The sons of disobedience Paul references in Colossians 3:6 are not Christians who are stumbling in their walk, but are the natural descendants of Adam who have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Colossians 3:6-8 “6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. 8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.”
Many of the “hard line” legalists use this verse for their proof that God will punish His Children “Christians” that fall into these sins. This is impossible since Jesus dies for our sins past, present, and future. From the purest point of view, since every human is a descendant of Adam, all people are children of God, and most of them have strayed from the family. But according to Galatians 4:4-6, “at the fullness of time God sent forth His Son” Jesus to redeem us from the law. Those who become born again receive the Son Spirit which is the Spirit of Jesus thereby “God has adopted” us as His spiritual Children. In Jewish terms this is actually the public declaration of acceptance from the father of his own son. Paul is identifying the unsaved children as sons of disobedience that have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and savior. Ephesians 5:6-7 also says that God will have wrath on the sons of disobedience. This wrath will be on the sons who do not accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, John 3:18.
“When you lived in them” from verse 7, in Greek tense is an indication of continual or habitual living. It is much the same in our language today when we say, “when we lived in our first home”. You went to that home every day and it was an integral part of your life. The Colossian believers, like many of us today, used to habitually live in the sins mentioned in verse 5. These sins were a natural part of our existence and therefore became a part of us and their pull on our flesh may not just stop automatically when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Focus on Jesus and not resisting the sin that so easily ensnares you and you will eventually stop thinking about the sin, and if the sin thought comes up you can easily resist it.
The sins listed in verse 5 are different than those in verse 8, but only in how they affect the believer. Both start in the heart and then are expressed outward, but those in verse five are actually against the sinner themselves. 1 Corinthians 6:18, Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Sins listed in verse five are more sexual in nature and separate the believer from their own communication and blessings from God. Remember that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, (1 Corinthians 6:19). Man tries to justify one sin as worse than the other, but sin is sin and with the exception of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31) all other sins are covered under the blood of Jesus. Paul is pointing out that as far as God’s view of sin there is not a difference between sins, but that as born-again believers we need to “put off” all sins. The term “put off” is similar to taking off a coat and in verse 10 we are putting on another coat. A Christian has an immediate change in spirit when they accept Jesus into their heart as Lord and Savior, but the outward “habitual” ways and thinking of our old man is ever present until we begin to make the changes to line our natural lives up with the word of God. This change can only happen over time by renewing our minds. In verse 5-11 Paul is indicating how simple our change in life can be once we have received Christ. It does not have to be any more grievous in nature than to take off one coat and put on another. True, depending on how deep a person is in sin the more difficult it may be for that person to come out of it, but with Christ Jesus all things are possible, (Matthew 19:26).
The point here is when a believer begins to truly understand the love of God and His grace that is extended to us even when we were sinners, the less a believer falls into the same traps of sin. The more a believer fills him/herself up with the knowledge of God, and especially if they have been baptized with the Holy Spirit, the less sin has time in the mind to grow. The reason Paul is implying that change is as simple as taking off one coat and putting on another is because, all sin starts out as a thought. We cannot always control what thought comes into our minds, but we can control what we do with that thought. If we ignore it or replace it with the word of God, the sin thought goes away. If we meditate on the sin thought, even if it is to stay away from the sin, it will take us over; it’s that simple. Matthew 12:43-45 is a great explanation as to why a person who becomes born again falls so quickly back into sin and gives the answer to preventing sin from taking over. One pastor’s advice is “Put the word of God in you when you don’t need it so it will be there when you do”, excellent advice. Start putting the word of God in you daily.
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