Summary: A Bible Study from Colossians 3 regarding how believers ought to live.
VERSES 1-4 (From the NIV)
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things
above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on
things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now
hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you
also will appear with him in glory.
Paul shifts gears as he moves from the false teachings that the Colossian
believers needed to avoid to what they should be focused on. They were not
to give in to the Judaizers who wanted to condemn those who would not join
in the celebration of Jewish feasts, eat Jewish diets, or other Jewish
rituals (like circumcision). They were to have nothing to do with the
Gnostics who were trying to get them involved in angel worship. Instead,
their focus was to be a Heavenly point of view. Notice that they are
supposed to set their hearts, the center of their emotions, on heavenly
things AND their minds, the center of their thought life. Paul tells them
to live on a higher level by having our deepest affection on the things of
God. Paul also emphasizes the supremacy of Christ by declaring that he
sits at the right hand of God-- the highest place of authority.
VERSES 5-7 (NIV)
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual
immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.You used to walk in these ways,
in the life you once lived.
Paul tells the believer that he is to EXECUTE the earthly nature. He
specifies some areas that have no place in the believer's life. In fact, he
reminds them that these things (as opposed to the next section) are the very
things that bring the wrath and judgment of God. In other words, these
things provoke God to action. He is angered by these sins. While modern day
believers know that sexual immorality, lust, have no place in the believer's
life, many of the believers of the church of Corinth were fresh out of
idolatry where sexual immorality was part of the worship. In the midst of
this section which deals primarily with sexual thoughts, emotions, and
actions, Paul points out that greed (covetousness) is a form of idolatry.
Covetousness is not a desire to work hard and earn things that make our life
happer or more comfortable. Covetousness is a desire to gain something
without the work. It is a greed which at its most extreme manifests itself
in theft. It is wanting to get something for nothing. It is hoping that
the rich uncle dies so that you can inherit from him. It is the goal of the
lottery player who is intent on "hitting it big" off that $1.00 investment.
Paul reminds the Colossian believers that they are to walk in a new life and
to leave sexual misbehavior and covetousness behind them.
But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage,
malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each
other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have
put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its
Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised,
barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Paul now tells the believer that he is to throw away certain behavior. The
first two on the list deal with anger. The first word is from the Greek
word "orge" which refers to a long, festering, simmering anger. This is the
sort of anger we have when we stop speaking to someone. It is a
long-lasting anger that holds a grudge and refuses to let go. The second on
the list is from the Greek "thymos" and is often translated in the King
James as "wrath." Rage is a good translation because it means that anger
when you let controls go out the window in an escalation intent on
demonstrating just how angry you are. This is the word we would use to
describe someone who yells, screams, curses, throws things, kicks things,
pushes, hits, etc.
Sadly, there are people who believe that their quiet, long simmering anger
is not sin because they aren't acting like a person out of control. Nope,
Paul calls it sin. Why? It is wrong to live in anger. It isn't where God
wants you to be. It doesn't prepare you to listen to God (or anybody else).
It also is unhealthy.
Just as sad, there are people who think that their rage is good because at