This blog post marks the 3rd of a 3-part miniseries regarding 3 commands for the dead church member. The first command we looked at is to “seek those things”. The second command we examined is to “set your affections”. The final command we will outline in this post is to “mortify your members”. It is also from the Bible text Colossians 3:1-4 with some added verses as follows …
v. 1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
v. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
v. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
v. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
v. 5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
v.6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
v.7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
According to v. 3, born-again Christians are “dead”. This is because, in the mind of God the Father, He has positioned us in His mind as being forever associated with His Son Jesus. Because Jesus died and rose from the dead, in God’s mind so have we! Therefore, in one sense we are dead church members! We have died to our old way of life that was under the judgment of our holy God.
Because this is true, God wants us to do 3 things as “dead” church members. The third is in this post and it is …
III. We are risen to CRUCIFY (“Mortify”) v. 5
Verse 5 says, because in God’s mind we have already died with Christ and have risen with Him, we are to “Mortify”. But what does that mean?
To keep with my literation of this series, we are to Consider, Convict, and now Crucify. “Mortify” means to make dead, to put to death, slay.
Now on the surface, this may seem most strange. Positionally speaking, in the mind of God the Father, when Jesus was crucified, the believer was crucified and when Jesus rose from the dead, the believer rose from the dead. Why then, after going through all that, are we to die again?
Not only are we to die, but we are actually to mortify or “kill”. This is not death from natural causes. This is a death that was purposefully committed.
We know that God is true and unerring in all things, we, therefore, must dig deeper to discover why we are dying, living, and dying again.
“your members which are upon the earth” (Colossians 3:5)
God understands that we cannot be seeking and setting our affections on things above while we are tangled up in the messes down here on earth. If we are to benefit in our mortal lives as Christians, we must make a choice where our minds will be focused. And no, you cannot choose both (according to God, it’s one or the other).
There are so many good causes for people to be involved. This passage does not say we cannot be involved with good causes. Remember, the second great command still holds true, “love thy neighbour”.
This whole passage of Scripture is talking about championing earthly causes that are intended to turn this world into Heaven on Earth. Verse 4 tells us that this is the context:
“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:4)
One cannot create utopia while there is Satan and his evil system at work. During the 2nd Coming of Christ, Satan will be locked away in the bottomless pit. Then we can get involved with things on earth under the leadership of King Jesus!
For now, we “hid with Christ” (v. 3), and we must let go of the things of this earth. And speaking of letting things go, v. 5 provides such a list of what things.
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” (Colossians 3:5)
- Fornication = any sex outside of a male/female marriage
- Uncleanness = Impure motives
- Inordinate affection = depraved and vile passions of the mind
- Evil concupiscence = wicked desires for things that are forbidden
- Covetousness = a greedy desire to have more to the point of worshipping them
We are commanded by God to once and for all kill these appendages to our lives (“mortify your members”). We are to view them as being parts of our physical bodies. Now that is a major work!
Over the years Baptists have greatly accomplished getting out the word that salvation is not of works but through faith. Unfortunately, the “no works” policy has spilled over into other avenues of the Christian’s life. We are saved without any of our own works but that is where it ends.
God has given us the Bible and the Holy Spirit in order to be directed and empowered to do many mighty works. Perhaps the greatest of all is the work we must put forth into dying to oneself or as Col. 3:5 puts it, “mortifying one’s members”.
Do not be confused and do not be discouraged! Instead, get actively involved with extinguishing the members of yourself that are pulling you away from God and toward the things of this earth. Like any warrior, we must constantly train and be on our vigilant watch.
Christ delivered this message to a church in the city of Colossae. It was then copied and shared with the other local churches because this is one of the great purposes of being in a church. We are able to encourage each other in a disciplined community of godly love.
“For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.” (Colossians 3:6-7)
Before our salvation, we had no choice but to live for the things of this world. Our souls were not redeemed, and we had no Holy Spirit to empower us. (He is our dynamite!) But now the child of God no longer lives in that realm. Unfortunately, until the body is destroyed, we can still be influenced by it. So, for now, we focus on things above and fight off the things below.
Let’s sum up this miniseries by saying that God wants us to Consider (“seek”), Convict (“set”), and Crucify (“mortify”).
1) We are to seek or consider the things of Heaven as proclaimed in God’s Word.
2) We are to set or build convictions solely upon God’s Word and not man’s theories.
3) Then, we are to mortify or crucify the members of our bodies that would tie us to this world.
All of this takes great effort; It takes a commitment. If you are risen in Christ through His salvation, are you ready to move forward? If you are, revisit Colossians 3:1-7 and then join us each week as we press onward with the glorious gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!