If you have been raised with Christ….
What an interesting statement Paul makes at the beginning of Colossians 3. “If you have been raised with Christ……”. How can we better understand why this particular statement is used? Well a little background on this epistle might clear some things up. Paul penned this letter in response to a personal visit from Epaphras, who was the founder, pastor, servant, and minister of this church. Epaphras had come to Paul to ask for help because of a dangerous heresy that had entered the Colossian church. What was this heresy? Well, like all other heresies it was an attack on the humanity and deity of Christ Jesus.
Like all false teaching that distorts the person, work, and deity of Jesus Christ, a form of works based salvation is what usually follows and the heresy at the Colossian church was no different. Paul tells us exactly what it is:
“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations-“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used) according to human precepts and teachings?” Colossians 2:20-22
The church had been bombarded by a form of Gnosticism, claiming a superior and distorted knowledge of who Christ was and offering a different way to enter heaven other than by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. The things the people were doing to “get right with God” actually only separated them from God prompting Paul to write this letter and make this statement:
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Colossians 3:1
The statement “if you have been raised with Christ” means: If you have been purchased out of sins market by the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:20), if you have been sealed with His Spirit as the guarantee of the inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14), if you have been created in Christ Jesus for good works (Ephesians 2:10), if you are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), if you have a righteousness that isn’t intrinsic to you (Philippians 3:9), if you were saved not because of works done in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5), if you have died and been set free from sin (Romans 6:7), if by faith you now have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1), if you have been blessed in Christ with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3) and have all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him (2 Peter 1:3) then………
Don’t seek the knowledge of men for it ALWAYS leads to heresy the end of which is death……
Whenever Christ is not sufficient enough for you then you have left your first love (if you ever truly loved him at all). Do not seek to be wise in the eyes of this world. Do not seek to be accepted and loved by this world.
Saved Young people: Do not seek to fit in with the crowd or be cool with the kids at school, but In Christ, seek to put on righteousness and actively evangelize the lost in your schools, parks, and hangout spots. Do not seek the comforts of human recognition, in Christ your reward is in heaven….
Saved married people: My wife and I sit down at least once a week and discuss how we are doing in becoming a Colossians 3 family. You know, a family that lets the word of God dwell in us richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, the wisdom found in the Word of God (verse 16)! We get very practical in this: Rione submits to me as in the Lord (verse 18) as I Love her and work hard not to be harsh with her (verse 19). We both teach our children the truth not provoking them to anger (verse 20). I go to work and submit to my authority there working hard as unto the Lord not by way of eye service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord (verse 22).
These good works the Christian is called to do as a result of the new birth in Christ. We have been born again and the wisdom and knowledge we learn, seek, teach and follow comes from Christ. It doesn’t come from men, it doesn’t come from this world, and it doesn’t come from us, as Paul says:
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:2-3
Are you living as if you have died to sin? Has God forgiven all your trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against you with it legal demands, setting it aside by nailing it to the cross? Is your life hidden with Christ in God? If not, then everything I have just suggested for you to do, you will fail miserably in. You have need of repentance and faith in Christ all-sufficient work on the cross. This is the very reason way Paul penned this letter. Christ is sufficient to save! Your works (outside of Christ) are not only unprofitable, but they are a continuous nasty smoke in the nostrils of God and He hates it (Isaiah 65:5)!
He is God in the flesh, the only sacrifice that is acceptable to God for the appeasement of His wrath! If you have broken just one of God’s laws then you have already committed enough sin to merit hell FOREVER! Christ is the God-Man the Savior full of truth and deity. Paul confirms this when he said:
“For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily…..” Colossians 2:9
The Christian looks to Christ in all things: Strength in this Christian walk, forgiveness of sin, intercessory prayer to the Father, help
in our marriages, wisdom in raising our children, and a hope that we will be with Him one day, because He is all we need. He is
our life breath……
“When Christ who is your life appears, then you will appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:4