The Christian Home: Husbands

Col. 3:19. “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.”

This seems like a simple verse, at first glance. It really isn’t. Husbands are called upon to rise above daily irritations and stress, and LOVE their wives.

A husband is any man who is married. In some cultures, wives are still bargained for and marriages are made without the man or woman being consulted. So, does this verse apply to those husbands?


Isn’t that HARD, though?

Yes. And in some cultures, it’s much harder on the wife than it is on the husband, because he is given legal and religious permission to beat her into submission.

Paul, however, was speaking here to believers. This verse removes all earthly permission for a man to be bitter, harsh, violent, against his wife.

Love: from the Greek agapao, this use of the word love is multi-layered. The love a husband is to have for his wife is further describe in Ephesians 5:25-33. This passage is written to husbands, and encompasses the incredible love that God ordained for them to show their wives.

First, husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Jesus Christ willingly sacrificed His life out of His love for all who would become a part of the church, His Bride. Are you willing to die for your wife? My husband would. I don’t even have to ask. And that, gentlemen–the knowledge that he would die for me–makes it very easy for me to choose to submit to his leadership. As I said yesterday, my position is one of privilege and protection under the leadership of a man who would literally give his life in order to protect me.

We need to take few minutes to let that sink in, for both husbands and wives. Men, do you long for your wife to be submissive to you? I promise, unless there is something deeply wrong in your relationship, that if you love her as Christ loved the church, you will see amazing results.

You are to love your wife as you love your own body. You are to take care of her physical needs the way you do your own. If you are a lazy man who dislikes work, and who abuses your body with harmful overindulgence, you need to go to the Lord for help in understanding why you are what you are. The truth is, most of us do take pretty good care of ourselves. We eat when we’re hungry. We sleep when we’re tired. We wear cool clothing in the heat, and warm clothing in the cold. We provide for our own comfort. That’s what you are to do for your wife. Ephesians 5 says you are to nourish and cherish her—just as you do your own body.

I’m going to make this personal again. I have chronic pain. So does Terry. But in spite of his own pain, he takes any measure he can to ease mine. He takes over my household responsibilities when I’m having a severe episode. He bought me an adjustable bed to relieve my pain so I get better sleep. He makes sure I have my cane and a pillow for my back, double-checking when we leave the house to go to church or to a friend’s home. He knows I’m faithful about taking my pain meds, but he checks anyway when things are really bad. If he sees me even thinking about bending over for some reason, he stops me. I’m thankful that I have a really good reacher/grabber tool so I can do a lot for myself, but he watches. We do our best to take care of each other, but he resists my “fussing” at him to take care of himself.

Again, having that kind of loving care from him makes it easy for me to accept his leadership in our home. Usually. I do have that independent streak, but the Lord is working on that with me 🙂

Finally, Ephesians 5 says that a man is to leave his own parents and cling to his wife. That does NOT mean he is never to see them again; it does NOT mean he can’t love his parents any more. It’s a comparative thing, and it goes for both husband and wife: The love they have for each other is to outshine the love for their parents, not to eliminate it. Eph. 6 says we are to honor our parents, and that doesn’t end when we marry.

Be not bitter: Bitterness is usually rooted in an unforgiving spirit. You will become bitter against your wife if you fail to forgive her when she has sinned against you. If you become bitter, you will be harsh. Verbal, emotional, and physical abuse follow after bitterness. None of that is love.

The Christian Home

Col. 3:18. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.”

With this verse, Paul introduces how submitting to God’s will for the family should look in the Christian home, for the wife, for the husband, and for the children.

This verse sets some women aflame with indignation. It isn’t politically correct. In the beginning of the women’s lib movement back in the 60s and 70s, it was Gloria Steinem who sarcastically stated that a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle. (She’s married now, by the way, unless there has been a divorce I haven’t heard about.)

It isn’t surprising that people who do not know Jesus Christ would rebel against the mere idea that a woman should be under her husband’s authority. I want you to consider, though, just a few thoughts today.

A marriage is an organization of two people. Any organization needs some kind of order. Someone has to be ultimately responsible for all the important decisions that a couple makes. An organization, even one of only two people, needs a head. One head. Two heads never works very well.

God says that wives are to submit (arrange oneself under someone else’s leadership) to our own husbands. I don’t have to submit to YOUR husband 🙂

Notice that the verse says submit yourselves. It does NOT say that men are to force their wives into submission. It says that the wife is to voluntarily accept her position under her husband’s leadership.

