It's Dead. Kill it.
Tension: If we have died to our sin, what should we do?
Resolution: Kill it.
Exegetical Idea: Since we have died to our sin, we should put it to death.
Theological Idea: Because Christians have died to sin in Christ, they should put sin to death.
Homiletical Idea: Our sin is killed in Christ. So Kill it.
Introduction: If sin is dead to us, what should we do about it?
The Complexity of Sin
Vice Lists - This is what is called a vice list. And it is something that the apostle Paul uses all over the place. OFten he uses it like he does here to motivate holiness. Sometimes he uses it to question people’s salvation or to build up to the gospel. But while Paul uses these vice lists frequently, each one is a little bit different. And this one that we have here in Colossians is wonderfully complex.
Breaking the 10 Commandments
First Commandment - Idolatry vs. 5
Second Commandment - Idolatry vs. 5
Third Commandment - Idolatry vs. 5
Fourth Commandment - Idolatry vs. 5
Fifth Commandment - “sons of disobedience” vs. 6
Sixth Commandment - “Wrath, anger,” - vs. 8
Seventh Commandment - “Sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire” - vs. 5
Eighth Commandment - “Greed” - vs. 5
Ninth Commandment - “shameful talk from your mouth, do not lie to one another” (vs. 8-9)
10th Commandment - “greed” vs. 5
Idolatry => Desire => deeds - Paul is not content to merely throw the 10 Commandments out there. No Paul points to sinful actions, and he pulls it back. So he says, “underneath the “living” that you used to do” there are these desires. It is the “sinful self” that produces the “practices” in vs. 9. And notice how Paul points to the source of all of these desires in vs. 5 - Idolatry. And I think directly that drives Greed, but I think it drives all these other sins. You see, the reason that you sin is because deep down, there is a part of you that is still worshipping a different God. The God of sex, of stuff, of self.
Permeates Our Whole Nature - This is what we call “total depravity.” ANd notice here how in vs 5, Paul warns them to “put to death what is earthly in you” or some of your translations might say something like “your members on teh earth.” Your sin is not just the things you do, rather, your sin flows from a deep place in your heart. You are not a sinner because you sin, you sin because you are a sinner.
Spiritual Pride - This sinful nature creates spiritual pride. For some, it creates a sense that they can sin with impunity. They think that God is not watching, that God will not care. So they justify themselves. For others, they think that they are better than other Christians because they do these external things to make them better than other Christians. This is why Paul has to write down vs. 11, because he needs them to realize that none of them are better than any other.
Creates Division - This sin creates division between each other. Note how here Paul has to warn them against not lying to one another. And then note again in vs. 11, how Paul has to tell them that none of them are better than each other.
Brings the Wrath of God - Paul says, the worst part of it all, the core of this, is that this destroys the relationship of God. “On account of these the wrath of God is coming.” If God is a just God he cannot possibly allow our sin to endure. No, as Paul says in Romans 3, let God be just and every man a liar. God gets no glory out of unpunished sin. Rather, our sin initiates hostility against our creator.
This is your sin. Now as we say this, maybe we’re thinking, “Oh my neighbor, my brother, my coworkers.” But no friend, this is you. He’s not talking to them, he’s talking to you. Your sin permeates your whole nature. Your sin breaks God’s laws. Your sin destroys your relationships. Your sin harms your neighbor. Your sin brings the wrath of God. And you have no one to blame but yourself.
We have died to sin. - Now. Here’s the good news. This sin, this wicked, horrendous, burden that you are bearing. This guilt you have for breaking God’s laws. This immense evil that you have done. That is gone. That is dead. THat’s what he said in vs. 3, “you have died.” If you are in Christ, that sin is gone.
Takes place under the cross - Now, all of this in Colossians takes place under the weight of the cross. Notice how many times Paul has spoken of the cross, 1:13-14, 20-22, 2:13-14. Dear friend, your sins, as horrendous as they are have brough the wrath of God, but the amazing reality of the gospel is that Christ, the Son of God bore that wrath. He stood in the gap and took your sins, your shame, your guilt. And instead he has given you his guilt.
Pilgrim’s Progress: The highway up which Christian was to go, was fenced on either side with a wall, and that wall was called Salvation. Isaiah 26:1. Up this way, therefore, did burdened Christian run, but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back.
He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending; and upon that place stood a cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a sepulchre. So I saw in my dream, that just as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble, and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulchre, where it fell in, and I saw it no more.
Then was Christian glad and lightsome, and said with a merry heart, “He hath given me rest by his sorrow, and life by his death.” Then he stood still a while, to look and wonder; for it was very surprising to him that the sight of the cross should thus ease him of his burden. He looked, therefore, and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down his cheeks.
“Thus far did I come laden with my sin,
Nor could aught ease the grief that I was in,
Till I came hither. What a place is this!
Must here be the beginning of my bliss?
Must here the burden fall from off my back?
Must here the strings that bound it to me crack?
Blest cross! blest sepulchre! blest rather be
The Man that there was put to shame for me!”
Notice here how in vs. 7 he says “in these too you once walked, when you were living in them.” ALl of this is past tense. OR as Paul says in 1 Cor 6:11. That is not you any more.
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Why is that? Why is it dead?
Because you have put off and put on. - He said you took off your old self. ANd you put on your new self. It’s over, it’s gone, it’s through. You ahve taken off hte rags, the filthy, grimy, dirty, disgusting rags that you wear. They;re gone. ANd instead you have put on teh royal robes of the sons of God. You have put on the white robe of purity.
Baptism - Now what’s particularly important is that these are hte same words used to describe baptism up in vs. 11-12. You have died to this sin. Listen, when you went up and got baptized, the old self, the old you, the old sin nature, your law breaking, idolatrous, wicked sinful self was plunged under the water and you came up again new.
“Being renewed” - And you he says are being ‘renewed’ in this new self. So you put off the old sin nature once, and now you are being renewed. He says in the knowledge according to hte image of hte one who created you. You are being conformed to hte image of Christ. Rather, the more you commit yourself to him, and to walking with him, and in him, and through him, the more you learn about him, the more he’s going to renew you so that your sin loses its grip on you.
“Christ is all and in all” Now vs. 11 is a little hard to grasp here, but basically, what Paul is saying is that none of these categories get any more of Christ than others. In other words, slaves getg just as much Jesus as their masters. And Greeks get just as much Christ as Jews. And even Barbarians and Scythians - which for most Greeks were almost the same thing - and Paul is making a point - even those people, there’s not even the smallest distinction. Eveyrone who is in Christ is a new Creation. No exceptions. ANd that is good news, because it means you, by reading his Word, by baptism, by the gathering of his people on Sundays, you have all that you need to grow in Christ. As you continue to grow in him, you have all that you need to be in him.
So put it to death. (vs 5): Therefore - put it to death. It is dead, so kill it. Don’t feed it any more. Cut if off. It’s dead. So kill it. Don’t let sin live anymore. Just in the same way as the Christian life is becoming who you already are, it is also leaving behind what you have already left behind. It is a continual dropping the burden at the foot of the cross. A continual dying to yourself, and living to Christ.
Realize the danger your sin could pose. - Illustration Ant Traps
Starve your sin - Cut the things that encourage you into sinfulness in your life
Feed your righteousness - The renewal of Spirit that comes happens in the knowledge of the image of the Creator. Sin will not die in your life if you are not filling yourself lwith God’s word, with his people, with his communion. You will never put sin to death, if you are not setting your mind on the things above.