“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you; sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
This is tough language here. Paul seems to soften a bit a couple of verses later, but that’s just an appearance. This is what Paul really means. When it comes to the fruits of sin in our lives–and they are manifold well beyond the list Paul offers here–it is not enough to put them aside or turn our backs to them or knock them off their perch or anything else like that. We must actively put them to death. We must kill them completely and not allow for even the slightest chance that they will get up again.
If you’ve seen the movie Suicide Squad, there’s a scene when the group is moving through the city fighting the bad guys when Harley Quinn takes one down. For every other such confrontation a team member takes down the monster and keeps moving. But Harley is crazy so you never know. This time she kills it, but then continues beating it for another several seconds until all the rest of the team is standing there staring at her. She looks up and says, “What? It was still moving.”
That’s how we should treat sin in our lives in whatever form it happens to take. It is a monster that is a tool in the hands of an enemy bent on our total destruction. It will continue coming at us until we have killed it completely dead. To mix metaphors, it’s like kudzu. If left alone it will grow out of control, but it’s roots are so deep and wandering that it’s hard to kill. With the help of the sin exterminator (that is, the Holy Spirit), let us make certain that we do. Let us kill it so that we can allow the fruits of righteousness to grow in our lives as fully and freely as possible instead.