Steve Ellison: Keep Seeking Things Above

Thursday, July 23, 2020 - by Steve Ellison

The first half of Colossians presents Christ in His divine glory.  The second section begins with “therefore”.  If we see Christ as the divine Creator and Redeemer presented in chapters 1-2, certain things will be automatic features of our character and nature.

Colossians 3:1-4 is helpful in this time of uncertainty, confusion, and hostility, Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. (NASU)  If you belong to Christ, you will seek the city who’s architect and builder is God.  If you belong to Christ, you will see yourself as a pilgrim just passing through making your way to the place of your true citizenship. The worries, discomforts, and insults of the present time will look small in light of eternity.  Your frailties will not be so worrisome; you will recognize the truth that when the Groom comes for you, you will be rendered spotless, faultless, and freed completely from sin! Hallelujah, you will not sin against me and I will not sin against you! As far-fetched as that may seem now, that is exactly what the Bible promises.  

Colossians 3 continues, Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. (NASU)  Though the promise of verse 4 has yet to be fully accomplished, it is partially available, in accordance with our faith and obedience. As far as we can trust and obey, we will be able to realize the possibility of our earthly bodies being dead to the mentioned sins. Soberingly, those sins amount to idolatry. If I claim to be a Christian and yet immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed remain significant parts of my nature, I would be wise to examine myself to see if I am in the faith.  Furthermore, I should study again Colossians 1-2 to make sure that I have a clear understanding of the divine glory of Jesus the Christ.  Jesus came to save us from those sins (and all sins).  It is these sins that brings the wrath of God on sinners.  It is a worthwhile exercise to follow Paul’s reminder to its logical end; that is to remember from what we have supposedly been saved from.

Colossians 3 continues in verse 8, But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. (NASU)  If I have examined myself to see if I really am in the faith, and if I have studied the divine glory of Christ again, I am ready for the expectation of verse 8. I am commanded and obedience is expected because of my new birth, new nature, and indwelling of the Holy Spirit in me. Note the emphasis in the five prohibitions on anger and speech. Surely that is not accidental. Anger and speech trip up many Christians. It is very easy for any of us to fall into sins related to anger and speech.  Those sins also often cause a great deal of harm to churches and individuals.  It is great wisdom: put aside all anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech. Won’t you do it now?


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