Colosians 3:1-17

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.

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.

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.

Observation

  • We have been raised with Christ.
  • We should seek heavenly things since we have been raised with Christ
  • Christ is seated in heaven on the right hand of God.
  • We should set our mind on things that are on earth.
  • We should set our mind on things that are in heaven.
  • We have died (with Christ in baptism 2:12)
  • Since we have died with Christ our life is hidden with Christ in God.
  • Christ is our whole life.
  • When Christ appears we will appear with Him in glory.
  • Since we have been raised in Christ we should put to death everything that is earthly in us.
  • The things that are earthly include:
    • Sexual immorality
    • Impurity
    • Passion
    • Evil Desires
    • Covetousness
  • Covetousness is idolatry
  • God’s wrath is coming
  • God’s wrath is coming because of the afore mentioned things
  • We too once walked in the afore mentioned things
  • We were just like the rest of the world is because we walked concerned about earthly things
  • We not only walked in the afore mentioned things we lived in them.
  • Now we are to put away
    • sexual immorality
    • impurity
    • passion
    • evil desires
    • covetousness
    • anger
    • wrath
    • malice
    • slander
    • obscene talk
  • We are not to lie to each other.
  • We are to put to leave what we were before we were raised with Christ.
  • Anything that we practiced before we were raised with Christ, i.e. regenerated, we are to stop and be renewed in knowledge.
  • The new self is in the image of the creator.
  • In Christ, there is no distinction between Jew of gentile, slave or free of any other distinction.
  • Christ is all.
  • Christ is in all.
  • Since we are God’s chosen ones we must be
    • compassionate
    • beloved
    • kind
    • holy
    • humble
    • meek
    • patient
    • patient and supportive with each other.
    • Forgiving each other when you have a complaint with a fellow believer
    • We are to forgive as Christ forgave us.
    • Above all else we are to love
    • We are to let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts
    • We are to be thankful
  • Love binds everything together in perfect harmony.
  • We were called to the peace of Christ which is in one body.
  • The word of Christ is to dwell in us richly.
  • We are to teach each other.
  • We are to admonish each other in wisdom.
  • We are to sing, psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
  • We are to sing to God
  • We are to sing with thanksgiving
  • Everything we do is to be in the name of Jesus, rather words or deeds
  • We are to give thanks to the Father through Jesus
  • Jesus is our Lord

Interpretation

Paul just finished telling the Colossians that the ceremonies and religions of men were exercises in futility. They are of no value in obtaining or sustaining our salvation. There is nothing we need to do in order to obtain or sustain our righteousness in Christ. There is no secret right or ritual in which we need to participate. In our baptism, we have died with Christ and been raised with Him. That fact ought to have ramification. There ought to be something different and new. In fact, there is, we are new creations. When we see what God would have us do, we realize the impotence of man-made religion. When we see what God desires for us is so much more, so much greater, so much loftier then what any religion men have created, we cannot help but increase our desire to follow God and disregard man-made religions, even those we make them ourselves.

After Christ’s resurrection He ascended to heaven. We then are to seek those things which are above. That is where Christ is. Since we have been made members of Christ body we too must ascend into heaven. We are only traveling through the world.

By saying, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth,” Paul is not saying that we should not care about this world. God made this world. And He cares for it. Paul is saying that we should realize who we are. We have died to this world. Therefore, we are not to behave as if we were still enslaved by it. We are to set our minds on Christ. He is our purpose. He is the reason we live. We have been raised with Him. The world has no power over us. The world may threatened and try to intimidate us but it has no power over us. We have already died. It cannot harm us. Christ is our life. Therefore, we will be with Him in glory.

Since we have been raised with Christ we should no longer involve ourselves in the immoral activities of the world. At one time we participated in all of them. But we are now new creatures. Our old self has died and we are now Christ’s.

It could be easy to misunderstand Paul with the list he gives of thing we are to avoid. Paul is not saying if we avoid sexual immorality or evil desires we will received salvation. No! We have already died and risen with Christ. In light of the fact of who we now are, this is how we ought to behave. We are part of Christ body. As such we are to avoid anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene language. We are not to lie to each other.

In a sense Paul is saying, or rather God is saying through Paul, “Earthly things are to be disregarded. It must be your goal to destroy those things which cause you to desire this world over Christ.” Paul implies that we are earthly, so long as our desires of the flesh remain strong. But, we are made heavenly by the renewing of the Spirit. Things such as, sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness are to be avoided. Should you fall into them, you will be subject to the wrath of God. God can be angry even with His children. God sometimes chastens their sins with severity.

Paul says we have taken off “the old man with his practices.” What we are determines how we behave. We are doing beings. The question “What do I do now?” is a common question all people ask. In light of the fact we are no longer slaves of the world, what do we do now? In light of the fact we have died to the world and risen with Christ, what do we do now? For those of us who have been redeemed Paul gives a short list of broad categories: avoid sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desires, and covetousness. We are not to be process anger, wrath, malice, slander or obscene talk. We are not to lie.

But there is more than things to avoid. We are to be holy, have compassionate hearts, kind, humble, meek, and patient. We are to forgive. We are not just to forgive, but to forgive as Christ forgave us. We are to be thankful. And above all, we are to love.

The end result of our regeneration, that is, that we may be made like God, and that His glory may shine in us. Paul, teaches, that there is nothing higher to which we can aspire. Our highest blessing is to bear the image of God.

It is who we truly are that is important. We are Christ’s. Our behavior is an indication of that. Our nationality, economic status, social status, geographical location, is unimportant. We are all the same in Christ.

Paul answers the question, “What do I do now,” with a simply answer. “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Who you are determines how you behave.

Application

Meditate a little while on what Paul says, “If then you have been raised with Christ.” God has condescended to us. He became a man. Not only did God stoop down, He has raised us up to Him. He, in His mercy, allowed us to be raised with Christ. We had no right to be in His presence. But for his glory He has raised us up to Him.

When only the law of God is taught and preached, people hear they are sinners and deserve punishment and death. As a result great despair overtakes us. We feel guilty, because we are guilty. The weight of guilt is greater than we can bear. And we realize there is nothing we can do about it. When this occurs the law has done its job.

We react in a worldly manner to this message, great hostility and denial. Our culture tells us this message is not only wrong but unhealthy. Healthy is having a high self-esteem. We live in a culture that encourages us to be self-centered. In fact we need to help each other build up self-esteem. And without the gospel message this reaction is understandable. Without the gospel there is no hope.

But with the gospel message there is hope. Christ died for our forgiveness. He took the punishment we deserved. Through Him we can be raised and made new. How do you put to death the earthly desires? Paul has already told us how. Think on the things above. You are by nature a sinful creature. And you cannot change. Only Christ can change you. Look to Him for your salvation.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Get Free Weekly Bible Studies

Go Deeper into the study of God's word. Receive FREE weekly Bible studies.