Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Colossians 3:5 - Part 1

Because of the preceding teachings, Paul now begins to stress the way we should live as Christians. As has been said, whenever we see a therefore, we need to seek out what the therefore is there for. It is a hinge connecting what is to come with what has previously been stated. Paul has stressed that we have died, been buried, and have risen again with Christ in our confession and acceptance of Jesus as our Lord and Savior. So, he now tells the believers at Colossae that they must nekrosate, or reckon as dead[1] the sin nature living within us. In the Greek he develops a word picture that challenges the believer to put to death any part of the believer that causes him to sin. The word in the Greek, melos[2], that Paul uses generally refers to a limb of the body.[3] These members, which he classes as earthy, are what had caused us to sin in our former life (Rom.6:19), and are those connected with the various kinds of sin that were committed by their use. When Paul wrote in Rom. 7:23, he spoke of the law of sin that lived in his members. He goes on to list some of these sins, but what he appears to have in mind is the whole of the activities and practices that the readers had previously given their strength and body to commit. Since the believers had died with Christ, these old habits and instincts had been broken, much like death to a body. In Rom. 6:11, Paul had told the readers to reckon themselves as dead to sin but alive to righteousness. He will go on in Rom. 8:13b to say, “if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” We can connect the deeds of the body with the list he uses here.

Paul is dealing with the conundrum of reality. The believer has died to the world with Christ (Col. 2:20; 3:3), and yet he is still in the world exposed to all the temptations of the flesh. The believer havinmg put off the old man (Col. 2:11; 3:9) and set free form sin (Rom.6:6-7, 11, 18, 22), is still surrounded by the old habits, enticements, compulsions, and appetites he once had. We see him in the lsit move from the outward manifestation of the sin to the inner cravings that caused the sin.[4]

Prayer: Open my eyes that I might see the sin that is so beguiling and leading me astray. I must put to death that which will hinder my walk and work for the Master. Amen.

[1] This is the only NT example of the word nekroo being used in this sense. It is an aorist, active, imperative. Paul has used it in Rom. 4:19 and Heb. 11:12 in reference to Abraham’s body in his old age – “as good as dead.” 
[2] Vine (1996). Page 402. 
[3] Consider how this word is used in Matt. 5:29-30; Rom. 6:13, 19; 7:5, 23; 12:4; 1 Cor. 12:12, 14, 18-20, 22, 25-26; James 3:5, 6; 4:1. 
[4] The reader is urged to consider the pattern of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount Matt. 5:21-22; 27-29) as he traces (equates) murder with anger or adultery with the lustful look.

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