Depending on which Bible translation you use, the little word “put” occurs either: 207 (NIV), 186 (ESV), 157 (KJV), 167 (NKJV) times. I want us to examine 2 of them, from the same context in Colossians 3.
First, “put” #1 in Col. 3:5. “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
When you normally hear the words “put to death,” what pops into your mind? I’ll bet your thoughts shoot over to the closest prison that still exercises the death penalty. For me that is 204 miles to McCloud, OK or in Texas, 456 miles to Huntsville. Those are the two closest places where capital criminals are “put to death.” So we clearly understand that at least in our minds, “put to death” carries a little different shade of meaning than the words “murder” or “kill.”
With that in mind, are you ready to apply for the job opening of “executioner” on your state’s death row? Someone has to push the button, pull the lever, etc. Are you willing to be the one who technically puts to death the guilty murderers? Most people would decline that offer, regardless of the pay.
However, did you realize that if you want to be saved, you have to become an executioner? Every saved follower of Christ has to execute “what is earthly in you;” Our earthly ways and actions have to die and God WILL NOT be the executioner; He insists that we “put them to death.” He will, through His Holy Spirit who resides within us, supply the needed power to do the executing, but He WILL NOT do it for us.
Now to “put” #2, in Col 3:12-14. “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
After our earthly ways have been “put to death,” it is time for us to “put on” God’s ways. And notice once again that God WILL NOT do that for us either; He expects us to “put on” those heavenly ways. Again, He will supply the power, but WILL NOT do it for us.
So have you “put to death” what is “earthly in you?”
Have you “put on” God’s heavenly ways?
Remember: God will not do for us, what He has enabled us to do for ourselves, through the power He has made available to us. God bless.
Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at email@example.com.