The Expository Files.


Colossians 3:8-10

In the action of obedience to the gospel, repentance in particular, there is an initial putting off of sinful things. Then, in living the life of a Christian, there is a continued watchfulness and putting off of sinful things if they should reappear. Because of Christ's work of atonement, we can respond to Him and put off sin, and keep it off! This is reflected in passages like Colossians 3:8-10.

"But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." (Colossians 3:8-10, NIV).

Note the first three things we can rid ourselves of: Anger, Wrath and Malice.

Anger is from the Greek word ORGE, and this described the settled, abiding condition of mind, with a view toward taking revenge. This is not a momentary "flash" of anger that immediately begins to subside. This is the slow-burning, smouldering anger, which refuses to be subdued. All of us will have our moments of anger, but we refrain from sin (Eph. 4:26). This anger (ORGE) is more serious, and we should watch for it and put it away when it is discovered.

Rage is the Greek word THUMOS. This describes a more agitated condition that produces an outburst, an act of anger. There is inward indignation or anger (ORGE), but when this inward feelings explodes, it is "wrath" or THUMOS.

Malice is viciousness of mind; a desire to injure. Clearly, all three of these are related. In fact, one may lead to and promote the other. When we allow ORGE (anger) to settle and find a home within us, we set ourselves up for THUMOS or an outburst, where we express a viciousness and malice that should have been put away when we first obeyed the gospel. If these feelings and acts begin to reappear, we must re-repent! Paul wrote: " must rid yourselves of all such things as these!"

Blasphemy is the next word in the King James and New King James. But in the New American Standard and New International Version, it is SLANDER. This takes in any slanderous or defamatory speech; any kind of defiant, scornful, abusive speech toward God or man. Slander, someone said, is "a verdict of 'guilty' given in the absence of the accused, behind closed doors, without defense or appeal, by a prejudiced judge." This may have characterized the old man of sin. It should not be tolerated in the new creature in Christ. "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things above ... set your mind on those things," (see Col. 3:1-5).

Filthy language. All kinds of expressions common in society (and packed into movies!) must be shunned by the Christian. Foul speech, coarse humor, suggestive and obscene language, and laughing at things about which there should be shame. "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becometh saints; nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not begetting; but rather giving of thanks," (Eph. 5:3,4). There must be continual, daily effort to avoid these transgressions; but this present effort is based on a past decision -- when you obeyed the gospel! Our initial repentance should set the pattern for our lives, so that when these things reappear, we acknowledge the sin and re-repent!

"When dealing with sins, the way to stop is to stop! Tapering off gradually does not get the job done. Putting sins to death can be done. It must be done. Now. (Gal. 5:24)." {p.#211, Paul's Prison Epistles, Bible Study Textbook Series, College Press.}

Do Not Lie! All the difficult situations that may occur in human activity do not change what God here prohibits: DO NOT LIE! Regardless of the situation, the temptation, the pressure or the good we think might come from it, IF WE LIE WE SIN! "Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds."

But, not only have we put off the old man ...

We have "put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him," (v.10).

It would be futile to repent of these sins and cease them if we didn't replace these wrong acts with right acts! Thus Paul speaks of taking off the old (wrong, evil), and putting on the new (right, good). In another place, refraining from the works of the flesh, and producing the fruit of the Spirit (see Gal. 5:16-26). Notice, the ongoing renewal in knowledge which is according to the image of Him who created him! The aim of the Christian's life is RENEWAL ... the pattern is THE DIVINE IMAGE ... the means is KNOWLEDGE.

By seeking those things that are above, and putting to death our members which are on the earth (involvement in sin), we participate in this daily renewal process and display the "new man" to the glory of God.

By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 2.8; August, 1995