Grace Family Bible Church
Continued Practical Teaching
By: Scott Morton
But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.  Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:  Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
As we continue through this epistle to the assembly at Colossae, we see the Apostle Paul is continuing to lay out the practical things which these saints need to have an understanding of. The members of the Body of Christ are supposed to have an understanding after salvation (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) of the things of the Word of God as they continue to study (2 Timothy 2:15). This study will build up the doctrine and will influence the life of the believer.
With this understanding, we see how the Apostle Paul starts this with the issue of putting off some things. In order to put something off, it means these things had to have been part of the individual. We see this concept mentioned a couple of times in the Bible:
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;  And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
This passage is similar to what we see in Colossians. Paul is instructing to put off the former conversation the old man and describes this as corrupt. The conversation is the lifestyle which the believer was living prior to salvation and says this needs to be put off. The idea of this would be to in a sense take this off of who we are and lay it aside so it is no longer part of who we are.
While this is the goal for the believer, we know that this is a struggle for individuals to do this. It is something which needs to be done on a daily basis. The natural man wants to fall back into the behaviors prior to salvation and is going to want to do all of these things which we are instructed to put off. We need to be continuing in our growth through the study of the Word of God in order to make these things easier.
Each individual is also going to struggle with particular issues. This tends to occur because of the upbringing we had and who we are. Since all have been influenced by the ruler of this world (Ephesians 2:2), everyone has a different thought process prior to salvation where certain things were acceptable and others were not, always going against what God has laid out in some areas. The key as we go through this text is to start to recognize the issues in you and use the Word of God to help be able to put these things off. The reality is nobody is going to be able to do it for you, as they cannot study for you and put the Word of God in you. Everybody has their own responsibility in this process.
The first of these things is anger. This might seem to initially be a problem because of what the Apostle Paul said to the assembly in Ephesus:
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Here the Apostle Paul is saying anger is ok as long as there is not sin which is associated with it. This issue was covered in an article in Living in Grace (September 2005). Anger can lead to actions which are against what God would have a believer to do which is why there is a danger with this.
We can see from the Bible that anger itself is not sinful, as we see from the following in the Gospel accounts:
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
This passage comes from the Sermon on the Mount where the Lord Jesus Christ is instructing Israel on what they need to do in order to be able to enter the kingdom which had been promised to them. He does not say to them to not be angry. The issue here is to be angry without a cause. There needs to be a reason for the anger which is going to line up with the Word of God has given. The cause is not some man-made reason which anybody would have whenever they are angry.
In fact, we can see how the Lord Jesus Christ was angry:
And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,  And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:  And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;  And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.
The Lord Jesus Christ was angry because of what they were doing in the temple, which was against the Word of God. They were not considering this to be the holy place which the Word told them it was. Their treatment of the temple in this manner caused the Lord Jesus Christ to be angry and he responded in kind. This was with a cause, as they had gone against the Word of God.
The next one of these items which needs to be put off is wrath. Many times we have a tendency to use the words anger and wrath as synonyms and feel they mean the same thing. However, there is a difference between these two words. The following definitions come from Webster's 1828 Dictionary:
AN'GER, n. ang'ger. [L. ango, to choke strangle, vex; whence angor, vexation, anguish, the quinsy, angina. Gr. to strangle, to strain or draw together to vex. The primary sense is to press, squeeze, make narrow; Heb. to strangle.]
1. A violent passion of the mind excited by a real or supposed injury; usually accompanied with a propensity to take vengeance, or to obtain satisfaction from the offending party. This passion however varies in degrees of violence, and in ingenuous minds, may be attended only with a desire to reprove or chide the offender.
Anger is also excited by an injury offered to a relation, friend or party to which one is attached; and some degrees of it may be excited by cruelty, injustice or oppression offered to those with whom one has no immediate connection, or even to the community of which one is a member. Nor is it unusual to see something of this passion roused by gross absurdities in others, especially in controversy or discussion. Anger may be inflamed till it rises to rage and a temporary delirium.
2. Paint; smart of a sore or swelling; the literal sense of the word, but little used.
AN'GER, v.t. ang'ger.
1. To excite anger; to provoke; to rouse resentment.
2. To make painful; to cause to smart; to inflame; as, to anger an ulcer.
WRATH, n. [L.]
1. Violent anger; vehement exasperation; indignation; as the wrath of Achilles.
When the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased--Est 2.
O Lord--in wrath remember mercy. Hab 3.
2. The effects of anger. Prov 27.
3. The just punishment of an offense or crime. Rom 8.
God�s wrath, in Scripture, is his holy and just indignation against sin. Rom 1.
Even a cursory reading of these two definitions would seem to give the idea these are the same word. The difference in these words is anger is the thought process, which can often have violent tendencies which are what needs to be put away. Wrath is the actions which are taken as a result of the anger, which often have the violence associated with them. These two go hand in hand, but are not the same idea.
