Colossians (3:1-4)

This study was taught by Larry Reynolds in the Fall of 2007.

Denton, TX

Seek and set your mind on things above (3:1-4)

 

One Bible commentator calls this paragraph “...one of the golden paragraphs of the whole Bible...” [Moule quoted by Vaughan,]... interwoven throughout this paragraph are two themes, two basic truths about the Christian life that are vital for us to understand...

 

·        The Christian life is a life of identification with Christ  - As I began to study this paragraph in depth this week, one of the first things I noticed was the repetitive use of the word Christ... four times in these four verses Paul uses the word Christ and he presents a detailed picture of our relationship with Christ which permeates our entire existence...If you’ll look carefully at the paragraph, you’ll see that Paul speaks of our relationship with Christ in the past, the present, and the future...

o       v.1 says that in the past we “have been raised up with Christ”... not referring to the resurrection from physical death which we will experience...referring to the new life we received when we trusted our lives to Jesus for salvation...salvation is death to an old way of life--a life of guilt, hopelessness, despair, futility, lack of direction and meaning and purpose--and resurrection to life abundant and life eternal in Christ...if you are a true Christian, there was a time in your past when you died to yourself, to an old way of life, and you were raised to a new kind/quality of life in Christ...the old person has been put off and the new person has been put on…

o       v.3 says that in the present we are “hidden with Christ in God”...The word translated “hidden” is apokruptein and it’s the word from which the Gnostics got the word for their secret books which they claimed held the key to real wisdom.  In effect Paul is saying to the false teachers, “For you the treasures of wisdom are hidden in your secret books; but for us Christ is the treasury of wisdom and we are hid in Him.” [Barclay, p.178] I think the basic idea behind this phrase has to do with security or safety...just as you might tuck a valuable possession away in a safe place, so our lives are tucked away in Christ...in the present, no matter what storms may come our way and no matter what troubles we may face, we are safe in Him...

o       v.4 says that in the future “When Christ is revealed ... [we] will be revealed with Him...”...the reference here is to the Second Coming of Jesus to our world...when He returns to the world everyone will recognize Him as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords...and when He comes those who have chosen to commit their lives to Him will be vindicated...[most of us have grown up in culture where it’s almost the norm to profess to be a Christian...live in Bible belt where there’s church on every corner...not been that way during most of Christian history...certainly not that way in 1st century Colossae...was considered strange, bizarre, weird, to be a follower of Christ...saying here that day will come when whole world will see that it makes sense to be a Christian...]

          As believers are lives--past, present, and future--are wrapped up in Christ...He has raised us up (given us life)...He is hiding us (providing us security)...and He will reveal us in glory (vindicate us before the whole world)...the Christian life is a life of identification with Jesus...that’s one major theme permeating this paragraph...another major theme in this part of God’s Word is...

 

·        The Christian life is a life of separation from the world  - Look at the last part of v.1 and v.2...as a result of, because of our relationship with Christ we are to “...keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”...and we are to “Set [our] mind on the things above, not on the things that are one earth.”  D.L. Moody, the great preacher, was fond of saying these verses do not mean that Christians are to be “so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good...”...to be separated from the world--

o       Doesn’t mean go around with our heads in the clouds, shirking our duties and responsibilities in this life...

o       Nor does it mean that there is something inherently evil enjoying life in this world...

          Instead, it means that we live our lives in the full awareness that this world is not all there is...and if we live that way, two things will happen in our lives...

o       We won’t blindly and thoughtlessly adopt the standards of the world as our personal standards...

o       We will keep the events of life in proper perspective and not over-react to what is happening around us.  When we understand that there is more to our existence than just this world, when we grasp that there is a whole other dimension to life --a spiritual dimension--then we are much less likely to be overwhelmed by the events of this life...