As it is fitting unto the Lord: This means to be appropriate, convenient, and honoring to God.

God’s plan was for order. He gave the man the responsibility of leading the home. He gave the woman the place of support, help, assistance, cooperation, and respect for her husband’s leadership.

Now, let me make this very personal. I often joke that I was born on the one day of the year that best describes my character–Independence Day, July 4 🙂 I was supposed to come on the 20th of June, but my Mom always told me that even before I made my arrival, I was showing my independence. It is part of who I am to be self-sufficient. I want to do it myself. I want to figure it out myself. I have trouble asking for help. I don’t want anyone to take something from me and say, “Here, I’ll do it for you!” Those are fighting words! I couldn’t wait to leave home and go to college. It wasn’t because I was unhappy at home, far from it. It was because I was eager to get to the next thing. I needed to work to pay my way through school. I was on my own at age 18, and happy to be so. It never occurred to me to go to my parents with any problem I may have been having. It wasn’t that I decided not to. It just never crossed my mind.

So. How has all that worked out for me in my marriage? Oh, there have been days, believe me, when I resented having to set that independence aside and accept Terry’s leadership. It was a choice I made the day we said, “I do.” It’s been 52 years now, and we’re still in love, doing just fine. Have I always, every single time, sweetly submitted to Terry’s leadership? Don’t be silly. Of course not. It’s been a process, and what I have learned is that submitting to his leadership is a place of privilege, not punishment. I am privileged and protected, just as God planned it to be, by a man who has never been afraid to accept his responsibilities.

We haven’t aways agreed. Terry has always listened to my opinions and shown me respect for my thinking, my ideas, my needs. I can think of two times when he decided against my advice, and once the decision was made, I chose to accept it and make it work. I could have been resentful, and made his life miserable. What we fail to realize is that when we do that, our own lives are also miserable. Nobody wins.

More on this topic tomorrow, when we look at the next verse: Husbands, love your wives.

Gratitude Attitude

Col. 3:17. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.”

Paul concludes this portion of his letter with this simple concept: Every single thing you do or say is to be done in God’s Name, with thanksgiving.

Seems so easy, but I’ve lived long enough to assure you that it is not always easy!

If you’ve ever had to get up in the middle of the night to deal with a baby who just had a major blow-out ALL over the crib–it’s hard to be thankful!

When your first child comes home from school looking green around the gills, and his stomach hurts, and then he starts with diarrhea and vomiting, you KNOW it’s going to go through the other three, and then it hits you harder than any of the children, and it’s hard to be thankful.

When you have six people in the family and just one bathroom, sometimes it’s hard to be thankful.

When your 10-year-old, who is physically active, breaks both legs at the same time, it’s hard to be thankful.

When you’re told at age 32 that you have rheumatoid arthritis (I didn’t–wrong diagnosis, but no one had heard of fibromyalgia back then) it’s hard to be thankful.

When your 17-year-old daughter contracts a terrible virus that drains her energy and changes her life, it’s hard to be thankful.

When all three of your sons move VERY far away, and you don’t get to see much of them or their children, sometimes it’s REALLY hard to be thankful.

When your husband falls off a ladder and crushes his heel, it’s hard to be thankful. Don’t ever do that. It’s a life-changing injury.

When you come down with “old woman’s back” and your own energy is depleted, and you can’t bend over, can’t clean or do yard work, it’s hard to be thankful. Pain is a serious deterrent to a thankful spirit.

You’d think, “Wow, she’s had it rough!” No, not really. There are many, many others who have had it so much worse. One of the things I have learned–am learning–is to look for things for which to be thankful during ALL of life, not just through the easy times. Even when things are the most difficult, I am learning to see that for which I can be thankful in spite of negative circumstances. I’m also learning that being truly thankful during hard times makes the hard times less difficult.

Words, deeds, joy, sorrow, good times, hard times–everything is to be done in the Name of the Lord, with thanksgiving. As Ron Hamilton wrote in one of his Patch the Pirate song, we need to have a gratitude attitude.

Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

Col. 3:16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Our God is a musical Being. He established the use of music early in the history of Israel, assigning the priestly tribe, Levi, to provide music in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple. I’m so glad He loves music! It has always been part of my life, from my earliest memories of hearing my mom sing as she worked in the kitchen. I remember the gospel music of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet, with Rudy Atwood at the piano. George Beverly Shea, Ronnie Avalon, and so many others. Later, my sister and I sang trio with my mom. I learned to play the piano, as well as, later, the violin and organ. Music in a church that loves to sing is such a thrill and a joy! I loved the old-fashioned hymn sings we’d have after the evening service. One of my most enduring memories, though, is from Fourth Baptist Church in Minneapolis. The morning service always started when the organist played the opening chords, as the congregation rose, and we sang “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!” I’d get goose bumps every single time!

Today’s verse is a favorite of mine.

The only way to have the Word of Christ dwelling in us is to read it, study it, memorize it. It should be a daily part of every believer’s life. We can never plumb the depths of His Word, not in a lifetime, and it never becomes stale.

It is to dwell in us richly, in all wisdom. Deeply, sincerely, in a way that blesses others, we are to gain wisdom from the Word. We are to share the Word with others in teaching each other, and admonishing each other. To admonish is to reprove gently, to warn. Such is to come not just from the pulpit, but among the members of the body when one sees a need. It is to be done with wisdom and grace, so that it may be received in the same spirit. Criticism is not the same as admonishment. God never tells us to go around being critical of each other.

Sometimes we can admonish one another in songs, hymns, and spiritual songs. It is difficult to know if there is truly any difference among those three things. Most commentators I’ve read believe it is written this way for emphasis rather than for dividing music into categories.

In Bible college, I took a course in hymnology. We studied the history of church music, and the way it evolved from the earliest records of written music, to the chants and liturgical music in the early church, to what we knew (this was in the 1960’s) as hymns and gospel songs. Our teacher said that there IS a difference between the two. A hymn is about God; Who He is, what He has done. Think of songs like “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” or “For the Beauty of the Earth.”

A gospel song is about our reaction to God. There are so many! Think of “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine!” or “I Love to Tell the Story of Unseen Things Above!”

When we sing, we are to do so with grace in our hearts to the Lord. We sing, not for our own glory, but for His. He gave us music. He gave us the talent to play instruments, to write music, to sing to His glory. Let it always be with joy in our hearts, with love for fellow believers, with the sheer joy of the gift of music.

Here’s someone who understands all that:

Peace of God

Col. 3:15.

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

Someone has said that if other believers are your enemies, then who are you going to be friends with? In the body of Christ, peace is to rule. We are to have God’s peace in our own hearts; we are to be at peace with other members of the body.

God doesn’t say this would be easy. He never said there wouldn’t be difficulties. He did say to be at peace, though, with other believers.

But, Linda, what if there are irreconcilable differences within the body? Aren’t we supposed to stand for what we believe is right?

Yes, of course. It is the manner in which we disagree that matters. We are human. There will be disagreements, and sometimes they’ll be over more than the color of the new carpet! Sometimes we may feel we cannot stay in a congregation because of a doctrinal issue, or a moral issue that is not being dealt with appropriately. The key here is that if we have to leave, we need to do it peacefully. We are to behave with love toward the believers, and not stir up anger and dissension.

I’ve often thought about the early days of our country, when there was only one church in a new settlement. There weren’t any other places to go, so the people had to figure out how to get along, or make the choice to stay home and “have church” with their own families.

Whatever we do, in regard to the body of Christ, is to be done in peace. When we follow that command, then we can be thankful. That’ a command, too, you know. It’s not a suggestion.

Be ye thankful! Often, a thankful heart is possible when a potentially divisive matter is handled with the peace of God permeating the situation.

Put On Charity

Col. 3:12-14.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

Previous verses have told us what we should take off, no longer wear, remove from ourselves completely. This next section does just the opposite. These are the items we must put on, changing our spiritual wardrobes completely.

I want to tell you that this is not an instantaneous event. It is a lifelong process. Learning to “wear new clothes” begins when we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It is a process that reveals to us, as we go through each day, exactly what we need to remove and replace. Let’s take a look at this new wardrobe.

As the elect of God: Most translations I looked at write these words as God’s chosen people. I will not get into a tangle over election here. That’s not what this passage is about. When we choose God, we become His chosen. As His chosen people, we are holy and beloved.

Holy and beloved: God’s primary attribute is His holiness. He is truly unable to sin, or even to look on sin. As we walk with Him, we should begin to have a stronger sense of sin, a deeper awareness of that which offends His holiness. Strong’s definition of holiness includes being sacred (physically, pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially, consecrated). Becoming holy does NOT mean “holier than thou.” That’s pride. Rather it is a deeper understanding of what offends the holiness of God, and what should become offensive to a believer. Again, this is a lifetime process. Following a set of manmade rules does not make us holy. Having a deep awareness of that which is offensive to God is the key. It should actually make us humble, not proud, when we realize the depth of the nature to sin that fills the heart of mankind. The best way I know to understand holiness is through the constant reading of God’s Word, and through sincere prayer asking God to reveal that from which we ought to stay away.

