Colossians 3 is the text that we want to look at. I want us to look at this chapter because I’m concerned about this matter of sanctification. “This is the will of God,” 1 Thessalonians says – “even your sanctification. This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” That is God’s will for us between our justification and our glorification. From the time of your salvation to the time of your entrance into heaven, God’s will for you is that you be sanctified.
As I said last time, I’m afraid this is a doctrine that though it defines our entire Christian life on earth has been treated with indifference by this current generation of Christians and even preachers. But it is of grave concern to the Lord that we be sanctified; that means to be separated – separated from sin unto God, from sin unto holiness. We are to be increasingly like Christ. We are, as we learned last time, to live lives that essentially are heavenly lives rather than earthly lives, in that they manifest all the virtues that belong to the Lord and the saints in glory. So let me read the opening nine verses of Colossians 3 as a setting for what we’re going to see today.
“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
“Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.”
Now we saw last time that we are called to live the risen life, that we are to reach the world by leaving the world. We are to live lives of “seeking” – verse 1 – “the things above.” Verse 2, “Setting our minds on things above, not on things on the earth.”
Now remember that Paul has in this letter in the first two chapters demonstrated powerfully the supremacy and sufficiency of the Lord Jesus Christ. He has laid out the realities of His person. The glory of His person is God in human flesh. He has laid out the realities of His atoning work. He has demonstrated that those who are believers in Him are complete in Him. We have in Him all that we need to feel adequate. We don’t need human philosophy. We don’t need religious ritual. We don’t need legalism, We don’t need visions and communications with angels or any other kind of self-denial practices. We have all died in Christ and have risen in Christ, and we live in newness of life. That is who we are. We are new creations, alive in Christ, alive from the dead.
But as we come to this third chapter it begins with the word “therefore,” and then down in verse 5 has another “therefore.” This is consistent with how Paul structures his letters. There will inevitably be a section of doctrine at the beginning of the letter in which he lays out truth about us, truth about what it means to belong to God in Christ. And then at some point you will see the word “therefore,” and the transition takes place from theology to behavior, from doctrine to conduct.
And that’s what we find in chapter 3. Because of who Christ is and what He’s done, because of the fact that we are in Christ and complete in Him, and in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and we are complete in Him, because of these realities of our life and death in Christ, because we have everything we need, therefore we need to live consistently with that identity. This is who we are, and it sets the standard for how we are to live. No matter how deep Paul goes in theology, no matter how high are his thoughts, now matter how sweeping his sort of holy reasoning and logic as he unfolds great doctrine, he always comes down off of the mountain of these mysteries of God being explained down into the valley where we live.
In light of all these glorious truths there’s a certain way we are to live. To sum it up, look down at verse 17 in chapter 3: “Whatever you do in word or deed, so all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Everything you do, everything you do in word, everything you do in deed should be consistent with your identity in Christ, and should be an offering of thanks given to God the Father. That’s how you are to live your lives, that’s the sum of it all. Whatever you do, word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ as an expression also of gratitude to God the Father for what He has done.
Now this means, on the positive side, that you need to live a heavenly life; and that’s what we saw in the opening four verses. Seek the things above. Set your mind on the things above, the things that are heavenly, the virtues that belong to the perfect, the perfect God and the perfected believers and the holy angels. Live above the world, leave the world to reach the world; that was the message last time.
Now reality would tell us that’s fine, we need to do that, we endeavor to do that. We want to live in the heavenlies. We want to live, as it were, in Christ-consciousness. We have died with Him; we have risen with Him; we have been seated on the throne with Him. He is in us and we are in Him, and we want to live in a heavenly expression of these realities, and we’re empowered to do so by the Holy Spirit. But with all that lofty thinking about living the risen life and living in a heavenly way, Paul comes down fast to earthly reality with another “therefore” in verse 5.
If you’re going to live the risen life, if you’re going to leave the world to reach the world, you’re going to have to deal with what remains on earth of your sinfulness; and that requires some very dramatic and consistent practical action, and of a strong nature. Look at verse 5: “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead, as dead.” Some translations say, “Kill the members of your earthly body.” This is not talking about some monastic self-castration or flagellation, or inflicting some unnatural wounds or inflictions on your physical body like the ascetics once did; this is not about that.
