A New Position, A New Reality, A New Focus - Colossians 3:1-4
The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ are at the center of everything that we believe as Christians (1 Corinthians 15:1-5). Without the sacrificial death of Jesus and His victorious resurrection we have no hope.
As we come to Colossians 3 Paul is eager for the Colossians to understand the correlation between the physical death and resurrection of Jesus and the spiritual realities that we experience as those who believe.
When we come to faith in Jesus our old nature, our old self, is put to death. Just as Jesus died, we die. In the same way, just as Jesus rose from the dead, we are raised with Him. Through faith we died and through faith we are raised to new life in Him (Romans 6:1-11; Colossians 2:12-13).
That being said, in Colossians 3 Paul’s purpose goes beyond helping us understand our position in Christ; he wants believers to understand how this new position should impact the way we live. As those who have a new position and a new reality we should have a new focus. Our position in Christ should change our affections and our desires.
The Call: A New Perspective (3:1-2)
As the passage begins Paul makes it clear who his audience is: He’s addressing those who have been raised to new life in Christ. With this established Paul describes the perspective or the focus of those who are in Christ.
Check Your Heart: What are you pursuing? (vs. 1)
- Seek the Things- The call is to evaluate your affections. What do you long for, what are you pursuing, what do you desire?
- That Are Above – Paul defines “above” as the place where Christ is, or more correctly, the position He holds.Christ holds the position of all rule and authority (Ephesians 1:20-23).
- To seek the things that are above is a call forthe Colossians to set their hearts and to orient their minds in light of the ultimate and eternal rule of Christ. Pursue things that are eternal (Matthew 6:33; 6:9-10; Philippians 3:12-16).
Check Your Mind: What are you focused on? (vs. 2)
- How do we seek the things that are above? The next part of the passage gives the answer: it begins by setting our minds on eternal things. As we set our minds on eternal things our pursuits and desires and ambitions (what we seek) will follow.
- If we are going to faithfully pursue eternal things we must guard our minds and fight to keep our attention on the things of Christ (Romans 12:2; Philippians 3:17-4:1).
The Reason: A New Position (3:3-4)
After explaining the call Paul returns to the reason for his admonition: our new perspective is a result of our new position.
- Our Present Position (vs. 3) As those who are in Christ we have been united with Him in His death and resurrection; we are “in Him.” Because of our union with Him Christ lives in and through us (Galatians 2:20). We have died with Him and now our lives are His, therefore everything we do and say should be impacted by our identity in Him.
- Our Future Position (vs. 4) Even though we have been given a new position in Christ we are still constrained by the flesh, but this is only temporary. One day Christ will return and we will join Him in glory (1 Corinthians 15:50–57).
- When live in light of who we are in Christ and set our minds on things above it will keep us from loving the world too much and creating idols out of things that will ultimately let us down.
- When we live in light of who we are in Christ and set our minds on things above we will be guarded against despair when the pressures of life are hard to bear (John 16:33a).
- When we live in light of who we are in Christ and set our minds on things above we will have strength when the world opposes us and what we believe (Hebrews 12:2–3).
- When we live in light of who we are in Christ and set our minds on things above it will motivate us in our fight against sin (1 John 3:2-3; Romans 6:1-12).
- When we live in light of who we are in Christ and set our minds on things above we will be more ready and willing to tell others of the hope that we have in Him and of their need for Him.