Bowels of mercies: This is compassion. Again, citing Strong’s definition: “The bowels were regarded as the seat of the more violent passions, such as anger and love; but by the Hebrews as the seat of the tenderer affections, esp. kindness, benevolence, compassion; hence our heart (tender mercies, affections, etc.). Have you ever said you had a “gut reaction” to something or someone? That’s usually a negative emotion. This verse tells us we are to have compassion for others; we are to have mercy in our dealing with others.

Kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; One of the first verses we teach our children is Eph. 4:32: “And be ye kind one to another. . .” Kindness comes more easily to some people than to others. I’ve always admired and been a little envious of people who just seem to be naturally kind. They are not quick to react, sharp in their words, self-righteous in judgment of others.

Humbleness of mind means, simply, modesty in relation to our own importance. Not thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. Understanding the smallness of the human heart, the selfishness of the human spirit. If God has given you a quick intelligence, be thankful, not proud. If God has given you a talent that other people compliment, be humble, not proud. What God gave you, He can also remove.

Meekness: someone has defined meekness as strength under pressure. Moses is called meek in scripture (Numbers 12:3) yet he led the Israelites through countless dangers, challenges, and times of rebellion against God. He wasn’t perfect, but His first priority was to seek and obey God. He never boasted of his own strength.

Longsuffering is patience. For most of us, patience is something that takes us a while to begin to learn. I remember, as a very young child, being so excited for Christmas that I felt I might burst! Now, at nearly 74, I rather enjoy the waiting, and seeing the pleasure of the children in my life when they are given a treasured gift. How things have changed!

Forbearing, forgiving: To forbear is to put up with. Really? I’m supposed to just put up with other people’s wrongdoing? No, not in the sense of approving the wrong, but of holding oneself erect and firm in the face of wrongdoing. And we are to forgive. Quoting Eph. 4:32 again, “. . .tender-hearted, forgiving one another. . .” To forgive is to let go of one’s “right” to get even. It was originally a banking term that meant “to erase a debt.” It’s what Jesus offers us when we come to Him for salvation. It’s important. It is life-changing to learn to forgive.

Above all: Charity. Love. Pure, unselfish, godly love that makes all the rest of this new wardrobe possible. Love for God, love for others, even for those who hurt us or speak evil against us.

Bond of perfectness: As believers, we are part of the body of Christ. The bond, in this context, speaks of the ligaments by which the members of the human body are united together. Charity is that bond. Without the ligaments, everything would literally cease to work properly, because nothing would be connected to bone and muscle. I have some sort of swelling in the ligaments in the palms of my hands. It’s not painful–yet–and my fingers are still fully functional. But my doctor says that if it gets worse, at some point I may need surgery to repair the ligaments. I don’t like that idea at all, but it has surely helped me to understand this “bond of perfectness.” The perfectness is the completion, the maturity, that we all need to ask God to give us, and which will be ours when we go home to heaven.

Put on the New Man

Col. 3:9b-11.

. . .seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him:

Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Paul’s use of “putting off” and “putting on” describes the process of removing old, dirty garments and putting on new, fresh and clean clothing. It is a choice; a deliberate act that indicates the desire to start fresh, leaving behind behaviors that are not worthy of one who believes in God.

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

I was only five years old when I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I knew I was a sinner, because I had good parents :). To know I had Jesus in my heart, even when I was so young, was a wonderful thing to me. I remember thinking about all the things I knew I had done wrong, and that I no longer wanted to behave that way.

What I didn’t understand then was that Satan was still interested in destroying my joy and peace, and that “putting off” the old nature was going to be a lifelong process. One doesn’t walk away from sin just once, never having any thought or desire of returning to it. Living for Jesus is a daily choice, just as putting on freshly-washed clothing is a daily choice. The difference is the conviction of the Holy Spirit in one’s heart, leading to the understanding of why sin is so abhorrent to God. Understanding His holiness is also a lifelong process. We are so far removed from Who He is that we easily forget how the seemingly smallest sin causes Him such sorrow.