It’s like what Jesus said in Matthew 5 when He said, in verses 29 and 30, that, “If your right hand offends you, cut if off. If your eye offends you, pluck it out.” He’s not saying that literally, He’s not saying literally do that. What He is saying is deal drastically with anything that causes your hand to act in a sinful way or your eye to see in a sinful way. Deal dramatically with the faculties of your physical body that have a propensity toward sin. And that’s what He’s saying here. When he’s talking about killing, he’s talking about killing in the spiritual sense. It’s Romans 8:13, “If you kill the deeds of the sinful nature, you will really live.”
If you’re going to live this Christian life to the max you’ve got to be killing the deeds of the sinful nature. If you’re going to live the risen life, that’s the positive side, you’re going to have to be killing that which threatens that, that which pulls you down into sin. We are new creatures on the inside, as Paul said in Romans 7, but we still have remaining flesh on the outside. And the members of our body, the faculties of our body can be instruments of righteousness, or they can be instruments of iniquity. But if we are new creatures, we want to be sure that they are instruments of righteousness. And so, we have to be killing the remaining aspects of our flesh; that’s part of living the Christian life.
Your members of your earthly body are the vehicles through which sin expresses itself. And by members, he doesn’t just mean the physical body; he means all your human capacities are still tainted with sin until you are glorified. Paul says, “I’m still a wretched man. I do what I don’t want to do, and don’t do what I ought to do,” Romans 7. “With my mind I affirm the law of God as holy, just, and good, and I want to do that; but I find another principle in me, warring against the law of my mind, and I feel like I have a body of death attached to me,” and that’s a true expression.
So Paul says, “Look, not only on the positive side do you want to reach up for all the virtues that basically define holy living in heaven, but you want to remember that you have to deal with the fallenness which still remains in your own life, fallenness that will show up through the instrumentation of your human body – your mind, your speech, and your actual conduct.” Those are essentially the instruments in which your fallen flesh will express itself sinfully, unless you are killing it. It was John Owen who wrote so much on mortifying the flesh, mortifying sin, killing sin. That is the very heart of the Christian life of victory. So we have conflict. We are reaching for heaven and all its virtues, and at the same time killing what remains of this earth and the members, which become instruments of sin.
Now Paul wants to help us with this, and this is critical. There is a movement today that has an indifference toward sin. You can call it antinomianism, which means it’s sort of an anti-law idea that we have been called into grace, and God doesn’t care about our sins: “God loves us. Jesus loves us, He doesn’t care about where we sin or not.” I think it was The Bachelorette who said that this week, profound theologian, that, “It doesn’t matter what I do, Jesus loves me anyway.” That is a very, very popular idea of Christianity in our world today.
But Paul shows us that the Holy Spirit and therefore God Himself has a very different perspective. We are not to ignore sin, we are to be killing sin. We are to be considering the members of your earthly body as dead.
And then to be specific, he wants to help us, not only with a list of sins that we need to be dealing with. But there’s a certain pathology here that’s very helpful, two lists of sins: one in verse 5 – you can see it there – and the second list down in verses 8 and into verse 9. The first list deals with perverted love, and the second list deals with perverted hate. The first list deals with what we do, the second list deals with what we say. The first list is personal, the second list is social. The first list is how we feel, the second list is how we talk. So these are two very, very important lists that act as instruction for us, not an exhaustive list of sins. Paul gives many, many lists of sins in his letters. None of them is intended to be exhaustive, some of them are just samples of characteristic sins. This is that, but it is more, because built into these two lists is a certain pathology that will help us greatly in mortifying sin.
Let’s look at Catalog Number One in verse 5: “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed,” – or covetousness – “which amounts to idolatry.” Now notice the sequence. It starts with evil action, immorality; and it ends with idolatry. So it flows from the action back to the motive. That’s the pathology you’re going to see here. It flows from the action back to the motive. In fact, you go back from immorality to impurity, to passion, to evil desire, and to greed, and to idolatry.
