Useful Bible Studies > Colossians Commentary > chapter 3
Paul has urged Christians to consider their former lives as dead. He means that they must end their selfish attitudes and evil acts (2:20). Those attitudes and actions have no place in heaven or with God (Revelation 21:8) – so, they should have no part in a Christian’s life now. Such things may tempt people on earth now, but nobody in heaven desires them. So this wrong behaviour belongs very much to this earth.
A Christian must not allow anything like these to remain in his life. If such things still tempt a Christian, that Christian must make every effort, with God’s help, to end their power over him (compare Mark 9:43-48). Paul’s list in Colossians 3:5 gives five examples. The first two refer to wrong sex acts. The next two examples describe the wrong desires that can lead to wrong acts. Although these may only exist in a person’s mind, they are still evil. They have no proper place in a Christian’s thoughts. A Christian must allow God to change even the way that he (the Christian) thinks (Ephesians 4:23).
Paul’s last example is a wrong desire of a different nature. This is the selfish desire for more money and other possessions. This desire comes from greedy and jealous attitudes. The person with this desire allows the thought of wealth and possessions in this world to fill his mind. In that way, he gives to money the honour that only God deserves (Matthew 6:24; 1 Timothy 6:9-10). So, that person is in fact making money his god – an act that the real God does not allow (Deuteronomy 5:6-10). Paul describes the wrong desire for money and possessions as ‘idolatry’, which means to serve a false god.
Next part: God's anger – and the only way of escape (Colossians 3:6)
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© 2019, Keith Simons.