3:5 Νεκρώσατε οὖν τὰ μέλη τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, πορνείαν, ἀκαθαρσίαν, πάθος, ἐπιθυμίαν κακήν, καὶτὴν πλεονεξίαν ἥτις ἐστὶν εἰδωλολατρία,
had already "died" with Christ ... therefore kill off your members which are on the earth
μέλη: parts of the body.There is probably a deliberate echo of 3:2, where just the same phrase is used (τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς): to avoid "setting one's mind on what is on the earth" is not achieved by dreamy reflection but requires forceful self-discipline (put to death).Despite the power of their having been identified with Christ in his death, there were still things, parts of their old lives, habits of hand and mind, which tied them "to the earth" and hindered the outworking of the "mind set on what is above."
the hard realities of daily lifetwo features... one is the immediate focus on sexual sins. .. the other is the strongly Jewish character of this list, as indicated by the association between sexual promiscuity and idolarty. Paul did not want his readers to follow the Colossian Jews in their ritual and worship, but their ethical standards were to be Jewish through and through.
πορνείαν: relations with a prostitute... was linked with idolatry in the "apostolic decree" (Acts 15:20)
ἀκαθαρσίαν: uncleanness, impurity, indecency... almost lost its earlier cultic connotation and bears a clear moral sense, especially in reference to sexual immorality (cf. Rom.1:24-25)
πάθος: lust, uncontrolled passion
ἐπιθυμίαν κακήν: desire it very self is positive, however... the desires of sin (Rom.6:12), the desires of the flesh (Rom.13:14), deceitful desires (Eph.4:22), "worldly desires" (Tit.2:12).
the nagative meaning of "desire=lust" was familiar in the ancient world
πλεονεξίαν: ruthless greed, desire to have more, insatiableness, consuming ambition. In Plato, Symposium 182D, the word is used of sexual greed (or cf. Mt.6:24)
ἥτις ἐστὶν εἰδωλολατρία: idolatry is attached to greed...idolatry was closely tied to sexual license (Num. 25:1-3; Hos.4:12-18; Eph.5:5)