The Mortification of Sin
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. Col. 3:5-7
I want us to focus on the very first word in these three verses: mortify. The word "mortify" of course means "to put to death." What the apostle is telling us, then, is to put to death the sins which are listed here: sins like sexual immorality, sinful thoughts and passions, evil desires, and greed.
We need to hear this because we are all so adept at making excuses for not dealing with the sins in our lives. We tell ourselves that this or that sin is just not that serious, or that it's just a small sin and so doesn't matter, or that God really doesn't care that much. These excuses are all wrong and we know it. All sin is serious, small and big, and God does care. After all, his wrath comes upon those who refuse to deal with such sins in their lives (ver. 6).
What does God expect us to do with the sin in our lives? He expects us to kill it. Not play with it, not roll it around like candy in the mouth, but to put it to death. We are to repent of our sins. We are to turn from them in a definitive manner and turn to God.
Another excuse we like to give ourselves is that we just can't help it. But that's not true either. If you belong to Jesus, you can mortify your sins. Why? Notice the word "therefore" at the beginning of verse 5. It tells us why we can mortify sins. It is because all who belong to Christ are united to him in all the redeeming power of his death for sins. Because of his death for sin, we die to sin in him, and can therefore work out that reality in our lives by mortifying particular sins. The previous verses are therefore so important:
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. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.