When we are saved, we are renewed in our knowledge and understanding of God. It is God Who created this new person, new in Jesus Christ, alive in Him.

Verse 11 is so important, and just as applicable today as it was 2000 years ago. In Christ, there is no Jew or Gentile. Circumcision or not, it is no longer indicative of a right relationship with God. In Him, no nationality matters. No status matters. Heaven, I’m sure, will not be divided by race, nationality, OR religious denomination! It won’t be important there, because in Christ we are all one. As believers, we are all the Bride, the Body of Christ.

When we, in our human pride, try to gain special status and recognition because of our race, nationality, or religious affiliation, or our status here on earth, we are putting ourselves above the authority of the One Who created us.

We need to stop it.

Put Off All These Things

Col. 3:8-9.

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

Here, Paul takes aim at sin that is less easily observed by others, but that brews in the mind and heart of all of us at some point, and eventually, if we feed it, comes out of our mouths. Verbal abuse is something I’ve written about under “Counseling Issues” on this blog. Believers in Jesus Christ should put all these things away from themselves. And you’re right. It isn’t easy.

Anger is the first thing mentioned in this list. In another place (Ephesians 4:26) Paul wrote, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”

There are things about which we should be angry. Injustice, abuse, disregard for the needs of others–there’s a long list of such things. However, the so-called “righteous” anger we sometimes feel should never become self-righteous anger, which leads to nothing good, ever. The example Jesus set is a good one for us to follow. He never showed anger for all that He suffered. He did, however, show anger when the Father was disrespected or ignored. When He chased the moneychangers out of the Temple, it was because they desecrated the House of God with their greed, taking advantage of those who had no offerings to bring, overcharging them and making a profit for themselves. That is righteous anger. Jesus never sinned.

Anger often leads to malice. Malice is to wish ill on someone else, and even to plan to take part in destroying another person’s life, or livelihood, or reputation. It is getting even for some real or imagined offense toward oneself. In my experience, getting even almost never stopped at just once.

Blasphemy is to ascribe the works of God to the devil. It is to deny God, and to use His Name in vain. To use it in an empty, meaningless way.

Slander is to speak evil of someone else. “But it’s TRUE,” you may think. Over the length of my nearly 74 years, I’ve had to go to the Lord many times with this one. It is so–temporarily–satisfying to speak ill against someone who has hurt you. But God says we are to “put away” such behavior. The old saying is good: If you can’t find anything good to say, say nothing.” Following that one will keep us out of a world of hurt. I also like the one that says, “Ask yourself these things before you speak: Is it necessary? Is it kind? Is it true?” If it fails any of those three tests, best ask God to remove it from your mind, and keep your mouth shut. The only time it is necessary to speak against someone is if that other person is committing a crime and is hurting others. Even then, you speak only to law enforcement. If the wrongdoing is within the church family, Matthew 18:15-20 gives us clear steps to follow, with the ultimate goal being restoration.

Filthy communication: Oh, I could write for a LONG time about this one! I am especially unhappy about the free use of all the names of God, and their euphemisms, that abound in our language. It used to be that true believers never took the Name of the Lord in vain. Now, we do it all the time. You don’t think so? Well, did you ever hear or see “OMG” anywhere? Yes, you have. It is ubiquitous. It is so prevalent that it has made the Name of God unimportant.

Another one that makes my hair stand on end is the frequent and meaningless use of the F-Bomb, and all of it’s euphemisms, which for some reason Christians seem to think are okay. They’re not. Ever. It is always offensive. If you can stand to do it, watch one of the videos in which Antifa and/or BLMers are screaming at police. You hear the F-Bomb over and over and over again. It expresses such hatred and anger that it has become meaningless, but it is still abusive and filthy and does not belong in anyone’s mouth who claims to follow Jesus Christ.

Don’t lie to each other: Because lying is part of our nature, it’s really hard to get rid of it. No one has to teach a child how to lie. We’re born with it. We’re all guilty of it, so not one of us has any claim to self-righteousness about this one. I remember so clearly when one of my kids was only 9-10 months old, and I watched him crawling toward something he had been taught was a no-no. I called his name, and sharply said, “NO! NO TOUCH!” He stopped, back up, and turned and looked at me with big, innocent eyes. If he’d been able to speak, he’d have said, “I wasn’t doin’ anything, Mommy. Just lookin.'” No one taught him to do that. It’s just in us. Our battle is to “take off” that old sin nature, just as we take off a jacket if it’s hot outside. We take it off deliberately, making a decision to do so.

