It is interesting how in James chapter 2 it is written that faith, without works, is dead. This shows that it is possible to have faith, but if the faith doesn’t have works (if the faith doesn’t work!), this faith is in vain, it is dead! Such serious words! So what kind of works should my faith have? If you are a serious believer, it is important to ask yourself – does my faith work? Does my faith give me eternal life?
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3)
In order to set your minds on things from above, it is necessary to resurrect with Christ. Otherwise, it is not possible to think about something, where you do not exist! You must first get there. And we get (transfer) there, through this action: “For ye died… (ye are dead)”
That is, first is the death for this world and the consequence – the resurrection with Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Further, verse five:
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5)
Here Apostle Paul goes on to say what action will be of the faith in Calvary: “Mortify therefore (put to death therefore)…” – in other words, on the cross of Calvary, the old man is crucified with his deeds. This doesn’t mean, that Paul is writing to Colossians, who are still in sexual immorality, and have the evil desire/lust, and covetousness…, and they supposedly still need to put this to death… – no! This was already fulfilled in them, and further in verse seven we see a confirmation of this:
“In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.” Colossians 3:7
That is, this is the past, the old life! That is how it was with them, they came to God being like this, but repented, accepted the true faith and left everything on Calvary!
The word “therefore mortify” – it is the word of Faith that everything was fulfilled on the Cross! And that we cannot have any room for this in us – we have put all this away, “seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds” (verse 9).
In other words – this is the question of growth and sanctification!
“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour.” 1 Thes. 4:3-4
Of course, the believer can have temptation(s), especially if he lived all his life in this, then the devil will approach, seducing/tempting with the past. And here the word of faith acts:
“mortify” – that is, I no longer have this in me, I died for this. Testify this way and stand firm in faith, until the growth completely occurs, when you will be able to easily bridle/restrain your body.
“…If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” James 3:2
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.” (Romans 6:6-7)
“Likewise reckon ye yourselves to be dead (here also fits the expression “therefore mortify“) indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:11)
“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Romans 6:13)
Just as Apostle Paul writes in Colossians chapter 3, Apostle Peter in the second chapter of the first epistle writes:
“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings…” (1 Peter 2:1)
In the same way Paul writes:
“But now ye also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” Colossians 3:8
How can you put it off (lay it aside)? This doesn’t mean, that these deeds constantly manifest in me, but this means that I, when I came to God, I put all of this off (the old nature with its deeds). That is, I buried it with Christ (died with Him on Calvary).
Peter also says:
“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revelings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.” (1 Peter chapter 4)
In the same way, as Paul writes:
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 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 3:5-7
That is, it was this way before! Now, being raised with Christ, I have the strength to resist every temptation through faith, knowing that everything was abolished on the Cross by our Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, it is talking about the beginning of the path, about the newborn, in which the body may still demand (by habit, since there is the memory of how “well it was”…) and the devil can approach, and here is the word “to mortify” – suffer with the flesh, for you died for this!
This question is very subtle and it is impossible to fully explain to the religious person, if the ears shall not be opened!