You are dead. I’m dead. Followers of Christ, who have a right understanding of what that means, are all dead. Have we thought about this lately? Colossians 3 helps us to understand further.
To start, Paul offers no assumptions to the validity (big word) of the Christianity of his audience because he has them question if they are in fact followers of Christ. If….So…Therefore…All of these words cause the reader to perk up and evaluate what Paul is trying to communicate…”Set your minds on things that are above…” Well that sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But how often is it not that simple? Because Paul reminds the audience, as well as us, that this action is something we are responsible for….”Set your minds on things that are above….” We must be intentional about the posture of our minds, that as the world throws every temptation at us, our minds are intentionally focused above…”Where Christ is….Seated at the right hand of God.”
But notice what Paul says in verse 3….”For you have died…And your life is hidden with Christ in God…” Well wait a second. If I’m dead, how can I be intentional about “Setting my mind on things that are above”? How can a dead man do anything? The answer is an obvious, you can’t do anything as a dead man, and I believe that is precisely Paul’s point in these beginning verses.
To sweep over the first 17 verses of this chapter, Paul compares the old way of walking, walking according to the flesh, and walking in a new way, according to the Spirit. He reminds us that we are to “put to death” anything that is “earthly” in us because the wrath of God is coming. Based upon the things we are to put to death, Paul reminds us that we once walked this way. Talked this way. Lived this way. But that is no longer how we are living. What a nice reminder, that we “once” lived this way. But again, that’s not how we are defined today. That’s not how we live.
Because we are dead.
You see. That old person. The person who was living in sin, who was walking according to the flesh, who was living a life in rebellion to God, that person was alive. Not “spiritually” alive of course. But alive in the sense that we were actively engaged in these things we were living in. We “once walked in these things.” But we weren’t simply walking in these things…We were “living” in these things. It was our sense of worth. It was our pursuit and our aim. It was the reason for living.
Our lives are hidden with Christ. Paul describes this as union with Christ. That Christ is in us and we are in Christ. That we, as he says in Galatians 2:20, were crucified with Christ. That we no longer live, but Christ lives in us.
Has that reality grabbed hold of you recently? Have you lost the wonder of what it truly means to be a follower of Christ? That we simply aren’t engaged in obeying some rules and being nice to people. But the very Creator of the universe chose you for salvation, adoption, and redemption.
Don’t take your calling lightly. Live, walk, breathe, talk, work, all for the glory of God and in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.
Give your life away. Why not? You’re dead anyways…