Now let me just kind of explain how this pathology works. The word “immorality” basically refers to any unlawful sexual act, any unlawful, sexual act. And to make life simple for everybody, there’s only one lawful sexual act, and that is a sexual relationship between a man and a woman who are married; that’s it, that’s it. So anything other than that is unlawful and falls into the category of immorality.
I’ll say it again. God forbids any sexual activity apart from one man and one woman in marriage. But we live in a world that has long since ignored that. We live in a world where virtually any sexual act between any people of any gender is not only to be accepted, but to be basically hailed as an act of personal identity, reality, and authenticity. But God says the only acceptable sexual act is between a man and a woman who are married.
Now this behavior springs from the next word, “impurity.” Impurity simply means uncleanness. Our Lord’s words in Mark chapter 7 help us maybe to see this. In Mark 7 and verse 21 – well, we can start in verse 20. Jesus said, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.” So when you see the defiling behavior, it’s coming from something inside the man. Verse 21, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these things proceed from within and defile the man.” The problem is not outside us, it’s what? It’s inside us.
Immorality is the product of evil thoughts. Sex in behavior is the result of sexually sinful thoughts. You control your mind, and you control your sexual conduct. And remember, now Paul is saying this to people essentially who had come to Christ in a pagan world, an utterly pagan world in which all kinds of immorality were acceptable. Having concubines was acceptable. Having women for no other purpose than sexual fulfillment was fully acceptable. Pedophilia was acceptable. Homosexuality was acceptable. Relations before and outside of marriage with virtually anyone was acceptable in the ancient, pagan world. And, in fact, much of it was part of their religion. There were temple prostitutes associated with false worship to accommodate these freedoms for immoral behavior.
So Paul is saying something to the pagan world that is, frankly, stunning. The only acceptable sexual behavior at all is that between a man and a woman who are married; that’s it. And if you don’t want to fall into immorality, then you have to make sure you don’t have impure thoughts, because if you cultivate impure thoughts, if you purposely put yourself in a position to expose yourself to the things that produce impure thoughts, you’re playing with fire obviously. So you go from immoral behavior back to what causes that, which is impure thinking.
And then the next word is “passion.” Passion is describing for us something behind impure thoughts. It’s some rumbling from deep within our nature, some almost passive term, something that lies latent in us. It reflects a deep-seated fire that can easily fan into flame.
And then behind that is the word “evil desire,” or the term “evil desire.” Evil desire reaches down a little bit deeper into what we really are. We’re susceptible to passion because built into our fallen flesh is evil desire. John calls it “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” James 1:14 and 15 says that sin starts down in those categories, in those catacombs, in those deep caverns of lust. That’s not necessarily something that’s stimulated by something we see, it’s who we are.
We’re getting close to the bottom here. People do immoral behaviors because they have immoral thoughts. They have immoral thoughts because they have a built-in propensity to be inflamed in the direction of lusts. They have those passions because there is an evil desire component inside every human being. It’s there, it can’t be denied. But we’re not at the bottom.
What activates evil desire, that inflames passion, that leads to impure thoughts and immoral behavior? The next word is “greed,” greed. Now we’re getting close to the bottom. Greed. Some of your translations might say “covetousness.” Essentially, it’s the same word.
Greed or covetousness is the last sin listed in the Ten Commandments, the Decalogue; but it really is the basic motive of all sin. It is the last sin in the Decalogue, but it is what is behind all the other sins. It is what was behind Satan’s fall. He was greedy; he coveted God’s place. It is the desire for what isn’t yours. It is the desire for what is forbidden. It is the desire for what is against the will of God. It’s the desire for something you have no right to, you’re not entitled to, pleonexia, from two words: pleon, more; exein, to have – the desire to have more than you have. It is the absence of contentment, it is the opposite of contentment. It is the desire to have more; and in the case of the fallenness of the human heart, it is the desire to have more of something you’re not entitled to. Jesus considered the covetous heart to be the very source from which all evil rose.
