Colossians 3 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. One of the reasons for this are these first five verses. I thought I might share a bit about them. I pray these verses may become useful in y’all’s battle against sin. For me, they have been indispensable. If I might be so bold, I would encourage y’all to open up your Bible to these verses to follow along. Once there, notice the simple yet profound flow of the text.
If then you have been raised with Christ lets us know that Paul is addressing those individuals who have professed belief in Jesus Christ. So, if we believe, we should seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. This is a command and a comfort. The command is a necessary application of belief. To believe in Jesus is to believe in a heavenly (godly) standard, but we must seek it. So we thank God for his Word to us (the Bible!), where the things that are above may be found. But that’s the command. Comfort follows because the one we believe in is seated in a place of power (the right hand of God). In this, we see Jesus’ victory over sin and death on our behalf, which is why we can now set [our] minds on the things that are above, not on things that are on earth. It’s because we died to the fading and worldly life, and like we saw initially, have been raised. Raised where? Raise to a life [that] is hidden with Christ in God.
So, belief in Jesus has raised us from the death of this world into the life of Christ, who is reigning and ruling in victory. This necessitates a desire to learn (seek) and to remain (set) in that heavenly realm even as we find ourselves not in heaven but on a still-corrupted earth. But our hope is for that which is to come: when Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Jesus is coming again, and when he does, it means that which we have been seeking and setting our minds on (the things above) will be clear, evident, and fulfilled. In other words, we will no longer be hidden with Christ in God but appear[ing] with him in glory. In bright and shining light, God’s people will be revealed.
It is only in this very light of the Gospel that Paul then reminds his readers yet again of the vestiges of sin that remain in them. We hope, desire, and cry out for verse 4 of this text above—for Christ to appear again! But that has not happened yet. And so even as we seek the things above, we are on earth. Even as we set out minds on above things, earthly things crowd around us. Even as we firmly and resolutely scream in the face of all suffering, sin, and corruption, “I am hidden with Christ,” our sinful inclinations sometimes bubble over. So Paul exhorts us to fight because of the redemption we have (it is what the therefore is there for). Put to death therefore what is earthly in you…
My dear Centennial family, we have been raised in Christ! God has saved us apart from any and all works. And in this light, our desires are now inclined to higher things. Take refuge in Jesus Christ, and ruthlessly battle any sin in your life. Until next time, and from my hidey-hole in Christ, God’s blessings to each of you,