“Therefore, consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.”–Colossians 3:5
For an abused and neglected child, adapting to a new adopting family is usually extremely difficult. It is an unfortunate reality that some children experience horrendous upbringings; having grown accustomed to being beaten with bats, scolded with irons, dangled over banisters, locked in closets, and daily threatened. Imagine what it is like for such an abused child to be adopted by a truly loving family. Having grown suspicious of any and every adult, they doubt that a new father can be anything but cruel and abusive. At the sound of a loud noise, the child instinctively jolts. At the sight of a sudden movement, the child instinctively cringes and shrinks away. They are so used to being treated hatefully that a healthy environment—where parents seek to lavish love on them—is completely foreign to them; they still expect everything that seems “good” to suddenly turn awry.
Just as an abused child may find it hard to adapt to a loving environment, Christians commonly fail to adapt to their new nature in Christ. Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God; all of us have a sin nature. Non-believers are slave to this sin nature, the very nature that rules over their will and inclines them to habitually disobey and dishonor God. But it doesn’t have to be the same for Christians. Before any of us were saved, we lived as slaves to our sin nature and gratified every evil desire that sprang up in our hearts. 1 Peter 4:3 says, “for the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.” But 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us the glorious truth that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” Sin used to be the only thing we knew how to do extremely well; now that we have a new nature, though, we must not behave as we used to—God has changed our hearts!
Our identity in Christ has radically transformed us, and we ought to act accordingly!
The command in Colossians 3:5 suggests a decisive action, as if Paul said, “Mortify it! Do it now! Do it resolutely! Of course, God has already done it, but Christians are to know this, count it to be true, and act accordingly. Now that we have been transferred from death to life, we have a new identity that we are to identify with! We used to commit (and still do from time-to-time) acts of immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed. But now we are not alive to the same sins that we used to commit; in fact, we are dead to them! We must remind ourselves daily that we are a new creation in Christ, dead to sin, and alive with Christ.
The next time you are overwhelmed with temptation to sin, remember that you are a new Creation and that God gives you the power to overcome! We have magnificent truths about our new identity that we need to “put on.” If you have believed in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, you have died with Christ and risen with Him too; you are a new creation, and your life is hidden in Christ. You are no longer slave to sin but instead have the power to obey and love God. It will not be easy to learn a new way of life, but it is exactly what needs to be done in order to enjoy the reality and blessings of our new identity. We must identify with our new identity and put to death our burning desire to sin.
John F. Walvoord, Zuck, Roy. The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983), 680.
By Cameron Penrose, CCBS Student