved: by mortifying (putting to death) the sensual, sinful, earthly manner of life they had previously led. Prior to being baptized into His body, and being risen with Christ (Vs. 1), to walk in a new, better, and godly way of life, they were, in the eyes of God, children of disobedience, walking and living in sin. To remain true to God's will, the sins of passion and pride, that once ruled their lives, must now be mortified, or slain. Such sins must be suppressed and subdued, to the point that they are dead - having nomore,control over their conduct of life. Since the sins, that the physical members of our bodies carry out originate in the mind, it is there that they must be slain. In one's mind is where you either set your affection on things above, or ...on things on the earth (Vs. 2).

Paul gave this same admonition to the Christians at Ephesus. Referring to them as children of disobedience and as children of wrath, he told them, Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others (Eph. 2:2-3). Once walking in sin, they were subject to the wrath of God as punishment for their worldliness. Throughout the Old Testament we find instance after instance of the wrath of God coming upon mankind. On every occasion, God's wrath was demonstrated because, of sin and disobedience.

The same wrath of God awaits all unrepentant sinners. Deliverance from the wrath of God can only be found in Christ. Through the shedding of His blood, all people of the world are now able to have their sins forgiven, be reconciled to God, and enjoy the hope of salvation in heaven. Redemption of sins begins with hearing and believing the word of God, continues through obedience, and culminates in baptism into the body of Christ, His Kingdom, the church of Christ.

The way to avoid the wrath of God is the way of salvation, He has provided through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. This is confirmed in this admonition of Paul to the Christians at Rome. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (Rom. 5:8-10).

Prior to becoming Christians, the Colossian brethren were disobedient to the will of God; they walked and lived in sin. These are the sins, which Paul said, they should mortify, or put to death. Fornication - illicit sexual relationships outside of marriage, is the general translation, but is also translated as sexual immorality. Uncleanness - the New Testament translation of this word is generally the impure or moral corruption that results from lust (See Rom. 1:24). Inordinate affection - the word translated here is found in Romans 1:26-27, and there is translated asvile affections, which describes the unnatural affection, or relationships, between women and between men. Evil concupiscence - although its meaning includes immoral sexual desires, it is not limited to this form of lust, but includes the inordinate desire for anything forbidden under the laws of God. Covetousness, which is idolatry - to covet is to desire that which belongs to another. When the desire for material things replaces the desire for spiritual blessings then the adoration for God is replaced by worshipful, idolatrous love of worldliness. Covetousness then becomes idolatry.

Such sins have no place in the life of a Christian. They are sinful deeds of the flesh that are to be eliminated from the conduct of the children of God, or else, if continued, they will cause a person to lose their soul, and be eliminated from the hope of salvation. This fact Paul confirms in these few words: For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live (Rom. 8:13). Mortify your members from all sinful deeds that bring spiritual death, and ye shall live eternally in heaven.