In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. – Colossians 3:7 (ESV)
In Colossians 3, Paul is prompting the reader to run a status check on their lives. He reminds us of things that should be and not be if we are born again followers of Jesus Christ. He reminds us of our perspective if they are Christians. He reminds us that if we are Christians, our perspective should be heavenly, that our lives are hidden with Christ with God and that we have an eternal future with Christ.
Because of these things, sin in our lives must go; it must be “put to death.” He gives us a list of examples of the sins that must go: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and covetousness (which is idolatry). Now, this isn’t a total and complete list of the only sins that must be “put to death.” But it is a valid list. These are things with which his original audience struggled. And we’ll see later, that other things must go as well.
These particular sins, as we’ve previously discussed, all seemed to have something in common: they seemed to be sexual in nature. (Apparently, even in the first century there was a culture war.)
Today’s verse, verse 7, continues to deal with this first list of sins:
* “In these…” – Again, this verse refers back to the sins listed in verse 6. But as we’ll see, Lord willing, over the next few verses, the context of this verse will actually apply to the other sins in our lives as well.
* “…you too once walked…” – This is the first of two word pictures Paul uses in this verse to help us understand our former relationship to sin. We were walking in these sins. We get the idea of being “partnered with our sin” as we were proceeding through life. As we move through life, these sins are pictured as moving with us. We may struggle with them, or not, but we are side by side with them.
* “…when you were living in them.” – This is the second word picture Paul provides. Here, we are described as “living” in our sins. This gives me the picture of being submersed in my sin. Have you ever watched one of the reality television shows about hoarding? This is the picture that comes to my mind. Some of the people don’t even realize how dirty and nasty their lives have become, even though they are living among and within jammed-in garbage and nastiness. Sure, some of us don’t look at our sin as a house filled with garbage, but the words Paul uses does paint a clear picture of our lives in sin before Christ.
In this verse, Paul describes our lives in sin before Christ. We “walked ” with sin and “lived” in sin. Well, what is our attitude about sin now?
The reality is that Jesus Christ suffered and died to redeem us from sin. That alone (regardless of the earthly consequences of sin) should turn our stomachs when we think of sin. We should not wish for our Savior to have to suffer and die in such a way for our sins! And though Christ suffered and died once for all for the sins of those that would follow Him, when we continue to sin it’s as if we are saying, “It’s okay, Jesus will just pay some more for my sin.” How horrendous! Let this never be our attitudes!
So today, let us check our relationship with sin and may God grant that the smell of sin would be atrocious and grant us the courage and strength to run far away from it!