The Greeks defined it as the insatiable desire that can never be satisfied to want what you don’t have. And the Greeks actually said to satisfy that in the human heart is like trying to fill a bowl with no bottom. And this, of course, is self-seeking pride. When it directed toward money, it ends up with stealing. When it is directed toward fame, it ends up in boasting. When it is directed toward worldly success, it ends up in selfish ambition. When it is directed toward power, it ends up in exploitation, intimidation, and tyranny. And when directed toward a physical relationship with someone, it ends up in sexual sin. It is the desire to have what you don’t have. It is a lack of contentment. It is covetousness.
Listen, every sin comes from this. The reason you do any sin is because you have decided that you will do what you have no right to do. You will take what you have no right to take; that’s what sin is. And Jesus said even in the longing there is sin, Matthew 5, “If a man looks on a woman to lust after her he’s committed adultery in his heart.” You hear people today say, “Well, you know, I’m a same-sex attracted person, but that’s not sinful in and of itself.” Well, of course it is. Opposite sex attraction is sinful, same-sex attraction is sinful, because it’s a reflection in the heart of a longing for what you don’t have the right to have.
So are we at the bottom with greed and covetousness? No. The end of verse 5, “which amounts to idolatry.” What is idolatry? Worshiping someone other than God, right? What’s at the top of Ten Commandments? The first one: “You shall have no other gods.”
So idolatry is the root of all sin. Now we’re at the bottom of this pathological process. Idolatry is at the bottom of every sin. It’s when you stop worshiping God and you decide you’re going to worship yourself. It’s like saying, “I will not submit to you as my Sovereign. I want what I want. I will be sovereign. You’re not going to tell me what I can and cannot have, I will determine what I can or cannot have.” Mark it.
Though covetousness is the last of the Ten Commandments, by definition it is a violation of the first of the Ten Commandments to have no other gods, especially not you. It is self-worship. It isn’t even so much sex worship or money worship or power worship or fame worship. It is self-worship. It is the opposite of this. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added.”
Instead of seeking what is righteous and what is the will of God, you seek what you want. That is idolatry, and you have replaced God. This is how the pathology of sin works. You worship yourself; you become greedy then to satisfy yourself; you begin to covet what you have no right to. That rises out of your evil desire and flames passion, begins to circulate in the mind, and then shows up in the behavior.
Back in the previous book Paul wrote, Ephesians 5, there is a very parallel instruction: Ephesians 5, verse 3, “But immorality or any impurity or greed” – there’s the same words, three out of the five, and these in the same sequence; immorality comes from impurity, which comes from greed – “should never be named among you, as is proper among saints.” These things don’t belong to be any part of your life. The Lord does care about these things. “There must be no filthiness, silly talk, coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
“Let no one deceive you about these things with empty words, because of these things the wrath of God comes on the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you’re Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (and the fruit of Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),” exact same message as Colossians. The link is from sexual behavior, back to impure thoughts, back to inflamed passion, back to the deep-seated lusts that are part of our fallenness, back to the fact that we are greedy for what we don’t have a right to, back to the fact that we worship ourselves rather than God. So don’t be so ridiculous as to say, “Jesus doesn’t care what I do because He loves me.” It isn’t just what you did, it’s what you think, it’s who you are, and it’s blasphemous rebellion against sovereign God.
So, starts with idolatry and ends up in sexual behavior. And, of course, those two come together with everything in between a lot of times in the Old Testament whenever we see idolatry on display. Many places in the Old Testament we see that sexual immorality was part and parcel of idolatry. It is in those very religions of the ancient world and even the modern world. So mark it for what it is. Sexual sin is the product of idol worship, and you’re the idol. That’s the progression. The root of your sin is self-worship. That develops covetousness. Covetousness rises out of our innate, evil desire, is flamed into passion, creates evil thoughts, and ends in immorality.
So you understand that you have to deal with it, at what point? Well, the easiest point to deal with it is at the level where it begins, right? So you deal with it on the basis of what it is. It is idolatry.
Anything that you have no right to that you want is a test of who you worship. If you worship God, you say no at that point. If you worship yourself, you say yes at that point; and that’s what James says lust wants, because then lust conceives and brings forth sin. And ultimately, sin brings forth death.
