Colossians 3:1-17 - "It's All About Christ!" - Part Seven
1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. 12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. - Colossians 3:1-17
In our previous study in Colossians, we saw how Paul contrasted the philosophies of his day with the Truth of God's Word. He teaches us now to go beyond developing our philosophy of life which focuses on humanity to develop our theology which focuses on God. Jesus Christ died and rose again to pay the penalty of our sins and to give us new life in Him. We are free to live in a right relationship with God. In Colossians 3:1-17, the Apostle Paul outlines how we should live now as believers focused the theme, "It's All About Christ!"
Our passage starts with, "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ." This is an amazing and eternity-changing phrase that demands our attention. It is because of Jesus that we are positioned now to fellowship with God. Can you believe that we were once living in spiritual darkness, wallowing in our self-centered lives, and with no hope of finding genuine love on our own when someone shared with us the Truth; the Gospel message of Jesus Christ! We were transformed to be the person that God created us to be! Our sins were forgiven! Our bondage to our past was broken as Christ took on our transgressions and gave us life. We once were down and out but now, as believers devoted to Jesus, we are raised with Christ to live a life that glorifies God.
Paul instructed us that once we accept our new position that our priority in life must be God. We must set our hearts and minds on things above and not on earthly things. Our personal, family, and church priorities must be focused on Christ as He is seated at the right hand of God. Our lives will be transformed if priority #1 for us is to honor, glorify, and obey Jesus Christ. This priority will be our filter through which we view the world. This priority will be our standard by which we evaluate our lives and how we interact with others.
Paul taught us earlier in this study that problems and issues arise in our lives when we take our eyes off of Christ and make our priorities anything other than Jesus. When we stay focused on our Lord then we will have hope, joy, and peace of mind.
In Colossians 3:3-4, we see that the profile of our identity is that we are dead to our sin and alive in Christ! The reward for being positioned to fellowship with God and making Jesus your priority is that you will appear with Him in glory. The final chapter to the story of your life, if you remain faithful, is that you will be with Jesus in His eternal glory. What could be better?
Paul is encouraging us to make our lives all about Christ! Jesus placed us in position to succeed, not to fail. He guaranteed us that if we make Him our top priority that we will appear with Him in glory. Our new identity then is that we are alive in Christ! He is our Savior. He is our Lord and Master. He is the one we serve. He is the one whose opinion of us matters most!
This is fantastic! The question arises though: How do I live a life that honors Christ? Paul provided us with specific areas and issues of our lives that we need to put off and what we need to put on. In Colossians 3:5-11 he instructed us to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature. If we are focused on living our priorities of serving Jesus then we will no longer need our old priorities, desires, and self-centeredness.
The results of sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed which is idolatry are that we will encounter the wrath of God. Your former quest to glorify self leads to death.
Paul wrote that our old ways of living must be thrown away. We must throw away our old ways of thinking and reactions as quickly as yesterday's rotting garbage. We are to put off anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, and lying. We must replace these behaviors with the new self, our new identity, for we are being renewed in the knowledge of the image of our Creator.
It does not matter who you are, you must put to death whatever belongs to the old nature. Your economic status, religious affiliation, the nationality listed on your passport, or your gender will not save you. Each of us must die to our old nature so that we can live for Jesus.
We are now freed to put on the virtues of Christ! In Colossians 3:12-14, Paul wrote that since we are chosen people, holy and dearly loved, that we can now be clothed in the virtues that come from Jesus. We can be people of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. We can bear with each other, forgive one another as the Lord forgave us, and be bound in perfect unity by the love of Christ.
When you accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, you were positioned to be a member of the family of God. Your priorities of life were changed from serving self to serving the Lord. Your identity is that you are a servant of the Master, Jesus Christ. You are freed now to put to death your old mindset and heart desires to thinking, acting, reaction, and seeking to do that which glorifies Jesus.
As a new believer, you may find it difficult to put to death the old nature. In fact, the battle we face daily, as believers, is that very battle. We take seriously each encounter with our old nature and seek to respond rightly every time so as to honor Christ. The Bible is our guide that teaches us how to do just that. No Christian is perfect. We all face temptations and there are times when we fall. But, we repent before the Lord, hold ourselves accountable to other believers, and focus our heart and mind on living the virtues of Christ.
We can then put on the character of Christ as mentioned by Paul in Colossians 3:15-17. The character of Christ involves perfect peace, the truth of His word, and being true to His identity as the Son of God.
We must seek to let the peace of Christ rule our hearts. We must always be thankful to the Lord for what He has done for us, is doing, and will do. We must proclaim the truth of God's Word in our teaching, encouragement, and worship. We must honor God in whatever we do for God alone is our Judge and the One to whom we will give account of our lives.
You are positioned by Christ to fellowship with God. You will live with Him in His eternal glory if you make Him the priority of your life. You are a new creation in Christ; the old is gone, the new was come! Put to death whatever belongs to the old nature and put on the virtues and character of Christ.
You can do this! Follow the example of Jesus. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you and comfort you. Take this journey with fellow believers whose values and convictions are focused on Christ. Make our theme from Colossians the theme of your life: "It's All About Christ!"
Dear Jesus, I dedicate my life to you again. I give you control over the entirety of my life. I ask that your will be done in my life. Amen.
For You to Consider
- What does the phrase, "you have been raised with Christ" mean to you?
- What must you do, or change, to make Jesus the priority of your life?
- How should the knowledge that you will spend eternity with Christ in His glory impact your life today?
- What aspects of the old nature do you battle and how should you encounter them?
- What virtues of Christ listed in the passage come easily for you and which one present opportunities for spiritual growth?
- Please give three examples of how you can live "whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus"?
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