The Apostle Paul had dealt with the issue of wrath and how this should not be part of the lives of individuals in this dispensation:
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
All of the things which are listed in this passage from the book of Galatians are identified as being the works of the flesh. Right before this Paul had spoken about how if a believer is walking in the Spirit they would not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). If we are doing the things which are reflected in the doctrine given to us in Romans through Philemon we will not be doing the things which are of the flesh, which are contrary to God.
The next item on this list is malice. This is another of these words which shows something similar in nature, but is different:
MAL'ICE, n. [L.malitia, from malus, evil.] Extreme enmity of heart, or malevolence; a disposition to injure others without cause, from mere personal gratification or from a spirit of revenge; unprovoked malignity or spite.
--Nor set down aught in malice.
This is the issue of doing evil to others for the sake of personal gain in some manner. This could be a sense of revenge for a wrong that was done to us (real or perceived) or there are some individuals who want to do harm to other individuals just for their own personal enjoyment. This is something which goes against everything in the Word of God, as this would mean we are not demonstrating the love which we are supposed to have towards everyone (Galatians 6:10). This is something which the Apostle Paul instructs several times is supposed to be put away from us:
Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,  To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.  For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
1 Corinthians 5:7-8
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
These three passages show what the believer should be striving for today. We need to put this malice away from us in order to be doing the things which are pleasing to God.
The next word on the list is blasphemy. This is a word which is not used very often by the Apostle Paul, except when he was describing himself. Since this is something which we do not think about very often we will give the definition of this word:
BLAS'PHEMY, n. An indignity offered to God by words or writing; reproachful, contemptuous or irreverent words uttered impiously against Jehovah.
Blasphemy is an injury offered to God, by denying that which is due and belonging to him, or attributing to him that which is not agreeable to his nature.
In the middle ages, blasphemy was used to denote simply the blaming or condemning of a person or thing. Among the Greeks, to blaspheme was to use words of ill omen, which they were careful to avoid.
1. That which derogates from the prerogatives of God. Mark 2.
We can see from this definition how Paul is stating there are things which we can do that are against God. This means how it is that we are utilizing the Word of God and in particular teaching it to other individuals. This is why we see some of the statements which are made about how to deal with individuals who are teaching things which are contrary to sound doctrine.
But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.  A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;  Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.
We are to deal with those who are considered heretics in a certain manner. The way members of the Body of Christ tend to do this is when they see someone teaching something which is contrary to sound doctrine they immediately brand them as a heretic and start proclaiming to everyone they know that the individual should be marked and avoided (Romans 16:17-18). They have not had a single conversation with the individual and sometimes have not even really heard what it is that is being taught. The Apostle Paul makes it clear this is only to happen after the second admonition, which means there are multiple conversations which are supposed to be had with the person. What we are doing is wrong and we need to get back to what the Word of God says.
1 Corinthians 11:18-19
For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.  For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
As the Apostle Paul is starting to discuss the things of the Lord's Supper, we see that he gets into a discussion about the divisions which are currently going on in the local assembly. He identifies the reason behind these, as he starts to discuss the divisions which are there among them. He believes this knowing their history and the things which they have written unto him. Since he is equating these things, we can get the idea of how these are truly equal. There needs to be a unity among the members of the Body of Christ and this is built on the foundation of the doctrine which has been given to us by the Apostle Paul.
We can see from his epistles the answer on how to make sure we are not falling into this trap:
2 Timothy 1:13-14
Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.  That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
We are to hold fast the form of sound words, which is a reference to the doctrine which has been given unto us. Paul has written the information which we need and what is written here is encouragement to Timothy as Paul knows he is about to die. This is the last thing we have recorded in the Bible that he wrote and the whole epistle is filled with information about how to make sure he is remaining faithful to the doctrine which has been given unto him.
The next item on the list is filthy communication. This is pretty self-explanatory, as we see a lot of this on television, social media, and in conversations with other individuals. The things which we are to be speaking need to edifying to the hearer (Ephesians 4:29), which most of the things which are being said are not. We need to be careful in what we say.
The Bible speaks about the mouth and the dangers of what it is that we speak. This is something which we see cut across the dispensations, as this is an issue with the makeup of man:
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.  Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:  Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.  For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:  But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
These two passages function as the examples of what the Bible says about the things of the mouth and what we speak. As we can see, there is nothing good which is being said. These passages speak of how the tongue, which is representing what is being said, can only be hurtful as it describes this as being a poison. This is because the things which come out are influenced by the things of this world, which are contrary to God. The Lord Jesus Christ identifies how out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34), which means whatever is inside of us is what is going to come out. This is why we are told to study the Word of God, as we take this in, the Word of God will be what comes out and we can have better control over the things which we are saying.