That is why it is so important – listen carefully – for you to know that the ability to live the Christian life is not related to somebody giving you a pep talk, it is directly related to what you think about God and what you think about yourself. And if you have a superficial view of God and an elevated view of yourself, you’re set up to worship yourself and not God. That is what’s wrong with all man-centered preaching. It does no help, provides no strength against sin, because your strength against sin does not come from feeling good about yourself, it comes from feeling terrible about yourself. It comes from a broken and contrite heart, as we saw in Psalm 51. Isaiah 66, God says, “Who am I seeking? Whoever has a broken and a contrite heart and trembles at My word.”
No one can give you anything more powerful than a deep and wide, high understanding of God. If you are consumed with the glory of God, if you are consumed with the truth of Christ, if the word concerning Christ dwells in you richly, if your theology of God is deep and true, you are a true worshiper, and sin is dealt with at the very foundation level, you are not going to be an idol worshiper who puts yourself in the place of God. When you hear people preaching trying to make people feel better, this is absolutely antithetical to true sanctification. So the Christian needs to be killing the corrupting things, and at the base of those corrupting things is idolatry.
How serious is it to kill sin? Look at verse 6: “It is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience.” The kind of things that we’re talking about here – immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, greed, and idolatry – are the sins that damn people to hell forever. These are the sins upon which the everlasting wrath of God is spent on the sons of disobedience. In other words, people are sent to hell forever for these kinds of behaviors. Why would you engage in them? You have been rescued from the wrath of God. You have been empowered by the Holy Spirit. Verse 7 he says, “In them you also once walked, when you were living in them.” Look, for two reasons you don’t do this. One, these are the very things that God punishes unbelievers in hell for forever, and you know better because you have lived there before. Why would you go back? Why would you go back?
Modern attitude of antinomianism, the modern attitude of condoning any kind of sin finds no support from God at all, because you are to live out heavenly virtues. You are to be mortifying sin all the way down at its core, which is idolatry, because these are the very things that God pours out eternal wrath on, and these are the very things that you were saved from. That was your former life. First Corinthians 6, “Such were some of you; but you are washed,” – verse 11 – “and you are sanctified.”
There’s a second catalogue here in verses 8 and 9. Catalogue Two is perverted hate. There are some things we ought to hate – all sin, all unrighteousness, all that offends God. But here is a kind of hate that is directed at people. “Now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another.” That’s Catalogue Number Two. Here he begins the opposite way.
The first catalogue, he began with the deed, the act, and went back to the foundational motive. Here he begins with the motive and moves toward the deed. The motive is anger that develops into wrath, that releases malice, that turns into slander and abusive speech and lying. Paul is just saying, “Look, put off,” – verse 8 – “put all aside.” Its’ a verb used to throw off dirty clothes.
Perhaps it’s a picture of the life of early Christians. When they were baptized they would come and put off their old outer garment and go into the waters to be baptized; and then when they came out they would be given a new white robe as a symbol of their being clothed in the righteousness of Christ. And Paul is saying, “You need to lay aside the old lifestyle.” And in this particular category he’s not talking about what we do, but what we say – the vicious, vicious capacity that we have to use our verbal member for violent sin. And he looks down at what comes out of the mouth, and he goes all the way to where it arises from: anger, anger, orgē, deep down, smoldering hostility; deep down, smoldering hostility.
That too is a product of self-worship. “Somebody offended you, really? And you took it seriously like you were that important?” Your deep down, smoldering anger is idolatry; you’re worshiping yourself, not God. It bursts forth in wrath. That is thumos, that’s a blaze of sudden fury. You start then with this deep-seated anger that’s down in your self-worshiping heart, and it explodes. The Greeks use this word to describe the kind of fire that burned up grass or straw quickly inflamed.
Deep-seated anger explodes in wrath and leads to malice, a general term for moral evil. It’s just evil in a broad sense. And this has to do with how you speak, so it’s evil in your heart, evil intent that results in slander. This is the word for “blasphemy,” and not just God, but people, defaming people. This is part of our society, is it not? In my ever-lengthening lifetime there is more slander going on now than any time I’ve ever seen in my entire life. And it’s not just in the culture, it’s even among, quote-unquote, “evangelicals” who are slandering one another over issues like identity, racial ethnic distinctions. It’s a terrible, terrible expression of the deep-seated anger that is part of our remaining fallenness.
