In our study from Colossians 3, Christians have been several reminders about their lives in Christ: Our thoughts should be on heavenly things, for this is where Christ is and from where He will return; our lives are hidden with Christ in God; Christ is our lives and we too will appear with him in glory. Because of these truths, the perspective on our lives should change. In verse 5, Paul reminds us that because of these truths, sin in our lives should be put to death. Because of this sin, the wrath of God is coming – there will be a time when an accounting is given for sin.
In our last lesson, we were reminded that there was a time, before Jesus was a part of our lives, when we had a different attitude about sin. During this time, we “walked” with sin and “lived” with sin. Whether we liked the sin or not, we had a close relationship with it. And this brings us to verse 8:
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. – Colossians 3:8 (ESV)
“But now you must put them all away…” – As we mentioned in our study of verse 5, though Paul is referencing only several sins, the implication is that all sin in our live should be put to death. This verse reminds us of that as Paul writes, “but now you must put them all away…” (emphasis added). Sin brings death. In His eternal love, God sent Jesus to pay for that sin – even when we were still His enemies (Romans 5:8). The result of this is that we can be looked upon as “righteous,” as perfect in God’s sight, because Jesus’ righteousness has been shared with us. This means that when God looks at us now, He’s see the righteousness of Jesus, which covers our nastiness. The result of having our sins forgiven by a gracious God should not provide the impetus for us to sin more. No, our response should be one of gratitude and our gratitude should modify our behavior so that we will not want to sin anymore. After all, our beloved Savior went to the cross for our sins. It would make a mockery of His worked if we asked Him to stay up on the cross a little longer so that we could sin more!
So now, our sins must be put away. We must no longer “walk” and “live” with them. We must recognize sin for what it is and take the steps to put them away. For some of us, this may mean taking a closer look at our lives and dealing with the petty sins in our lives. Maybe these sins aren’t so bad, maybe they don’t hurt others too much or maybe no one else even knows. But the implication is the same: These are sins. Put them to death. For others, sin is a major struggle that we encounter all of our waking moments. Maybe these sins are outrageous and harm ourselves and others. Maybe these sins seem too overwhelming to do anything about. Take heart. Christ has died so that you could be forgiven of these sins and through His death and resurrection, you are also now dead to sin. That doesn’t mean the consequences of sin go away. No. But it does mean that sin has lost it’s power over you. You are now dead to sin and alive to Christ. And Jesus will give you the grace you need for this day.
“Anger, wrath, malice, slander and obscene talk from your mouth.” – As he did in verse 5, Paul also gives us another list. I love these lists that Paul uses when he writes. Understand this about his lists: Yes, they are specific to the things being mentioned. He really means the specific things he mentioned in verse 5 and here in verse 8. But the lists aren’t necessarily all inclusive. Just because he lists certain sins in verse 5, what he is writing applies to all sins. The same goes for the sins listed in verse 8. In verse 5, we are sure that the original audience was struggling with sins of this type. Not so amazingly, our culture struggles with these as well. The same goes for the sins in verse 8. Lord willing, we will take a closer look at these particular sins in our next study.