“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5).
Whenever a Christian acts in a manner that seems inconsistent with his or her profession of faith, there are often some who are quick to follow with a charge of hypocrisy. That’s because Christians and non-Christians agree that there should be a discernible difference in the conduct of those who claim to follow Christ and those who don’t. In other words, a genuine relationship with God should produce the kind of lifestyle that honors Him. Beginning here in Colossians 3:5, Paul the Apostle will furnish us with a list of behavioral characteristics that have no place in the lives of those who claim to be Christians.
Now before we continue, we should note that this is not the only time Paul has referenced such behaviors. For instance, Paul made the following statement to the church at Corinth: “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NLT).
He also sent this message to the regional congregations of Galatia: “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21 NLT).
We also have the following directive issued to the church in the city of Ephesus: “Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world” (Ephesians 5:3-5 NLT).
Why did Paul encourage his readers to take action against such behaviors? Well, as one source has observed, “It is necessary to mortify sins, because if we do not kill them, they will kill us.” (1) We’ll take a closer look at these individual behaviors (and why we’re counseled to avoid them) over the next few studies.
(1) Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary [3:5-11] https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=mhc&b=51&c=3