Collect of the Week (Proper 13-C)
O Lord, grant us wisdom to recognize the treasures You have stored up for us in heaven, that we may never despair but always rejoice and be thankful for the riches of Your grace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Colossians 3:1-11 (From the Epistle Reading for Proper 13-C)
1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your1 life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:1 sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,1 free; but Christ is all, and in all.
In the name of T Jesus.
Each of us have an old man, living in us, who has earthly desires. And since Paul lists some of them, we can go so far as to say each of our sinful hearts will produce “sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” On account of these the wrath of God is coming. But the wrath of God is not coming against you.
In Holy Baptism, you were crucified with Christ, and you were also raised with Christ. Your old man, with his earthly desires has been killed, and your new life is hidden with Christ in God. Your new man, who desires God’s gifts, and who wants to do God’s will, is the man who lives within you by faith in the Words and Promises of God. It’s the part of you that trusts, and clings to, the forgiveness of sins. It’s that person who clings to the fact of your baptism, and desires the assurance of Christ’s body and blood in the Holy Communion. That man, the new man, is in you, even if he remains hidden in Christ.
But that is why St. Paul encourages us to set our minds on things above, where Christ is. For that is where your life is as well. It’s easy to think of earthly things, and earthly ways. But with our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, our hearts and desires become set on heavenly things, sanctified things, holy things. With our eyes fixed on Jesus, and our minds fixed on heavenly things, we put to death our old man and his earthly desires, and learn to walk in the way of Christ, and our new man begins to show himself.
Being patient with others, controlling urges of the body, looking for ways to serve those in need, even forgiving those who sin against us. These are works of the new man, for these are the works of Christ. In the name of T Jesus. Amen.
“Before the dawning day Let sin’s dark deeds be gone, The sinful self be put away, The new self now put on.” Amen (LSB 331:5).