All of Christ for All of Life
Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone

27 November 2020 – Colossians 3:5-11

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. – Colossians 3:5-11 (ESV)

Paul Deterding writes:

When the apostle here instructs his readers to put off various vices of sin, he is not suggesting that the Christian faith and life are merely a matter of moral improvement and self-help. The extent to which these things have corrupted our being makes self-help impossible, and moral improvement can take place only as Christ works in us to conform us to his likeness.

When Paul instructs his readers to put off “all these things,” that all-embracing phrase indicates that the list of vices enumerated immediately afterward is illustrative rather than complete. Like the five vices of 3:5, these are examples of evil conduct, all of which is to be removed from the baptized believer’s way of life. … So deeply does our departure from the Law of God affect our being, that it perverts our entire existence – bodily as well as spiritually – for a human being, also in his standing before the Almighty, is a creature of material flesh as well as of spirit.

The wages of these vices and of their root cause (sin) is called “the anger of God” (3:6). The nature of divine anger as expressed here and in many other passages in the NT gives lie to the notion that talk of divine wrath has no place in Christian proclamation. As the standard of right and justice, God is justly angry with the sinner for his sin and unbelief. It is the grandeur of the love of God that He Himself supplies the way by which His justified anger is satisfied and appeased, that through faith in Christ all people may find divine favor. The additions of “on the sons of disbelief” here … indicates that because of the redemptive work of Christ the judgment of the Last Day will come only on those without saving faith. Such is the corrupting extent of sin, that its vices can only be removed as a result of God’s intervention in Christ.

MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 104
Q. 104. What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
A. In the fourth petition, which is, Give us this day our daily bread, we pray that of God’s free gift we may receive a competent portion of the good things of this life, and enjoy his blessing with them.