The heresy of “the reformed church”, which is a part of the Baptist movement, believes that God comes to a person only once during his life and saves him and this way he becomes saved forever. In the epistle that we read today (Colossians 3: 4–11), Christ doesn’t become everything in us if we didn’t leave our desires. We continue being between an ascent and a descent until, if we had an honest repentance and stayed with the Lord when he appears in the last day and didn’t embrace sin, he shall justify us in his judgment. In this world, Paul tells us: “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. We are saved through hope, but salvation is not a passport that lets us enter the heavens automatically.

The apostle asks us to put our desires to death. This is what he meant saying: “Put to death, therefore, the members of your earthly bodies”. By the word “members” he means the bad factors that form the entity of the sin, this entity that he compares to a body, because when vices hold on together they attract one another.

Paul has two lists of desires: the first one starts with sexual immortality and ends with grief and the second one starts with anger and ends with lying. These two lists might not contain all sins, but it is obvious that according to the apostle, you cannot become a new man if you were still drowning in one of the hidden sins in you. You have to be “renewed in knowledge in the image of your creator”, and knowledge means knowing the Lord, his words, and the behaviors of his Messiah in this world that reveal to you the fact that you are God’s beloved one. Knowledge means knowing that God loves you. Only by knowing that, you shall stop sinning and become a new person.

If you examined your heart, and were honest in this examination, you might find something remaining from a sin or another. When you struggle through continuous prayer, through reading the Bible, forgiving others and righteous deeds, the Lord shall purify you.

Destroy one sin from those that the apostle mentioned and you shall see all other sins collapsing. And once you gain the corresponding virtue, you will notice after a while that all other virtues are descending on you.

The fathers revealed to us methods of purification in addition to the general spiritual struggle (praying, spiritual reading, fasting and charity). Liberation from each sin has its own way. For adultery, as an example, Paul tells us in another occasion that we should “flee from sexual immorality”. This is a desire that can’t be fought except through going away from a person, a relationship or a situation. None should feel powerful in this war.

As for greed, it cannot be fought except through giving, in order to be trained not to be attached to the money you make. You should survive from the love of money on the biblical basis: “He have freely scattered his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever”.

Lying could be fought by fighting fear and by being trained to be brave and to resist in front of everyone, in addition to all other main spiritual war methods such as praying, reading, and charity that can heal all sins.

Once you are liberated from these tendencies and the falls that result from them, you shall put on the new man, Christ, and in him there will be no more conflicts between a Pagan and a Jew or any race and another. All social differences will be diminished. However, this unity, which Paul invited us to, is not possible unless we were liberated from lusts and desires and surrendered to Christ.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: التجدد الروحي” ” –Raiati no3- 15.01.2006