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.”
The New Testament is filled with “if” clauses which are conditional phrases. They are to show that if one thing is true that another should follow suit, and if it doesn’t, it may nullify the truth of it. Or they are to show that if you do such and such, this will be the result, or that this promise is for you only if you meet the specific conditions or requirements for that promise. For God’s promises do indeed come with conditions and stipulations.
So, when this says, “if then you have been raised with Christ,” it is not assuming that everyone hearing this letter has indeed died with Christ to sin and has been raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him. For there were false “believers” among the believers back then, too. But if they were true believers, their lives were now hidden in Christ and not in the sinful trappings of this world.
So now our minds, if we have died with Christ and if we have been raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, are to be set on things above (from heaven, of God) and not on the things of this earth. And what our minds are set on will guide our attitudes, words, and behaviors (lifestyle). And if they are set on the flesh it will end in death, not life eternal. But if they are set on God, they will result in eternal life (Romans 8:1-14).
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.”
As followers of Jesus Christ we are no longer to live sinful lifestyles. Sin should no longer be our practice, our habit. We should no longer be engaged in deliberate and habitual sin, denying our Lord who delivered us from our slavery to sin and who empowers us to walk righteously before him. But many professers of faith in Jesus Christ are still living as though they had never been set free. They are still intoxicated to sin, still living in addiction to sin, and without true repentance or conscience, in many cases.
And this is because they are not in true covenant relationship with Jesus Christ. Their lives are separate from him. How they are living is opposed to God and to his word, and it is in direct contradiction to his covenant. What their minds are set on is independent of the Lord, divided from him. And even though they know the truth, they are persisting and persevering in this separation from God, continuing in what is evil, wicked, cruel, and hurtful to others. And the end result will be death not life eternal.
Many of them are living just like is described here, in sexual immorality, living foolishly in self-indulgence, unrestrained, and given over to pleasure-seeking and to what gratifies the sinful cravings of their flesh. They are liars and malicious talkers who deceive others for their own advantage. And even though the Lord has clearly spoken to them and warned them and encouraged them strongly to leave their sinful practices, they have stubbornly refused and they have continued in their decadence.
But that is not how it should be for those of us who have died with Christ to sin and who have been raised with him to walk in newness of life in him. Sinful lifestyles are now to be in our past, not in our present. It doesn’t mean we will never sin again, but sin should not be our practice. Righteousness, holiness, and obedience to our Lord should now be what we practice. For if sin is still what we practice we must know that the wrath of God is coming and we will not inherit eternal life with God.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Near the Cross
Hymn lyrics by Fanny J. Crosby, 1869
Music by William H. Doane, 1869
Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.
Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.
Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.
Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
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