Ephesians– overview of 3:1-9; The Secret of the Ages, part 36 (Overcoming sin and suffering).

Class Outline:

Wednesday October 9, 2019



By looking at how Christ handled and overcame suffering, though none of it was by His own cause, we can discover how to overcome our self-induced suffering.


We can only do what God has done for us. We can only walk in righteousness when God has made us righteous. We can only live sanctified when God has sanctified us. We can only exist without condemnation when God has forgiven us and removed our debt of sin. We can only love when God has put His love in us. We can only produce the fruit of the Spirit when the Holy Spirit indwells us.


COL 3:1 If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.


COL 3:2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.


It is simply put: do this and don’t do that. Seek this and don’t seek that.


COL 3:3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.


COL 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.


COL 3:5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.


The verb is nekroo (the noun is used often of the spiritual condition of the unsaved). It literally means to put to death. It is in the active voice, meaning you and I have to do it. Put it to death.


This is a sentence where an English translation can remove the harshness of what is said. “Consider” is too flimsy for this verb. Paul writes, “Therefore, mortify the members that are upon the earth.” An aorist active imperative - put them to death!


So, why am I commanded to do what Christ has already done? This is the lesson of the mystery. We do because Christ has already done. He killed my flesh and now in my conscious mind, as the sun of understanding and faith rises upon my conscious mind, I joyfully and purposely put to death the flesh and all of its passions and desires. I lay him in his grave and walk away.


The reality is that though I do this, the flesh will not stop hounding me to dig him up, so to speak, but I fight day after day, though it is wearisome at times and difficult, but the life of Christ that I am is worth that fight.  


This is living in the mystery that has been opened up to the believer in this age.


Certainly, I could not do this. Only Christ was ever qualified to kill it, and He did. We were crucified with Christ. So why have a command to “put to death the members of our earthly body?”


Christ crucified my flesh, now I must put it to death in my conscience as well as my continual consciousness of thought. Ignorance and forgetfulness make me foolish.


COL 3:6 For it is on account of these things that the wrath of God will come,


COL 3:7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.


The wrath of God comes upon sin - showing the worthless evil that it is. Argument - why value it at all and not avoid and hate it?


COL 3:8 But now you also, put them all aside [put off from yourself]: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.


COL 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside [aorist middle participle] the old self with its evil practices,


COL 3:10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him


Do not deceive by lies. It’s just what Christ said when He told us to stop making vows. There is no longer need for a vow from us for we will never deceive. If I never vow, meaning I never lie nor deceive, then it will always be my true self that is revealed and projected to the world. Since that self is the new self in Christ, revealing it is just fine. People deceive because they are hiding something ugly, we who are the new humanity, want to hide nothing, but actually want the world to come and see, just as God has asked us to come and see. When we see, the beauty of what we see fills us with a desire for all to see, even our enemies.


How is that possible? Simple. We have laid aside the old self and put on the new self who is being renewed into the image of Christ.




EPH 5:3 But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints;


EPH 5:7 Therefore do not be partakers with them;


EPH 5:11 And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;


EPH 5:15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise,


EPH 5:16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil.


EPH 5:17 So then do not be foolish,


There are no excuses. Also, the understanding and acknowledgment of sin in you while continuing in its pattern is not given as a solution either. We have to overcome the weakness and foolishness that has been inherent in the human race since the fall. We have to overcome that which is inherent in the old man whom Christ has crucified. This is the great journey of the Christian, and he does not make it alone - the Trinity goes with him.


When Malcolm Muggeridge found and accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior, the transformation of his work in journalism was very noticeable. Whereas Muggeridge had grown disillusioned and angry and caustic about the people and movements that he reported on, the focus of his work changed from the famous and powerful to the lowly and the work of Christians throughout the world who helped them. The tone of his writing changed from satiric to prophetic, but with this came the indignation accorded to every man of God who openly and brazenly points to the truth. The forcefulness of his statements were dismissed by some as exaggeration, unbalanced approaching megalomania, or even personal bitterness.


In 1973 Muggeridge resigned as Rector of the University of Edinburgh rather than approve of the student’s request for the liberal distribution of “pot and pills,” ironically the two loudest voices denouncing him were those of chaplains. Muggeridge complained that the students on whom society lavished its resources in the expectation that they would spearhead progress, producing great works of art, perception, and understanding, were degrading themselves with “the resort of any old, slobbering debauchee anywhere in the world at any time - Dope and Bed.” He said in his resignation address that the essential quest of the university and the highest aspiration of man is to see God; that to see God is to find understanding, to know the mystery of things, and cannot be achieved by the most perceptive and enlightened thinking, let alone by indulging the senses or doing good deeds, but by purity of heart. So he urged students to turn from the faddish art and literature of the university world - that of Pinter, Beckett, Burroughs, and the Beatles - as from the bad dreams of the materialistic world. So far as he was concerned, he said, it was Christ or nothing. Yet not a single public statement was made in support of Muggeridge’s position.