Chapter 3: Vs. 1 “If you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Vs/2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
An amazing thing happened when we were raised up (saved) with Christ, He wrote our names in His Lambs Book of Life. In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, we became children of God, joint heirs with Him with Kingdom rights and privileges. Because our lives belong to Him, He is never hard to find because He is always seated at the right hand of His Father. His is never too busy to talk with us, and He is willing to talk as long as we want to talk. He is available twenty four seven, and never forgets that all of His promises are “Yes” and “Amen” when claimed by faith. No wonder Paul reminds us to look up and stop trying to drive our tent stakes ever deeper here on earth. If we can see it, feel it, or touch it, it’s wood, hay, and stubble.
Vs. 3 “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Vs. 4 When Christ, who is our life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in Glory.”
Have you ever told a “little white lie” or tried to hide something you shouldn’t have done? I have, and usually my sin finds me out anyway. Just one more desert while my wife is not looking, but then I forget and leave the bowl under the edge of he couch. And even when I do manage to hide the evidence, I can’t really enjoy eating an extra desert because I’m doing something I shouldn’t. Now maybe desert is not your thing, but most likely, you do have a thing that you are still trying to hide. Guess what? Jesus has X-ray vision, but He has chosen to not only remove our sins, but completely remove them as far as the East is from the West. All of our sins are completely hidden in our Savior and Redeemer, Christ Jesus. There are no empty bowls left around because Jesus has already cleaned them up. Yet here is an add on: Sins that are concealed in Christ are often revealed here on earth. Grace is not a license to sin, but rather, it is empowerment to not sin. A good name lost is not easily recovered.
Vs. 5 “Therefore, consider the members of your earthy body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.”
Here we see a quick shift from the dynamics of heaven to the fleshly desires of man here on earth. In other words, our spiritual person is safe and secure, but our physical man is still involved in mortal combat. So how do we win? By remembering that we are hidden in Christ! We no longer have to ask, “What would Jesus do because we can easily read the four gospel accounts and see what He did. This may sound to simple but God wants us all of His children to understand: As long as we think on spiritual things, we can’t be tempted by earthly things. Rom. 12:2 says, “Be ye now transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Our minds are where the war is now being waged because our spirit man is born again and sealed by the Holy Spirit. So how do we defeat thoughts that are vain and evil?” We win by speaking and declaring God’s Word. We can’t defeat a thought with a thought.
Vs. 6 “For it is on account of these things that the wrath of God will come.”
That dear friends is a sobering thought! But now, let’s put this verse into context. God’s wrath is first revealed in the Book of Beginnings when God brought a universal flood upon the earth. Both His wrath and His Judgments are seen throughout the Torah, the Laws of Moses, and the Books of the Prophets as he dealt primarily with the apple of His eye, Israel. Then came the New Covenant of Grace, and with it came peace between God and those who have received His Son as Savior. The Church ( the saved) will not endure the wrath of God for the Word proclaims, “Jesus will deliver us from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10). And again He says, “For God has not destined us for wrath” (1 Thess. 5:9). What about those who are left when Christ calls His Church out? They will endue a type of hell on earth as God pours out His wrath. Even so, many souls will be saved during the time of tribulation for the glory of God. Praise God for the Church age, for we are well hidden in Christ from His wrath, but we are all subject to persecution from those here on earth.
Vs. 7 “And in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. Vs.8 But now you also, put them all aside; anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.”
Once again we see a picture of who we were and who we are after receiving salvation. Paul now reminds us that we have a part to play if we want joy and peace to rule in our lives. Our part is to make wise choices that align with His word. We can allow God to change us by renewing our minds and submitting to His will, or we can let Satan defraud us by conforming to this present world. Notice that all six of the negative things mentioned are what the great physician Jesus calls, “heart problems!” They didn’t just show up one day, they are the fruit of the idolatries listed in verse five. Until we deal with the roots, we will never be able to rid ourselves of bitter fruit. Notice also that each of these instruments of Satan begin with anger and culminate with evil speech. Words always produce life or death!
Vs. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices”
The night Jesus was arrested and stood before the High Priest Caiaphas, Luke 14:56 records that many gave false witness against Him, but then that is what we would expect of non-believers. Yet here lies a greater problem. A believer, friend, and disciple by the name of Peter stood at a distance watching as Jesus was being slapped, spit on, and cursed. When asked by a servant girl if he was not a friend of Jesus, he began to curse and swear, denying Him not once, but three times, saying, “I do not know this man you are talking about (Mark 14:71).” The Gospel of Luke records, that at that very moment Jesus turned and gazed at him. Peter’s own lies left him condemned, but our resurrected Jesus forgave and commissioned him. Lies have to be covered over and over again, while truth stands firm and unashamed.
When our children were young, I was at times guilty of telling them I would play with them when a game I was watching was over, or promise to take them fishing or camping, but then not follow through. This perpetuated a conversation between my wife and I that took me to task. She said, “When you tell the children you are going to do something with them, you need to keep your word!” Know what? She was right. If we say we will attend an event, then we should attend the event. If we say we will, we should. If we give our word, we need to make our word good. Paul is saying, “The devil is a liar, but God’s children should be known for speaking truth.
Vs. 10 “And put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him”
Earlier, Paul wrote, “See to it!” Here he says, “Put on the new Self.” Or we may say it this way, “Christian, see to it that you get up each morning and put on the new man.” We have a choice, and our choices and voices will determine our destiny. If you want to see a very sad and unhappy animal, put a sheep into a hog pen. Move that sheep into a rich green meadow and his demeanor instantly changes. There is a reason Jesus often referred to His disciples as sheep, because they daily need the protection and guidance of a good shepherd. Our Lord is saying, “Put on your ring of authority, your robe of righteousness, and your sandals that allow you to walk on holy ground. Stop putting on the clothes that you wore to the hog pen.” In short, our heavenly position should be reflected in the way we live our earthly lives.
Vs.11 “a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, abut Christ is all and in all.”
Most Jews had a hard time being reconciling themselves to Gentiles. Peter did, but God chose him to go to the house of Cornelius, a Roman centurion, and present the gospel of Jesus Christ. Somewhat reluctantly he did as God directed, and to his amazement, salvation and revival came to the house of Cornelius. Peter said, “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality” (Acts 10:34). The question then arises, do we see ourselves as better than others because of their ethnicity or color of their skin? Do we see ourselves as superior because our financial status allows us to drive high end cars and live in expensive homes while others are struggling to get by? Finally, is our identity veiled in the clothes we wear or the watches and jewelry we own? Listen closely dear brothers and sisters in Christ: God wants us to have good things, even the best things, but we must be careful that others can’t see our new man because it is clothed in false pride. Just saying —-