If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory (NKJV).

         Paul continues the theme found throughout the New Testament, Christ, raised from the dead changing everything relating to “heaven” and “earth.” In Christ’s complete work on the cross to redeem humankind from sin and sins inevitable end, death is Christ’s finished work of fulfilling the Father’s will. The curse, spoken of in Genesis and the Garden, was overturned. The curse, found in the Law, was brought to an end as it was nailed to the cross with Christ.

In our last lesson, we saw the absolute glory of what our Lord accomplished. In Colossians 2:20, Paul challenges the believers with a question; “Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations?” He establishes that the regulations of the Law could not deal with the real problem of the flesh. Only the cross of Christ could satisfy the righteous requirements of the Father. Only our identity with Christ and the cross can bring one into a restored relationship with the Father through Christ, breaking the curse and establishing the believer as a son and daughter of the “heavenly Father.”

Consider what Paul teaches us in Galatians 3:13. “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’, that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” This understanding is so essential if we fully embrace what Paul now has to say to us in Colossians 3, beginning with these first four verses.

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.

I am speaking firstly to those who “were raised with Christ.” If you have not repented of sin and have not been “baptized” or identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, this verse would be challenging to understand. You might believe there is a “future” resurrection of the body, which for sure there is, but not know that the true believer in Christ has already been raised in Him by the Holy Spirits power. This is the “first resurrection” spoken of in Revelation 20:5. It includes every saint of God, men, and women, from the upper room, then into the streets of Jerusalem, to the Samaritans receiving the word of the gospel of the kingdom and the Holy Spirit, to the Gentiles at Cornelius house as recorded in Acts 10. All those who believed the gospel of the kingdom preached by the “apostles,” including Paul, are included in this great multitude throughout the first century down to the present time.

We have become citizens of heaven. Our birth is from above, Galatians 4:26, “the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.” We are people who are not of the flesh but are according to the Spirit (read Galatians 4 slowly and receive the freedom that is ours in Christ)—raised with Christ, seek those things above, where Christ is. Heaven touched earth in Christ; heaven is still touching earth through the Holy Spirit in every believer hearing from Christ in heaven. The Holy Spirit is the one who connects us to Christ, His resurrection, and His throne of grace at the Father’s right hand. Our first mandate in Christ is to “SEEK THOSE THINGS ABOVE.”

Where are our AFFECTIONS located? If we are serious about our relationship with God the Father in Christ Jesus, then this question must be answered and evaluated by the “word of God,” the scriptures or, in other words, “the form of sound words or doctrine.” This is where the Holy Spirit will lead us. Not to man and his doctrine, but Christ and the doctrine of His apostles.

Verse 2 supports what I am saying. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. This verse counters the ridiculous saying, “you can be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good.” Only the believer who is receiving from Christ in heaven through His word and His Spirit has anything worthwhile to offer to God’s creation, man. The gospel of the kingdom is the most valid and essential word any person can receive, believe, and pass on to others. This word of truth judges every other word and perspective! NKJV states to “Set your mind on things above.” KJV says, “Set your affections on things above.” I like that translation because it brings focus to the subject. Your affections speak to “things you love,” even might reverence or place as a top priority in life.

The main point here is choosing between earth and heaven. This flows with what Paul taught in Chapter 2 and the theme that was taught throughout the New Testament writings.

Verse 3 addresses the point of the matter, “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Everything flows from this point which Paul is making, that is, new life begins at the death of our old life and to our present self-life in the receiving of His resurrection life daily.

Throughout the teachings of Jesus and of His apostles, we find this kingdom principle of death, burial, and resurrection. It is what Jesus taught and modeled for His disciples. Jesus began modeling this at His baptism. Jesus came to John to be baptized of him. John recognized Jesus as “the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world” (see John 1:29). John wanted to be baptized by Jesus, but Jesus stopped John by saying, “you must baptize me to fulfill all righteousness” (see Matthew 3:15). Jesus understood that the water spoke of the grave and Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on the cross for the “sin of the world.” Jesus was committing Himself to die and be buried, and trusting the Father to raise Him up.

Jesus taught His disciples that they must come to a place of dying daily, which will require the taking up of their cross daily, Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23 NKJV).

        On the “Day of Pentecost,” as Peter preached, explaining what was happening in the fulfilling of Old Testament Scriptures. As conviction gripped the hearts of those assembled, they asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter laid out the foundation by saying to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Repentance is the required beginning point. Repent means to change your mind or do a 180-degree turn. These men participated in the “crucifixion” of Jesus, and now they are about to receive Jesus Christ as Lord.

The act of repentance was the first step to an “IDENTITY” with Christ as “God’s anointed one,” God’s chosen Messiah, King David’s greater Son chosen to rule not only Israel but the nations. That identity was in the “waters of baptism.” A baptism of emersion in the water, choosing the death of ones self-life, a life of sin for Christ’s eternal gift of life that brings salvation from sin and death and opens heaven to the “gift” of the Father, the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of the Father and of the Son. It is an “IDENTITY,” as we learned, in Colossians 1:13, of being removed from the “kingdom of darkness and put into the “Kingdom of God’s dear Son.” NKJV says, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.

Paul reminds us in Romans 14:17 that the “kingdom of God” is in the Holy Spirit.” What Peter preached on that Pentecost Day was a whole new order that God had begun in His Son, who is the Lord of all. Here is God’s plan, “our life is to be hidden with Christ who is in God.” (Vs 3). Identity with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection is the foundation for everything else God has for His people.

Paul ends this thought with Christ’s appearing and our appearing with Him in glory. That is where we will complete our thoughts for today.  I hope you can grasp what Paul is teaching and how we teach as well. We have been raised in Christ to seek the things He has for us, which are in Him above. Get your mind off this world, which is perishing, and on to Christ, who has given us life that we might pass on to others.