Slander then produces abusive speech, abusive speech. It’s not speech, to borrow Paul’s words in Ephesians where he says in verse 29 of chapter 4, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good to build up according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” Exact same words as we saw in Colossians. “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has forgiven you.” We should be full of forgiveness, not constantly indicting everyone. This is unacceptable, abusive, obscene, blasphemous language that blasphemes other people. Why would we think for a moment that the Lord would be pleased with that no matter what we think justifies it?
Listen to what our Lord said in Matthew 12: “You brood of snakes, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” We ought to be speaking what is edifying, what is comforting, what is encouraging, what is virtuous, what is godly. But if there is deep-seated anger smoldering in our hearts, it’ll burst into wrath. It’ll result in evil, which shows up in slander and blasphemy of others.
And then on top of that, verse 9, “Do not lie to one another.” Lying. The truth will take a back seat to our agenda, and we will say whatever we need to say to express our anger or our self-worship. Lies, lies are protectors of self-worship. Satan lied in deceiving Eve. Adam and Eve lied to God attempting to evade responsibility. Cain lied to God about his brother. Abraham lied to Sarah. Sarah lied to the angels. Sarah lied to the king of Gerar. Isaac lied, denying Rebekah was his wife. Rebekah lied in the conspiracy against Esau. You’re still in the book of Genesis and you’ve got – everybody’s a liar. You haven’t even gotten out of Genesis; because Satan is the father of lies.
Paul is horrified that we would be so idolatrous as to live with smoldering anger that unleashes itself on people, and justifies itself, and even leads to lies to fulfill its agenda. Paul is horrified of that. We must be mortifying those things. And you’d better start all the way down at the bottom with that whole issue of self-worship. Your anger is connected to self-worship, and it smolders until something fans it. We should be marked, even when genuinely offended, by forgiveness. Where is that? Jesus said, “Seventy times seven, that’s how many times you forgive.”
So, we are told here in this matter of sanctification to reach up and live with heavenly virtues, that that’s the upside. The downside is to realize that we have to kill the members of our body that still are fleshly, and we have to deal with sin at its very foundational point, its very origin, which is idolatry. How do you control that? How do you do that? At the lowest level then where idolatry breeds all of this, if you are a God-worshiper and a Christ-worshiper, the battle is won. And the more you know about God and the more you know about Christ, and the more you love God and the more you love Christ, the more you submit gladly. Sin is simply a manifestation of self-worship and rebellion against God; see it for what it is. Deal with it at the level you have to deal with it. We live in the heavenlies, yes; but we also have to be realistic about the flesh; and Paul calls us to both.
Father, again we thank You this morning. It’s been such a joy and privilege for us to be together, to sing and pray and listen to Your Word. What a high and holy time we’ve had. And, Lord, we want to be a sanctified people. We want to be so consumed with worshiping You and loving You that we eagerly keep Your commandments. We thank You for revealing so much about Yourself, so much about who You are, the glory of Your person: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
We thank You for revealing so much about us, and warning us about idolatry. Lord, help us to live so conscious of Your glory and Your majesty, that we love You supremely, that we love You with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. And if we love You like that, there never will be a replacement for you, certainly not us. And, Lord, remind us that sin is always the result of dethroning You and usurping Your sovereignty for ourselves. This is a violation of the first commandment. This certainly is a violation of loving you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. And if we love You that way, we will keep Your commandments.
We desire to be a heavenly people. Yes, we desire to be focused on all the holy virtues that are present in heaven. At the same time, we want to be realistic and be mortifying the flesh at the very ground-level, cutting it off at the roots by never ever worshiping ourselves. Lead us in the path of righteousness and holiness for Your glory; and may we do whatever we do in word or deed all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and with gratitude to You our glorious God and Father. Amen.
This article is also available and sold as a booklet.