Affections Col. 3:2 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Affection is a moderate feeling or emotion: a kind feeling: a tender attachment: love. Today we are going to study the various affections mentioned in the Bible to help us understand where our affection ought to be and where they ought not to be.
Natural Affections – Rom 1:31; 2 Tim 3:3. Both of these references are in the negative. That is, the Bible describes people who are without natural affection. Natural affection is affection of parents for their children, children for their parents, children for puppies, citizens for their country, and so forth. These are perfectly natural affections. It doesn’t take anything special to elicit these affections. However, in these perilous times we see a generation of people without natural affection. Mothers kill their babies legally and willingly. Children hate and disobey their parents. Satanic influences convince young people to torture and sacrifice cats and other animals. And many of citizens and leaders in our country detest our country. These are not natural affections.
Fleshly Affections – Gal 5:24. These are lusts. You’ll hear people say, “I love a good steak” – “I love coffee” – “I love chocolate” – “I love _______”. The idea is that they have a fleshly affection or an appetite for these things. When we get saved we are to crucify our fleshly lusts since these are carnal and we no longer are to walk in the flesh. Through crucifying these fleshly lusts men are able to stop fornicating, drinking, doping, smoking, cussing, overeating and so forth which were things that they loved to do before they got saved. If you don’t crucify these fleshly affections you will be a carnal Christian at best and you will still be in bondage to sin.
Also you see fleshly lusts driving a wedge between children and their parents and children and their churches. These fleshly affections are best described as infatuation. Some teenage girl becomes infatuated with a young boy and her feelings are mistaken for love. She becomes sexually involved with him and these feelings surpass her natural affection and her spiritual affection to such a degree that she is willing to quit her church and leave her family because of these fleshly affections.
Inordinate Affections – Col 3:5 – excessive: exceeding the ordinary, reasonable, prescribed limits in amount, quantity, force, intensity, or scope. It is natural to have affection for your spouse. However, inordinate affection is excessive and unreasonable. A good example here is the marital bed. A good friend of ours has counseled married couples for over three decades. He said that one of the biggest problems with the marriage bed is that Christians have learned about sex from the world and they have brought their worldly ideas into their home. They have not followed the Biblical and spiritual patterns in their marriage; rather they have allowed perversion and, therefore, inordinate affection to replace Biblical affection. They are trying to fulfill certain worldly imaginations, expectations and perversions that don’t belong in their marriage.
Vile Affections – Rom 1:26. Vile affections are the result of a progressive turning away from God. Beginning with Rom 1:21 you can see the degeneration of affection. They disparage God [Rom 1:21 glorified him not]. They disregard God [Rom 1:21 neither were thankful]. Then, they disprove God [Rom 1:22 professing themselves to be wise (that is in their own minds)]. They debase God [Rom 1:23 changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image]. Then, they distort the truth of God [Rom 1:25 changed the truth of God into a lie]. And so, they deny God [Rom 1:28 did not like to retain God in their knowledge]. And from here they just keep spiraling down. They despise God [Rom 1:30 haters of God, despiteful]. And they defy God [Rom 1:32 knowing… that they which commit such things are worthy of death]. By the time they distort the truth of God, God gives them up unto to vile affections [most commonly seen in homosexuality] and by the time they deny God he gives them over to a reprobate mind.
Brotherly Affections – Rom 12:10; 2 Cor 7:15; 1 Thes 2:8. These are the affections that Christians have for each other. These affections come forth from the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in us and from the fact that we are in the same body with each other. According to Rom 5:5 “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost”. Our love for each other is a testimony to and outgrowth of God’s love for us and our love for God [1 Jn 4:19-21]. In carnal churches you will find natural and fleshly affections in stead of brotherly affections and an emphasis on the second commandment over the first.
Heavenly Affections – Col 3:2. These are affections that we have for things that are above. Our deepest and most abiding affection should be for the Lord God. We should also have great affection for the words of God. When our love is truly for the Lord our hearts are inclined to pray to him, to fellowship with him, to tell others about him and to give to him. Compare David’s affection for the house of God [1 Chr 29:3]. Also when our affections are principally for the Lord, we find that our fleshly affections diminish.
Conclusion: a person who is not saved can have natural affections for his family, his religion, his church, his friends and his work. He may be inclined to believe that because he has these affections he is in good standing with God. However, until he is saved he can never have the spiritual affections of brotherly love and godly love. Don’t base your faith on how you feel toward your church and your religion. You must base your faith on what God said. When you believe what he said and you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ then you are born again. At that point, God can put in your heart a love for him, his children and his things. The more you love these the less you will love vile, inordinate, and fleshly affections!