Children of Disobedience

Col. 3:6-7.

For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

The sins Paul listed in verse 5 will bring the wrath of God on those who continually dwell in those sins. They are absolutely not to identify a believer, who is to destroy those sins of the flesh of which he may have partaken before he came to Christ.

We are to strive to walk as Jesus walked. He never gave in to temptation, even when Satan tempted him with everything the world has to offer. We, of course, are not divine! We will fall now and then, but going back into that godless lifestyle should not be a desire of the hearts of those who truly believe in Jesus Christ.

When we are born again, we are no longer “sons of disobedience.” We are not to be identified by a lifestyle that glorifies the carnal desires of the flesh, but rather by a lifestyle that brings honor to God.

If you can continue to live in the flesh without any conviction of sin; if your life reflects not Jesus, but the unrighteousness of the world, then you need to examine the reality of your conversion.

Mortify. . .Your Members

Col. 3:5. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

The word mortify in this verse means to put to death; kill; remove from life.

What are we to put to death? NOT our actual bodies. Nowhere in scripture is taking one’s own life something God intends for us to do. We are created in His own image. To destroy ourselves is to try to destroy the image of God.

No, Paul is talking here about being dead to self and to sin. “It is no more I who lives, but Christ lives in me!”(Galatians 2:20).

Then Paul gives us a list of sin that we all struggle against at some time or the other. The things he mentions are common to the human existence, because Satan knows where our weaknesses are. He knows where we are most likely to fall, and he sets our own besetting sins in front of us like a delightful, luscious dessert. For me, that dessert would be rich, smooth ice cream drenched in fudge sauce, then whipped cream. It is almost irresistible, until I stop to consider what it does to my blood sugar, and the awful results of diabetes. Then it doesn’t look quite so good.

What are we to consider that to which we are dead? The Greek word here is nekrosate, with the meaning of totally obliterating these things, wiping them out completely. Not just suppress or control, but totally eliminate.

Immorality: In English, this word is akin to amorality, meaning to have no sense of right or wrong at all. Paul gets specific about immorality, because he, too, knew temptation and immoral desires. I’m thinking about his impassioned message in Romans 7: 19-25. If you read that, you will see that he is speaking from personal experience, and why he said in I Cor. 15:31, “I die daily.”

Fornication is intercourse outside of marriage. Such was a part of the religious systems in Paul’s world, and which new believers had practiced.

Uncleanness: The misuse of sex; also, other forms of moral evil, like pornography.

Inordinate affection is loving that which is forbidden by a Holy God, Who cannot look on sin. If we love something that we know is unacceptable to God, we are flaunting our so-called “rights” in His Face, with no regard to the suffering of Jesus Christ in our behalf. There are those who teach that because we live under grace, not under law, we can sin with impunity because God will forgive us. Be careful. God will NOT always strive against the spirit of man (Genesis 6: 1-3).

“He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” Proverbs 29:1.

Evil concupiscence: Concupiscence, in this context, is an ardent, usually sensual, longing for that which is not acceptable. I had a client once, a young man, who told me about his concupiscence, and that he just couldn’t stop thinking about sexual activity of any sort. I told him what Paul teaches here: That such thinking is indicative of idolatry. He was worshiping sex and his own lusts, allowing those things to consume his mind, heart, and body. “But I CAN’T HELP IT!” he declared. “No, probably not in your own self, but God is willing to forgive and cleanse you of this evil. You have to sincerely repent, though, and get rid of anything in your house, car, or office that will tempt you. It’s a struggle. You’ll need to pray daily, probably all day, that God will take first place in your thinking.” I’ll never forget him sitting there, staring at me blankly. He suddenly stood up, said, “This isn’t working for me,” and left my office. That’s how strong the grip of sin can be. I think what he really wanted from me was permission to continue, and just not worry about it because, you know, GRACE.

Greed: to covet what someone else has. Often, that is a sensual lust. Here is an excellent quote:

· “First, it is idolatry, in that it only obtains when man thinks of life consisting in things possessed, rather than in righteous relationship to God.”· “It is also a sin against others, for to satisfy the desire, others are wronged.”· “Finally, it is self-destructive, for these wrong conceptions and activities always react upon the soul to its own undoing.”· Morgan added: “And yet, what ecclesiastical court ever yet arraigned a church-member for covetousness?”Morgan, Blue Letter Bible.

There’s another list coming up, just in case you feel you got off pretty well in this one.