In Colossians 3, Paul reminds Christians about their resolution—their commitment—to follow Christ. Verses 1 and 2 say: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
In other words, the believer is seen as having died with Christ, having been buried with Him, and having risen with Him from among the dead. If so, then the question that we all must ask ourselves is: “Am I living like one who has died with Christ? Have I said goodbye to the old sinful way of life and entered into a new type of life?”
If we have been raised with Christ to a new life, we must seek the things that are from above, and reflect this new life. Also, because we are still on earth and subject to worldly pressures and temptations, we should set our minds on heavenly, spiritual things, not only on earthly things. The Bible indicates that where our heart is, there will our soul be.
The problem with the believers that although they called themselves Christians, they were not living as Christians should.
They were living lives that were not any different than those of unbelievers.
This is why the Apostle Paul reminded them where they were and the kind of life they were living, and then he named some of the things in their past that they had come out from, warning them of the consequences of sin and the wrath of God.
Verses 5 to 7 say: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.”
People think that they can sin and escape punishment, but God is not mocked. The wrath of God is coming on those who disobey God.
If your life does not demonstrate the new life of Christ, you have missed the whole point. Apostle Paul reminded the believers of their commitment to follow Christ and of the power available to help them live Godly lives. In Galatians 5:25 we read: “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
Paul went on to tell the Christians what they should not do, participate in, or even have evil thoughts about. He actually told them to put off these things like a dirty garment. The idea is that if you want to behave and live the way God wants you to, then you must follow His instructions, and reflect Him…not the corrupt world system.
Remember that not only have we put off the old self, but we have also “put on the new self which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator” (verse 10). The new self refers to our position as children of God. There has been a new creation, and we are new creatures.
God’s purpose is that this new self (person) should always be growing more and more to be like the Lord Jesus Christ. We should never be satisfied with our present spiritual condition but, rather, we should always press on to the goal of in- creasing to be like our Lord. Are we, are you honouring your resolution to follow Christ? He is our example.
Finally, Paul described some of the Christian attitudes that we are to practice and cultivate:
- Compassion – We must have a tender and compassionate heart toward others instead of focussing only on our own
- Kindness – This speaks of the unselfish spirit of helping
- Humility – We must have an attitude of lowliness and the willingness to be
- Gentleness – This does not mean weakness! Gentleness actually refers to a mildness of manner and is one characteristic of
- Patience – Also sometimes called “long-suffering”, this speaks of enduring
- Bearing with each other – This describes the patience we should have with the failings and difficult ways of our brethren. We must forgive one another because Christ forgave us.
Love is the belt that binds and holds together all the other virtues in order to bring perfection. Remember, however, that what we do must be done with a genuine spirit of love for our brethren. Our actions should not be grudging but should come out of compassion and love. The peace of Christ, mentioned in verse 15, is a very special peace that He alone can give! This peace is an attitude of peace that should rule in all human relationships.
Verse 16 says: “Let 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.” In other words, being filled with the Spirit and being filled with God’s Word are both needed for living joyful, useful, fruitful lives.
Please remember that if your life does not demonstrate the new life in Christ, then you have missed the whole point of His message!
Pastor Joseph Hovsepian