By Graeme Tearle
As Christians our lives have entered into a new sphere and are governed by a new set of motivations.
In ch.2v10, Paul has stated: “you have come to fulness of life in Him”; and ch.2v12 he reinforces this by adding: “you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” He adds further emphasis again in ch.2v13: “God made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses.”
In this passage Paul moves from the teaching aspects of his letter to the practical aspects of being led by this new set of motivations.
1. New Mindset, v1,2.
The integral aspect of being raised with Christ focuses on the area of our minds and motivations.
Our minds are to be so in tune with heavenly things, and the blessings of knowing that Christ is at the right hand of God.
What does this mean?
Meditations, thoughts, attitudes to the world around us, the people around us, are to be governed and flavoured by spiritual principles, and not common worldly desires.
2. New Sphere of Life, v3,4.
The reason for the focus of the mind on heavenly things, is that we have a new sphere of life.
‘Life in verse 4 is ‘zoe,’ which in particular refers to our essential life, vitality, “the living quality of nature shared alike by humans, animals, plants, also eternal life as given us by God” – New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology. As opposed to the simple biological functions of life.
We have died to this former life, see Galatians ch.2v20.
Our new life is now hid with Christ in God.
What does this mean?
While it is still a fact that we live, eat, sleep, work, and transact business in the physical community around us, God sees us as “in Christ,” and therefore not subject to the condemnation and attitudes of the world around us.
This new life has a new community: “fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,” Ephesians ch.2v19.
3. Death to the Old, v5-8.
In this section Paul lists a number of sins which must be eliminated in our lives, because of our new life in Christ.
There are three actions which happen in Christ, about these earthly inclinations:
a. Put them to death, - v5
b. Put them away, - v8.
c. Put them off, -v9.
Central to this section is v7:
a. We ‘lived’ in them; again he uses the word ‘zoe,’ indicating that the essential human vitality was occupied by these sins, and –
b. We once ‘walked’ in them. Paul employs the word ‘peripateo,’ as in ch.2v6. This means literally to walk.
But it has a far more significant applied meaning, ’choices of lifestyle, and actions taken; as governed by attitudes, the will, and personal desires’, suggesting our behaviour and life are led by the inner motivations.
c. So not only was our original human condition giving inclination to these sins, so also was our daily behaviour in practicing them.
4. Put on the New, v9-11.
Our new life in Christ enables us to behave in the new manner, and they are put away,; the language is that of changing garments.
The new person is renewed in the knowledge of the image of our Creator, as explained by Paul in ch.1v15.
Plus as being “members of the household of God,” there are no boundaries of race, religion, social and financial circumstances.
Colossians: Points to Ponder.
Consider the importance of having our minds attuned to our heavenly life in Christ.