Study Notes

Colossians 3:1-4


Paul has been telling the Colossians that man-made religion appears very wise, but has no value against fleshly indulgence. In other words, you can follow all the religious rules you want to, but what happens when you get the desire to sin? Nothing in your religion is going to help that.

Fortunately, a relationship with God through Jesus Christ has much value against fleshly indulgence.

3:1-3 Raised Up With Christ

As a Christian, you are well aware that Jesus died. You also know that you were dead in your sin. But Jesus raised up from the dead. And when you asked Jesus Christ into your life, you were made "alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Rom6:11). Ephesians two says,

Eph. 2:5-6 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly {places}, in Christ Jesus

You were raised up. But notice: not only up from the dead, but also up into heaven! You've already risen from the dead, and you're already in heaven! Of course, not having entered into eternity yet, you don't see it. You still see yourself here, in this time.

The Things Above

So we are told to keep focusing in on the up, not the down, the "then" and not the "now."

I want to give you something fanciful to think about. No doubt you've seen one of the many movies or TV shows where someone goes back in time and encounters themselves in the past - a few minutes, days, or years before. There's two of them, standing face to face, amazed. The one from the past has so many questions about the future. And the one from the future has so many things to say, to impart wisdom and warning about actions and decisions that haven't yet been made.

Now stretch your mind: If you are a Christian, you exist right now in eternity - you've already been raised up and seated with Christ in heavenly places. Christ is there, and you are there, yet you are also here. If your eternal self could speak to your present self now, what do you think would be said?

I have no doubt that you would beg yourself not to fall into sin, not to give into temptation. Having already experienced the judgment seat of Christ, and shedding tears that God wiped away from your eyes, you would plead with your former self to exercise self-control, to do anything and everything you could not to sin.

Here's the rub: your eternal self can't go back to you, but you can seek your eternal self. You are told to keep seeking and setting your mind on the things above. If you focus on your future, you will have great power over the fleshly indulgences that your sin nature wants to take.

And if you begin to focus on the future, and be engaged to eternity, your present self on earth will not be so set on the present, worldly desires. Jesus said,

Matt. 6:19-20 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal

With earnestness and eagerness, focus on the things above.

Phil. 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ

You Have Died

Some people protest this idea. They say, "Well, I don't want to be so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good. I still have a life that I want to live here on earth."

But that is a misunderstanding of Christianity. Hopefully, when someone shared the gospel with you, they told you the whole story. You see, when you are born again, you're not just acknowledging that Jesus gave His life for your sins. You're also saying, "I'm giving my life to Jesus, Who died for my sins. I'm letting my old self and my old life die."

Paul really reminded the Galatians about this fact a lot. He said,

Gal. 5:24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Gal. 6:14 ...the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Gal. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ...

The fact is, that if you believe Jesus died for you, you have died with Him.

Rom. 6:6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with {Him,} that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin;

You have neither the right nor the privilege to do anything with your life other than what God does with it.

Col. 3:3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

That is another value Christianity has value against fleshly indulgence: your flesh no longer belongs to you. It's not your body to sin with anymore - it belongs to God.

3:4 Christ Is Our Life

Christ is now our life - it is He who is supposed to be given the sovereignty to live through us.

Gal. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the {life} which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.

This is where our real lives are lived: through Him.

Rom. 6:8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him

Revealed With Him In Glory

And one day, Christ will be returning to earth. Enoch saw this in a vision, saying,

Jude 14-15 ...Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones

John saw it as well:

Rev. 19:14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white {and} clean, were following Him on white horses.

Christ is one day returning to earth. And if you are a Christian, whether your body died or was raptured, you will return with Him. You will be revealed in glory, even as He will be.

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