Colossians 3:1-4 ESV
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
For us to have been raised with Christ, we have to have first died with Christ to sin. And, then we are raised with Christ to newness of life in him, to be lived to his righteousness. And, this is what our baptism with water symbolizes. For when we go under the water, that symbolizes our dying with Christ to our old lives of living for sin and self. And, when we come back up out of the water, that symbolizes our resurrection to newness of life in him.
So, as those who have truly died with Christ to sin, and who have been raised with him to newness of life in him, if indeed we have, we are to seek the things that are above where Christ is. Our minds are to be set (fixed) on things above, not on things on the earth.
In other words, coming to faith in Jesus Christ means not only that we die to sin and live to righteousness, but it means that our lives are changed; that they are transformed of the Spirit of God away from sin to righteousness. And, now our thinking has changed, and our desires have changed, and we now want to please our Lord, and we want sin no longer to be our master.
The sinful habits we used to engage in we now want gone out of our lives. We are not comfortable watching the same TV shows or movies we did before. The way we talk now begins to change to glorify God and not the flesh. Things that didn’t use to bother us now convict us in our spirits. We aren’t perfect, for we still live in flesh bodies, but our minds and our hearts are now set on what is holy, godly, pure and upright, and we have moved away from what is fleshly, and away from what is dishonoring to our God.
Colossians 3:5-11 ESV
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
But, this dying with Christ to sin is not a one-time deal. Daily we must take up our cross and follow (obey) Jesus. We must, by the Spirit, be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, which is continuous. And, that is why there are all these instructions to believers in Jesus in the New Testament about putting on what is godly and putting off what is of the flesh. And, that is because we still live in flesh bodies, and we are still susceptible to sin against God. So, this crucified life is a process of a lifetime.
Yet, there are many people today who would tell you that faith in Jesus Christ means you confess faith in Jesus once, and then you get to go to heaven when you die, but that no demands are made on your life for holiness, purity, morality and integrity. They directly teach or they imply that if you say “the magic words” then you are “in,” and it doesn’t matter to God how you live your life from then on, but heaven is still your destiny.
But, that is not what scripture teaches us. What it teaches us is that when we believe in Jesus, the old life is put behind us to follow our Lord in obedience to his Word and to his ways. The way we used to walk in sinful practices is now past tense. We are to no longer live in sin for Jesus set us free from our bondage (slavery, addiction) to sin. Now we are to walk in the ways of the Spirit of God, empowered by the Spirit.
So, whatever is earthly in us we are to put away, and instead we are to put on Christ and his righteousness. For, the grace of God which brings us salvation instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and worldly passions (fleshly lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14; cf. Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
Colossians 3:12-17 ESV
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Whatever or whoever we were before we met Jesus Christ should not be who we still are. Again, this is not saying we will now be perfect or that we will never sin again, but there should have been a radical change of heart and mind of the Spirit of God which took place in our lives, and that should now be evident in our change of thinking, believing and behaving.
So, if before we met Christ we were selfish, self-centered, unforgiving of others, bitter in spirit, spiteful, and immoral, etc., now we should be loving, forgiving, compassionate, kind, humble and pure of heart, etc. And, if we begin to fall back into our old ways, then we need to humble ourselves before God, repent of our sins, entrust our lives to Jesus, and then keep on following him and doing what he says, growing in maturity with Christ.
If we have been hurt by others and/or they have done something willfully to hurt us, we need to forgive them, and we need to move toward reconciliation with them. For, if we don’t forgive, that can turn to bitterness, and to hate, and to spite, and to doing to others what we feel they did to us. And, as believers in Jesus Christ, that is just wrong. For, we are to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, not be those who hold grudges.
And, above all we are to put on love, but this is not human-based love, but God-based love which prefers what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, just, forgiving, compassionate, merciful and kind. Therefore, if we are loving God with this kind of love, and if we are loving our fellow humans with this kind of love, we are not going to walk in disobedience to our Lord, and we are not going to cheat on, lie to and/or take advantage of others.
In all that we do, not only should it come from hearts of love for God and for our fellow humans, but it should be in submission to God and his Word. We should not just be hearers of the Word, but we should be doers of the Word. Our walk should match our talk, in practice, not necessarily in perfection.
And, then we should be encouraging one another in our walks of faith and in obedience to our Lord, teaching, urging, and inspiring one another to walk in holiness and to not live to fulfill the desires of our sinful flesh. And, we can do this in many ways, including sharing songs with one another, for there are many wonderful Christian songs and hymns that have been written that give glory to God and that serve to encourage us in our walks of faith.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
*copyright status is public domain