by Mike Ratliff
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13 ESV)
Compromise is the order of the day. When God’s Word is forsaken and replaced with the subjectivity of Man’s wisdom then what do you expect? When a so-called Evangelical leader like Jay Bakker can ignore what Sacred Scripture says very clearly about Homosexuality being a sin just like murder and that no practicing homosexual will inherit the Kingdom of God and still call what he teaches “Christianity” well then what we must understand is that what we are dealing with are people who want to be included as practicing Christians while remaining unrepentant of their sins. No matter how much Scripture twisting Bakker tries to do, he cannot change what the Apostle Paul wrote and taught about repentance being an integral part of our salvation. If we compare what Paul taught here with what our Lord Jesus clearly taught we see no difference. That part about if we want to come after Jesus we must deny ourselves, take up our Crosses, and follow Him costing us everything, that is a life of repentance my brethren. I wonder how many professing Christians in our time really understand that…
I have used the passage (Colossians 3:1-11) we will study in post before. I want to focus on one phrase in v5, “put to death.” Here is the entire passage from the ESV. The bold part is v5.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 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 3:1-11 ESV)
Paul begins the passage with a rhetorical question. He asks, “if you are really a Christian, if you have been raised with Christ, then…” I find this refreshing. So many today go out of their way to not offend. Paul didn’t mess around. If you are really a Christian then this is what you MUST do. What is it? We must seek the things that are above where Christ is. We do this by setting our minds on things of God rather than the things of man or the things of this world. I challenge you to look at the focus of so much of the stuff in the “missional” movement or the “purpose driven” paradigm or the church growth nonsense or the “having your best life now” or the “Pentecostal/prosperity gospel” groups to find any thing that is of God. No, those things are all about man and this world.
Why are we to set our minds on the things of God rather than the things of this world? We have died, and our lives are hidden with Christ in God and when Christ who is our life appears, then we will also appear with Him in glory. When that happens, what of all this stuff that we have been wasting so much time on here in this life that is not of God? So, what are we to do?
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5 ESV)
Νεκρώσατε οὖν τὰ μέλη τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, πορνείαν ἀκαθαρσίαν πάθος ἐπιθυμίαν κακήν, καὶ τὴν πλεονεξίαν, ἥτις ἐστὶν εἰδωλολατρία (Colossians 3:5 NA27)
Put to death, therefore, what is in you that is of the world: sexual immorality, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and the greediness, which is idolatry. (a personal translation of Colossians 3:5 from the NA27 Greek text)
The words “Put to death” translates the word νεκρώσατε the Aorist, Imperative, Active form of νεκρόω or nekroō which the KJV renders as “mortify.” This command refers to a conscious effort to put to death the remaining sin in our flesh. Because real Christians have died with Christ, they can get rid of sinful practices. However, we must not kid ourselves. The language Paul used here makes it clear that we have to take severe measure to conquer sin. Watchfulness and prayerfulness against it will be the first steps. However, make no mistake, avoiding contact with the temptation that entices us into those sins is a major part of mortifying them. That is why we set our minds on the things above where God is instead of on the things of man.
I can hear the protests now that this is unfair. There are practicing homosexuals who are also good Christians brothers, et cetera. Not according to the Bible there is not. If a person claims to be in Christ, but refuses to repent of any of the sins listed here then they have not submitted to the Lordship of Christ. The language and imagery Paul uses here is clear. Christians are no different than anyone else. They once were in the world and sinned just like everyone else, but now they are new creations who must put all of that old self away by putting on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Those so-called Christian leaders attempting to widen the narrow gate wider than Christ set it are doing a disservice to those they are misleading. They do not control whom Christ allows through the Narrow Gate. Man has no control over this at all. This is in the hands of our Sovereign Lord. That is the disconnect my brethren.
Soli Deo Gloria!