This is what God gave me today in his word:
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. (Colossians 3:3-8)
Wait a minute here Paul, what happened to Jesus’ death on the cross? I thought that all God’s wrath was poured out on his son for me, yet now you seem to be saying I need to shape up and live up to my new life in Christ, or God’s wrath will come and get me?
First, we need to understand what exactly Paul is referring to here. He’s not so much referring to God’s wrath coming and getting you if you don’t shape up now, he’s instead simply stating a fact.
Second, we need to understand what Paul is talking about. And as was afore-mentioned Paul isn’t talking about something that will happen now, he’s referring to when this Earth and Heaven is destroyed and replaced with the new Heaven and the new Earth.
15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us[f] from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their[g] wrath has come, and who can withstand it?” (Revelation 6:15-17)
Third, we need to understand how it is that there can be any wrath left for us. Well I personally believe I understand how much wrath is left for me quite well, there is none. Hence the obvious question: “How can what Paul’s saying be true, then?” It can be true, because there is no more wrath left for us, I didn’t say anything about slaves, generals, etc. But now, there’s a new issue to address, as I’m sure everyone reading this is already gleefully picturing the comments they’re going to leave about how, therefore, God must be a cruel God if he will destroy everyone but only a select few.
Fourth, we have to understand who God is. God hates sin with a righteous fury, he hates it in the worst possible way, he even sent his son to die for us to cleanse us of it and make us sons of himself, co-heirs with Christ.
I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.'” (Hosea 2:23)
God will have mercy on who he will have mercy. The select few who will be saved, are saved through faith in Jesus, as anyone can be. It’s a very confusing topic, but I’ll put it this way:
You choose to follow God, yet all along it’s actually God choosing you to follow him. – God isn’t a cruel God, in fact, instead he’s an extremely unjust God, in that instead of destroying us, he gives us a means of salvation. Yet people who turn down that salvation, can’t really say God is cruel God.
Fifth and finally, we must understand how it’s possible for us to put to death all the things Paul mentioned. It is possible because God has made us to be a new creation in Christ; circumcised of the fleshy body and made new in Christ. Now Christ enables us to do all the things that Paul mentioned. Namely:
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
You are loved!