1 So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, 3 for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. 7 These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. 8 But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices 10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. 11 In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!
A New Status. In the first two chapters of his letter Paul has been saying that when Jesus Christ came, God’s rule over the cosmos took on a new form. A new world order began which, for the present, co-exists with the one we know. In Colossians 1:13 Paul put it like this: God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves….
He wants us to know that God is working out his cosmic strategy in world events and the arena of our lives. Ephesians 1, echoing Genesis 1:15, makes it clear that from before the creation of space and time, God put in place a plan to rescue men and women. And Philippians 2:5-6 tells us that the Son of God not only agreed to take on human form, but gave his life as a sacrifice. Sharing with God the Father the desire to give life and to love, he, the just, would give his life for the unjust, to satisfy God’s perfect righteousness. Jesus’ death was not the end. Rather, it was the end of the beginning— the last stage of God’s plan for the world as we know it.
DARKNESS AND LIGHT
Jesus’ resurrection confirms this, for it points to a power at work that can overcome death itself. It points to the existence of a new world order that we can begin to experience now.
We can think of it like this: two great realms now co-exist— the dominion of darkness and the kingdom of God’s Son. The dominion of darkness is shrinking to eternal destruction. But the kingdom of God’s Son is a universe that is expanding to an eternal glory. For the present, there is a door that allows people to pass from one world to the other. When we turn to Jesus and give him our allegiance we have an identity in both worlds. Physically we are still in the old, but our names are registered in the new.
A New Life-Style. In 3:5 we read, Put to death therefore whatever in you is earthly… Toss out of your life what doesn’t fit this new life with Christ. Is it sexual immorality? Is it lust? Is it evil desire or greed, which is idolatry? Is it anger or rage, or malice or slander, or perhaps foul talk? Do you always tell the truth? These things belong to the old self. Put on the new self which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator.
You may want to consider:
- the meaning of Paul’s words in 3:1-2 – So if 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;
- the implications of Paul’s words in 3:4 – When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
- the significance and application for you of the imperatives in 3:5-10.
Let me encourage you to pray
© John G. Mason, Reason for Hope – 40 Days of Bible Readings and Reflections – 2016. All Rights Reserved.