Colossians 3:1-5
Col 3:1 (KJB)
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
If - Since
Be risen - To be raised up with or you were raised with
Seek - Inquire into or about
This is one of the most eye opening verses because it reveals a great truth about the believer. When Christ was raised from the dead, every single believer was united with Christ in His resurrection. We were identified with it in two ways: First, we were raised from spiritual death. Every believer before salvation was spiritually dead and hostile to God as the non-elect are. (Eph 2:3 KJV) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. So Christ’s resurrection signaled the fact that believers were now raised from spiritual death to spiritual life. We have received our resurrected souls. In Revelation 20:5-6, we read about the first resurrection. (Rev 20:5-6 KJV) But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. {6} Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. If you will notice in verse 6 it states that the second death has no power over those who partook of the first resurrection. This gives us insight that those who are saved are not affected by the second death, otherwise known as Hell. So we see the first resurrection is the resurrection of the believer in their soul existence.
The second way the believer is identified with the resurrection of Christ is on the last day when we receive our resurrected bodies. (John 5:28-29 KJV) Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, {29} And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. In John 5:28-29, we read that there is going to come a day when all the dead who are in the graves will be raised back to life. The true believer will be reunited with their body to live eternally in Heaven and the unbeliever will be raised in their body to stand for judgment and be cast into eternal Hell.
Since the believer has been spiritually resurrected from spiritual death, no more are we tied to the things of this earth. We are no longer to observe the Mosaic law and we are also freed from the evil systems of the world. Since we are risen with Christ, we are to continually look to Him daily. He sits on the right-hand of God which means this is a place of supreme authority and continually intercedes for us and that is why we seek Him directly.
(Heb 4:14-16 KJV) Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. {15} For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. {16} Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
As we continue to seek Christ, we are continually growing in sanctification. No earthly system can ever cause us to grow in sanctification. Christ is the author of the new life and He is the sustainer of it.
Col 3:2 (KJB)
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Affection - Mind
Here Paul is telling the Colossians that they must set their minds on things above. This is not speaking of an occasional seeking but denotes a continual seeking. As Christians who have experienced the resurrection of our souls, we need to nourish those souls with Christ. No earthly religious system can ever feed the truly resurrected soul. This is why we are told not to set our mind on the things of this earth. The Judaizers and Gnostics both had systems tied to the earth, the Mosaic system with all its outward rituals and the knowledge seeking of the Gnostics who believed that salvation was attained through knowledge. (Eph 2:6 KJV) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: Ephesians 2:6 teaches us that the believer has already been raised and God already sees us up there in Heaven seated with the Lord Jesus Christ. Since we are raised, then we must seek our standard of living from Christ and not from any earthly system.
Col 3:3 (KJB)
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Ye are dead - You died or were put to death
Is hid - Concealed, kept secret or kept safe
Here is a spiritual mystery. When the believer was made spiritually alive through the first resurrection, that is, salvation, they were also put to death. What is the believer alive unto? What is the believer dead to? Romans 6:11 answers this for us plainly. (Rom 6:11 KJV) Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. The believer is alive unto God but dead to the things of this world. The Christian has died to the old ways of the sinful world and has now been made alive unto the holy life given in salvation in Christ. (Gal 6:14 KJV) But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. Paul spoke of it as a two way crucifixion. The world is crucified unto Paul, that is, the world no longer has any affection for him because He is now walking with Christ. (John 15:19 KJV) If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. If Christians still walked according to the ways of the world, the world would accept us but because we do not, the world is crucified unto us and sees us as outcasts. In the same manner, Paul was crucified unto the world, that is, the world holds no more attraction for the true believer because of its sinful systems and especially its religions which are all hostile to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The verse then goes on to tell us that our lives are hid in Christ. The world will know nothing of living the spiritual life. The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit and therefore cannot understand what the true Christian life is. The true born again Christian is an enigma to the unsaved. The true believer opposes the world system based upon a spiritually induced nature and not a moral based nature. There are many world religions which tout a moral based philosophy but it is not spiritually based, which means it is tied to this world and we are told to seek those things above and that is why world religions will never understand true Christianity and why true Christians must come out of world religions because they are in opposition to each other. The fact that our spiritual lives are hid in Christ means that the world will never have the privilege of understanding true Christianity. Only those who are saved will have the privilege of understanding it. This is because true Christianity opens the door to understanding the Bible and knowing Christ and God. This is why these things are hidden because world religions create God after their own belief systems but God has created Christianity after His own system, that is, holiness, kindness, eternal life, and only through the Lord Jesus Christ. World religions come through their systems but Christianity comes through Christ.
Col 3:4 (KJB)
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Verse 4 contains another great reason why we are to continue to seek the things which are above. Christ shall someday return and when He does, then all the believers who have physically died will be resurrected and those who are still alive will be changed in the twinkling of an eye and taken to Heaven. There is a major Christian life principle in this verse and it is, “When Christ, who is our life.” Christ is not to be a part of our life or just someone that we reserve for Sunday worship. If we are seeking the things above, then Christ is our life, but if we are seeking the things of the world and Christ, then we have a divided allegiance. A divided allegiance creates a weak Christian because we try to amalgamate the principles of Christ and the worldly principles. When this happens, it is like trying to go forward and backward in your car at the same time. It cannot happen and for the Christian to inculcate any worldly principles into their life and try to place them in concert with biblical principles, creates an air of confusion which leads to a compromised form of Christianity. Christ must remain our life and not a part of our life, so we may remain strong in the faith and able to rebuff all compromised forms of Christianity.
Col 3:5 (KJB)
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Mortify - Put to death
Members - Limbs or parts of the body
Fornication - Unchastity or immorality
Uncleanness - Ritual impurity
Inordinate affection - Sinful passions
Evil concupiscence - Evil lusts or desires
Covetousness - Greediness or avarice
Here is seems like a “seeming contradiction” because in the previous verses we are told that the Colossians had been put to death concerning the things of the world and here Paul is stating that they are to put to death the sinful things found in the members of their bodies. If you notice, the verse specifically speaks of “members which are upon the earth.” If you recall, we read that the Christian received their resurrected souls and was raised to newness of life. Did you notice that we did not receive our resurrected bodies? This means that we have a brand new living soul in a body which still lusts after sin. We will not have our new bodies until the last day. This means that the believer is still subject to sin but there is one main difference. All the sins of the believer has been paid for and that means every sin we commit after salvation is not charged to our account but was already placed upon Christ. If you look at Romans 7:14-25, you will read about the struggle which the Apostle Paul had between his sinful body and his resurrected soul. The warred against each other. Now this means that if a Christian sins, it is not being performed in their soul existence but in their body of flesh which has not been redeemed. (Rom 7:18 KJV) For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. So the Christian still has the ability to sin but that does not make them a sinner in the eyes of God, they are still a Saint. This does not mean we go out and intentionally sin but it means if we do sin, we are already forgiven.