We love lists. We love to see where we fit when we have answered a list of questions. Bring these two things together and we might have a problem with Colossians 3:1-11, the epistle lesson for today. Paul provides a list of behaviours that we should not engage in and there is an all too human temptation to look at the list and say one of two things. We might look at the list and say that we haven’t done any of those so we are fine. Or, we might look at the list and say that because we have done any one of those that we are doomed. Neither of these are the correct response.
Paul is providing a list that is not exhaustive but is illustrative. The idea is to look at the list and determine if you are the kind of person who is characterized by those behaviours or not. Admittedly this is not as easy as simply checking off what we have or have not done but it completely misses the point. We are called to be a particular kind of person; the kind of person who doesn’t do those things and anything else like it. It is really beyond the ability of anyone to make a list of every vice or sinful act and no one would ever read through it even if it existed. Instead we are given models and selective lists to match ourselves against.
Knox Presbyterian Which kind of person are you?
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Which kind of persona are you?