Continuing on with the things of the mouth, the next thing the Apostle Paul brings up is that we should not be lying to each other. This is dealing with our relationships with the members of the Body of Christ and how if we are caring for each other then we will not be telling lies. While this was mentioned under the law (Leviticus 19:11) this should not be the focus of how we are dealing with each other. The law, while giving instructions, is not written to us. If we are following the law there is no way we could be pleasing to God during the dispensation of grace.
Instead we see the Apostle Paul gives us instructions related to lying. He is to be our pattern and would be the source of the doctrine we are to be following. We see the Apostle Paul address this in the book of Ephesians:
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
There are several ways individuals try to justify this behavior. One is to say that it is really just speaking about how we communicate with the members of the Body of Christ, as we should not lie to them. This would ignore the issue of not lying to our neighbor, as unfortunately not every one of our neighbors is saved. Some would try to say it is just a little lie and it is no big deal. Any lie is considered wrong, as it is not the truth. We can see how God hates lying when He is dealing with Israel. Another way is to say that they are trying not to hurt the feelings of the individual they are telling the lie to, as the truth would hurt them. The truth always does come out and it is better to deal with the truth immediately than to have to deal with the truth and the fact that they have been lied to by those who supposedly care about them. If we think about how it hurts us when someone we care about has lied to us, we can understand how the people we care about feel when they find out we have lied to them.
The Apostle Paul does address how it is we are supposed to be dealing with each other and this is to edify one another.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,  Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
These four passages are a selection of the things which are said of how we are to be interacting with each other. We are supposed to be building each other up, which the Apostle Paul saw as a big part of the functioning of the local assembly. The only way we can actually build each other up is to treat each other properly according to what the Word of God tells us we are supposed to do. This would include the fact we are to be speaking the truth to each other and not telling lies.
After the Apostle Paul has listed out the things which we are supposed to be putting off, he shifts into speaking about the things which we are to be putting on. These are the things which every believer should do if they are applying the doctrine given to us properly. These are not truly "requirements" where we would lose our salvation if we did not do these things. They are the things which allow for us to build the gold, silver, and precious stones which will be there at the Judgment Seat of Christ and therefore we receive a reward based on these things.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
These things occur by the renewing of the mind, which is the taking in of the doctrine. This is something every believer is asked to do as they study the Word of God rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15). This cannot be done for the believer; it is something they have to do for themselves.
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;  And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Here we see again this issue of the renewing of the mind which needs to happen. As this does, the new man is being put on as the old man is being put off. This process is something which every believer needs to do, even though it can be a struggle at times to make sure the process is being accomplished. We can see how this was even part of the prayer life the Apostle Paul had for the members of the Body of Christ:
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;  That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;  Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
As we see the Apostle Paul praying for these believers, we see how the prayer starts with the growing in knowledge of what God has given to us. This is to result in the second part of this prayer which is the ability to walk worthy. The knowledge is what drives the ability to do the right things in this dispensation. This is why the focus of the local assembly should be to help individuals understand the doctrine for today. As believers gain this understanding, they will be able to understand exactly how it is God would have them live.
While the local assembly is to be assisting individuals in this matter, it is not something which just occurs one or two times a week. This is something which should be happening on a daily basis, as each individual has the responsibility to have this occur. This is why 2 Timothy 2:15 says thyself, speaking to the individual believer and discussing the responsibility we have. We see how the Apostle Paul in other places identified this was something which needed to be done daily:
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Here we have Paul speaking to the assembly in Corinth and stating there is a renewing which is happening on a daily basis. This was an assembly he had identified as being babes in Christ in 1 Corinthians 3 and now he is speaking about how there is a renewing process which is happening. Paul is showing the growth which has happened with them and the apparent fact they were applying Romans 12:1-2 to their lives. They were getting closer and closer to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ from the practical sense.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Many individuals can quote the first two verses of this passage, as it speaks about the truth of our salvation. This is a wonderful truth and individuals should understand what this means. Verse 10 is connected with this and speaks about the practical life. We have been created unto good works, meaning we should be doing the right things from the practical sense. Many claim we teach that individuals can live their lives any old way and it does not matter what they do. This is not the case, as we can see how the Apostle Paul is making it clear that there are certain things which we should be doing and it is God who has determined this, not society. Society changes what is acceptable and the changes get farther and farther away from the standard which God has established. Believers are to follow what the Word of God says and allow this to be the final authority in how to live our lives.
As the Apostle Paul closes this section we see him make another statement about the makeup of the Body of Christ. He brings up issues several times throughout his epistles where he has to remind individuals of the fact there is no distinction anymore between Israel and the Gentiles:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
These three passages show how this is true. There is no distinction right now during this dispensation. Everyone who puts their trust in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) becomes members of the Body of Christ, as there is only one body (Ephesians 4:4) and everyone can become part of it. This is why the Apostle Paul can speak about individuals being judged by his gospel (Romans 2:16), which is something he could not be ashamed of and could only glory in what the cross accomplished.