Here are four reasons Paul gives us in Colossians 3:1-4 to set our affections on things above!
1. Your death in Christ calls you to set your mind on things above (v.3)
“You have died with Christ!” This happened—when? At your salvation. At salvation you were crucified to the world and the world to you. Thus if any man is in Christ he is a new creation. The old is gone and the new is come. Your old man was crucified with Christ. Therefore set your mind and heart on Christ.
2. Your resurrection in Christ calls you to set your mind on things above (v. 1)
Also, your resurrection in Christ calls you to set your mind on things above. You have been raised with Christ. You were raised with him by your faith in the power of God. You were co-resurrected with Christ. It is an accomplished fact. “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live. But the life I now live I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. Because of this you live a new life and according to Romans 6:11-19, you are to count yourself dead to sin and alive to God. You are to focus your affection and attention on Christ and his kingdom.
3. Your life in Christ calls you to set your mind on things above (vv. 3-4)
As well, your life in Christ calls you to set your mind on things above. Your life in now hidden with Christ in God. That is, you have a new life in Christ that the unspiritual man cannot comprehend for it is foolishness to him. You know truth that is spiritually discerned. The unbeliever is spiritually dead. He can’t see the glory of Christ, God’s grace. He cannot feel the weight of sin nor taste the sweet and delicate pleasures of Christ not smell the fragrance of Christ’s beauty.
What a powerful declaration! What does it mean? At the least it means this: If you don’t have Christ, your life is very much exposed, precarious and vulnerable. And whatever it means to be hidden in God is only possible with Christ! You can’t be in God in some spiritual sense without being with Christ!
4. Your future glory in Christ calls you to set your minds on things above
“When Christ who is your life [you have no life physically or spiritually apart from Christ] appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:4, ESV).
Although the world may never see the close inner relationship you have with Christ, they will see the glorious outward evidence one day when you will appear in glory with Christ. At the appearing, the revelation of Jesus Christ, “the veil which shrouds your higher life from others will be withdrawn.” (Lightfoot). The world which persecutes despises and ignores you now will then be blinded with the dazzling glory of the revelation.
This arrival and revelation is as sure as it is already here. At that moment “we shall be like him for we will then see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). This future motivation then ought to cause you to desire, strive, attend to, devote your life to, and constantly be pondering the person, blessings, and values of Christ. The things above must always be your supreme affection and occupy your chief attention.
See this related post. This is an excerpt from the message I preached at GHBC.
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