In the pagan religions of Paul’s day, little or nothing was said about personal morality. A worshipper could offer his/her gift on the altar and return home to live the same old way. But it is not like that in Christianity. A Christian is someone who will become more and more like Jesus.
You may quickly notice the paradox suggested by (3) and (5): ‘’For you died…Put to death…’’ It’s what commentators call the tension between the indicative and the imperative; between what has happened, and what must happen in the light of what has happened. We have ‘died’, therefore we must ‘put to death’.
Verse five speaks about definite action; decisive action. This is not something you drift into. These words agree with those of Jesus in Matthew 5:27-30, where He called for radical (you might even say ruthless) action to deal with temptation and sin. You can’t make a truce with these implacable enemies of your soul.
What do you know needs to change in your life? It may have to do with the sins listed in verses five and eight. But we do not have an exhaustive catalogue here. It’s just a sample. Your ‘’earthly nature’’ is capable of other wrongs. But wishing won’t change anything. Definite steps have to be taken against indwelling evil. It is important to realise how much God hates all sin (6). We have to hate it also, and declare war on it. There are things which belong to our old life and not to the new resurrected life in Christ. That previous life is now dead; it is in the past tense. We have to recognise this fact and not go back. There is a picture in this chapter of changing clothes; taking off dirty ones and putting on clean garments. As someone said, we must ‘’take off the grave clothes and put on the grace clothes.’’
As in (5), there is in (8) reference to decisive action. It is also urgent.(N.B. ‘’you must’’). We can’t afford to sit around waiting to change or be changed, but have to get on with making the necessary changes. It is important to see that if you are a Christian you can do this, because you are alive with Christ (1); you are dead to your old life (2), and you have a new godly nature (9, 10). Paul is asking for the possible (to those who are in Christ) and not the impossible. Once you trust Christ for salvation and the Holy Spirit comes to live in you, you have a new endless power supply to live differently. ‘Turbo-charged’ behaviour is now possible! You can pursue holiness because the HOLY Spirit lives inside you.
The church is a new community made up of new people who are enabled to live a new life. In the church all the old distinctions mean nothing (11). Jesus is ‘’in’’ everyone. He is ‘’all’’ we need. He is our ‘’life’’.
It’s been said that we were each formed in the image of God. We were deformed from that image through sin. But now we are being transformed into that image through Christ.
Prayer: Thank you Lord that remarkable change is possible because of your work in me.