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.”
“If you have been raised with Christ” doesn’t assume everyone reading this or everyone professing faith in Jesus Christ has, in fact, died with Christ to sin, has been raised to newness of life in Christ and is, in fact, walking according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh.
“If” brings that into question. Have you died with Christ to sin? Are you, by the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the flesh? And are you, by God’s grace, through faith, living for Jesus Christ and for his righteousness in the power and working of God’s Spirit living within you?
For, we can’t be raised with Christ to newness of life in him without first dying with him to sin. There can be no resurrection from the dead if there has not first been death. We can’t have new lives in Christ Jesus if we are still living in the old ones (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24).
Therefore, if we have not been raised with Christ to newness of life in Christ, then we do not have Christ, and therefore we don’t have the Spirit living within us empowering us to live holy lives, pleasing to God. We can’t set our minds on things above for our minds are still set on what is of this world.
Nonetheless, if we have died with Christ to sin, and if we have been raised with Christ to newness of life in him, then we are to live for Christ, to follow him in his ways and in his truth. So, we are to set (fix) our minds on what is from above (from God), not on what is of this earth.
And the only way we are able to do that is in the power of God’s Spirit living within us and as we yield control of our lives over to the Lord, and as we feed our minds with the things of God and not with the garbage of this world. For, as the saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.”
Thus, we can’t be feeding our minds daily with what is worthless in God’s sight, and with what is immoral, improper, on the edge, tasteless, lewd, vulgar, crude, and a waste of time and then expect our minds to be set on what is from above and not on what is of this earth.
Colossians 3:5-10 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.”
When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we die with him to sin, we are raised with him to newness of life in him, and we are empowered of God’s Spirit to now live holy lives, pleasing to God. For, this is the reason for which Jesus gave his life up for us (Rom 6:1-23; 1 Pet 2:24).
But it doesn’t end there. We don’t then go on living life as we did before. Daily we must die with Christ to sin and to self and follow him in obedience to his commands (New Covenant). We must now walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh.
For, if we continue living in sin, making sin our practice, we won’t inherit eternal life with God, but we will die in our sins (Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8).
So, the purpose of this whole instruction here is to let the people who are professing faith in Jesus Christ know what it means to be in Christ and to have been raised with Christ to newness of life in him, and to let them know that it means we die to those old sinful practices because they will result in the wrath of God coming, not in the hope of eternal life with God.
For, in these sinful practices we once walked if we truly have died (and are dying) with Christ to sin and we are living to Christ and to his righteousness. But by the mere fact that there are so many such instructions given to the churches in the New Testament, it shows that it is possible to fall back.
So, this serves as a caution and as a warning. We must keep putting these sins to death. We must keep resisting the devil and fleeing temptation and walking in obedience to our Lord and to his instructions to us. For, eternal life with God is not promised on the basis of past faith, but on present faith which is dying with Christ to sin and living to Christ according to his will.
We are not saved from our sins just so we can escape hell. We are delivered from our slavery to sin so we can become slaves of righteousness (Rom 6).
In the Hour of Trial
Lyrics by James Montgomery (1771-1854)
Music by Spencer Lane (1843-1903)
In the hour of trial, Jesus, pray for me,
Lest by base denial, I depart from Thee;
When Thou seest me waver, with a look recall,
Nor for fear or favor suffer me to fall.
With its witching pleasures, would this vain world charm
Or its sordid treasures spread to work me harm,
Bring to my remembrance sad Gethsemane
Or, in darker semblance, cross-crowned Calvary.
If with sore affliction, Thou in love chastise,
Pour Thy benediction on the sacrifice.
Then upon Thine altar, freely offered up,
Though the flesh may falter, faith shall drink the cup.
When in dust and ashes, to the grave I sink,
While heaven’s glory flashes o’er the shelving brink,
On Thy truth relying, through that mortal strife,
Lord, receive me, dying, to eternal life.
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