Crucify Gnosticism in Your Thinking: Colossians 3:5-7
“5) Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6) For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7) and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.” Colossians‬ ‭3:5-7‬
Jesus did everything on the cross for our forgiveness, deliverance and freedom from Satan and the power of sin in our lives. (Review Colossians 2:13-15) But that does not translate into automatic daily victory. We must do our part. Jesus did not cancel out our free will.
Paul says we must “consider” the members of our body as dead to sin. Remember, he was fighting Gnosticism which taught the body is evil and cannot be redeemed from its evil ways. They therefore concluded the soul and spirit can be clean and holy even though the body engages in every form of sin. They actually empowered and promoted every form of sinful indulgence from sexual immorality to greed and idolatry.
Paul was countering the Gnostic movement and saying “the believer is responsible to take control of their actions.” The battle starts in the mind. Gnosticism taught that sin was alive and in control. Paul taught that sin was dead and defeated on the cross. These are radically different views.
Gnosticism sets people up for failure. By contrast, the call to Sanctification through grace and the power of the Holy Spirit sets people up for victory. Because we died “in Christ”, we can consider ourself as dead to sin.
This mindset works! How do dead people respond to sin and temptation? They don’t blink an eye! It has no affect. Paul’s point is clear: “Don’t feed and empower your flesh, rather crucify it.” Put off the old self and put on the new self.
For the doubting Gnostic, Paul adds another point to the argument. Verse 6 says, “For it is on account of these things that the wrath of God will come.” A just God can not judge what man cannot control! Even civil law sees this distinction. There is no penalty for accidental death, but there is severe consequence for premeditated homicide.
Sin is not accidental, it is intensional. James 1:13-16 describes the temptation-sin process. God holds mankind accountable for his actions the same way civil court does. There is only one major difference, God always gets the verdict right.
So what is the take away from these three verses? The starting point for victory is changing your mindset! Instead of thinking “I have no control or power over my actions”; start thinking, “This no longer has power over me because I died to this sin in Christ!” Then close the door and walk away from the temptation. 1 Timothy 6:11 and 2 Timothy 2:22 both say to “flee” from the temptation and pursue righteousness. Fill the void with something good and wholesome.
Instead of thinking “I have no power because I am a slave to sin”; start thinking “On the cross, Jesus defeated the power of sin in my life and now I am dead to this sin and have the power to live a holy life.” Victory starts by changing your mindset about sin.
A major change in my life came when I changed my thinking from “I’m just a sinner saved by grace”; to “I was a sinner saved by grace who became a saint still capable of sin apart from the grace and power of God.”
The first identity became my excuse for sin. Why? Because by nature sinners sin! The second identity provided power for victory. Why? Because the word “saint” means “holy”. It was a major shift in my thinking to discover that after salvation the Bible refers to believers as “saints” and no longer as “sinners.” The Holy Spirit changes people. He gives us a new identity.
Does this mean I believe in sinless perfection? Not at all. It merely means I abandoned my excuse for sinning. I crucified Gnosticism in my thinking.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global