5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Colossians 3:5-9
Growing with Jesus requires our agency; that’s by design. We participate in the new creation of our character so that it reflects Jesus Christ as Lord more and more often. Always in response to the grace of Jesus we activate the virtues of faith, hope, and love in our spiritual growth. Our life is hidden with Christ; what we are is not yet fully seen. The old nature will cover up our life with Him and the reality of grace unless we respond. We have died; we have been buried with Him in baptism; we and we been raised with Him to new life.
A new morality by God’s grace is available to us. But it requires our participation. “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you.” Putting the old nature to death is an act of faith, hope, and love. What is it going to take for you to break the habituated draw of the old nature of your life? How can we put it to death?
The old nature and its practices must be identified. Paul gives the Colossian Christians two lists so they can see what is inconsistent with the life of Christ. The lists are not exhaustive. But they do highlight two powerful and destructive types of habituated sin common to the old nature.
Sexuality immorality Anger
Evil desires Slander
Covetousness- which is idolatry Obscene talk
And then Paul identifies a third and related problem of the old nature: lying. Do not lie to one another. The old nature generates lies, especially in regard to the personal and social dynamics of sex, anger, and what we have said. Lying is a means of managing the guilt, shame, and fear. It has nothing to do with the spiritual dynamics required for putting the old nature to death.